Karma means action and reaction, cause and effect, the cycle of action and its consequences. Actions can be divided into two broad groups: those with a selfless motive, which are rare, and those with selfish motivation, which are common. Selfish actions can result in joy or pain, or a mixture of the two. They always create more karma, complication, and bondage because worldly desires tend to keep us stuck in worldly, karmic existence.

“The practice of karma yoga is a path to freedom from karma and its effects.”

Karma and Consciousness

There is good and bad karma. A body-mind will always have some karma, some process of activity which keeps it acting and reacting. Consciousness, on the other hand, transcends Nature and is free from karma. Therefore, the more conscious and aware we become and the more we identify with our real self or our higher consciousness, the more freedom and choice we experience. Awareness is the ultimate tool we use to liberate ourselves from the bondage of karma. Through the practice of karma yoga, we develop greater awareness. We witness the quality of our actions, how they are filled with desires, expectations, hopes, and fears.

Karmic Theory

Karma is patterns or habits in our body-mind, in our nervous system, in our thinking and emotions, and in the actions we perform every day. Our thoughts,
emotions, and desires have a way of repeating themselves, and these form karmic patterns. We inherit some of these patterns at birth, and some we create over the course of our lives. A karmic pattern can be a strength or a weakness. We can find it difficult (perhaps impossible) or easy to change. We need to develop awareness of our patterns. We can do this through meditation and self-study. Once we identify our patterns, we apply yogic techniques that allow us to act on our patterns—to respond to them, changing those that we can and accepting those we cannot. Acceptance of weakness is a great strength. It is an outcome of authentic meditation, arising from the cultivation of self-knowledge and self-love. For example, we may have a digestive problem, perhaps as a result of worry or anxiety. This health pattern undermines our energy, so we are motivated to work on it.

We may then choose to address the cause of the problem. We may change our eating habits and other lifestyle factors, and we may engage in more powerful
healing yoga methods such as breath work. Thus the old patterns may fade over time as we modify them with the new patterns we are consciously creating.

Karma and Meditation

The root cause and nature of our karmic patterns can only be fully understood
through meditation, which is the most important yogic tool for managing karma. By developing awareness, we can clearly see our karmic patterns in action and respond to them. Meditation also gives us a calmer, less emotionally reactive mind and nervous system, so that we can respond with more peace and wisdom and with less fear, anger, or attachment.

“ Positive karma negates negative karma in life cycle”.