I’m sure we’ve all heard the word, “karma.” It has become a standard in modern language. Something good happens to you, you say it was the good karma you accrued. Something bad happens to you & you question what bad thing you did to deserve it. We use it as a rationale for anything good, or bad, that happens to us. However, we all have been taught the incorrect meaning of karma.
So, what does karma really mean?
Karma literally translates to, “action.”
There are three types of karma:
Sanchita Karma - the sum of one’s past karma accumulated from past lives.
Prarabdha Karma - the collection of past karmas which are to be experienced in the current incarnation.
Agami Karma - the karma we are creating right now, this lifetime/incarnation, this current moment.
There are two types of action.
Selfish actions - actions made by the ego. When we make choices that lead to selfish action, it binds us to this lifetime.
Selfless actions* - actions made by the higher self. When we make choices that lead to selfless action, there is no binding & we are free.
In short, all of the choices we make in each lifetime lead us to our next lifetime. The choices I made in my last lifetime lead me to be born into the family I was born into, the body I was born into, the time I was born into - all of the circumstances that I have been dealt, all of the hardships, all of the obstacles. This life was designed so that I can rise above & become better for my next lifetime, then better in the next, & so on, until enlightenment.
Of course, you don’t have to believe in enlightenment or reincarnation. That’s just what I believe & what Vedic religion details as the purpose of karma.
I also want to be really clear, there is no good or bad karma. Any action you take is karma. Selfless action (karma) doesn’t bind you. Try not to be hard on yourself for selfish action, we all do it. These actions teach us & guide us to be better each & every day. No one person is perfect. If a person is perfect, they would have already transcended this physical plane.
So, don’t stress, don’t compare, don’t get caught up in the black & white that Western society so often encourages.
You are a lovely shade of grey, you ebb & flow as life, as challenges, as joys come.
Your karma is simply action, so make choices to live more selflessly as you can. Let life flow with ease & grace.
Thank you, as always, for your time & creating space for this little blog.
Love you, sweet beans!
*Selfless action, or Seva, is one of the eight limbs of yoga detailed by Patanjali*