A few weeks back, I had the pleasure to partake on a private lecture about Karma; a subject often misunderstood by most of us; specially from the west. What you are about to read is about Karma from a Tibetan perspective, simple and easy to comprehend.
In the west, when someone does something “bad” or harmful to another person, others warn or threaten him with the idea that he will eventually have to pay for his action, pointing this “process” out as karma. This goes to prove in the west Karma is seeing as a tool of punishment, but how can “punishment” be part of an all loving “God”? Here we find a contradiction which is often put aside by most religions, for to dive deep in the subject would clarify many points, dispelling some myths about divine force but pointing out potential “fallacies” regarding a specific “God” who needs intermediaries and adoration in order to show compassion.
From a Tibetan point of view, Karma can affect our lives generation after generation by affecting our feelings, which then affect our thoughts and these will subsequently affect our actions; our actions will then reinforce our conscious beliefs of who we are and how we see ourselves or how we perceive others see us. However, we fail to realize we are not seeing ourselves clearly but falling to the symbiotic karmic cycle; if we thought differently, we would feel differently, consequently act differently– but is that the only way? let’s explore more….
According to Tibetan monks, Karma has nothing to do with doing “good” or “bad“. To understand karma, let’s think of the universe as an immense mesh of cosmic information which underlies everything that exists. A small part of this informational mesh “karma” adheres to a physical, mental and energetic structure, otherwise called “an individual”. This information which constitutes the body of the subconscious mind and the vibrational frequency or energetic structure, is the programming that determines the type of thoughts, actions, reactions, emotions and behaviors the individual will develop throughout his lifetime. At the same time, the individual himself in his continuous interaction with the environment; including his upbringing, genetic inheritance of his parents and ancestors, their culture, the society in which they live, etc. adds to the information of that structural matrix, reinforcing it or creating new patterns of thought and action (power of choice); in the long term, whatever he chooses will control his personality. The question then becomes, is it God punishing you or is it your built in beliefs which have been reinforced generation upon generation the ones responsible?…
“Epigenetics, a branch of biology which studies how a human being’s behaviors and life experiences impact their DNA, and therefore can be passed on from generation to generation, is being explored by scientists today. However, in the Tibetan perspective, the influence of epigenetics goes beyond our ancestors, to the very first life form on the planet. Tibetans have tried to explain the meaning of Karma, a term long used and misused in different contexts. Explaining how very deep rooted its influences are and trying to show a way to get a “handle” over the complex structure that it is.
Karma, means action or the imprint of action which remains within us. The actions that your father performed are working and kicking up within you, within every cell in your body. It is not so easy to get rid of your parents! You may have noticed that when you were eighteen or twenty, you completely rebelled against your father or your mother, but by the time you are forty or forty-five, you begin to speak like them, act like them, and even look like them. That is a hopeless way to live because if this generation is going to behave, act, live and experience life just the way the previous generation did, this is a wasted generation. This generation should experience life in a way the previous generation never even imagined. I don’t mean you should do something crazy or demean yourself, I mean the way you experience life can be completely altered and free. It can be taken to the next level of experience.
The problem has come not because of karma, the problem has come because you got entangled in it, you got enmeshed in it without understanding it. If a little distance (conciousness) comes between you and your body, between you and your mind, then whatever your belief of karma, will have no impact on you. You can still make use of it to be embodied and live, you can still maintain a certain individual character but it does not become a binding, it becomes a stepping stone.”
One major aspect of spiritual process is to keep your hand out of the memory bank. Why we speak so much about karma – karma is memory – to be out of it, is because the moment you dip your hand into it, your life will become cyclical. Once your life becomes cyclical, you are just going in circles which mean that you are going nowhere. The idea is to break the cycle. If the cycle has to break, your intelligence has to become free from the accumulated memory, otherwise cycles will not be broken; cycles will be created. The more deeply you dip into this memory the cycles will become shorter and shorter and slowly lead you towards insanity”
According to Tibetans, Karma is not punishment from God or Life but rather a system based on Action-Reaction, which through our ignorance we have distorted to mean: “bad” action equates to “punishment”.
We have failed to understand divine force is born out of the womb of “Chaos” (Primordial force, power of creation/light and darkness) this means it does not work the way our limited beliefs do (“good” or “bad”) but through the first principle “Rhythm”– in other words by the principles of vibration; to simply put it “it works by MOTIVATION“.
Even Jesus Christ, like many other great teachers tried to teach us this through the parable of the servants and the talents; in which the master gives his 3 servants “talents”; 2 acted accordingly to what they believed was best and one out of fear did nothing; instead of being rewarded for his inaction he was “punished”. This tale was somewhat mistranslated and taken out of context, but simply put it means for every action there is an equal or greater reaction (depending on your motivation and/or beliefs). Even if you were to choose inaction, a reaction will take place; for life cannot remain stagnant.
MOTIVATION; epigenetics has proven we are not “hard wired”, as such we can change our way of being (including our cellular makeup) by changing the way we think and feel. As Tibetans have pointed out, within our cellular makeup is store not just our beliefs, joys, strengths, traumas and fears but that of our ancestors as well; this may explain why some people suffer deep anxiety without seemingly “just” cause.
In order to liberate ourselves from the karmic circle we will need to retrain our mind; this becomes easier if we stop looking at Life or God as some type of deity ready to punish you for your sins, and start understanding the power of motivation.
The principle of motivation explains why someone may do something perceived as “bad” by society yet face no consequence. Many believe a person who has done “bad” is punished because a deity somewhere chose to do “justice”; in reality what Tibetans are trying to teach us, is that the so called “punishment” wasn’t God’s rule but preprogramed wiring carried within that person’s subconscious. If that person believes in the program “God will punish me” then punishment will take place; however this does not exclude divine law of rhythm and vibration, which only responds to motivation.
I asked a few examples to help me clarify the subject; I will share some with you:
-I was married through the Catholic Church; chose to get divorced for personal reasons. I was told God will punish me for my action. How does Karma work in this case?
-what was your motivation?
-I did not want to enslave myself or enslave another person. We both deserved someone who genuinely wanted to be part of our lives not just out of duty. We tried to make it work but kept failing at it; we were just two very different people who could not connect. What is my karma?
-Your motivation wasn’t to hurt another person but to liberate you both from living something “unreal”. To hold onto someone out of fear to fail or what others might think would make the motivation a “bad” one. If you believe you deserve to be punish then life will deliver that for you, but only because you are asking for it, not because it is punishing you. Hold on to your motivation, the very reason you let go. Your motivation was good, hold onto that, you chose to free someone, he was choosing to enslave you both.
-Earlier we discussed about the physiological, spiritual and psychological aspects of life. We talked about the power of sexuality in our lives and we talked about Monogamy, Polyamory, Promiscuity. Many would say unless one is living a monogamous life style, one is sinning and often will equate Polyamory with Promiscuity. What are your thoughts on that?
-It matters not monogamous relationship or if one is celibate. Being monogamous or practicing celibacy does not make you virtuous if your motivations are wrong. If you are monogamous but are cheating or are celibate but keep experiencing harmful fantasies, then your motivation is wrong, then the whole thing is wrong. If you are not monogamous (polyamory) but have love and your motivation is love then your motivation isn’t wrong, then the action isn’t wrong. If you are promiscuous because you just want to have sex, all you want is just orgasms (promiscuity) then your motivation is wrong, then the whole thing is wrong. Love and care are always good motivation.
-A ruler from a nation or a big coorporation orders or funds the killing of people for expansion or profit yet nothing “bad” seems to happen to that person. How do you explain Karma and motivation then?
-He experiences no Karma because he does not believe he should be punished. His belief is more powerful than anything else others may wish upon him. His belief about himself will hold more value, that is the law. However, eventually the rule of action/reaction will take place (maybe to him, maybe to his successors) not out of punishment but because there was a violation of the will of many others. That is why life moves in cycles and why we see empires rise and fall and rise again, some trapped in karma, others trapped in their own ignorance.
How then can we escape Karma?
“The karmic structure in every human being is essentially cyclical. This cycle is not from lifetime to lifetime alone. If you are observant enough, you will see that events generally repeat themselves in cycles of twelve-and-a-quarter to twelve-and-a-half-years. If you observe much more closely, you will see that even within a year’s time, these same patterns are happening many times over. If you observe very, very closely, the same cycles are happening many times over even within a day, this means you have an opportunity to break it.
It is very important to see this. If you see that your life is just a repetitive foolish cycle, you would realize it is no good. If you only see the cycles once in 12 years, it will take 24 to 48 years for you to realize this is no good. And if you see the cycles once in a lifetime, it will take a few lifetimes to see this is no good, so be observant.
It depends on how conscious you are, the more conscious you become the better. Living in an unconscious cycle is no good. Everyday you have an opportunity to become conscious and to break the cycle. You want to break your present walls and go away“
Three ways to approach the spiritual process:
“There are three ways to approach the spiritual process. One way is, slowly, by doing the right things through a few lifetimes, you will get there. Another way is, you remain in your present circumstances, do the best you can do, keep yourself open and focused and make yourself available to the process. In the last moment of your life, we will see that it happens. Another way is, you want to know something now. You want to break your limitations now and go beyond its limitations. Then you should not be concerned about what is happening around you because many things will happen that no one will approve of. Society will not approve, people will not approve, your family will not approve since they are related to you because you were one kind of person. If you become another kind, they will not be able to relate to you anymore. You need to do what is best for you, if that means you change and others don’t like the new you, then have the courage to change.
The other two options are better for a lot of people, there is no judgement, you choose the path. Practice some kind of nourishment. Either you must break your limitations now or it will happen on its own through time or many life times.
There is no mountain standing between you and the ultimate. There is nothing else but yourself–just your own mental structure. If you have to break that, we have to do something in reverse. This is a simple thing you can do: spend time with those different than you. Listen to opinions you don’t like, just listen. Read everything. A lot of things will break. If you always team up with someone who thinks like you–that is not good for you. Learn to do things that you don’t like, listen to people you don’t like, that will help you build character. Doing this will teach you to detach and will open your mind. Your mind will open, your spirit will open, and you will see how you start to become an individual but also full of love and strength and capable to discern where others remain blind. Remember that consciousness isn’t self righteousness and open mindness doesn’t mean you have to agree”