"All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states." -- Buddha
Karma represents our choices -- the ones we celebrate, the ones we regret, the conditional and unconditional ones, the knee-jerk ones and the purposeful ones -- the decisions that keep us up at night and those that allow us to rest our head on the pillow.
Karma can also be interpreted to mean "action" and is the culmination of all the actions we have taken through out our lives. In the teachings of Vedanta, this includes the actions we've taken in past lives as well. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, doesn't make karma real or not real -- karma just is. And since we are living in this life right now, focusing on karma will allow us to see all the actions we are taking right now -- all the choices we make in each moment. Simply by placing our witnessing awareness on every interaction, email, text, phone call, and conversation -- even the behaviors we exhibit to ourselves when we are alone allows us to view the consequences of our actions.
It is in the reflecting on the many plates we are spinning, the juggling, on the decisions we made yesterday, this morning, this afternoon, and this evening. The phone call we chose not to make. The words we let slip out of our mouths. The chore we did or didn't do. The food, location and company we chose for each meal. The tone of our voice as we reacted to hearing unexpected information. The article we read.
By observing ourselves in each moment, we can make more conscious choices. In the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra shared the three ways we have of processing our karma.
We can pay our karmic debt as most people do. What we sow is what we reap.
We can transmute our karma, or make lemonade out of lemons. Learn from our choices and make better ones that serve ourselves and others. We can transcend our karma by meditating -- bathing our mind in stillness and silence connecting to the timeless space between our thoughts -- and in the process wash away the stains of the past.
Transmuting our karma allows us to step into our truth, altering the trajectory of misguided words and actions so we can make right those "wrong" decisions, and make better, loving and more purposeful choices the next time. We are never damned by the choices we've made if we are willing to look at them honestly and own them. Remember to take responsibility for your thoughts, your words, and your actions and commit to make better ones.
Don Miguel Ruiz teaches the agreement to always do our best. If we are willing to make this powerful agreement with ourselves, then there will be fewer opportunities to regret our choices and more opportunities to make evolutionary ones.