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Karen M. Black
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An addictive spin on awakening, soulmates and past lives

The meaning of karma could change your life (and the meaning of life itself)

I began to ponder the meaning of karma after experiencing painful, repetitive heartbreaks that would just “happen” to me and had no other grounded explanation. At first, I approached the topic with desperation to explain the state of my heart and life at the time... joking that I must have "really bad karma".

But then as I delved into the deeper meaning of karma, it just made more and more sense to me. In fact, I think that if everyone believed in karma (and with it, complete self-responsibility), our world could possibly change overnight! In fact... I think it's the big missing puzzle piece blocking humanity's progress.

In any case: despite my own WASP-inspired upbringing, I have always been curious about karma and soul reincarnation. But no one around me ever spoke of such things, so as the idea entered my mind, I'd quickly slap it down.

At first, I saw karma as punishment and feared it. But as I soon realized, it's not punishment: it's actually a re-balancing that supports the growth of our hearts and souls.

Okay then! In this article, I touch on the definition of karma, then write a bit on what the Edgar Cayce readings say about karma. We'll follow with some reflective quotes... and end with where I've landed on the meaning of karma after almost two decades of spriitual awakening.

The meaning of karma and definitions

From Your Dictionary (Sanskrit, deed)

  • Hinduism and Buddhism — The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.
  • Fate, destiny
  • Informal — A distinctive aura, atmosphere, or feeling: ’There's bad karma around the house today’.

Now, I disagree with the idea of fate and destiny, as this takes away our free will choice, and sorry! We always have that. The idea of fate also creates fear as we give away out power, which I also personally reject.

Here's more on the fate question:

“Western scholars have often mistakenly viewed karma and fate as the same concept. Fate, however, is the belief that the path of one's life is established by agencies outside oneself. Karma is the opposite, implying the ability to alter one's path of life — in a future life if not the present — by altering one's feelings and beliefs, and by engaging in positive practices.”
– Columbia Encyclopedia

Day to day, I see the meaning of karma as an empowering, natural force. So I refer to ‘opportunities’ rather than fate and ‘probabilities’ over ‘prediction

And I believe that I have the power to change my life and influence my past life karma — when I make new choices.

What do others say about karma?

Hindus and Buddhists believe that every action has consequences. The analogy that's often used is that of when a pebble falls into a pool, it produces rings that spread throughout the whole pool.

Time is fluid and multi-dimensional. So our actions cause vibrations that affect not only this life but past and future lives. Karma encourages’ us — as long as it takes, to become whole and understand who we really are.

At the same time, I don't believe in using karma as an excuse to ignore another's pain. In fact, I wonder if being indifferent to pain, or blaming the victim actually creates karma.

“It is not that we wrestle with God. It is that God wrestles with us and says, in reverse of the words of Genesis 32, ‘I will not let you go until I bless you!’“

Edgar Cayce on karma

I've read many perspectives on reincarnation, past lives and listened to many intuitives, thinkers and researchers. And I continue to learn, and not get caught up in one way of thinking (because if I did that, I'd stop growing).

But the Edgar Cayce material is one body of work that keeps me coming back: so if he's not on your list to explore, I recommend it.

It's easy to receive ‘good’ karma, isn't it? There's no angst, and often we don't even recognize it as karma (we may see our good fortune as a result of our own brilliance). It's also easier to envision ourselves as the ‘victim’ in past lives than the perpetrator. Yet if we're old souls, it makes sense that we've been around the karmic wheel playing many roles.

“It is the coward and the fool who says [karma] is fate. But it is the strong man who stands up and says, ‘I will make my fate.’”
– Sanskrit proverb

There's lots of talk about victims and perpetrators. There's lots of talk about saving the world. But reincarnation and the meaning of karma is not universally accepted at this time (and therefore personal responsibility is not universally accepted, either).

The American clairvoyant Edgar Cayce (a Christian who did not believe in reincarnation) spoke of karma in his readings. And the well-documented information Cayce brought forth demonstrates karma's subtle nature and complexity. It's worth spending time on the Cayce material if you haven't already: there are more than a dozen books on his work.

Very briefly, the Edgar Cayce material states that karma is soul memory coming to consciousness. As we recall or re-live similar situations from past lives, we 'meet ourself'. In other words, throughout the course of life, we will meet in other people our own personality traits from past lives.

When we find yourself at a challenging karmic crossroads, we may then use our free will to choose our response. And our response (love or fear, forgiveness or revenge for example) either loosens your karma, or plunges you deeper into it (to be faced another day).

The meaning of karma works on another level as well. Karma is held as energy and vibration in our energy bodies, DNA and even in our ancestral line, attracting certain experiences and repelling others.

The principles are the same... just a different way of looking at it. All in all, it's an extension of like attracts like.

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.”
– Carl G. Jung

Some quotes to deepend the meaning of karma

No connection with punishment

“Karma is a natural, impersonal law of moral cause and effect and has no connection with the idea of a supreme power that decrees punishment or forgiveness of sins.”
– from Columbia Enclopedia

Tied to soul reincarnation

“A (deliberate) good or bad deed leads a person's path in the appropriate direction. The ripening of the deed may take more than one lifetime, tying the agent to the cycle of rebirth.”
– from Philosophy dictionary

Tied to thoughts — and deeds

“Every action, every thought, every idle word sets up reactions, according to the Universal Law. ... Nothing is lost or done in secret. ... Thoughts are things.”
– John Van Auken

Inevitable consequences

“It is impossible to escape these consequences and no one, not even the Buddha, has the power to forgive evil [thoughts, words or] deeds and short-circuit the consequences which inevitably follow.”
– meaning of karma from Buddhism dictionary

But we can do something about it!

“One of the most distorted views of karma is the idea that nothing can be done about it. No matter how terrible our predicament, there is always something we can do, even if it's just dealing with it as best we can with a patient smile, a good attitude and a loving heart.”
– John Van Auken, referring to the Edgar Cayce material,

Power of forgiveness

“If a soul, knowing another soul has wronged it, forgives that soul and holds no lingering resentment ... then one begins to receive mercy and forgiveness upon oneself. Now ... if the purpose for forgiving another is simply to obtain forgiveness for oneself, then little is gained. But if one truly forgives ... by understanding, through empathy and compassion, then there is no way one can avoid receiving forgiveness.”
– John Van Auken, referring to the Edgar Cayce material,

Path to completing the lessons of life

“To achieve true liberation from the cycle of life, one must theoretically achieve total nonaction, total negation of karma.”
– from Asian mythology

Some last thoughts on karma

For me, the meaning of karma calls to a deeper personal ideal: ultimate personal accountability.

Personally, I do believe karma to be a very real part of our reality, just as much as gravity is part of our reality. It's a part of life that has been carefully hidden from us in the west. It's the empowering force that too many people reject in favour of Gods and Gurus and Belief Systems.

These days (after more than a decade of awakening) I see karma as natural law. One that, if human beings are to evolve in consciousness, we must embrace. Not only that, but I believe that as long as we refuse to look at natural law and the meaning of karma, the longer we'll remain stuck as a species in a cycle of victimization.

If this resonates for you, take the time to listen to Mark Passio's YouTube presentation on Natural Law – it's worth your time. Warning! He's a strong personality and he pulls no punches. I happen to find that refreshing, for he's also articulate and a riveting speaker. See how it feels.Natural Law Seminar

The true meaning of karma is about spiritually growing up

Just imagine if everyone recognized that karma (natural law, related to no religion) was real and made free will choices, knowing that karma was real. Now include politicians, business leaders, those in power, your mother-in-law (smile).

Imagine that all of us were empowered with the truth about our reality, living courageously without fear, ready to tackle what's in front of us rather than waiting to be saved.

How would this change the world as we know it? How would this change our lives, our communities?

This, for me, is the most exciting meaning of karma. Karma gives good people back to themselves. It automatically re-balances mis-deeds. Work with karma... do not fear it. It exists to help us grow and evolve as we were meant to.

Thanks for exploring the meaning of karma.

Take me to:

Clairvoyant Edgar Cayce – More fascinating facts about America's most documented psychic.

Learn more about my private karmic astrology sessions.

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