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What is your karma?

by Michael Ketterhagen

For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.

Every thought, word or deed has a consequence or fruit that comes from it.

--Second law of motion and

Yoga’s simple understanding of karma

Karma is a concept that is used often in today’s world to explain why things happen. Karma often is referred to as “destiny,” as though we have no control over it. This is a difficult concept to understand and often difficult to accept.

According to yoga, there are individual and collective dimensions of karma. In other words, there are individual and collective consequences to everything we think, do and say.

Without bringing the idea of reincarnation into our discussion, we can easily understand that every time we think positively or negatively about another person, we would usually act in a positive or negative way toward that person. For instance, if I liked the person, I would usually smile deeply and joyously and might even reach out to hug them when I saw them. If I didn’t like that person or thought that his or her appearance was inappropriate, I would probably have a facial expression that manifested my dislike and maybe would even say something negative to them. Or I would walk on the other side of the street. The fruit of those thoughts, words, feelings and actions would be a negative or positive atmosphere of relationship between me and that other person.

The consequences of those thoughts and the actions that follow are quite easy to understand on the individual level.

On the collective level, if many people thought negatively or positively about another person or persons, like what has happened during the recent election season, those people might speak highly or critically about that person and probably act accordingly. These individual consequences then would create a collective consequence, which would establish a positive or negative environment that effects many others.

It’s the same way with every other movement or crisis or situation that humanity experiences. For instance, every person who burns carbon in the form of gasoline, kerosene, oil, coal or wood, etc. would be warming the atmosphere near that burning. When many people burn carbon-based fuels then a much larger space warms. Eventually, when that collective pattern continues, all that burning creates a warmer and warmer environment. In effect, we as individuals are joining with other individuals and creating our destiny. We are warming the Earth’s environment and we will have to learn to live in that new world.

The fun thing to realize is that we have the destiny of the Earth’s environment in each of our individual hands. We have the ability to create our Earthly destiny as individuals. We can make the news world just by our actions.

This can apply to everything else in our world. We have the ability to make the destiny of the United States safe and kind or fear-filled and catastrophic. It all depends on our individual thoughts, words, and actions!

We are making our own karma, our own destiny, with our every thought, word and action!


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