The Anatomy of Karma - in a nutshell

The Anatomy of Karma- in a nutshell

I have been thinking a lot about karma lately after a few weeks of emotional dialogue coming from my 4 year old insisting that he is NOT DIABETIC! I have listened and acknowledged his feelings and held the space for him if he wanted to say more. Clearly he has been trying to process the ways he is different from the rest of his classmates. We finally had a breakthrough the other day when he started the daily conversation or rather proclamation that he wasn’t diabetic. Then again holding the space for him I asked, is there anything else you want to tell momma? He said with a quivering lip, “Momma I don’t WANT TO BE diabetic”. We both cried and I held him for a long time. A four year old can’t possibly make sense of why he has diabetes and others don’t. What do you say? Yes sweet heart this is your karma? That helps me but certainly not him and it may not til he is much, much older. So I hold the truth of what makes sense to me for both of us til he can search and hopefully find an explanation that he can live with.

From the Tantric perspective there is an interesting relationship between karma; the energy that hold us to accountability, causality, and consequences giving us a structure we can count on in the world, and lila. Lila allows the universe to be random and playful. This playfulness weaves into the ordered structure of cause and effect and offers surprises, sometimes great ones, and sometimes painful ones. 

Just like the layers of our experience and our yoga practice, karma has many levels of subtlety to it:

Robert Svabhodas writing on karma first sparked a deeper interest into a subject I was over simplifying. My interest was again awakened by a recent article I read by Lind Johnson on karma.

I was reminded of the layers of karma.

Types of karma:

Prarabdha –The consequences of actions you performed in previous life-times, destined to play out in this life.

Kriyamana- The karma you’ve generated since taking birth in your present body

Adhyatmika- the karma you create as an individual

Adhibhautika the karma created by groups of people) ie: your family, community and nation)

Adhidaivika- The cyclic destiny of the Earth itself and its natural forces (eg: volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes)

Your kriyamana karma or focused efforts in the present alter the flow of your destiny. Also adhibhautika and adhidaivika can over ride your personal karma like with the global economy or a tsunami.

The strength of your karmas also come in levels from mild ( with some awareness you can shift it)to medium (with steady long practice and dedication you can shift it) to absolutely solid and certain of occurring hot karma- ( only “the lucky” can shift this kind of karma.

The interesting thing about the “anatomy of karma” to me is that it gives a structure to the infinite mysteriousness of it in a way. It is soooooooooo vast and complex that it boggles the mind. Certain patterns have been moving and gaining momentum while others have been dying out for millions of years-WOW!

Douglas Brooks often talks about the concept of the entanglement theory saying that everything is intrinsically connected even if we can’t see the cause for any one effect because we all come from the same star dust.

When I see the structure of karma this way it reminds me of yoga. The personal karmas are not just your karmas..they are embedded sets of karmas that continually create more and more complex sets of karmas to infinity!

One thing I have never seen or heard of are the sets of lilas.

If there are sets of karmas then there MUST be sets of lilas as well..and if we placed the lila sets on the karma sets we may open up even more that it already a huge subject.

Hey Douglas…have you ever heard or thought about sets of lilas???

Hmmm…what do you think?

In a resent email Darren sent he quoted Lee Lozowick:

what we do with what is happening has nothing to do with karma. The way we are and the way we deal with things from our primal psychology, our behavior, is not karmic. We find ourselves in circumstances based on karma...karma defines the things that happen to us, but not the way we deal with what happens to us...'from the book As It Is, M. Young 

This statement is so stinking cool! This frees us from being a victim!!!!! Meaning that we can’t change what is offered in present moment-that is karma, but we can change it by how we choose to respond…hey now! This however is extremely difficult in some ways.

It is easier to let the momentum of karma carry us along than to shift it or create a new momentum. We have to want it more than anything for this to be possible when it involves really strong patterns. Like the levels of strength in karmas we also have to tap into the levels of strength in our own studentship. We also have to be willing to let go of arbitrary time frames.

Scott MarmorsteinComment