Six practices that will put you on track to improving your life experiences.
What is karma anyway?
Well, it is like a cause and effect reaction. You talk to the plant nicely, it grows well. You ask kindly for something, you are likely to receive it. You angrily yell at your neighbour for putting their garbage bin too close to your drive way, they keep doing it. But there is more to it than that. Deep soul lessons come from our karma. All the ways you need to grow and learn are conveniently placed in the great blueprint of this life of yours to experience when they ripen, or when you are ready.
When are you ready? When you have learned the lessons that come before that prepared you for this one. We need to start embracing these challenging life experiences as opportunities to expand, grow, and shed light on the darkness. After all the darkness keeps us ignorant and therefore hurt by life challenges rather than learning. Knowledge shines the light on what we did not know before making us wiser. That is what the term enlightenment is all about. Becoming lighter and brighter, banishing darkness and ignorance. So the way you think draws forth the matching experience. Think helpful rather than harmful thoughts and remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
How does one improve their karma?
In order to recognize that there is a need for improvement in our lives we have to experience some disappointment. And not just one but many disappointments. Often they have a repeating pattern. We hope, we try, we fall. In truth this is how we learn, but are we learning as much as we could to not repeat this pattern again?
Once we get here humbled by our let downs we accept the challenge. We arrive at the place of really wanting to move forward with positive results. Here, we open up to the truth that we could not see before because ego may have thought it was all figured out, or perhaps you followed someone else's path thinking you would have the same result.
What we come to realize is that our path will be different than anyone else's path. Each of us has different life experiences to help our individual souls learn what they need to know to become whole, full, complete and at peace. Like a puzzle that has pieces missing we must seek them out or accept them when they appear and see how they fit. This is when it gets interesting...
Firstly, you'll need to get comfortable observing yourself without judgement. As if you were watching a child or animal play. You wonder why they did this, or why they didn't do that. Watch yourself in that way, like an observer with no attachment or judgement, just notice.
You'll observe the way you move and what you are curious about as well as how you respond when you try new things. Notice what gets your attention or what triggers you.
Now, ask yourself, can you accept the nature of this person, even love the way that you are? Can you allow this person (you) to be you without wanting to be any other way? Can you have compassion for this being (you)? Are you capable of accepting your past as part of your path to your growth? Instead of beating yourself up with criticism and blame.
What we need to see is how we amazing we are for getting through these hard times and know that you are stronger and smarter because of it. You'll be able to feel compassion for the pain you felt and the difficulty you endured. When we can do this for ourselves we will be able to do it with everyone. This is love.
From this point you can learn to understand yourself better. With this knowledge you'll be more willing to see the patterns you hold based on previous thoughts and feeling attached to certain life experiences.
The thing is, we can only understand so much at the time when we have an experience. But as we grow we often hold the same information about an occurrence or life lesson with the old mindset and maturity level. So now 2, 5, 10 years later with some healing, emotional maturity and more life experience under your belt, your mental and emotional capacity to understand human behaviour has grown. Now we can go back to the those painful life experiences and review them with new eyes and greater maturity. We don't have to carry the same pain around any longer, which taints our view, and we can comprehend more about what happened and why you had to have this hurtful experience.
With this more advanced view we can make more sense about the circumstance, perhaps we see how whoever was involved was also in pain or still immature. In other words we can get closer to or even make peace with those uncomfortable experiences and create different memories in our minds and hearts allowing that life lesson to be completed. Now we can finally move on and not be inviting the same lesson over and over! If we aren't completely at peace with a life experience we need to keep repeating it until we are. So the goal is to accept it, learn from it and let it change our perspective to move forward.
And just FYI I'm not following anyone's teaching in particular here. Of course, I have read and studied about karma from great masters over the years and I have a counselling diploma but this is really coming from my life experience and from observing the process in my clients.
So the second step is to develop a plan. Recognize when a new life lesson is surfacing into your awareness. Notice how it makes you feel. You can remind yourself that of course you will have a surge of emotions that take you off guard. You will feel like your world is being rocked. That's how you know it's there for you to grow from. These life challenges come when you are ready for the lesson. Why always a lesson? Because life is a school for the soul. Now bravely accept the challenge, because growth is better than the other options... stagnancy and decline.
The Plan is to be prepared with stress coping practices. Preparing an action plan to make changes and break old patterns and create new patterns beneficial to your development makes you much more likely to move through the process with greater ease. Without a plan we fall back into old habits and reactions too easily.
Here are 6 practices that will put you on track to improving your karma.
1. Daily journalling of your thoughts, emotions and reactions to these surfacing experiences.Try to write whatever comes out, even if it seems silly or pointless. It was obviously needing an expression. "Better out than in" we say. Anyway it's also part of keeping track of ideas and insights so you can revisit them when you remember to.
2. Develop a deep breathing practice so that when your emotions fly you can calm them with the breath as it affects the nervous system. 5 to 10 minutes of practice a day will train your lungs to take in more air/oxygen/life force so that they will remember how when you don't.
3. Coach yourself into being rational and take an observers point of view rather than getting all caught up emotionally, which is easier said than done, but still possible. When we step back and look at ourselves from a distance we can really see where our behaviours stem from and what we can do to change what is not beneficial to our growth. Keep judgement out of it though. Imagine you are a mother of a toddler (your mind) and you are just steering the child in the right direction knowing that they don't know better yet, but they will if they develop under your guidance. Patiently, persistently coach yourself kindly toward your goals.
4. Set goals to live up to or move toward. Even if you don't reach them right away or ever, you have definitely moved up from where you were just by moving toward them. Goals set an ideal that you can hold in your mind which is where all your experiences manifest from (unless they are seeds of past actions coming to fruition). But just knowing that, you can plant seeds for the future manifestations to grow into your reality. So set some realistic goals that are easier to reach to keep you moving and also set some goals that will take a while to work toward. Three of each is ideal to keep it simple and your attention focused.
5. Log developments in you journal. Note your achievements and congratulate yourself for the efforts and growth made. When we can acknowledge our advancements it it inspires and motivates us to carry on further toward our goals. Know that there will be some steps backward from time to time. It's the natural dance of life. But the more familiar we become with the new ways of being the sooner the old ways will die away. Stay strong and keep at it.
6. Continue with the first 5 steps until death. So you can die peacefully knowing you gave life your all and then you can carry this advancement forward into your next life-time. You won't have to repeat any of the lessons you have learned so far, unless you need a reminder. : )