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Lesson 344 - Transcending Karma and Putting It to Good Use  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
344.1 - The Practical Aspects of Transcending Karma
344.2 - Karma and the 2020 Pandemic  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: July 9, 2009

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

While, on one hand, it is not possible to fathom the full consequences of karma, on the other hand it is quite possible to influence all outcomes of karma through our attitude and actions.

The common preoccupation with sin and guilt (see Lesson 132) is a good example of how far astray we can wander (or be led) in our attitudes. It does not have to be that way. We have a choice about how we view the world and what we do in our life each day. The actions we choose to undertake will have short term and long term consequences. The sincere cultivation of bhakti (spiritual desire) and engagement in daily spiritual practices have the power to alter our relationship with karma to be one of constant joy and progress.

Our choices each day tend to be colored by the many influences in our life (unfathomable karma!), and the ingrained habits we live by, so we might question whether our  free will is an illusion. Do we really have a choice about the things we do? If we have given the time and effort to strengthen a higher ideal in our life, we will have a choice. Our ideal, our ishta, will be our choice (see Lesson 339). From that, everything else will flow. This is the vital connection between bhakti and the actions we undertake, which determine our relationship to the karmic machinery of cause and effect that is constantly operating in life.

Whether our chosen ideal is for God or for Truth, in whatever form we may be drawn to, the effect will be the same. Ideals like these reach beyond the limiting aspects of karma. Having a high ideal is the sure way to reach beyond whatever limitations we are facing in life. Devotion to a high ideal is the way by which we can transcend karma, even while we are making good use of its underlying principles.

There is free will. However, exercising it effectively requires some finesse. If our chosen ideal inspires us to make choices that take us beyond the influences that distract us, then we will be on our way. Developing bhakti in relation to our chosen ideal is the first step. Then we will be presented with opportunities and act in ways that promote the process of our spiritual development. In the AYP approach, we use an integrated system of practices, beginning with deep meditation. The move to engage in daily deep meditation is a key one, once we have found the will to act on our spiritual desire. 

With deep meditation, we are cultivating the natural presence of inner silence within ourselves, an abiding stillness that penetrates all of our thoughts, feelings and actions. This innate stillness, also referred to as pure bliss consciousness, is beyond the ups and downs of life. Life goes on as it did before, but stillness resides in us as a silent witness that we recognize as our transcendent Self. As we come to know our Self beyond the many influences in our life, it has a profound effect on the way we view events. We see life occurring as change on the ocean of our stillness. Even catastrophic events will be unable to touch us in our deepest realm of Self-awareness. 

This is the transcendence of karma. It is not the elimination of karma. Karma will go on, but our relationship with it will change, and its role in our life will change also. 

Once we have begun daily deep meditation, we will be on the road to becoming the master of karma, rather than its servant. When we act from the perspective of inner silence, our actions will be capable of transforming the influences of karma in ways that are evolutionary and joyfully liberating, rather than in ways that are darkly limiting. For one who is awakening in the fullness of expanding inner silence, the mechanics of karma become a vehicle for spiritual development. Likewise, the expansion of inner silence through daily deep meditation, provides for constant expansion of bhakti (spiritual desire). It is a cycle of desire, action and consequences leading to a life of ever-expanding peace, creativity, and joyous service.

This shift is a gradual one, occurring over years of daily deep meditation, increasing bhakti and the normal course of our life's activities. Steadily, our actions in daily life rise to the level of divine relationship. While, before, we may have spent significant energy attempting to either reclaim or change the past, we now spend our time in the present, enjoying what is, and engaging in conduct that is both immediately fulfilling and sowing the seeds for a better future. Both our past and future can be made better by living increasingly in the now. 

We do not do this by trying to. It cannot be done that way. We can't will an immediate shift in our quality of life, because the life we are living has been structured in us for a long time. But we can gradually unwind the structures within us through the power of bhakti and yoga practices. And, in doing so, we can transform our relationship with karma. Karma will not be eliminated. It will be transformed. There is the idea that karma can be erased, made to go away. This is not so. As long as we have action, we will have consequences, the process of karma. But we can transform karma's influence to be uplifting and divine. This is just as true for so-called negative karma as it is for so-called positive karma. The fact that consequences are coming to us from past actions does not mean any particular coloring comes with it. It is we in the present who do the coloring. All karma can be seen as being for good or ill. As our inner silence grows and matures, all karma will become a positive springboard to new openings in spirit. 

This is not a passive experience. It is not the killing off of desires. It is the transformation of desire to divine purpose. Then we find that our ever-seeking desire has been the guru in us all along, carrying us steadily forward into fullness. Then all events become opportunities. 

The blend of bhakti, spiritual practices like deep meditation, and our actions in ordinary life, leads to a harmonizing of influences sown in the past, and the fulfillment of openings in the future. It is all happening in the now. While it has been said that we should "Be here now," this can be expanded to say, "Be and do here now." 

Our earnest commitment and active surrender to our chosen ideal in daily living is what makes the difference. Once we have realized our abiding inner silence, we can make good use of karma, no matter what it is bringing us in life.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on how karma can be transcended and transformed, see the Bhakti and Karma Yoga book, and AYP Plus.

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