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Internet Lessons with additions,
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Transcending Karma and Putting It
to Good Use (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
The Practical Aspects of Transcending Karma (Audio)
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.