it’s like a mirror looking back at you. (or: karma can be a friend. part 3)

It’s like a mirror looking back at you. (or: karma can be a friend. Part 3)

So far in this 3-part series we’ve discussed two aspects of karma: the unintended karmic results from careless actions and the positive rewards of compassionate actions. But what about the typical understanding of undesirable consequences ‘that’ll come back around to get you’ bad-type-of- karma? I mean, it could be true… But acting from a place of fear of retribution isn’t exactly what we are hoping for. In fact, living from a place of fear is exactly the opposite of a whole, integrated, authentic yoga-inspired life.

My theory is that I don’t need to fear retribution, I just need to more conscious of the possible (probable) undesirable outcomes of my actions. For example, if I eat cookies for breakfast every day, I will probably not be among the thin and healthy. If I park in the ‘No Parking’ zone on Central Street, I will probably get a parking ticket. If I sit on the couch and watch The Office all day, I will probably lose my job. If I spitefully turn away the student who shows up to my yoga class 20 minutes late, I will probably lose her as a client. If I am inflexible, defensive, antagonistic and disrespectful, I will probably ruin someone’s day and inspire a whole catastrophic chain of events ending the likely culmination of Armageddon.

So… where are we going with this?  How in the world can karma be a friend with consequences like these? Karma is a mirror: it reflects back to us our actions and the possible outcome of these actions for both ourselves and our community.  It’s like a mirror looking back at you. (Cue, Justin Timberlake song.)

It’s not really a threat—it’s more of a promise.  If you continue to act in a certain way, you will be rewarded with that same energy. If you continue to act with kindness, your community will be more kind. If you continue to act with spite and judgement, your community will more spiteful and more judgmental. If you continue to practice your yoga, your community will benefit from your presence and wholeness. It may not be apparent immediately, but it will be apparent in your lifetime.

So… what do we do about this?  My advice is two things:

  1. Practice your yoga every day, even if you kinda don’t feel like it. (Remember, the obstacles you thought were there do not even exist and there are ways to practice gently).
  2. Act with integrity at all times, not because you will be rewarded or punished, but because it’s worth it.

 “Working toward the goal of making out actions positive and helpful, all the time, will make us and those around us happier and healthier, and move us closer to experiencing the Divine light of inner awareness.” – Nicolai Bachman


Still interested in karma?  Check out these great audio resources:

Alan Watts Podcast

Stuff You Should Know Podcast

Let this simmer for a while (and maybe think it over while dancing to Justin Timberlake) and let me know what you think about the yogic understanding of karma.

Happy Looking in the Mirror,


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