Karma & Meditation
People think karma is what happens to you. Mostly, karma is your unconscious reaction to what happens. And your reaction to what happens now determines what happens next. Often situations that would for some people be relatively insignificant, in others trigger an enormous reaction. They trigger their karma.
Freedom from reaction is the freedom from karma. And that is Presence. That is the gradual fading out of karma, of all the inherited, all the old patterns that one carries inside. Eckhart Tolle
I appreciate this view on karma and its relation to practices like meditation. That which lies unconscious and unseen will control the way we meet life. This is where meditation, whether in the form of relaxation or inquiry, has been vital to me. It has awoken me a little more fully into my felt experience, in other words the sensations in my body. Why is this important you may ask? When I get triggered unconsciously, often there is a strong outer dialogue running. They tend to be of a defensive or an offensive nature. Often the dialogues are narrow, limiting my view of myself or another and repetitive. The force of these dialogues also keeps me at a distance from the depth of experience that lies beneath them and within the body.
Recently when I felt triggered in a relationship, even while I was in the midst of a charged conversation, I could feel a sense of pressure, tension and heat rising. I could feel that I was carrying more than what I was revealing in the conversation. There was a clear sense that what was arising was old and this moment was somehow triggering it. If I had only listened to my dialogue, there would have been no room for this deeper recognition.
As I consciously stepped away from the conversation for some time, I gave myself the day to feel the truth of what was coming up. In navigating the mix of emotion and sensation, the initial dialogues fell away and landed closer to the heart of deeper longing and vulnerability. Riding the waves of sensation, more than believing every passing dialogue, is what allowed me to feel a little more awake and to move a little closer to what wanted to be revealed.
The beauty of this is that as we wake up to ourselves, we will simultaneously begin to wake up to the experience of others. They happen together. Wakefulness does not discriminate between my experience and yours. It holds both equally and tenderly. Understanding, intuitive knowing, clarity of being and doing all arise from here. Dialogues can begin to feel more sincere, skillful and compassionate. It can still be messy as we merge back into our human relationships and we may even find that we need to work through our material many times before they are free to leave us.
I don’t know that I will ever relieve myself of all karma. As much as I may dissolve, I know I humanly accumulate along the way as well. Still I hope to keep my eyes and heart open and sincere to my ways, a little and often, everyday.