Karma is a topic that I love to talk about. I find so much inspiration from it in my life and on my mat but it has been a challenge for me to write about. Last week the Third Principle of Karma was my inspiration. And with it, the concept of the Karma Bank; the idea that all of our thoughts and actions (good and bad) get stored in a Karma Bank for use later. Therefore, anytime we have good or bad luck in the present, we can think of it as a withdrawal from the Karma bank of the past, and any action or thought we have in the current time will be added to this bank.
As I struggled with my writing this week, I was also faced with some external challenges. First my internet wasn’t working so I couldn’t access my blog. Then, my computer contracted a virus (a good example of someone who is making major negative contributions to their karma bank) and as I began to get really frustrated I started thinking about what I was writing about. Karma. I had a choice about how to act and how to think in this situation and that choice would inform my future karma. And, this “bad luck” was actually a withdrawal from my bad karma bank. I became thankful for the perspective.
It’s hard to explore the third principle of karma without touching on the first and second as well. Principle #1: Every action has a reaction. “We reap what we sow”. Principle #2: Our thoughts and actions in the past have affected where we are today and our thoughts and actions in the present will greatly impact our destiny (future karma). Principle #3:We always have a choice about how we think or behave. Even if things are not working out the way we would like at the moment, the law of karma says that the positive effort we make now will inevitably come to fruition.
The sage Vasistha summarized the deepest truth about Karma by saying “There is no power on earth greater than the right action in the present moment” And since he is the inspiration for Vasisthasana pose (Side plank), we used this pose as a reminder of these Karmic principles on our mats last week.
First, we tested principle #1 (Every action has a reaction) in Downward Dog by noticing when we spread our fingers wide and pressed through them as well as the ball of the hand we were supporting the wrists. Then principle #2 (Past actions affect the present, and present actions affect the future) as we moved into our first of many Vasisthasana poses we realized that by protecting our wrists in Downward Dog, they had more to give back to us when we were balancing on only one at a time. Principle #3 came later as we had explored many poses on our mats and were back in Vasisthasana again. I asked the students to take a break if they needed, to listen to what their bodies needed in that moment. Even if their ego was pushing them; to channel the power of the “right action in the present moment” for their future karma.
As we settled into Savasana, the opportunity was there to make a choice about how to act and what to think in the current time. Even if everything wasn’t available in our bodies on our mats, or off our mats in some way we desire; we could choose to be grateful, to know that the deposits we make into our Karma Bank will reap very positive returns in our Future, both on our mats and off. Namaste.