Moving to the State of No Karma

When I met my yoga teacher Cynthia at the local Starbucks on Sunday, it was ostensibly to help her start her blog on yoga and meditation (www.thespiritedcorner.wordpress.com).  Nagging in the back of mind however was her comment during Saturday’s yoga class a couple of weeks back about reaching a state of ‘no karma’.  Good karma, bad karma — those seem straight-forward but I’d never thought about “no karma” and hadn’t the foggiest idea what it meant.

As she sipped on her shake and me on my non-fat latte, I asked if she had a minute to explain the concept.  Her eyes sparkled as smiled, sighed and said, “How much time do you have?”  We laughed.

“We are all here traveling through time in the dimensional world, having experiences as spiritual beings in a human experience.  We all work on our life lessons due to the karma we brought with us.  The idea is to have no karma so we can evolve away from the physical plane.  When we get to no karma, we have no need to return and we reach the 8th limb of yoga called Samadhi, which is bliss or enlightenment.”

“This seems perfectly understandable but how do we get there?” I asked, feeing that I had a few lifetimes of of good karma and bad karma that needed to balance themselves out. 

“When you finish with life’s lessons, then you are finished with karma.  That, of course, is the difficult part for us,” Cynthia replied, which instead of ending my inquires only made me think of another set of questions.  I was feeling very Socratic with it all.

“Well, then how do we know we have learned any particular lesson?” I asked.  “Like burning my leg.  How do I know that I’ve learned whatever lesson I’m supposed to learn?  Did it mean something I missed?”

“What if it doesn’t mean anything?”  Cynthia socratically replied.  Then she paused.  It added a dramatic effect to the conversation and helped me not to wonder why Starbucks keeps their stores ridiculously cold.  My fingers were starting to feel like ice cubes.

“It can mean everything and nothing.  It can spark something positive or something negative.  It’s all up to you.  What helps us evolve helps us grow,” she continued.

I thought quietly for a minute, rubbing my hands together for warmth.   “I think I”m fine with it, have always been fine with it.  But then I still feel compelled to write the story of it.”

“You think it’s enough but the question is, do you feel it.  To learn any lesson you have to connect the thinking and feeling.  The bridge between the two is the throat, or the 5th chakra, called vishuddhi, which is our communication chakra.  If we are holding back in some way, the gate is closed.  when you open up the energy in some way, it brings the energy from the mind to the heart.”

Vishuddhi Chakra

“The fifth chakra (Vishuddhi) is the chakra of diplomacy, of pure relationships with others, and of playful detachment. It removes all our guilt and remorse when it is opened by the Kundalini, and gives us a kind and compassionate voice. The tendencies to dominate others or to feel dominated by others, the feelings of superiority or inferiority and all jealousies are removed when this chakra is nourished by the Kundalini.”

Subtle system of Ida, Pingla and Sushumna (center) nadis

“So, are you saying that for me, I have to write about the experience to complete the lesson of it?” I asked.

Only you know that but it could be the case.  There are all sorts of ways to process an experience, to get to the heart of the matter so to speak.  I will tell you it’s okay to be stuck on the bridge.  While you are there, be sure to look out and enjoy the view.  You may see and discover something you didn’t expect so don’t be so quick to get off the bridge.  Sometimes we are where we are because that is where we need to be.

When I am experiencing something, I am immersed in it and can’t make sense of things.  That’s when I know I need to be there because I am learning to be there.   When I am aware and awaken to the lesson in it, I am no longer attached to it.  Non-attachment lets the feelings flow and with it, the lesson.  And when we start to see the lesson, we don’t have to have the experience again because we have grown from it.”

I looked up as Cynthia talked, almost forgetting I was sitting in a Starbucks.  She had the ability to package my very situation with a bow on it, even though I had not told her all the details.

“How does meditation and yoga fit in to this all?” I asked, glancing at the clock and knowing I had to leave shortly.

“Through yoga and meditation, we get a glimpse Samadhi, of bliss.  This is where hope lies. When we meditate we find ourselves immersed in feeling and no thought, we are in the no karma zone.  Yoga means union, and when we do yoga we bring the body, mind and spirit together.   Said another way, we get little sparks of what it is like beyond the earth plane,” she said.

It seemed to make sense.  My own experience of moving from mind to heart is indeed stuck in the communications realm — the writing of it all.  If nothing else, our conversation confirmed that I had to continue to trickle along the path of writing and be content to see where all of this goes.

Shot Karma

Injections are one of many ways to administer ...

Image via Wikipedia

My husband Brian likes to remind me that life is like a karma credit card — it’s far better to add as many credits as you can to your card of life because the debits will inevitably come along.  Having been the recipient of thousands of injections through many years of surgeries, medical check-ups and blood draws, I knew what it was like to get a shot, to feel the anticipation of a needle prick.  As time went on, I’d become queasy at the very thought of a needle and grew accustomed to looking away while some kind nurse or practitioner went about their business of sticking me.  It takes practice to be the patient and I thought I’d become quite good at it.  I never wanted to be on the other side.

But this week, Brian told me that he had a procedure on the horizon and as a part of it, had to have twice daily injections.  He pulled out a plastic bag of pre-filled syringes and handed it to me, intimating that I become chief injector.   My stomach turned somersaults.   There was no way I could do this.

As my yoga teacher Cynthia has told me, life has a way of touching you on the shoulder when it’s your turn.  As I examined every angle of how to get out of giving Brian his shots, I realized there was no way out.  The karma of shots had come my way.    For many years I had taken them, adding debits to my karma credit card.  Now it seemed, it was time to add some credits to that card.

As the moment approached,I over-thought my new role.  Then, I remembered a passage from the book, Surfing the Himalayas:  A Spiritual Adventure  (www.himalayas.com), “Thoughts should have a place in your life of course, but it should be a very small place.  To really  know something, in order to see its perfection and to become part of that perfection, you must become the action that you seek to perfect.”

Brian handed me the needle.   As if I’d done it all my life, I took it, flicked the tip and watched droplets of fluid fall out, then plunged it into the folds of stomach Brian gathered with his hand and depressed the plunger, feeling the tension of liquid pouring into his body and out of the syringe.  We both exhaled. 

From nursed to nurse.  Karma isn’t always supposed to come full circle in a single lifetime but it felt that way.  I’d repeat the same anticipation, the same motion for three more days.  I didn’t want to perfect this action by any means.  Still, I found a way to become one with it.  If nothing else, I felt it was my turn to do it.

What’s Your Fire?

The other night a friend, Kay, who has been reading this blog told me her own story. At 4, she was involved in an accident that left her back and neck burned with collateral damage to her ear. It had all the clear markings of a very bad burn. Yet she didn’t know the details of the accident. When she asks her dad, “What happened?”, she is referred to her mother. When she asks her mother, the story she’s told doesn’t add up. So she’s left in a quandary of sorts but has found a way to make peace with it. Being of the spiritual mindset, Kay believes everything happens for a reason and the resolution we DON’T find in this life carries with us to the next — call it karma, call it reincarnation, call it the law of cause-and-effect — we choose to let history repeat itself until we address it. That’s great motivation to explore the fires that rage within us and can counter the nagging downside risk, “What’s the worst thing I can find out?” What’s your fire?