Starting a new relationship can be a wonderful time. But beginnings can also be a little bumpy. Understanding the dynamics can help to avoid the pitfalls and establish a deeper connection.
There are 2 aspects of relating we’ll explore – the karma or energy and the dharma or purpose. This dynamic is true of any relationship but as intimate relationships express this the most vividly, we’ll focus on that.
Karma is action, kinetic energy, the flow of life. It functions in the surface values of life, through our thoughts, emotions and actions. We know the physical law that states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is the way of karma, to always seek balance. Hence the golden rule, do unto others and so forth.
Wherever we have energetic resistance, we block the natural flow of energy. This causes action to take divergent directions. Blocked enough, it cycles back on itself, creating “repeaters” in our life. We see the same kinds of experience show up over and over.
Many people associate karma with “good” and “bad” experiences, but this is largely judgment calls about what shows up in our life. If the same kinds of experiences show up regularly, it’s worth our happiness to take a look at how we’re being. These repeaters can be due to karma seeking balance or due to what we’re giving our attention to. Of course, these can be closely intertwined.
What we resist, persists. What we give our attention to grows stronger.
Because the flow of karma pushes against our points of resistance, events can be like buttons for us, touching the sore spots. While nature is asking us to look and see and release, we’re pushing back. When we are willing to look at the energy (emotions) we have around something that’s bothering us, we then have the possibility of clearing the resistance, allowing the karma to complete, and thus resolving that difficult area of our life. A feeling of balance arises rather than conflict. Peace. It can also be experienced as purification and healing.
Dharma on the other hand is purpose. Essentially the underlying intelligence and structure of our life. Our guiding principles. What draws us through our evolution and development. This is expressed in every aspect of our life, from our talents and tendencies to our form and personality. And of course, it is expressed through our actions, through karma. Thus dharma and karma are closely intertwined.
What shows up in our life may be driven by karma but it may also be more deeply driven by dharma. Divine intention we could say. If we are resisting that flow, we are getting in the way of why we’re here. Because the flow of life is happiness, we’re getting in the way of joy. Resisting life through fear, we deny ourselves the rich pleasures life has to offer.
In fact, happiness is one of the best ways you can tell you’re working to dharma. As Joseph Campbell said “Follow Your Bliss“.
When we take this broader view of events and people who show up in our life, we discover they may be driven by the flow to balance and purification. Or they may be driven by the flow of purpose. In either case, it is very useful to pay attention to how we’re responding. Our reactions tell us what we don’t like. But much more deeply, they can show us the way. Push us where we need to go. Or oblige us to look at where we’re holding back.
If what we see is karmic, it can be resolved and end. If what we see is dharmic, our way will become clearer. They may also be blended but either way we’re ahead.