People often think of karma as the consequences of our actions. But karma means action and is more equivalent to energy than doing or results. The consequences are technically considered the fruits of karma rather than karma itself.
We are reminded we have control over action alone, not over its fruits.
If the action does not flow to completion due to encountering resistance, an imbalance may remain or be stored until it can be resolved. If this is ongoing (usual), we develop a growing lag between action and results. Consequences seem disconnected or unrelated to action. We ask why is this happening to me? Or we enjoy the fruits without culturing more.
As action, it takes place on all levels of creation, from the finest vibration through to “solid matter”. Emotions and thoughts are also forms of more subtle action (energy) and thus function much the same way.
Resistance only functions on more surface fields and thus we only tend to carry baggage in the mental, emotional and physical “bodies.”
To some extent, physical action tends to play out in physical ways but may be stored energetically and can thus be resolved energetically without having to act it out. In other words, thoughts are not isolated from physical doing nor are emotions. It’s all intertwined.
But this also means karma is hopelessly complex. Simple rules: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We reap what we sow. But enormously complex in practice and impossible to figure out. Not only is there the complexity of our own history but it’s very intertwined with many others. We may occasionally get a sense of what some circumstance is related to, especially if we have awareness of prior lifetimes. But it is, as the saying goes, unfathomable.
This article was triggered by a recording of a discussion that took place over 40 years ago. In that, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi mentioned that devotion was celestial karma. This is devotion of the fine feelings. This is the field of action for angels; a field of no resistance, of easy flow.
And it suggests why damaging the fine feelings of others can create difficult consequences, as mentioned prior.
All of creation, all of lila is the field of action.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi suggested that the key teaching from the Bhagavad Gita is Yogasthah Kuru Karmani – from union, act. Or as Maharishi put it, Established in Being, perform action. Then action will be driven from the flow of attention rather than our unresolved baggage.
Another way of saying this is the Rig Veda quote I wrote several articles on:
“By virtue of unitedness and by means of that which remains to be united, I perform action to generate wholeness of life.”
Karma is never “bad”. It can certainly be challenging or difficult. But this is the same mechanism that brings us rewards – luck and opportunity. Challenges help us grow and balance the books so we can increase clarity. Even difficulty is an opportunity to complete.