Karma means action. It comes in kinetic or active form and in potential form as seeds.
Nature acts and completes. Some actions take place instantly and some unfold over large time frames.
Having apparent free will, we can work with nature or grasp or resist what is arising. This impedes the smooth flow of action and can sometimes lead to the flow being incomplete. What wants to be experienced doesn’t fully flower or isn’t digested. We store these incomplete actions as “seeds.”
When the opportunity arises, nature will sprout those seeds to complete the action. This maintains balance so creation is sustained and evolves.
Sometimes, this sprouting arises as events. Sometimes, it rises as desires and actions from within. We call the latter vasanas.
We may experience these seeds as stresses or areas of resistance within. We might say “seed” to mean their behaviour, the way they sprout and bear fruit.
However, it’s also possible to experience potential karmas as literal energetic seeds. Our resistance can obscure this seed nature. For example, we may have incompletely processed grief from the death of someone close to us. Or we remain angry at a former partner we left years ago. Those remain with us, colouring our experience. Yet when we become more accepting and allow, those seeds can then be experienced and resolved.
The brightness of the energy may be experienced as a light. But within that is a seed form.
Sometimes, we can experience those seeds expressing energetically on their own level. Then they don’t have to show up as events or behaviour on the surface. But the big ones tied to others are often hidden. They may need to be expressed and experienced in the world.
Everything we experience is being experienced by others, even our inner thoughts and emotions. We’re all in this together, in a single consciousness. Thus, the field of karma is also shared and is stored collectively. However, karma has meta information associating it with a specific soul or group.
Some karmas can be experienced and processed by others with the right skills, similar to how we can experience ours energetically. But they must have the skill to experience without attachment or they can inherit others baggage rather than resolve it.
Other karmas must be experienced by specific people so they complete the learning and interplay with others.
Because we have a long history of resisting life, we build up mountains of karmic seeds over many lives. This is called Sanchita karma. Some are minor and some are of wide-ranging impact. Yet, when we awaken and let go of our ego identification, we release our connection to that backlog of seeds. They say the mountains are roasted. Their energy is released.
Sometimes this release happens with awakening, and sometimes it seems to come a little later when the identification is more completely broken. In any case, it is another layer of liberation from our past and a removal of shadow.
Any place where we’re not resolved and continue to resist can create new seeds, Agami karma. Or we may just resist experiencing existing seeds that are arising, leading to more layers of obscuring.
Either way, awakening does not roast the seeds that have sprouted in this lifetime, our Prarabdha karma or suitcase of seeds we brought in. We still have to live out what is already in motion. Some have a blessed life with little remaining karma. Some take on a greater load and thus have a more eventful or even challenging life, awake or not.
Awakening thus doesn’t absolve us of all karma and difficulty. Yet that shift to Self Realization changes our relationship with it. We’re no longer in it, just watching it unfold. Nature’s work takes priority when we get out of the way and resolve what remains. We can even learn to support nature more, such as through sattva and soma.
Karma can show up as both challenges and benefits. Events don’t show evolution. How we respond to what is arising indicates our progress.