Have you ever wondered: Why your life is the way it is? How you found yourself in this particular body, with these thoughts and feelings? Who chose your family? Where did your life challenges, addictions, struggles, gifts and passions come from?
Life is a Holographic Projection. The light of self (awareness) shines through our conditioning (vasanas) much like the light of a projector shines through film, projecting 3-D images onto the screen of life.
But where does this conditioning come from? Our vasanas result from past action. These vasanas lay dormant in seed form, and as we interface with life, they sprout as sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Even our dreams are the result of past actions.
Vasanas are the collection of our likes and dislikes, fears and desires and the values we superimpose over objects and experience, which are inherently value neutral. I prefer vanilla ice-cream, you prefer chocolate. Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors because each human has unique likes and dislikes. Our conditioning is the reason three people can experience the same event differently. Perception is colored by our vasanas, which are the lenses we view life through.
Karma means action and its results can be described three ways. Sanchita karma is the total store house of past action as a jiva (human being), a karmic bank account. Prarabdha karma is that portion of our total account withdrawn for this lifetime. Prarabdha interfaces with space and time to create this life – place of birth, our family, culture, how we look, our fears, desires, gifts and passions. A third type of karma, Agami, results from the actions taken in this lifetime, a portion of which are experienced and exhausted, with the balance being deposited in the larger account, Sanchita.
How does karma work? When we take an action there is an immediate result (drishta phala) and a latent result (adrishta phala). We experience the immediate result in the moment – via sensation, emotion and thought. The latent result of action abides in the subconscious, or causal body, in seed form as vasanas. The more we take a particular action, the more momentum and gravity we create for that action.
Samsara Chakra: vasana > desire > action > VASANA > DESIRE > ACTION > …
To further describe karma, the law of cause and effect, Vedanta, the science of consciousnes, shares the concept of Samsara Chakra. Samsara is the belief that the apparent world of objects and experience can complete us. If we take this or that action towards or away from this object or that experience, we will no longer feel inadequate. Is this true?
The samsara chakra has three components: vasana, desire, action, or vasana, kama, karma, in Sanskrit. Vasanas lead to desire, that propels action, which creates stronger vasanas, and the wheel gains momentum.
Now while this samsara chakra may seem negative, it can also be positive. As we take dharmic (right) actions (karmas), we create and strengthen positive (puna) vasanas. Vasanas, resulting from puna (positive) karma, purify the mind of binding papa (negative) vasanas, and lay the foundation for self realization and moksha (liberation).
Why is understanding vasanas, karma and samsara chakra helpful? Follow the logic. We create present experience, which results from past action. Therefore, we are fully responsible for our lives and no one else is ever to blame. We can also affect future karma by the attitude we have and choices we make, now and going forward. This is the essence of karma yoga. In other words, we have the power to make our lives meaningful, peaceful and enjoyable.
Who Am I? When exploring the teachings of Vedanta, an ancient path of knowledge, we come to understand, that not only do we create our experience but our experience is just an appearance within us, the knower of experience. And this witness, non-dual limitless consciousness, is unchanging and never affected by that which appears within it. This is the essence of enlightenment.
With this knowledge comes freedom from objects and doer-ship. We realize we are full and that no object or experience can complete us or negatively impact us. We stop chasing the carrot of desire and running from the whip of fear, and let a clear mind and personal dharma guide our decisions.
Gratitude to the sampradaya (lineage), the (shastras) teachings and the (gurus) teachers of this beautiful path of freedom.
Please join the community in welcoming Ramji, James Swartz, to True Nature, June 10-11th for a weekend seminar exploring the exquisite teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. Christian Leeby will open the weekend Friday, June 9th, 7pm. Visit http://www.truenaturehealingarts.com/events to learn more and register.
Enjoy this Karma Yoga Workshop video, offered at True Nature Healing Arts, Carbondale, CO.
With love and gratitude, Eaden Shantay