Karma, and how to stop it.
Karma is action that leaves residual energy. This energy is the “negative” of the original energy that put the action into motion. This residual energy is produced when the fundamental process is not carried out in its entirety. When one identifies more strongly with one aspect of the process over another, an unbalanced state arises. It´s like having a remainder after carrying out an equation. When pure observation of an event or action is disrupted, the mindbody complex (and all duality) arises. Sound complicated? Well, it is. That´s why it´s: ANALOGY TIME!!
Let´s say that you´re sitting on a swing. The swing represents your life, or the movement of your body through spacetime, whichever you prefer. You represent your mind, as you are the one controlling the movement of the swing (your life). Now let´s say that you want something ahead of you (in the future). It doesn´t matter what that something is, what matters is that you (your mind) have decided you want it and you´re going to try to get it. So you pump the swing and it moves forward and upward. Regardless of whether you managed to grab what you were aiming for or not, gravity has its way and pulls you back. The “back” part of the swinging is moving away from what you originally planned on attaining.
And this is how it goes. Any desire; any “I want”, that one attempts to manifest carries with it karmic force/weight. This force is not God up in heaven constantly weighing good actions against evil actions, and if we end up more on the good side we get a heaven cookie. It´s much more like the process of gravity. Dharma is the force of gravity and karma is any movement against that force. An action performed for any other reason than the action itself is karmic in nature and will result in the force of dharma pulling you back to the lowest ground state.
This is why being present is to not bring suffering into your life. If you are on a swing and desire to have something which is not within your grasp, you will need to move the swing. Any movement of the swing will naturally cause it to eventually swing back the opposite way you intended it to go. You can´t get more of what you want, than what you don´t want, any more than you can swing forward more than you swing backward. Dharma is the great equalizer. And just like gravity, it´s completely neutral, impersonal. It´s just there. It´s how it is. Fighting against this force is as futile as it gets – a literal waste of energy.
Let´s take a very extreme example to understand a bit deeper how this works. Let´s pretend you´re a heroin addict. Fun! Okay, so you want a hit. You think something to the effect of: “I´m starting to feel real bad. I need a hit.” That thought sets in motion the karmic action of going out to get the hit. You pump the swing. Now there are a ton of variables involved here, but basically speaking, the more energy you put into chasing that thought, the more energy will resist you. The harder you “try” for anything, the harder you pump the swing, the higher it will go and the more extreme the back swing (the crash) will be.
I´m not saying that everything we do is karmic in nature. I´m saying that actions carried out from the perspective of the ego are karmic. They are karmic because they leave a remainder in the equation. There´s stuff left over. There´s stuff left over because the fundamental process is not realized in its entirety. When the role of the observer is not fully realized, dualism is perceived. This is the mind (“I”) that seems to be controlling the body. When body is perceived as being separate from mind, this is the process not in harmony. When mindbody is not in perfect communication, things become unbalanced. Another example:
You feel hunger. You, somewhat redundantly, think: “I´m hungry.” You look at your watch and think: “I don´t have time to eat right now, I´ll wait ´til after the meeting.” So the meeting drags on and on and on like all meetings do, and your hunger pains, along with your thoughts about eating, intensify proportionally. Now you´re in your car, hunting. Your thoughts: “I am so hungry! I need food now or I may die. Mikkies? Not a chance. Chinese. Oh, chinese BUFFET! Wang´s is always tasty, and a good value too! Yeah!”
So now you´re at Wang´s. After your first heaping plateful (oh, and some green stuff to start; you´re trying to eat healthier) you think “I´m pretty full. Just a couple more chicken balls... and some ice cream.” So you have three more chicken balls, just a teensy bit more fried rice, and finish off with ice cream covered in chocolate sauce. Yup.
All those egoic “I” thoughts is an indication of an unbalanced system. You were not devoting enough attention to what your body was telling you (the role of the observer). Your mind overruled your natural tendency to: 1. Eat when hungry 2. Stop eating when satiated. As a result, the system became unbalanced and there was left over energy. Energy in the form of calories, which are going to be stockpiled as fat around your consistently widening girth.
63% of the United States population is overweight, 26% of which are obese. The short answer as to why is simply that our bodymind are not in perfect communication anymore. If we simply ate when our bodies told us it needs food and stopped eating when it tells us it´s satiated, we wouldn´t have a fat pandemic on our hands. But we are not aware. We are distracted. The separation of the mindbody complex is becoming more and more pronounced. The result is not just obesity, but all the other instances of imbalance, resulting in waste piling up (I´m sure you can think of a few examples).
So what do we do? How does one prevent performing karmic actions? Be aware. That´s all you need to do. Watch your thoughts and your actions. Be aware of everything you think, say, feel, do, to the best of your ability, as often as you are able. That´s it. Dharma will take care of the rest.
Pure observation is the bodymind complex in perfect communion/communication/harmony (aka: one). Action occurring from a state of pure attention is the complete functioning of the Fundamental Process. As such, it leaves no residual, or leftover, energy.
The karmic cycle is basically this: ...thought-action-thought-action-thought-action... Each half gets its energy from the other half. Thought is reinforced through the subsequent action and the action is reinforced via another thought. If the third perspective/state of the triune system is not realized (the observer), the system is not closed and it spirals out of control. Addiction is the most obvious example of this. The third perspective can also be called “Being”. If the bodymind complex runs without Being to bring close the loop (thinking-doing-being), karma is produced.
What happens when we are aware is we stop pumping the swing. There is no left over energy because the Fundamental Process is complete. Everything is perfectly balanced. Now there will still be some karmic momentum that will play itself out; when one stops pumping, the swing doesn´t stop until all of that stored-up energy is used up. So when you begin engaging in the next level of spiritual awakening and begin focusing on awareness, this doesn´t guarantee instant enlightenment (um, from one perspective... never mind). The swing will carry on swinging back and forth, but it will start slowing. There will still be many times where you will find yourself pumping away, trying to acquire something, change this or that, chasing one or another of the infinite illusions created by the ego. You will continue to engage in cycles that you wish to escape from. But now you will notice when you´re pumping the swing and that very noticing is the ceasing of it. So you will pump less vigorously and less frequently. And your Life will become less hectic, less confusing. You will begin slowing down; living more in the present. Old cycles will begin losing energy. You will begin realizing you are the process itself; complete, lacking nothing; perfect. And the swing will stop.
Perhaps you´ll get off and go for a walk...