I grew up on a commune in the 70’s. Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll wasn’t just a cultural catch phrase – it was the very fabric of my upbringing.
We grew food (and pot), raised animals (and ate them), took off our clothes and grew beards (the men too). There was gestalt, arica, chanting circles, solstice parties and sweat lodges, transcendental meditation, est (before it was landmark), primal screaming, rolfing, macrobiotic cooking and people coming home from India with different names. There were births and deaths and housewives coming out as lesbians. There were local farmers organizing petitions to get us hippies out of their county.
From both within and without, there was a lot of resentment. Viewed through my young perspective, adults were obsessed with their resentments and spewing them all over everybody. I suppose it was a necessary piece of the emotional liberation process but truly, I am grateful we have matured to owning our own shit. At least in theory.
Once the 80’s hit, karma was the new resentment. My first understanding of karma was the reductionist principle of cause & effect, or simply stated, “an eye for an eye.” People talked about the “karmic wheel,” which has us all trapped and endlessly working to redeem every bad thing we (and probably every human) ever thought or did. The underlying attitude was that karma is a necessary evil, like weeding carrots or digging latrines.
While there is never any doubt that if you plant a carrot you get a carrot – the Western view of karma fails to acknowledge that the carrot is but one plant in an infinite garden of possibility and, most importantly, we are the gardeners.
Here are a few ways we might work with karma using the carrot analogy:
Plant other stuff alongside the carrot and turn your carrot into cake.
Pull the carrot out of the ground and replace it with a turnip.
Ask someone who knows a lot about carrots to help you tend it.
Walk away from the carrot, leave it for someone in search of a carrot and spend the next few thousand years in the pumpkin patch.
Free will trumps karma! We get to choose. Yay! We can choose wisdom, forgiveness, awareness, compassion, love. The result of these choices is harmony and eventually we step off the karmic wheel. Free will is a catalyst for karma, activating potential into experience. Karma describes a growth mechanism, not some nefarious imperative over which we have no influence.
We are not indentured to karma. Rather it is an energy we utilize to create. Everything we do, every action, produces a result. Karma is the name for that process. Action to result.
The subtleties of the relationship between karma and reincarnation entered my awareness over the course of many regression sessions.
In one session:
I am a middle aged woman living with my tribe in a cave during the winter months. My daughter is five years old. When spring arrives, it is time to move to a bigger cave and the tribe sets out in search of a new home.
One day, we are walking along the side of a mountain on a narrow path and there is an avalanche. My daughter and I are swept down the mountain and, wrapped in each other’s arms, we die.
I was at a loss as to how this life was significant or what the wisdom might be. I relaxed deeper and deeper into myself until the answer was revealed:
It is an honorable choice to incarnate as a gift for others to work their patterns.
Ummm. Really? Who’s got time for that? Who lives an entire lifetime just to be present so another doesn’t die alone? From our ego based, linear view of life, it does seem rather a lot of trouble.
My work with past life regression affirms that many people choose particular lives with the intention of assisting others to balance their karma. We volunteer to incarnate as helpers. Karma doulas.
No soul is truly free until all souls are free.
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