Karma and Deficit Spending
Over the last few weeks we have asked our readers (and that means you) to take stock of their spiritual practice – to assess just how much of their time is spent in activities that benefit them directly. By this we mean activities that increase your self-awareness and then, from this self-awareness, increase your self-expression. From this greater self-expression ought to come an increase in self-confidence and, finally, the circle is complete as we come back to greater self-realization or awareness again. As we pointed out, it is very easy to get caught up in other people’s visions and dreams. These can be beautiful dreams, utopian visions of a perfect tomorrow – so compelling, so appealing, so dreamy. But, if they do not enhance your self-awareness and expression, what good are they to you?
Each of us must balance out in a healthy way our obligations to ourselves and others. To help us do that we need to have the tools to do so, and the basic tool for fulfilling our obligations is our very being. The more we understand ourselves, the more we can express that understanding, and the more we can DO WITH IT, the more we can help ourselves and help others.
In our last article in VOXHERMES we discussed the power of forgiveness and a simple approach to it. We hope that each of you has undertaken this practice and realized in part its profound benefits. Now we would like to take you through the process of getting a baseline assessment on your present and your future. That is, where is your karma – the fruits of your thoughts, words, and deeds – taking you? What kind of life are you both consciously as well as habitually building for yourself and those around you?
To help you do this we have provided a brief exercise for you on how you can objectively measure your karma: your actions and their current and future results.
In truth, so much of karma is subjective; that is, its true alchemical tincture occurs within our own mind. It can also be difficult at times to know where our mind is taking us. However, there is a simple test we can take, an accounting measure if you will, that will let us know if we are investing in the future or if we are “deficit spending” in the karma department.
Now, the following is not just an abstract notion. You are encouraged to actually sit down and do this, not just for today, but for several days, to get the cold, hard facts on what kind of future you are really creating with your mind.
- Take a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil and write down the topics that dominated your thinking today, even if just for this morning.
- After each one write down how much time you spent on it, even if just a few seconds, or a minute or two.
- Write down a “P” if the emotions created were positive: if it is loving, kind, hopeful, supportive of others, encouraging, or generous.
- Write down an “N” if the emotions created were negative: if it is angry, frustrated, hateful, selfish, self-pitying, destructive, or disheartening.
- Add up the total time spent on “P” and in a separate column the total time spent on “N.” You may have some thoughts that are neutral or indifferent, but on close inspection, you will notice that (as is true for many) even the weather creates an emotional response, so be honest with yourself.
- Now, if the positive column is bigger than the negative column you are “in the black.” If the negative column is bigger than the positive column, you are “in the red” and deficit spending on your karma.
- If the columns are about the same size or the positive is only slightly bigger, then your profit margin is slim, and you may not have enough reserves to ride out any surprises that life may bring to you.
- So, take a long and serious look at the Negative Column and make a conscious decision to bring that down to a manageable size, while at the same time increasing the Positive Column.
In short, pay attention to your own mind and what you are thinking, and where it is ultimately taking you. “Thinking” here does not just encompass your conscious thoughts. No, more importantly it means your unconscious background thoughts. What kind of music do you listen to? What songs go through your head (this is a form of mantra yoga)? What words and ideas pop into your mind when you see certain images, hear certain words, or even during basic day-to-day experiences on the street or in the line at the checkout for groceries? This self-awareness and where it takes you emotionally is the basis for all esoteric practices whose goal is illumination or self-realization.
This may sound silly, but I look forward to hearing from each of you who have actually done this for a week or two – or better, a month or two – as it will show in clear and decisive terms not only where your life is heading but that you, ultimately, are the creator of it.
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