How does Karma work - or - acting rather than reacting is all that counts

nancy pro's picture

Average: 4.9 (7 votes)

(I wrote the following as a reply to and thought it is worth a dedicated blog post)

Karma is more simple than what we have loaded on this concept. If you get back to the origin - if you read carefully the Hindu scriptures, the Buddhist sutras, as well as texts from other traditions that relate to that concept using other names, you find the same metaphysical truth which you can verify in direct personal experience (e.g. Vipassana meditation) -

Karma is the conditioning of the body-mind machine, the sanskaras, the imprints. It is the personal "If - then - else" programing.

The Karma is what we refer to as the person and it is what incarnates. Buddhists and secular people say there is no soul beyond it, Hindus and other traditions claim that there is.

What influences most the Karma (i.e. creates new conditioning imprints and/or strengthen existing ones) is our habitual unconscious reactions which are the conditioning in action. When you are present and aware and thus do not react automatically based on your conditioning, the certain conditioning imprint is eliminated.

When certain levels of conditioning imprints are eliminated, one may experience satory and other parapsychological but temporal states. Most people get stuck in this stage believing that they are enlightened.

Therefore, when you step on an ant unintentionally and automatically reactions of guilt arise, then your Karma is strengthen. If you are aware and act consciously in a non-conflictual manner (e.g. love to the ant but being aware that you didn't do it intentionally and so you couldn't do otherwise etc.) then your Karma is weakened. If you don't care then Karma is not affected - Yes, I know - this is not fair but reality does not function according to moral and social rules.

So it is not doing or not doing but whether you do unconsciously out of automatic reaction pattern or you do consciously acting (and not reacting) from presence.

It is important to emphasis that this mechanism is not just a body-mind physical-psychological one but has metaphysical aspects, for example, we absorb conditioning patterns from people and other entities that are close to us physically or mentally at a certain point, energies and halos carry sanskaras, and more.

You do not need to believe that the machine is working this way. You can verify it. Certain meditation techniques of awareness open for you the engine hood so that you can experience and see by yourself how the engine actually works. The most potent one for this purpose to the best of my knowledge and experience is Vipassana.

talesh's picture

Very well put


This was very eloquently put. My mind was struggling with putting together the words to describe similar to what you said. The point you made

When certain levels of conditioning imprints are eliminated, one may experience satory and other parapsychological but temporal states. Most people get stuck in this stage believing that they are enlightened.

is very pertinent to almost everyone on this site.


talesh | Tue, 07/28/2009 - 00:47
nancy pro's picture

I wouldn't say this at all

Thanks Talesh. It is a result of long process and still remember that is is a hypothesis, valid and backed by experience but still a hypothesis, and should be regarded as such.

Getting to know many on this website, I wouldn't say at all that almost everyone are thinking here that they are enlightened. There are many who are truly advanced ones here with unique voices and unique insights that I read their words earnestly but none of them has proclaimed or hinted that he/she thinks that he/she is enlightened and this is another supporting sign of their greatness.

There are though a few cases of such confused ones who fit the description above that proclaim that they are enlightened but according to their words and especially their behavior are indeed not enlightened at all. I met such people in the past and in most cases this mistake ends at some point (sometimes in light of depression or some mental difficulty) and the person realizes that it was his ego and mind playing tricks on him. It is a cruel state because usually their development stops sometimes for decades or entire life cycle. Many sages have spoken about this unfortunate mistake.

nancy pro | Wed, 09/16/2009 - 18:08
Quantum's picture

I am not enlightened

Well, I know from experience that my state is more or less, it varies, identified with and possessed by my mind and my ego.

I mapped out two states. Defined as two for sake of example:

1) Identified with and possessed by mind and ego. This describes my state. Skipping to my final discovery about this state: Here in this state, for me at least, it is the utmost importance to "Feel good."

2) The other state is bypassing mind/ego. Distancing, separating, disidentifying from mind and ego completely. Abiding in Being, in the "I AM." This is not my state. In this state, emotions are not relevent. What attracts and manifests is in this state is that a higher dimensions of consciousness, a realm of pure potentiality outside the realm of opposites. This is the "Garden of Eden", vs the first state, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, opposites.

The first state is where Karma operates.

The second state, another name is "Christ COnsciousness" is beyond the realm of Karma. Call it "Salvation".

So, choice is "Christ?" or "Karma"?

Quantum | Thu, 11/26/2009 - 05:12
Elijah_NatureBoy's picture

Karma Is ...

On that same thread I said something similar to the following although in different words.

Karma is having done to one's own lifeforce exactly what it did to others and its had done to its by others as both, different species and interacting with their own, which is controlled by reincarnation. The sequence to reincarnating, I call timeline, is each lifeforce comes into earth eating other species and interacting with theirs and others. It reincarnates as each life type long enough to balance the interactions between its own specie and to be able to do it as another specie what was done to it by the other species before it evolves to the next specie and on until it complete such interactions as man. Example.

Let's use the shooting in Connecticut. The shooter, we'll say, is required to live as each of the people he shot which will cause him to live at this time 26 more times as each of the people he killed. In that way this killing is the first of a series of his lifeforce's living parallel to this one until the karma is balanced. It's also possible he will have to be or has been each parent to experience the hurt they did, also adding to his paralleling this time period. He will not remember any of those incarnations therefore he will feel exactly what they each felt.

According to my understanding, that's what Karma is.

--Elijah "NatureBoy"--
Presenting SEEDS OF LIFE @

Elijah_NatureBoy | Sat, 01/19/2013 - 19:42