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Do You Believe in Karma?

Posted April 25, 2015

white lotux


What do you know about karma?

I'm not an expert at all, just curious. But it's making more and more sense to me.

You know I believe strongly in the principle that the measure you give is the measure you get back, or what goes around, comes around. The Universe reflects our consciousness to us. Thoughts have creative power.

If that is a spiritual law, then why would it become void after we die physically? Couldn't our creations and their reflections play out across lifetimes?

I used to reject the idea of karma because I didn't and still don't believe we are rewarded or punished in the afterlife.

But as I understand it now, the Hindus see karma as a system of balance. If you were a tyrant in one life, you get to be tyrannized in another. Not as punishment but as balance, so that your soul can experience human life from all angles.

If human lifetimes (and I'm assuming reincarnation is real—if you don't think so, hang on for a minute)—If human lifetimes are designed for our soul's growth, then obviously mine won't get all the growth it needs just by living as a white female in America at the beginning of the 21st Century.

There are so many other things to be and do and experience! So many other times and places and circumstances!

Since we have eternity, why not experience it all? Bring it on!

I think karma is operating in the short term, too, in this single lifetime. The principle of getting what you give, reaping what you sow, shows up in your life on a daily basis.

Simple examples:

  • Smile at someone, and they're more likely to smile at you.
  • Expect to have a good time, and you're more likely to experience that.
  • Doctors know positive patients are more likely to get well.

Thoughts matter. What you think now determines your future. That can be scary, I know, but it also gives you tremendous creative power to shape your world.

So why couldn't you shape other lifetimes?

I don't have any grand conclusions here, just more questions.

What do you think karma is or how it works? You might know more about Eastern religions' view of karma than I do.

If I don't believe in a literal heaven or hell, then do my thoughts and actions in this lifetime matter in terms of the afterlife?

I would love to know your thoughts, by email or below in the comments where we all can discuss this.


PS – I mentioned some time ago that I have become a vegan, and one of the long-time leaders in that movement is the delightful Victoria Moran. I'm looking forward to her new book called The Good Karma Diet. She says good karma is to treat all animals and our planet well.

That principle – do unto others as you would have them do to you – shows up in all the world's religions. As human beings, we innately know its Truth and seek its balance.

   

Speaking Soul to Soul

Posted April 18, 2015


Just one thought today.

When you feel an urgent need to communicate with someone – but cannot, for whatever reason – ask your higher self to talk to their higher self.

Or soul to soul. Or guardian angel to guardian angel. Whomever or whatever is vibrating at a higher level of consciousness is able to communicate without words or proximity.

You can send love in this way.

You can forgive someone.

You can ask for forgiveness.

The other person may be estranged from you, far away from you physically or even dead. But they are never out of reach. We are all one.

Try it. You might be surprised how connected you feel with the other person, and how relieved you feel to have sent your message.

The circuit is complete.

   

How to Stand Up for Your Self

Posted April 11, 2015

critical inner voice cartoon


You're deep into work on a creative project when the voice roars to life like a chainsaw:

Nobody wants this.

You're wasting your time.

It's already been done.

Too late for you!

You're all dressed up and headed to an important event when the voice in your head sneers:

You're wearing that?

Everyone else will look better.

You're old and, well, that body! Ugh.

No one will ever love you.

You're simply going about your day, but the voice hisses like a radio in the background:

You're falling behind. You should be doing more.

You drove right past your exit. (Here comes the Alzheimer's.)

You're never good enough.

What if even more things go wrong?

Maybe it's not every minute of the day, but nearly everyone has this voice – or voices – yammering at them, no matter what they undertake.

The best teacher I've found for addressing this deep shame is an ebullient blonde in California named Amy Ahlers, who created the Inner Mean Girl Reform School to confront your inner bullies.

You might have heard me mention Amy before. She aims her work at women, but men always participate, too. (I'm convinced men have self-esteem issues. They just don't talk about them as much.)

Amy just launched a new book with her cohort Christine Arylo, Reform Your Inner Mean Girl, about overcoming the critical voices and learning to love yourself. Because we're making ourselves miserable with our own thoughts!

Here's something quick and fun:

Take The Inner Mean Girl Quiz to find out which mental bullies are tormenting you most. Amy and Christine have broken them down into 13 archetypes.

I took it. My biggest bully is called The Comparison Queen. She constantly compares me to other people, and I always fail to measure up.

Except on the days she compares me to other people and tells me I'm better than all those poor slobs.

Sheesh!

The Comparison Queen was followed closely by The Perfectionist. Need I say more?

Some of the other archetypes are Martyr, Worrywart, Achievement Junkie and Rescuer. Oh, and the Rejection Queen, who assures you you'll never be loved.

If any of this sounds familiar, you might enjoy taking the quiz here. (I'm not getting anything from this. I'm just think Amy is a terrific spiritual teacher, even if she might not call herself that, and the quiz is free online.)

Of course, each of us has a Higher Self with a completely different message. Our inner wisdom reassures us we're doing fine and reminds us we are love in action.

But how can we access that wisdom in a pinch?

Amy and Christine offer quick antidotes for each form of soul-crushing criticism. We do have a choice about what we think, after all.

For my Comparison Queen, they suggest this de-activator: Transform comparison into inspiration. Ask yourself, “What about this person inspires me?” And then tell that person they inspired you. Let their self-expression inspire you into inspired action for yourself.

What I appreciate about Amy is her ability to be playful about serious subjects and her infectious enthusiasm for getting over yourself and getting on with life.

See there? I described what inspires me about Amy instead of comparing all the ways I'm not as clever and successful as she is. That's progress!

Isn't it interesting that with all the current emphasis on school bullies and cyber bullies and the terrible results for their victims, the worst of the mean kids are living in our heads?


PS – Have you found a way to overcome the critical voices within? I know we'd all love to hear about it. Please share in the comments.

   

The Symmetry of Health and Spirituality

Posted April 4, 2015

creek and trees


The other night, I called a beautiful woman from my church who has been dealing with cancer for several years.

She was about to have another surgery, and I was commiserating with her.

Actually I was declaring that it's not fair and she shouldn't have to go through this again! I know her well enough to express frustration, and I thought she would join me.

Instead, she laughed a little and said serenely, “This has to happen first, before complete healing can take place.”

Well, of course it does! (I probably slapped my forehead.)

Any blockage has to be removed in order for treatments to work. For her, surgery was just another step toward living fully.

And that's an excellent description of spiritual growth.

It's what we all go through to elevate our consciousness. We release anything that blocks the flow of divine energy in us, we renounce what no longer serves us, we let go of old beliefs and forgive old grudges as if we were removing tumors.

It sounds wonderfully freeing, yet we often complain about the process.

And to be fair, the process often hurts.

Removing blocks involves loss.

Letting go of the baggage we've been carrying around can be disorienting and even frightening.

Maybe it's all for our good in the long run, but facing the unknown without our usual defenses and beliefs makes most of us feel exposed and vulnerable.

Yet it clears the way for something better.

I was thinking that physical healing is a metaphor for spiritual growth, but it's more than that. They seem to be literally connected.

A group of researchers studied cancer patients who received holistic treatment. That means the doctors talked to the patients about their whole lives, not just their diseases. They discussed faith, surrender, forgiveness, living in the present moment and self-expression.

And those patients lived longer or got well.

“We know that spontaneous remission of cancer is seen with almost all kinds of cancer, and we know that it often happens after a spiritual breakthrough,” the group wrote in the Scientific World Journal.

“The spiritual breakthrough is almost always about being more alive, knowing oneself and the purpose of life better, stepping fully into personal character, realizing talents and how to use them.”

Of course, Dr. Bernie Siegel has been writing for decades that body and spirit cannot be separated, and more love leads to healing, even miracles.

“Acceptance, faith, forgiveness, peace, and love are the traits that define spirituality for me,” he says. “These characteristics always appear in those who achieve unexpected healing of serious illness.”

So physical healing is not just a metaphor for spiritual growth. They are one and the same thing!

They use the same elements – prayer, forgiveness, surrender, faith in a brighter future – and they require the same willingness on our part to release anything that is getting in the way of a breakthrough.

Both physical healing and spiritual growth ultimately ease pain, improve outlook and generate energy.

I suppose anyone working on physical healing is on a spiritual journey, and on the flip side, deepening our spiritual understanding boosts our health.

It's nice to know that all the work we do with forgiveness or surrender or making conscious contact with the divine pays off in down-to-earth, physical ways. And at the same time, the process of moving through illness can make us more aware of our higher selves and inner resources.

Is that too glib? I have not been through a long-term illness. If you have, did you experience this entwined physical healing and spiritual growth? Please share your story below or email me.

I'm just relieved to know that what's good for one enhances the other.

   




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