June 21, 2013

Karma: 5 Life Lessons

Do you ever wonder, ‘How did my life get to this place?’ In Deepak Chopra’s third Spiritual Law of Success - “The Law of ‘Karma’ or Cause and Effect” – he explores how the choices you make determine the life you live, and how you can learn to make wiser decisions. 

Lesson One: You Are Responsible For Your Life

Put simply, karma is the idea that the decisions you make have consequences; consequences that can be either positive or negative. Good karma is a result of good decisions, and bad karma is a result of bad decisions. “We sow what we reap” says Chopra.

Based on this premise, he explains “Whether you like it or not, everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices you’ve made in the past.”

Hmm...how do you feel hearing this? Offended? Proud? Depressed? Motivated? No doubt your reaction is dependent on how you feel about your life.

Reading Chopra’s statement, my first response was defensiveness.

For those of you who don’t know my story, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) when I was 23 – five years ago. According to Chopra, having CFS is my fault. I don’t like this idea. Putting my ego aside, though, and thinking about my past, I can actually see how my life choices led to illness.

You can’t push your body to extremes and not end up with some form of sickness or illness. While I wasn’t fully aware of this as a young person, it doesn’t change the fact that choosing to live in this way resulted in CFS.

The silver lining, however, is that by being responsible for your life, you have the power to make choices which can bring positive change. How then, do you begin to make wiser choices in your life?

Lesson Two: Becoming a Conscious Choice-Maker

Modern life is full of choices. A simple stroll down the dairy aisle at the supermarket will have you choosing from around 15 styles of yoghurt. Bombarded with choice and information, it can be hard to think clearly. According to Chopra, in order to make good decisions in life you need to make conscious choices.

Living a busy life often leaves you feeling there is no time to reflect on where your life is headed. All too often you go through life making decisions automatically, without considering the consequences.

So how can you slow down long enough, to bring awareness and consciousness into the choices you make?

Lesson Three: Meditating for Mindfulness

Getting in touch with your feelings and thoughts is much easier when you meditate. Ten to fifteen minutes of daily meditation can dramatically increase your level of inner awareness.

While meditation can include sitting quietly, breathing deeply, and imaging calming scenes: there are other ways to meditate. For some, spending time in nature helps to still and calm their mind. While for others, it could be painting or cooking. Whatever is right for you, make sure you have a place or activity that slows your mind down long enough to become aware of your feelings and thoughts.

Once you have inner awareness, there are two important questions you have to ask yourself…

Lesson Four: Making Decisions for Happiness

Chopra says, “When you make a choice – any choice at all – you can ask yourself two things: First of all, “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?”…Secondly, “Will this choice that I’m making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?”

When asking these questions, Chopra explains that the sensations in the body provide clues to the answer. Discomfort is a sign that you have not found the right choice. Using your body and your heart’s intuition, you can begin to make decisions that better support your health and happiness.

What happens though, when you get it wrong? What happens when you experience bad karma in your life from bad decisions you have made?

Lesson Five: Turning a Negative into a Positive

Life’s biggest lesson – learn from your mistakes. By asking, “What can I learn from this experience?” and “How can I make this experience useful to my fellow human beings?” you can shift a negative situation into a positive and life-affirming experience, says Chopra. This is how you transform bad karma into good karma.

I agree whole heartedly. Once diagnosed with CFS, I chose a career as a freelance writer in the area of health and wellbeing. I aim to encourage others to live a life of balance, creativity, hope, health and happiness. In this way I have transformed a negative situation, or my bad karma, into a new lifestyle that I love.

Learning from mistakes, by looking for that hint of light within the darkness, means you can always live a life that’s fulfilling and meaningful. Of course it helps if you can learn to make decisions which bring happiness and joy in the first place. As my boyfriend always reminds me though, “It is through mistakes and failures that we learn the most.”

So tell me readers, what do you think of the idea of karma? Do you agree that you are responsible for where your life is at the moment? Have you been able to turn negatives into positives in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Have a wonderful weekend.

Jess xx 


Finding Hope in Darkness

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