© by Ernesto Ortiz
I was having a conversation with some friends and the topic of karma came up. We started talking about it and I asked my friends to tell me their understanding of Karma and merit. What I found out is that some of them weren’t even sure as to what karma is or they made the relation to karma as something negative. I was a bit surprised because some of these people have been following a spiritual path for some time.
Karma is directly connected to the Law of Cause and Effect. As you give, you receive. This is in a way simple to understand. Your actions determine the type of karma you are creating or generating. Positive actions bring into your life positive results. Negative actions bring into your live negative results.
Karma is natural law, not a moral law. Any thought or deed causes an effect and can be called karma. Karma has nothing to do with a punishment or reward system. Rather, it is a natural law evolving toward balance as a whole. Karma has three important phases. The first form of karma (sanchita karma) is in the seed state. This karma is dormant and has not yet started to mature and is the sum total accumulated karma from this life and past life actions. The second form (kriyamana karma) is the current day-to-day karma that we perform today, and is being created by our actions, which are soon to become seeds. Consider that these latent seeds will eventually reach maturity, and sprout at a future time, in this life or the next. The third form of karma (prarabdha karma) is the karma that has formed from mature seeds and is now active in our daily life.
Prarabdha karma is derived from the well of sanchita karma and is the ripe fruit generated from the seeds sown from past actions. Of all three forms of karma the third (prarabdha) is the one that we operate under in our daily life, therefore the one we are most aware of. This karma manifest in fears, desires, joy, anger, jealousy, dependencies, aversions, insecurities, repetitive patterns, addictions, and of course family related karma.
Prarabdha karma is destined to run its course, but with mindful awareness the individual will reduce development of dormant seeds of karmas that will reach the prarabdha state.
Sanchita and kriyamana karma can be balanced, and gradually exhausted, balanced or eliminated by living a diligently loving, faithful, sincere, honest and devoted life. We can also refer to this as mindfulness, or devotion ” Bhakti,” in which union with Divinity is sought.
Our mental attitude is directly connected to the way we act in life, and it is the condition, or the essence of our mind that imprints karmic patterns that get transferred from one lifetime to the next. When we say we are dealing with karma from past lives, we are simply reenacting mental patterns that created the original condition. When we are aware of this, we have the opportunity to clear the mental patterns, or to balance that karma. Karma doesn’t have a positive or negative blueprint, it is simply an open opportunity to create the mental imprint that is directly connected to our actions, and these actions, are going to be positive, negative or neutral.
In a way, merit and karma are two words I use that have similar meaning. Karma that is positive or negative gets transferred from one lifetime to the next, prarabdha karma. We can say that karma is the seeds we plant and sooner or later they will sprout at some point in our life, whether it is this life or the next.
The word merit can be defined as “the state or quality of being deserving or worthy of, to earn by service.” (Merriam – Webster Dictionary)
Merit is the result of positive actions, generated in this or a past life, and it is not in any way connected to negative actions. Merit is always the positive and end result from actions taken in one’s life. The more we act in life with kindness, love, compassion, and generosity, the more positive merit we accumulate. And this merit is what has all the ingredients to bring our life to the next level of our personal potential, as well as what will determine the way our next lifetime or embodiment is going to be. Be mindful and aware of this and work during your lifetime to accumulate merit.
We let go of the governing actions of the altered ego.
We serve the world more and more, and as we do this, we generate and accumulate positive merit.