As stated in the article “My Story,” my clients do not need to share my worldview to benefit from the type of healing work I do. Most of my clients do not believe in karma, but I can still support a positive shift in one’s karmic trajectory without talking about it.
However, since my work revolves around changing karma, I’m going to attempt a broad-stroked, incomplete explanation of karma. In the Vajrayana tradition, the subject of karma is vast and deep; it takes years of study to truly understand it. Contemplating and meditating on karma in order to naturally live by its rules takes even longer, but it’s well worth the time and effort.
In my personal experience, living by the rules of karma has assisted me in a complete metamorphosis of my inner and outer life, in a positive and liberating way. It transformed my personality and improved my health and worldly conditions. It empowered me to completely change how I experience my life.
Karma, Multiple Lives, and Mind
In Tibetan Buddhism, karma is the law of cause and effect. Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning “action.” In this context, there are three types of actions: Positive, negative and neutral. We perform these actions in three ways: Mentally, verbally and physically. Our verbal and physical actions always begin with a mental action, which is our motivation. Even if we are not consciously aware of our motivation for everything that we say and do, the motivation is there.
To fully understand how karma works, one must believe in past and future lives. Most of our experiences originate from our actions in previous lives. (A small number of experiences arise from actions we have performed in this life—this is known as “instant karma.”)
We are all a mixed bag of karma because all of us have engaged in positive, negative and neutral actions over lifetimes. There is always a cause for what we are experiencing, even if science cannot find it. Our experiences do not happen in a vacuum.
One teaching closely related to karma is about the mind. Tibetan Buddhists call mind what others might call a soul or consciousness. The mind is also known as the mental continuum because after we leave one life, our mind continues to the next life.
When I use the word mind, I don’t mean the brain. Our mind is like a cloud service with unlimited storage and it records every single action we engage in, even those that seem insignificant. It also records the effect our actions have on others. It records these actions in every lifetime, and they become seeds that eventually ripen as our inner and outer experiences.
Fortunately, karma is not fixed and is changeable. We can engage in actions that purify negative karma in order to end difficult experiences and to prevent new ones from arising. We can also perform actions that will ripen positive karma so that we enjoy more positive inner and outer experiences.
How I Work with Karma
When I work with someone, I check for and release every possible contributing cause of the challenge that I can find. Contributing causes are things like emotions that have become stuck in the body, trauma from childhood or other events, toxic energies that we have absorbed from others, unhealthy mental and emotional habits passed on through the family lineage, family lineage genetics, inner demons and so on.
However, my ultimate goal is to find the root causes of the problem. Root causes are the initial actions that a person engaged in that became the seed for their current experience.
For example, a client of mine grew up in a violent home. As an adult, she experienced several abusive intimate relationships and she developed severe anxiety and many physical health challenges. In our first few sessions, I cleared several layers of contributing causes, which helped her to feel better. However, when I found and removed a root cause, it was the game-changer.
I found a past life when she, herself, was violent and abusive and instilled deep fear in others. Once I saw it, I worked to purify and dissolve the actions and the imprints of those actions from her mental continuum.
At the end of that session, she felt dramatically different, like she was looking at the world through new eyes. A week or so later, she reported that it was easier for her to feel safe in the world. She also felt more positive towards other people instead of seeing them as enemies who would inevitably harm her. Additionally, after a period of consistent self-care on her part, she was able to turn her health around. She got off her anxiety meds with a doctor’s help and she wasn’t afraid to be happy.
I did not tell my client about the past life because there was no need to do so. She didn’t believe in past lives and informing her might have inflicted further wounding and possibly even traumatized her. With some clients, I give details about everything that I’m seeing, but only because they ask and because they have a similar worldview. Most clients don’t care what I’m doing or how I’m doing it, as long as they feel better.
Here’s a mind-bender: Remember how I said that we’re all a mixed bag of karma? Not only did my client have the karma to experience so many challenges, but she also had the karma to heal from them. Meaning, in a different life, she was kind and helped others to feel happy and healthy, which is why she now feels good in her life. She also had the karma to find someone who could help her shift her karma into a more positive trajectory. I am not able to help change someone’s karma this dramatically unless they have the positive karmic seeds at the ready.
Some clients will come to me and I can see they don’t have enough positive karmic seeds readily available for ripening. In these cases, I will assign them actions to perform that will help bring the positive seeds to the surface. For example, if someone is struggling with physical health, I might advise them to donate to a non-profit organization, such as an organization that brings medicine to poverty-stricken areas. I might also have them make strong prayers for others to experience good health. I can usually see what actions will be most helpful in germinating positive seeds. I may also give them purification practices to help bring the difficult karma to an end more quickly.
Again, fortunately, karma is not fixed. If the problematic karma is dissolved, then we no longer experience it.