Sometimes we are oblivious to the fact that most of our lifetime is spent in undergoing destiny which is created by our karmas or deeds in our past births. As per the law of karma, every positive deed which we do, generates a ‘merit’; while every negative deed results in a ‘demerit or sin’ which subsequently we need to repay by enduring happiness or unhappiness.
Our births and experiences on this earth are determined by our karma. Our destiny determines who we are, what we achieve, what we suffer, what we feel. Everything happens according to our destiny. We can’t escape from what we have to face in life, no matter how hard we try to escape.
Karma means action and reaction. It refers to the entire cycle of action and its consequences. Actions can be divided into two broad groups: those with a selfless motive, which are rare, and those with selfish motivation, which are common. Selfish actions can result in joy or pain, or a mixture of the two. They always create more karma, complication, and bondage because worldly desires tend to keep us stuck in worldly, karmic existence. Authentic spiritual endeavours, on the other hand, carry us to a more liberated spiritual existence. Selfless actions ultimately lead to freedom from karma and worldly attachment.
The capacity to perform truly selfless actions that benefit all beings. Spiritual practice is selfless service, or service to others without expectation of any outcome.
There is good and bad karma. A body-mind will always have some karma, some process of activity which keeps it acting and reacting. Consciousness, on the other hand, transcends Nature and is free from karma. Therefore, the more conscious and aware we become and the more we identify with our real Self or our higher consciousness, the more freedom and choice we experience. Awareness is the ultimate tool we use to liberate ourselves from the bondage of karma. Beings without karma are spiritual adepts who have identified with the higher Self, rather than the body. They are rare and may have worked on their spiritual evolution for lifetimes.
Until we can achieve the exalted goal of being without karma, we need to become aware of our thoughts and actions and understand how they impact our own lives and the lives of others.
People in Eastern cultures tend to place their destiny in the hands of fate and to believe that all that happens is God’s will. The positive side of this attitude is that it develops acceptance of one’s lot in life. The negative side is that it can lead to excessive fatalism.
Western cultures, on the other hand, tend to place more emphasis on free will. Free will in this context implies that we feel we should get whatever we want out of life and, in extreme cases, that life owes us. The positive side of this attitude is that we are motivated to exert effort in to change the world we live in, so that it may grant us our desires.
By developing awareness, we can clearly see our karmic patterns in action and respond to them using whichever spiritual techniques we have learned. Meditation also gives us a calmer, less emotionally reactive mind and nervous system, so that we can respond with more peace and wisdom and with less fear, anger, or attachment.
The key is to accept the old karmas that are running, as well as to actively work to create new and better karmas for ourselves. To do this, we need to identify what we want out of life, then build these new patterns with care and intelligence.
Planning a better future is not always easy. It requires a great deal of self-effort, trial and error, and learning from experience and introspection.
Ultimately, we can aim to reduce the number of karmic patterns we are bound by and achieve greater freedom through spiritual practice, positive deeds and developing the capacity to give to others. This reduces our narcissistic obsession with our own problems and gives us a higher, more universal perspective on life.
3 Keys to Changing Your Destiny
1. Gratitude and Generosity
The fact is, everything in the universe is consciously manifested, and with love. There is a consciousness which receives our gratitude and responds to it. Sri Yukteswar said that karmic law, though it functions to a great extent automatically, it is also guided by a universal intelligence and love, and can be intelligently diverted. Hence the concept of divine grace (kripa in Sanskrit). Grace can be won above all by devotion and love. The more a person gives generously of himself, to God and to life, the more karmic law supports him in return.
In rendering “grateful service,” it is always good to be generous, yet one must be practical. That is to say, one should do what works, and one should also be generous within his means. What I want to say above all, then, is keep a generous attitude even if you haven’t the financial means to be generous in other, more material ways.
2. Positive Attitude and a Strong Will
Usually, the first essentials for material success are a positive attitude and a strong will. I say “usually,” because people do strike it rich often enough, not because of their present mental attitude, but because they have strong money karma brought over from past lives. The following episode, which actually occurred, provides an amazing glimpse into the workings of karma, and the importance of a positive attitude and strong will power.
The harshest karma can be defeated
The glimpse it gives into the workings of karma. When any karma is powerful enough, it can overcome seemingly insuperable odds.
The importance of exerting one’s will when faced with adversity, no matter how appalling. Sometimes we seem to be confronted by a seemingly implacable fate. If we meet it indomitably, however, even the harshest karma can be defeated, and any lingering good karma that is still present can be reaffirmed.
People that lacked courage, might have given up mining altogether, in a mood of utter defeat. Many people would have done so. Even if he didn’t abandon hope utterly, but after some time summoned his will power once again until it was strong enough to return to the “fray,” someone else might, in the meantime, have discovered that second vein.
The strong will and good deed vied together for against fate. Strong power that decided which side would predominate.
3. Right Attitude
Right attitude is the most important ingredient in any struggle for success. Right attitude is not merely produced by success: it actually attracts success. My own experience in life has convinced me that right attitude is even more important than good karma. For although good karma can ensure success, no one, generally speaking, can say whether, when, or for how long that good karma will last. True success is his already, indeed, who determinedly clings to right attitude.
The stronger a person’s attitude, whether positive or negative, the stronger the magnetic field of energy it generates, drawing good or bad fortune to oneself. A positive attitude depends far less on things going right outwardly than on an inner determination to be happy always. More often, such an attitude is the cause of good fortune, not merely a result of it. People whose outlook on life is, by contrast, basically negative can actually attract failure!
The ego: the greatest stumbling block
The ego is the greatest stumbling block to true success. Those who affirm their self-importance egoistically do in fact sometimes rise to the top of their little anthills of ambition. Because they accomplish their victories in a spirit of competition, however, they find themselves anxious to protect themselves from the slightest challenge to their own “high” position. They become, in consequence, increasingly tense inwardly, and not aware of a growing mental and emotional discomfort.
People who think expansively are more likely to succeed in every way, even materially. An expansive outlook opens the mind to many possible alternatives.
Always expect the best from life.
Make it a point to expect to succeed, and to expect the best from life and from other people. Never allow fear of failure to weaken your will, even if failure looms over you as a possible reality. Don’t be attached to the outcome of your acts. Try to maintain an inner sense of freedom. In that way, you will be able to rise above discouragement altogether.
Learn also to be solution-oriented, not problem-oriented. This doesn’t mean to be blissfully unaware of any problems before you. Look at your problems, rather, with a view to overcoming them. In this world of duality, where a problem exists there must be a solution to it. That is a law of nature. Know that if anything you do doesn’t work, something else has to work for you; such is the nature of duality.
Keep on trying, therefore, until success is at last assured. Within ourselves we have the power to emerge smiling from the greatest defeat, and to go on to shining victory.