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Understanding Karma and Becoming Free From Fear With Yoga: I am not the only one who has been delivered shocking and upsetting news. Sometimes our karma seems to come back to bite us so strongly that we can’t imagine what previous thoughts and deeds led to the culmination of this moment. It can’t possibly be my responsibility to deal with this kind of pain, this kind of emotional torture, this deep and dark moment that seems it will never pass. The problem with emotions of this density, this heaviness, is that they are literally very hard to carry. When we try to, we become tired, sick and sometimes even develop life threatening diseases.
Yoga gives us clues about how to drive out fear and guilt, anger and sadness. (Know, though, that all emotions come from either love or the absence of it.) Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can. Martin Luther King told us that “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Mother Teresa said that, “words which do not give the light of Christ (ascended consiousness), increase the darkness.” Helen Keller lived in a world of literal darkness, but even she knew that, “faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” It often seems that someone else or something else has created our current emotional state. Karmic impressions can be very strong. A vasana is a recurring impression in the mind, or karmic seed. It can be very hard to burn these seeds out of our experience so that we can see the world in its true, perfect state. In order to understand how karma works, many ancient sages used the metaphor of archery to help people understand how thoughts become experience, and why, even when we feel as though we’ve done everything right, we still experience pain and suffering.
Indra Devi, the famous female disciple of Sri Krishnamacharya, tells us that “Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness.”
When an archer takes an arrow from his quiver, and sets it against the bow to release it, he cannot take it back. Once his fingers release the bow string, the arrow goes hurtling through space for an intended destination. This is similar to how karma works. There are actually three kinds of karma, or thought impressions to digest, Sanchita, Kriyamana, and Prarabhda, but we will start with this simple archer’s analogy. Put simply, there are three types of arrows (or karma) – those in the hand, those in the quiver and those we’ve already let loose, which are flying through the air.
Our thoughts lead to decisions which lead to actions which lead to results. The results we are experiencing right now may be long-held,
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