eckhart tolle teachings

Karma and the Ego

What is good karma, what is bad karma, and what can you do about it?

The greater part of most people's thinking is involuntary, automatic, and repetitive. It is no more than a kind of mental static and fulfills no real purpose.

Strictly speaking, you don't choose to think; Thinking happens to you. The statement “I think” implies volition. It implies that you have willfully chosen to think what you think (or that you think in the first place). For most people, this is not yet the case. “I think” is just as false a statement as “I digest” or “I circulate my blood.” Digestion happens, circulation happens, thinking happens.

The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by their thinking and its repetitive, unconscious content. This circular, repetitive, incessant thinking is conditioned by the past, and it keeps you trapped in the past. It is as though you continue to relive the past over and over again. Do you ever wonder why the same problems challenge you throughout your life? Your unconscious mind is re-creating them, but you don't even know it.

The Eastern term for this repetitive cycle is karma. You continually bring to your life experiences that correspond to your thinking. What you reap, you will sow. What you think, you will attract. If the contents of your thoughts are locked in past events, you are destined to repeat them. This is karma. And it goes both ways.

We have heard of good karma and bad karma. Bad karma is the experiences we have that are attracted to us by our mind's obsession with all the bad things that have happened to us. Bad karma not only produces experiences that are undesirable, it is also a life lived in the past, not the present.

Good karma, on the other hand, comes from living in the present moment. When we liberate our mind from thoughts of the past and negative rumination, we are free to engage our mind in original, creative thought. We are free to be spontaneous and fun-loving. We are free to live our life now with a sense of curiosity, discovery and adventure. Far from being trapped in a cycle of negativity, we live a life of freshness, proactivity and healthy self-expression.

If you have been living life in the past, caught in the cycle of bad karma, you can get free of it.

Just in the way that thinking happens to you, bad karma happens to you. It is an involuntary predicament. It is a condition that you do not consciously choose.

The solution is to begin choosing what you want for yourself. Instead of being a victim of your own thinking, be an active, engaged choice maker.

  • Choose to be more present.
  • Choose to be more aware of what thoughts are circulating in your mind.
  • Choose to engage your mind in original, creative thinking.
  • Choose to make your mind an interesting, adventurous place.
  • Choose to make good karma by using your mind for positive and productive thinking.

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