How do our past actions affect our lives, now and in the future?
What’s the best way to deal with the negative things we’ve done?
Can we really get rid of our negative karma completely?
These are a few of the questions that Tony Nader, MD, PhD, MARR addressed in his most recent livestream.
As we discussed in our latest blog post, Dr Nader is the head of the international TM organisations and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s successor. He’s a neuroscientist as well as the world’s leading expert of Vedic knowledge and consciousness. Because of that, he has a huge amount of insight into both modern science and Vedic science – and the applications of this integrated knowledge in our lives today.
Below, I break down some of the key points in his talk.
What karma is, and what it’s not
Karma, as Dr Nader explains, is Sanskrit for ‘action.’ It could be good action (‘good karma’) or it could be bad action (‘bad karma’).
We should say right off the bat that some cultures have reduced the concept of karma to a mere catchphrase, (‘oh, that’s bad karma!) not giving it much weight.
Others, meanwhile, have taken the idea of karma to extremes, imagining fantastical ways their bad actions might come back to haunt them.
The truth is, karma is something very profound and important to take seriously – but it’s also more intuitive than many people think. In fact, it functions according to a simple law of nature that we all experience every day.
We see this law expressed in physics: that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you hit a wall with your hand with some degree of force, for example, the wall hits your hand with the same force (and perhaps you hurt your hand as a result).
‘Based on the quality of the action,’ Dr Nader says, ‘there will be a quality of reaction.’
We can find this law everywhere throughout nature, in all the sciences. If we plant a peach seed, we’ll get eventually a peach tree. We won’t get apple, or cherry, or pecan trees because we planted something else.
In the same way, if we take some sort of negative action, big or small, that action will come back to us. We may not know when it will come, but we know it will happen eventually.
How to deal with past actions as smoothly as possible
Karma may be more intuitive than we realise, but Dr Nader points out that we can’t know it or understand it completely.
‘Karma is considered unfathomable,’ he says, ‘so it is not always possible to figure out why something happens. But one can figure out what one can do today.’
Even though we might not understand the consequences of our actions completely, we don’t have to feel helpless. There are many practical ways of dealing with any negative karma we have right now. No need to just wait for the consequences.
There are a few ways we can do this. Dr Nader describes one very standard and practical way, which is to act intelligently to negate the effects of our negative actions. For instance, we can apologise and make reparations to those we’ve hurt – both to do the right thing and to work to balance out our negative actions.
We can also deal with our karma on a much deeper level through meditation.
How does this work? First of all, we know very well that when we’re less stressed, we make better choices. We make fewer mistakes, and so naturally, we’ll take better and better actions.
But meditation can help us deal with past actions as well. Because ultimately – and this is a key point – our consciousness is what stores our karma.
Dr Nader says it this way:
‘Since everything ultimately is registered in our awareness, in our consciousness, then the way you live the experience is what leaves an impact on you. You might ask, “Where is this karma actually registered? Is there somebody keeping a record?” And we can say yes, it’s in nature. But ultimately it is in yourself. It is your consciousness that keeps a record of every good thing you do and every bad thing you do.’
If our own consciousness is what’s keeping the record of our right and wrong actions, then it’s logical that the best way to deal with our karma is to deal with ourselves – to raise our level of consciousness.
‘Since everything ultimately is registered in our awareness, in our consciousness, then the way you live the experience is what leaves an impact on you.’Dr Tony Nader
By raising our level of consciousness, we have less stress in our nervous system and in turn make better and better choices.
But there’s more – by raising our consciousness we’re able to handle the consequences of our actions when they do come back to us.
What this means is that paying back our negative karma doesn’t have to be all pain and suffering. With a certain level of awareness, we may hardly even notice we’re dealing with our negative karma, and will be in a better position to make good choices more and more.
If our own consciousness is what’s keeping the record of our right and wrong actions, then ultimately the best way to deal with our karma is to deal with ourselves – to raise our level of consciousness.
How to change your karma … and the world’s
Dr Nader argues that the most effective way to expand your awareness and change your karma is to use the tools Maharishi and the Vedic tradition have given us.
Maharishi developed Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes with the purpose of increasing individual and world consciousness.
And every time we transcend, we’re doing so much good for ourself and our environment, dealing with past negative actions and reducing stress for wiser choices in the future.
This is just a brief overview of the many beautiful points Dr Nader brought up. I recommend watching the full video to hear this talk and learn how we can all change our karma for the better.
In the talk you’ll hear much more about:
- The relationship between good action and enlightenment
- How someone doing something wrong in our environment affects us
- A different way to think of the concept of reincarnation
- Whether our karma has an impact on our children’s karma
- How we can influence our leaders to take better actions
- How we can clean up our karma completely, and enjoy our full potential
I expect you’ll find Dr Nader’s talk as illuminating as I did. Enjoy!
About the Author
Rebekah Mays is originally from Austin, Texas, and currently lives in the Netherlands. She is thrilled to now be working as MERU’s Content Director, and her aim is to help make Maharishi’s vast knowledge more accessible to people from all countries, ages, and backgrounds.