When I think about karma, I always think about the time I accidentally met Luke Molina (*not his real name). Luke is a pretty incredible philanthropist making awesome changes to Colorado’s community, so when he walked into the same bar I was sitting in I was like, Oh snap that’s Luke Molina. He’s doing some dope stuff in the community. I’m gonna buy his table a round of drinks and ask the waitress to tell him thanks for all he’s doing in the community.
As I was leaving, he stopped me and said, “Hey man, thanks for the round of drinks. What’s your name?” I introduced myself and thanked him again for the good work he was doing, and that was that.
Two years later, Luke and I wind up in the same Governors Fellow class. When we saw each other, it was good vibes all the way around. As we got to know each other and build a friendship, we talked about everything from politics to family to business. In fact, his business model was so unique that when I asked him for advice on potentially structuring my company that way, he broke me off some major keys.
He taught me lessons he had acquired in his journey as well as from mentors, including one of the wealthiest people in America. Lessons that are typically held onto and kept secret. In all my years of business experience, I hadn’t learned the strategies he taught me. He completely opened my eyes to a new path for my current company, Flow.
Luke gave me million dollar advice because he knew I gave first and did so without expectations. I was just being real.
All too often, we think karma abides by Newton’s third law — that for everything we do, there’s an equal reaction coming back to us. You always hear phrases like “karma’s a bitch”, or read the subreddit on “instant karma” because Westerners’ interpretation is all about reaction. Though consequences are a part of karma, they aren’t the whole story.
Karma isn’t fate and it isn’t the instant reaction to actions. I’ll dig deeper into what karma really is so you understand how it plays out in your life, then give you ways to take control of your karma. In the end, you’ll have a practical way to stay true to yourself, find clarity, and fast forward to a future full of success and peace.
What Is Karma, Really?
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a book written in AD 400, karma is one of four yogic practices. Karma is a long term concept that describes our life as the consequence of our past lives’ actions. Since karma accumulates over multiple lives, it’s not instant like the subreddit implies, but it can be coincidental. Though you are affected by your past karma, your current actions can alter your karma because it isn’t your fate. You can break negative karmic cycles when you do the right thing and act with integrity.
Karma can explain your circumstances but it does not dictate how you will act. It’s up to you to remove the obstacles that you’ve put in place and act from a place of integrity and authenticity. But what does acting from authenticity really mean? Does it mean to allow karma to dictate fate, or does it mean elevate and transform it?
If your karma dictates that someone talks shit about you, does an authentic response mean you punch them in the face, or does it mean you rise above it and talk it out?
This is the paradox of authenticity. Which is authentic? Your default mode or the unintuitive response? Karma says both, but one choice will perpetuate bad karma and the other will alter it. It’s your choice.
The Benefits of Practicing Karma
It’s very difficult to move in a direction when you can’t see where you’re going. By practicing karma, we remove the cloud of past memories we bring to current situations and act on correct intentions. With clarity, you’ll see incredible opportunities and move quickly on the right decisions.
When your actions are aligned with your soul and not your ego, you’ll see choices and decisions without past emotional baggage. When you constantly make choices that elevate your karma — what I call earning karmic points — you’ll do what’s right no matter what and continue to make the best decisions for yourself.
Even if someone did you wrong, don’t let it affect future decisions because the circumstances may be different. Instead, you need to accept the past and move forward so you can see clearly. Trust you’ve learned from past experiences and don’t fall for thinking that today’s circumstances are identical to the past ones. Trying to apply lessons from the past to present situations prevents us from seeing their differences. When you bring up past baggage, your vision will always be tainted. Like Nassim Taleb says, don’t be fooled by randomness.
When you do what’s right as opposed to being attached to your ego’s desires, your path becomes clear. You’ll make great choices that will fast forward you to your dream future. You won’t waste time in the fog or spend time trying to fix the past. Therefore, karma is a highly leveraged way of living because internally your intentions are pure and externally your choices are clear.
How to Remove Your Ego From Your Karma
Life is full of karmic tests, like reacting to the dude talking shit to your face. If you intend on passing the test, you have to realize you alter your karma’s course every time you ride the buck. There will always be what you want to do (punch the guy in the face) or what you should do (talk it out). The trick to passing the test is to ask yourself: Who’s doing the choosing? My ego or soul?
Related: How to Legit Control Your Thoughts
The ego acts out of negative intentions like revenge, justice, greed, or jealousy. You can’t get karmic points when you act out of ego. Good karma is all about acting selflessly without expectations. You can only do that from your soul. Furthermore, your ego will trap you into perpetuating more bad karma and suffering.
If you’re falling into one of these karmic traps, then your ego is taking the reins on your karma:
- Accepting karma as fate: Choosing to never rise above or change your karma.
- Living in default mode: Making excuses for poor behavior because it’s uncomfortable outside the status quo.
- Acting from expectations: Always making choices with the desire for a particular outcome.
The real test is, are you going to act from ego or not? With observation and meditation practice, you can observe your ego’s dialogue, put it aside, and ask what do I really want? Remember, you only alter your karma when you decide to do the right thing no matter what the outcome.
How to Be Karma Proactive and Earn Karmic Points
Now that you know how karma really works, why it benefits you, and how to avoid karmic traps, I encourage you to actively practice karma for your own personal growth. You can go big and volunteer or you can microdose.
Volunteerism is a definite way of building your karmic points in life because you’re there to help people for the right reasons. If you feel called to do something for your community and environment, get involved as soon as possible.
Microdosing on karma is listening to your inner voice and taking immediate action so the two are seamless. These are small acts of love, like thinking about a friend then sending them a quick text or picking up trash when you see it on the beach. The point is to be proactive when you feel called. Don’t think about scaling or making it complicated. Like Nike says, Just Do It.
Turn Up the Notch on Your Karmic Voice
I believe that everyone has a voice inside of them that tells them they should be doing something beneficial for someone else simply because it would help. Everyone has that voice, but some of us don’t trust it or listen to it, while others of us do. Whether you trust it or not, turn the volume up a couple of notches and see what happens when you make selfless decisions without your ego’s expectations.
I can guarantee you some expected things will happen. A lot of unexpected things will happen, too. Yet it’s always the unexpected positive things that happen that bring real enjoyment in life. When you practice karma, you let go of your ego, do the right things, and give abundantly without expectation. As a result, you sharpen your clarity and make better decisions that turn karmic tests into huge opportunities for your future.