Updated: Jul 20, 2022
We like to think of ourselves as free, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself how your karma controls you? Because you should... The fact is your karma deeply influences, and even controls, every area of your life. From the decisions you make to the habits you have, from the quality of your relationships to your success in your career, and even the very potential that your life holds for you. Watch this video to learn more. Prefer to read? Transcript below.
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TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS Your karma has more control of your life than you do.
And, understanding that fact is your first step toward freedom.
Hi it’s Eric Walrabenstein, and this month inside the BrightLife Yoga Collective, we’ve been talking all about karma…and more specifically, how your understanding of your own personal karma can completely change your life: elevate your happiness; improve your relationships; even enhance your health. Now, you might remember from the last video, we talked about your karma as being made up of thousands upon thousands of tiny bits of programming, or learned mental habits, that live in your brain. We call them samskaras in yoga.
This programming runs the beliefs and preferences and opinions that make you you. The fact that you like Labrador retrievers is a samskara
The fact that you’re afraid to fly, a samksara. The fact that you’re a democrat or republican, a vegan or a burger lover, or even the fact you prefer the company of Aunt Betty over Uncle Jim, are all determined by your learned or inherited samskaras.
But even more important, is how these samskaras literally color your world, distorting and changing everything you see. Because the fact is: we don’t see the world as it is, we see the world THRU our samskaras, much like lenses in these glasses. Without them, I just see the world. Through them, I see the world colored and distorted by the lens of the samskara. For more on this, watch my video, Can You Change Your Karma, I’ll link to it at the end of this video and drop a link in the description below.
Today, I wanted to delve just a bit deeper into exactly how your karma, or your samskaras, control your life, and it comes down to five things. What you perceive – or what your brain chooses to focus on. How you interpret what you perceive – or what the brain makes what you see, hear, and touch mean Your thought reactions – or the thoughts that arise because of the interpretation
Your feeling reactions – or the feelings and emotions that arise because of the thoughts And your action – or what your brain decides to do based upon all of the above. So, I thought it might be helpful to look at an example from my own life so we can see how it all works.
As many of you know, I struggled for years with a major case of PTSD that I got from a mugging when I was 17. It was an attack at knife-point and, importantly for our story, it happened in a dark, enclosed parking garage in Sacramento California. Now, the moment before the attack, the enclosed parking garage was just an enclosed parking garage. But the moment after the attack, a samskara was formed, a lens through which I saw the world that said “Enclosed parking garages, and in fact, all enclosed spaces where an exit wasn’t readily apparent, were dangerous.” So as this samskara was etched into my brain, and I began to see the world THROUGH this samskara it began to significantly control my life. It controlled what I perceived, it put my brain on high alert looking for exits anytime I was in an enclosed space.
It controlled how I interpreted what I perceived, so even though I might be in a nice upscale restaurant, my mind was telling me I was in mortal danger. And that drove the thoughts about what might happen to me based upon the interpretation of danger… Which, in turn, created the feelings of fear and anxiety and, in one notable case, left me lying on the floor of a handicapped stall having a full blown panic attack.
And to be clear, all of this had nothing to do with what was true about my circumstances, it was all driven by my karma, by the lens of the samskara that was created during the attack years before.
This is how your karma, more specifically, the samskaras that make your karma up, control your life. Now, to be clear, even though this is an example of a decidedly unhelpful samskara, it’s important to note that not all samskaras are bad. In fact, many of your samskaras are actually helpful and elevate your life. Your tendency to say thank you when someone does something nice for you… Your habit of going to yoga or meditating every day… Your belief in your own self worth and your ability to see your own gifts… Are all driven by samskaras as well. And, of course, these are the kinds of samskaras we want to keep—even nourish. So this all begs the question. So, how do we change or replace our negative samskaras, the ones that are poisoning our lives? Well that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in our next video.
↓ JOIN MY PATREON COMMUNITY ↓ Get my best yoga and meditation practices sent to you each month when you become one of my Patrons. Learn more at the link below: ▸ www.patreon.com/ericwal ↓ JOIN THE BRIGHTLIFE YOGA COLLECTIVE ↓ Join an amazing community of yoga practitioners on a sacred journey through yoga's forgotten teachings and practices in the BrightLife Yoga Collective. Learn more at the link below: ▸ www.ericwal.com/collective