Homework for each class session included observations about three concepts from that week's chapter reading that stood out. Here is mine from Chapter 3:
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Class 3 worksheet: ‘The Law of Karma”
Three concepts from Chapter 3 that are most meaningful to me
1. Everything is a result of a choice — It’s something I hadn’t given much thought to because, as I think about it now, the vast majority of our choices don’t lead to major consequences. I’ve made several conscious, deliberate choices — starting a trip earlier than usual, stepping off the main path (a literal, not metaphorical path) onto side streets — that led me into highly synchronistic moments and meeting of people that unexpectedly shifted my life’s direction. But I’m also thinking that my inconsequential-to-me choices might trigger synchronistic, life-shifting events for others — like a random line of small talk over the checkout counter at Starbucks when I buy my New York Times might inspire the barista into a new career. I’m riffing here, but “cause and effect” is a mystery to me. I think “choice” is an interconnection among people: one person’s choice of action might trigger a choice of response in another that in turn leads to actions that affect hundreds more.
2.) Spontaneous right action — It makes sense, this concept, that the best choices are those that resonate positively in the mind and are felt in the body. I call the sensations “spiritual warm fuzzies” and I feel them most in or around my heart. This is when I feel most relaxed. When a decision is not the right action or if I feel conflicted about whether a choice is right, I feel it too: in my solar plexus chakra area (that old knot in the stomach feeling). I wrote a poem roughly 10 years ago that started, “The mind / affects the body / affects the mind.” Thoughts manifest in physical sensations (and can affect one’s health) which in turn affect the efficiency of the brain and what a person can focus clearly on — more positive thoughts equal peace of mind and clearer focus. Spontaneous right action takes practice to understand but eventually should become second nature. That is, to find the “spiritual warm fuzzy” moment in every action and decision one makes. I’ve tended in my adult life to sabotage my dreams and ambitions (very low self-esteem) by not following my heart, which led to much conflict and stress. Spontaneous right actions to me means not listening to the naysayers and making my own choices.
3.) Paying karmic debt — This was the most fascinating concept because I didn’t give it much thought. But yes, it makes perfect sense. I liked what Chopra said about “transmuting” my karma (bad karma) into something more positive. I’ve learned through my life in New Thought to have an attitude of finding the good, finding the positive lesson, in a choice that didn’t turn out well. I spent too many years listening to people who dismissed bad stuff as “God’s will” but that’s just an excuse to live passively. And I’m still turning around my life and attitudes from decades of living under the “God’s will” excuse; even though I know that’s wrong, I’m still overcoming a lot of conditioning that my spiritual life is slowly washing out. (Some stains take longer to remove.) One thing I’ve noticed in transmuting karma is I’m suddenly aware of reminders and inspirations for positive living when I’m reading, such as the daily guides and articles in Science of Mind magazine. Even lyrics of “secular” songs — God’s little guidances everywhere, and I’ve transcended the past by becoming more aware of them — and the guidances typically show up en masse right when I need them.