Put your hand up if you know what Karma means? Most of us associate the word Karma with two other words: good & bad. Sounds familiar? When actually, karma only really means action. That's a pretty common concept, that our actions are either good or bad, tainted by their outcome: positive outcome = good Karma... negative, bad.
I'd like to offer a different perspective on Karma and add a piece of behind the scenes info to adjust our understanding of the Universe. This was a very significant lesson for me to learn and I look towards this model of reality on a regular basis to make sense of my life and the World around me.
So, Karma. Is it good? Is it bad? Think about this for fun: you do well in school, you go to university, get a degree in English Literature & Language, get an office job (which you hate, BTW), and then you end up teaching Yoga for a living... is that bad karma? Of course not. It's chance. It's Luck... it's what we call Lila.
Karma is all action. And there's more to Life than action. There's also the randomness of the Universe, this idea that anything is actually possible... and sometimes the least likely outcome is what the Universe offers us. I never thought in a million years that I'd be a yoga teacher. Teacher, maybe, but embarking on my university studies, I thought maybe I'd write or teach or play Scrabble with my mom for the rest of my life. But never yoga. It wasn't a possibility... or was it?
So what's the deal with Luck? In Yogaland, it's called Lila and it refers to chance, randomness, playfullness. It's the opposite of lining your ducks up in a row and expecting them to quack. It's the unexpected possibilities. It's the ducks barking instead.
Oddly enough, you're probably familiar with the idea of good & bad luck. Similar to Karma, Lila is neither good nor bad. The Universe is seen as completely indifferent to the notion of goodness or otherwise. The Universe simply operates under the guise of potential. We choose to label the outcome, once again, not the possibility itself.
So, in a nutshell, you can do all the right things and still end up in a totally different circumstance than the desired outcome. That's Karma & Lila.
Think of a time when you put in the effort but didn't get the result. How did that feel? What did you learn about yourself? About the Universe? Was it lucky or unlucky?
We all know there's more to Yoga than the poses. But how much more? And what more? And where do we get it? Do we really need more? Why?