I was having a discussion with some epic yogis the other day and we were talking about karma .. and what karma yoga “is”.  And we were talking about how karma yoga can be something as simple as being nice to people you don’t know.  Picking up trash that’s not yours.  Buying coffee for the person in line behind you without them knowing.  That sort of “pay it forward” attitude.  And while I love this idea, I mean who wouldn’t?  This world needs more of that for sure! 

I still couldn’t sit with karma just being a “do-gooder”.  It got me thinking a lot about karma and what it means besides that.  I had to ask first off, when you “do” that right action, what’s your thought behind it?  Are you doing it to get noticed?  To make sure your karmic debt is in the green?  Are you doing it because you want people to think you are a yogi?  What’s your reasoning behind this karmic action?  Is there one?

When you “do” something for someone else, it needs to be for no reason at all.  It needs to be … just to be.  That is all.  If there is any agenda or wanting from this action, it’s not karmic action.  It’s ego intention. 

And honestly, it’s not even your actions that start the whole ball of karma wax moving.  It’s actually your thoughts.  When you think a thought, immediately the transmitters in your brain speak to your chakras and you can feel expanded or contracted in one thought and one breath.  So it all starts with your thoughts and your thoughts never lie.  Ever.  How you choose to act on and manifest those thoughts is a much bigger topic. 

But the main thing to remember is:  you are karmically creating your path just with your thoughts.  It’s not just what you do, it’s what you are thinking.  Truly.  So what are you thinking?  Is it aligned with your thoughts?  Make sure … because if not, there could be a bit of a mix up in what messages you are sending to the Universe.

And then another thought came to me.  Your karma is not just something you pay forward in order to be in right action.  It is also the integrity with which you clean up what is behind you. 

And I completely believe this. 

I’m not sure if our “negative karmic debt” negates the positive “paying it forward” random acts of kindness, however I do know that there is a balance between the two that has to happen.  AND I believe it is happening in more moments than we realize. 

Noticing those piles of unresolved business is the first step in cleaning up your karma.  The second step is recognizing it as your “work” and it will always be there.

As long as we are alive, we have karma. 

We come in with it, we leave with it.  Hopefully we leave with less than we came in with but again, that’s another story.  It doesn’t really matter how many coffees you buy for the people behind you; what matters is how clean is your side of the street when you get in line to get those coffees.

One bit of insight as you move through your karmic action, intention and debt.  Tune into compassion along this journey, with yourself that is.  If we really do create our life with our thoughts, a lot of those thoughts are unconscious.  But when we awaken to that knowledge, as well as the accepting of our “debt”, our only job is to clean up our karma with love, grace and responsibility.