Seal and the Owl / by vanessa

Yesterday I went to a 5 hour workshop on karma. Sally Kempton broke it down nicely and I'm here to give you the highlights. You know, the only column I regularly read in Yoga Journal is hers. The rest of it is just a picture book to me. (Sorry, true story.) I suppose I expected a nun of sorts, b/c she's all enlightened and stuff, so it gave me great pleasure when she peppered her talk with swear words. Yes! I'm also a big fan of having my own theories about anything, really, validated from some expert. Well, that was like a 5 minute sugar high 'til I wondered, I mean, HOW does she know? Isn't this all just a theory about a hypothesis? But I promised you the highlights so I'll get to it. Right.

Q. How do you know if it's 'destiny'?

A. It happens w/out you making any effort (e.g. think of running into someone randomly on the street).

Q. Can destiny or karma between two people be only one-sided i.e. only one person has the karma?

A. No.

Q. How do I dissolve karma?

A. You can't. You're basically screwed so you might wanna just end it. Now. Just kidding. Here are the four techniques:
1. Positive actions performed in the spirit of offering. This was pretty cool for me b/c I get wrapped up in my own little drama with alarming ease. It's good to be reminded that the way out is through giving.
2. Meditation with mantra repetition.
3. Recapitulation / confession. I started sweatin' on this one, thinking, well thank god this isn't my ONLY choice. Then she slipped in that this one just means taking an HONEST look at your own actions and motivations, which is much easier than telling someone else about it. Phew.
4. This last one's a little hard to describe, so I wouldn't attempt it off of this here page, but I feel obliged anyway since I promised you 4 techniques. Basically you're meditating but you breathe in the emotions that are feeling uncomfortable, then you breathe out through the back of your heart and keep doing this for a really long time.

Q. Why the hell am I back in this lame relationship?

A. Lucky you. Those relationships are called "lencheks" which is translated from the Tibetan for "I hate you. You totally suck. Text me later." It describes those relationships (friendships, partners, family, etc.) that are wrought with intense struggle and of course some good stuff too. They're borne out of an imbalance where there's a karmic debt. She told this really cool story about seals and owls and some unlucky fish during a full moon at a Himalayan lake. I would recount it all but it wouldn't pack the same punch, so trust me on this. Kinda reminds of the chicken and the egg. Anyway, each of us did a meditation exercise on a lenchek that we've experienced and it was cool to kinda clear things up inside. I can tell you this: in the event you find yourself unsure of what to do -- offer it up.

So that's it. I'm not much for taking notes in workshops. I always figure I'll remember what I need to, and then of course I never do.