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Transmuting Relational Karma

Perhaps it's just this time of the year, when the veil thins and it's easier to see between the worlds, but I've been deep in the midst of karmic processing of late. In working with these old karmas, I've been asked to hold more compassion and trust than I've ever been called to do before. When I'm successful, walls that seem immovable one minute, melt away the next. Deep fears have been stirred up, and when I've had the courage to feel them completely, they've vanished in a flash that leaves me nearly breathless. Other places, I've been less successful, and have been practicing compassion, patience and forgiveness of self, as I sludge through these dark places. Several people have asked me about working through relational karma specifically. If you find yourself stuck in repeating relational dramas, I wanted to pass along a powerful technique for transmuting relational karma with integrity. Karma has a way of tying people to each other, even beyond death. Walking away from the relationship or cutting ties won't necessarily change the karma, and you're likely to find yourself playing out the same dramas at some future date, or with someone else. The technique I outline below actually transmutes the karma by changing the vibration of the pattern itself. Full disclosure - it's not quick or easy. In fact, it requires that you evolve how you think and how you feel about the relationship It's this shift that actually breaks the karmic chain, as karma exists for the sole purpose of helping you learn something. Once you get it, you're done. This practice works so well, because it also holds a compassionate space for the other person to shift, if they're ready and they choose to. By remaining in integrity in this way, you're not creating any new karma that might tie you to the person in a different way. If the other person isn't done with the drama, they'll move on and recreate it with someone else who wants to work the same thing, but you'll be free. Here’s the basic concept, if you want to give it a try: 1. Release your need for guilt and punishment. Karma draws people together so they can work out their stuff. The long, hard version of this is the pendulum swing of pain, where the first person hurts the second, and then the second hurts the first, etc. This can go on for lifetimes, but it doesn't have to. Repeating karma is based on a fundamental belief in guilt and punishment. We feel guilty for what we've done, so we create suffering as a form of atonement. Or we feel angry over what someone else has done, so we seek punishment or retribution. To truly release yourself from this cycle, you must be willing to let go of the belief that guilt and punishment solves anything. This is a very deep belief for most people, rooted in our religious and social programming, and a sticking point in most relational drama. Many people feel they simply can't let the past go or forgive what's happened unless the other person apologizes, takes responsibility, or admits to wrongdoing first. Although that might make it easier, it's simply not true, and it's exactly the kind of thinking that keeps you riding the pendulum swing of pain. You are 100% responsible for how you feel and think, and that's all you're responsible for. You cannot change anyone but you, and you're only giving away your power by tying your happiness to something you have no control over. Holding onto your guilt, blame, shame, anger or righteousness only hurts you and keeps you ensnared in the relational karma. If you truly want to be free, you need to change the way you're thinking about it. We're all human, and we all do terrible things. Are you ready to let go of the need to punish yourself for what you did? Are you ready to let go of the need to punish someone else for what's happened? Take as much time as you need with this step....truly, you could spend the rest of your life just working at this, and it would be well worth your effort. 2. Journal or meditate on the relationship, as it exists in this lifetime. If you feel you're on the pendulum swing with someone, it's likely you've lived other lifetimes together. Many people believe they can't let go of past hurts or clear old karma, without uncovering the stories behind it. This is also not true. Karma is always transmuted in your present experience. The key is to be really honest about all the things the other person triggers in you, right now. When we have complicated karma with people, it’s sometimes hard to figure out how we feel about them. We're simultaneously attracted and repulsed by them. Spend some time journaling about or meditating on the relationship. Write down all the conflicting feelings you have for this person – regret, guilt, shame, love, physical attraction. Think of all the ways this person has hurt you in this lifetime. Put yourself in their shoes, and think of all the ways you’ve hurt them. Be honest. Try not to get lost in the stories or the injustice of what happened. If you could see all the lifetimes you've lived together, you would see that you've both hurt each other equally. This isn't about trying to balance the pain and suffering. Remember, you already let go of the desire for further suffering when you let go of the belief that guilt and punishment solve anything. Again, take as much time as you need with this step.

3. Work to transmute your own negative feelings and thoughts. The most effective energies I've discovered for working with karma are: love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, trust and gratitude. Work with each difficult emotion the relationship has brought up for you, taking full responsibility for how you feel. Own your anger, hatred, blame, etc. The other person may have stirred those negative feelings up within you, but it's your responsibility to transmute them. First, see if you can find a way to accept what happened. Can you trust that it was for your highest good? Forgive yourself and the other for the roles you played in hurting each other. Feel compassion for your mutual pain. When you're ready, offer love, honor and gratitude to the person for helping you find a little more of yourself. In transmuting your emotions and your thoughts about the relationship in this way, you transmute your karma. It may have taken you lifetimes to come to this point, so give yourself lots of time and space to do this work. Consider using the ho'oponopono healing mantra: "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you." This is an extremely powerful prayer, known to transmute all kinds of difficult situations. Repeat it to yourself again and again, as you think about the person you're in a difficult relationship with. The more heart-felt and sincere you can be in this practice, the quicker and easier the clearing process will be. 4. Ongoing daily practice to release karma. Spend a few minutes every day meditating on one of the transforming energies: love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, trust or gratitude. Send love to your body, your family and colleagues. Practice acceptance of a difficult situation. Offer forgiveness to someone who's wronged you, or apologize to someone you've wronged. Place your hand on your heart, and feel compassion for your struggles. Trust that you're being perfectly held in a loving, divine plan, that you're doing the best you can, and that it's enough. Be grateful for your life and everything in it. Offer the ho'oponopono healing prayer to yourself. In this way, you open to self-love and self-forgiveness, erasing the imprint of guilt and releasing any residual need for further punishment or suffering. Any effort you make with this technique will be well worth it. As you raise your vibration, one feeling or thought at a time, your whole life will transform.

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