Enlightenment & Karma

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

The recent hurricane flooded the Ashram’s yard, creating a river that flowed right into our basement.  Ashram residents began digging trenches in the mud and bailing water out from window wells.  The plumber came and replaced the sump pump.  The landscaper came and added a drainage pipe to the trenches dug by our amateurs, which he officially approved as being perfectly placed.  We swept and bailed in the basement, trying to contain the water in non-carpeted areas.  Two hours later, everyone was done, drenched to the skin and laughing.

Being enlightened doesn’t mean that everything in the world goes smoothly.  It simply means that you’re not upset when things are hard.  If you’re interested in enlightenment because you want life to go smoothly, you’re looking in the wrong place.  Enlightenment is not about how things go on the outside.  It is about how you are on the inside – always full of light, even in the dark of the night, even when your karma is catching up with you.

Enlightenment doesn’t mean that you’re free from karma.  If you’ve got a body, you’ve still got karma.  What enlightenment does is give you better karma.  How?  Because you’re no longer doing things for your own satisfaction.  Everything you do is in service to others, which gives you very good karma.  It’s only your selfishness that gives you future karmic pain.

Why are you selfish?  Because you feel needy, and it has been your experience that other people are not prioritizing your needs over theirs.  They did when you were an infant, but that time is over.  Maybe you still want to be waited on in that way?  You can move to a senior facility and get them to do everything for you.  I’ve seen people in their 50’s residing in such retirement homes, no longer having to pump out wet basements or even do their own laundry.  It used to be that you could live on a cruise ship, always on the way to some exotic port, but that’s not good for your health right now. Your neediness simply dissolves when you experience your own deeper essence.  Your self-centeredness fades away, even disappearing from your memory, when you live in the fullness of your own inherent Divinity.  You still take care of your body, but it really has few needs when you get right down to it.  Your heart overflows with the bliss of your own being and your mind looks for ways to serve others.  It’s such an easy way to live, even when the yard is flooding and the basement needs to be pumped out.  Do more yoga.

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