What is Abraham-Hicks’s take on the word “karma”? How does it compare to the idea of karma in the typical Indian tradition?
KEYWORDS: Abraham-Hicks, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, karma, Law of Attraction, reincarnation, past lives.
In order to master the Law of Attraction, we have to develop a correct set of foundational beliefs about ourselves and about the world in general.
So in this article we will take a look at the concept of “karma” and how it relates to our earthly life, as taught by Abraham-Hicks.
PART 1: THE TRADITIONAL VIEW OF KARMA
In the traditional view of karma, which is seen in many Eastern schools of thought (see for instance my book review on Deepak Chopra’s Indian-inspired The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success), the idea of karma is usually described in a multi-lifetime scenario.
The general idea is that actions generate a “seed material” that is “attached” to the agent until it matures (Bartley 2005, p. 77; my square brackets): [note 1]
“Karma [is] the belief shared by Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina traditions that deliberately performed actions generate a residue that stays with the agent until future circumstances are appropriate for its fruition in their experience.”
Since the Buddhists do not believe in the idea of a “soul”, it seems that the “maturing” of karma probably is confined to a particular lifetime.
However, for Hindus and Jains, the idea is this (Bartley 2005, p. 77):
“Hindus and Jains think that karma is associated with the soul (atman), which is the constant principle that remains the same through the succession of embodied lives.”
But although the word “karma” is technically thought of in this way, most people are not referring to this definition. So although there is both “good karma” and “bad karma” to be materialized, it is the “bad karma” that is focused upon.
So when most people talk about karma, they mean “bad karma”. And they also typically refer to previous-lifetimes karma (as opposed to karma that they have supposedly accumulated in this current lifetime).
The typical idea is that one’s actions in one lifetime is “remembered” (as karma) between lifetimes (Coward 2003, p. 500a): [note 2]
“Karmic impulses do not disappear at death but are carried forward into the next life as one is reborn (samsara).”
And if one’s actions were “bad” in a previous lifetime, and were not “maturing” during that time, then one will have to pay for them in a subsequent lifetime (Hiriyanna 1985, p. 49): [note 3]
“The Mahabharata says that the consequences of what a man does will seek him out later ‘as surely as a calf does its mother in a herd of cows’.”
In other words, the reckoning never stops. So if one has done “bad things”, then they will ultimately come back and get you, whether in the same lifetime or in any of the upcoming lifetimes. [note 4]
PART 2: ABRAHAM-HICKS ON KARMA
Abraham-Hicks seldom talk about karma. In fact, in one workshop session (in Sacramento, CA, 27 July 2005) they simply said “We never bring it up”.
Therefore, it is not so easy to find references to passages where they talk about karma. In my research, then, I have not been able to find a single reference to karma in any their six main books.
This does not mean, of course, that there is no useful information in those books in relation to the overall idea of “karma”, for instance in terms of concepts such as reincarnation. But it does mean that we need to look elsewhere for understanding what their core take on karma really is.
The main material for this article is therefore found in various workshop recordings, where members of the audience explicitly ask questions about karma, and where Abraham-Hicks then give their take on the matter.
One of the ideas that is crucial to the whole idea of karma “continuing” between lifetimes is reincarnation. But reincarnation can be understood in several ways.
One way is to understand reincarnation in a very general sense. After we have thrown away our physical body at the time of death, we go on to acquire a new physical body in our next birth.
And this is confirmed by Abraham-Hicks. We do our croaking (we die), return back to Source, and from there we go “forward” once again to a new life here on Earth, with certain general intentions.
Reincarnation: Progression Toward Perfection
However, reincarnation can also be thought of in other ways. And one common way is to think of it as a “progression” toward perfection, from “lower” species to “higher” species (humans).
This latter perspective of reincarnation is not at all supported by Abraham-Hicks (2017, “Karma and Reincarnations”):
“The human general consensus about reincarnation is that you’re working your way up some ladder of intelligence or worthiness. And it isn’t like that. The consciousness that is in the flower, or in the cat, or in the beast, or in the human, is all very high pure consciousness. It’s actually displayed in your flora and fauna under normal circumstances at a higher frequency than it is in humans. So when humans say we’re at the top of the food chain, and the top of the the karmic wheel chain, we say not actually.”
So the general idea here is that most animals are more “perfected” than most humans, in terms of their connection to Source (2018, “A Three-Legged Dog Question”):
“Your beasts, they’re so tuned in to that broader perspective. They’re more Inner-Being-like than any of you.”
However, there are exceptions to this rule. As Abraham-Hicks so many times have pointed out, some domesticated animals may lose some of their superb connection to Source after hanging out with humans.
But it seems that even if they do, they still retain a better connection to Source than most humans do, in any case. So in terms of their alignment with their Inner Being, most animals are more “perfected” than most people.
Reincarnation: Learning Some Lessons
Another variant of reincarnation is that there is some “lesson” to be learned. This may be combined with the previously mentioned idea of “progression toward perfection”.
So then one might think that such a progression toward perfection might (or must) include that certain “lessons” should be learned in order to climb higher on that perfection ladder.
This concept of reincarnation is not supported by Abraham-Hicks. First, because they do not accept the idea of “progression toward perfection” in the first place.
But even without the idea of “progression toward perfection”, life is not about learning some lessons. There are no such intentions as we prepare ourselves for our next life in our in-between-life as pure Source energy. Our intentions are not about any “correction” of “bad” things or lessons to be learned. Rather, our intentions are positively framed (2017, “Karma and Reincarnations”):
“Well, the intentions that you hold . . . from non-physical, as you’re making the decision to come forth would be considered by human standards as rather general, in that you intend to have a pleasurable experience, you intend to have an exhilarating experience, you intend to have an expansive experience, you know that you are free, you intend to use your guidance, you know that, that coming forth, you’re an extension of this broader consciousness.”
And they continue (2017, “Karma and Reincarnations”):
“But you are not planning every detail from the non physical perspective. Instead, you are setting forth the intention knowing that through the interaction that new ideas will be born, that you can then find pleasure in the realization of. In other words, you’re not doing, you did not create this incarnation before you got here, you’re creating it now. That was powerful. That’s the best way of saying that, you see: you’re creating it now.”
Karma: Human Speculation
The birth of the idea of karma, according to Abraham-Hicks, is that people don’t get what they want. For people in general feel quite intuitively that they should have a good life, and that they should get what they want.
So when they do not get what they want, they come up with lots of different explanations and reasons for why they did not get that which they wanted to have (2014, “Faith, Destiny, and Karma in Relation to Law of Attraction”):
“And so when people get something different than what they say they want, then they have to assign some outside power to it. So they give the power to all kinds of different things and say: ‘The reason that I’m not getting what I want is because there are other forces that are controlling what comes to me’. And then they assign it a label like, well, it’s just meant to be or it’s karma, it was something that I set forth before my birth, and so it’s out of control.”
Thus, the standard karma theories, made by various saints, gurus, munis, and other “spiritual” or “religious” people, are not true. Why?
One reason is that they are mostly built on the idea of action. As documented in the concept of karma itself, karma is about action. Karma is a word that is built on the root “kri”, which denotes “to do” (Macdonell 1962, p. 212). So it is the action that is good or bad.
But that is one of the problems with the karma theory. People in general use words and action to try to get what they want. But that doesn’t work, because words and action are not causal. Only vibration is.
So words and action alone will not get you what you want. Thus, karma is not an appropriate concept for explaining how things function in this universe. Words and action have no “creation power”.
Karma and Previous Lives
Another reason the karma theories are not true is because they postulate that karma (both bad karma and good karma) is coming from previous lifetimes. But that is impossible, according to Abraham-Hicks.
However, the idea that we have some baggage with us when we are born into a new body here in the space-time reality is correct. But that baggage is only positive baggage. There was not an ounce of negativity within us when we were born into this physical world (2014, “Faith, Destiny, and Karma in Relation to Law of Attraction”):
“Then there’s another thing that complicates a little bit further. And that is, you were thinking before you got here. You were offering vibration before you got here. But not one of you ever set into motion some negative attraction before you got here. All of the attraction that is offered from your non-physical vantage point is offered from that place of pure positive energy.”
So the idea, then, is that there is no bad karma from past lives that is “materialized” in later lives. To really get this message across, they continued in that same workshop lecture to add:
“You’re pure positive energy. You come forth into a physical body, you bang around and maybe consciously return to source energy and maybe have to wait till you croak to return to source energy, but in every case, you return to source energy. And it is from that evolved vantage point that you then make another entrance into physical experience. So there is nothing in your experience as you are born into a physical body that has any negative ties to anything that you might have lived before, never, ever, ever, not one time ever.”
Therefore, the idea is very clear. There is no bad karma from previous lives. It’s just human speculations.
But we could say that there is good karma from previous lives. In fact there is an endless amount of good karma from previous lives. That’s what Source is all about.
Karma: The Mini Version
So there is nothing like the standard Indian version of karma going on in anyone’s lives. However, Abraham-Hicks, in their usual attempt to soothe and relax their audience, has once offered a “mini version” of karma (2019, “Karma According to Abraham”):
“We’re just going to give you a definition of karma from the laws of the universe as we understand them to be. There is this vibrational basis from which you attract. Let’s just call it karma. If you need to use the word, that’s what it is, are you attracting from past lifetimes? No, because you don’t have a vibration of frequency about your past lifetimes.”
So here they basically just say that you can call Law of Attraction whatever you want, for example “karma”. But that doesn’t mean that you will have bad karma from previous lifetimes.
There is no karma in the traditional sense that many Eastern schools of thought are teaching it. Sure, there is continuity of life, from lifetime to lifetime. But in between we are always returning to Source, the fountain of all positive energy. So there is no possibility of any “bad karma” from previous lives.
This means that whatever “bad karma” you think you are seeing is a result of your own vibration in this lifetime. So by learning to navigate your thoughts and feelings in the standard Abraham-Hicks way (“deliberate creation”), one can substantially minimize one’s manifestation of “bad karma”.
- This can be seen in Patanjali’s classical text Yoga Sutras: “Every time one does an action or thinks a thought, a memory trace or karmic seed is laid down in one’s unconscious. There it waits for circumstances conducive to it sprouting forth as an impulse or predisposition to do the same action or think the same thought again” (Coward 2003, p. 499b).
- The idea that karma is continuing in between lifetimes can be seen in several places. Chapple and Viraj’s translation of the Yoga Sutras, Part 4 (Kaivalya-pada), verse 9 says this: “Because memory and samskara are of one form, there is a link even among births, places, and times that are concealed.” And their explanation of this verse is this: “Past actions, even if not remembered, continue to affect present actions” (Chapple and Viraj 1990, p. 111).
- According to Keith Yandell, “Karmic consequences accrue over lifetimes” (Yandell 1998, p. 183).
- In different schools of thought karma might be “nullified” or circumvented. For instance, “The Jains hold that karmic matter can be annihilated by austerities, so that gradually it can be totally removed from an individual”. In the Bhagavad-gita one can achieve a similar result by fully surrendering to the Lord. And in Buddhism the idea is that one should do many lives of “heroic self-sacrifice on behalf of living beings” (Smart 2006, p. 41).
- Abraham-Hicks (2005), “Can Karma Affect Our Everyday Experience?” Workshop in Sacramento, CA, 27 July 2005. San Antonio, TX: Abraham-Hicks Publications. [Link to CD]
- Abraham-Hicks (2014), “Faith, Destiny, and Karma in Relation to Law of Attraction”. Published on YouTube, 4 Jan 2014.
- Abraham-Hicks (2017), “Karma and Reincarnations”. Published on YouTube, 30 Mar 2017.
- Abraham-Hicks (2018), “A Three-Legged Dog Question” Workshop in Phoenix, AZ, 8 Dec 2018. San Antonio, TX: Abraham-Hicks Publications. [Link to CD]
- Abraham-Hicks (2019), “Karma According to Abraham” Workshop in San Antonio, TX, November 16, 2019. San Antonio, TX: Abraham-Hicks Publications. [Link to CD]
- Bartley, Christopher (2005), Indian Philosophy A-Z. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. [Link to book]
- Chapple, Christopher, and Yogi Anand Viraj (1990), The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: An Analysis of the Sanskrit with Accompanying English Translation. Delhi, India: Sri Satguru Publications. [Link to book]
- Coward, Harold (2003), “Karma” in J. Wentzel Vrede van Huyssteen, ed., Encyclopedia of Science and Religion. Volume 2: Judaism – Zoology; Annotated Bibliography; Index. New York: Macmillan Reference USA (The Gale Group). [Link to book]
- Hiriyanna, M. (1996), The Essentials of Indian Philosophy. London: Diamond Books. [Link to book]
- Macdonell, Arthur A. (1962), A Sanskrit Grammar for Students. Third Edition. Reprint. Originally published 1927. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Link to book]
- Smart, Ninian (2006), “Karma” in Donald M. Borchert, ed., Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume 5: Kabbalah – Marxist Philosophy. Second edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale (Macmillan Reference USA). [Link to book]
- Yandell, Keith E. (1998), “Reincarnation” in Edward Craig, ed., Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume 8: Questions to Sociobiology. London and New York: Routledge. [Link to book]
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