Some people talk about Karma--the reactions that we have based on past experiences. But when those reactions are held in the mind, they’re called Samskara. Samskara is the reaction held in the mind to past experience.
Every experience that you have holds within it a reaction, a tendency of mind that is a response to that experience. As these build up and are held within the mind, and when they come to fruition in your life, they become your Karma. They become the activities which engage your life, which direct your life.
So there are different types of Karma. Some are in reaction to external environments. If you live in Alaska, you’re out in the snow; your attitudes and experience will be formed very differently than if you grew up in the Bahamas. So there’s reactions to external experience.
There’s reactions to education, attitudes of culture, and mores of the society you live in. So these form your outlook—how you relate to the world around you. And all of them together begin to become an identity which you carry with you.
And the reactions that you have brought from the past, from past lives, also come forward. And all of that combines to form a basket of Karma, a series of mental reactions and responses, beliefs, attitudes: attitudes about yourself, about other people, about the world around you, about society.
And all of that comes together to form your individual and unique identity, that which you call yourself as an individual. And with that unique identity comes an assumption that there is a you, a person, separate form everything else, who owns this basket of Karma, who owns all of these reactions to all experience, these beliefs that you have acquired, these attitudes, emotional reactions, so on and so forth.
All of this belongs to someone. And there comes into existence an ego identity, a sense of self to whom all of this experience belongs. And that central self to who it belongs is you, and you know who you are. You have a name, a history; you have beliefs about who you are and how you function.
But the problem is, all of this is built on a fundamental assumption that is inaccurate—and that is that you are a separate person, that this experience that occurs—this remembrance of reactions to all past experiences—belongs to someone who is divorced or separated from the rest of all living beings. When in fact you are a part of the milieu of living beings.
You are a part of the interwoven, interconnected network of life. You as an individual are only a belief, a collection of...an assumption that there is an ownership of all of these past experiences and reactions and that there’s someone separate form everyone else who it belongs to. That is a belief, a core belief based on identity with a physical structure. And you think, “I am this body; I am these thoughts; I am my mind; and I am all of these past experiences.” And you believe that is something apart from everything else.
It is unique; indeed the uniqueness of these experiences which are held in the mind and get played out in your life is your own unique pathway of your individual self. But what is that individual self? The assumption is that there is an identity. But that identity is only this basket of Karma, this accumulation of experience and belief, and the feeling of self as a body-mind structure.
When you move out from your individual self into a larger perspective, move out into the more universal perspective, you begin to see that that small self is part of a larger landscape, a larger existence, which is your existence, which is the existence of all the living beings around you. All the life, all that’s created and manifest exists together. And when you move out a little more, you can see that it’s all part of one integrated whole, of which there is consciousness, aware consciousness knowing. Without that aware consciousness, there’s no one to know any of it.
And the assumption that there is a you who is aware and conscious of this basket of Karma that is somehow different from the rest of conscious existence is the illusion, the illusion that is the cause of suffering, the cause of bondage.
The you, that conscious awareness, is the same conscious awareness that exists in all other living beings. It is the same self, the same aware intelligent beingness, that exists in everyone and everything. There is no separation.
When the larger perspective is seen, the illusion of separation dissolves. There is experience. There is the unique flow of the manifestation, of being, each living being in their own evolution, a flower in the garden of creation. But the fundamental assumption that there is a separate consciousness, a separate being, all separate beings, that is the illusion.
There is one eternal Self, one immortal being, one Self of your self, Self of all beings: conscious, aware, knower of all that is. When your identity comes with that knower, with that conscious beingness, you become freed from the bondage of identity with all the limitations that you have placed on your beliefs about yourself. You become free.
This is the true journey of human life, the journey from the bondage and illusion of separateness into the unconditional love and wholeness of being. It’s a journey of the expansion of ego into infinite love, the journey of finding that which is unconditional.
There’s a longing in everyone, a longing to love and to be loved, to feel connected, to feel close, to not be alone. It’s a natural longing, because there’s deep inside you a remembrance that that is your natural state of being. Wholeness is your natural state of being.