Month: November 2015

Understanding Karma Through the Lens of Buddhist Psychology

By Julie Flynn Badal ~~~ In the Western world, the concept of karma is frequently misunderstood. Many people take the term karma to mean one’s predetermined fate or destiny. This interpretation has a fixed and fatalistic quality, as if there is little or nothing one can do to change one’s current situation. However, through the lens of Buddhist contemplative psychology, we can come to understand the notion of karma as something more fluid and transformative. Working with a Buddhist psychologist, individuals can begin to examine how past traumas have shaped perceptions of reality and reactions to the present moment. In this way, we can begin to see how karma is not what happens to us, but what we do with what happens to us. To understand the relationship between our individual history and karma, I turned to an expert. Dr. Miles Neale, a Buddhist psychotherapist with Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science and a popular meditation teacher at the Tibet House in New York City. His classes frequently touch upon the relationship between karma and trauma. …