Dr. Bhavya Theissen

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Karma -how does it work?

Karma is a sanskrit word and is a concept from Buddhism and Hinduism  that is roughly translated as the law of cause and effect: “What goes around comes around!” However, the mechanisms of karma are more complex than the symmetrical cosmic retribution of divine justice. This article below by Ric Weinman, the lineage holder of Vortexhealing, explains karma in great detail, and how karma translates into deep conditioning held in our body and energetic system. The good news is that Vortexhealing releases much of this deep conditioning and karmic structure!

Our Karma: What We Hold & How We Hold It (by Ric Weinman)

The Journey

One can’t begin to talk about karma without talking about our journey. Before the journey, there is no time, no space, no existence. No separation. Only pure Mystery, also called God or Self. I prefer the word “Mystery” because this word tells the mind it cannot even hope to understand what this is. When we say “God” or “Self” we think we know what we are talking about. But the mind cannot know. It is pure Mystery.

Out of this Mystery, for reasons that can never be known, subtle manifestations of divine beingness (experienced as IS) and of pure Awareness (experienced as Self) arise. As these arise, divine beingness coalesces into soul-bodies of pure divine light and Self enters into these forms (or vehicles of experience), creating a new awareness, the “awareness of Self-IS”, what we call the soul.

It is important to realize that just as a leaf on a tree has no consciousness separate from the Tree, the soul has no consciousness separate from the Self. The idea of separate souls is our own projection, based on our own human experience of separateness. Although the soul has a form or body (just as a leaf has a form or body), its consciousness is always Self-IS; it is always in Oneness.

Yet for reasons hidden in pure Mystery, the soul has an impulse to experience creation (or livingness, experienced as AM), which has also mysteriously arisen as a manifestation of Mystery. But the soul cannot experience creation directly for the level of IS is outside of space and time. It needs some kind of vehicle that is made of the same stuff as creation (AM), for moving within creation. Magically, its intention causes creation to manifest such a form. This form is the incarnational vehicle. The soul (Self-IS) enters this vehicle (AM), and again a new consciousness arises from the union: the “consciousness of I AM”. I AM is not quite in oneness, yet it is not in separateness. I AM is like the bridge between oneness and separation.

I AM begins to have experiences of creation and uses mind to remember them. At some point, the turning point comes: I AM uses mind to create the idea that these experiences comprise the history of some particular, separate experiencer, some particular conceptual “I”. Then I AM identifies with that conceptual, separate “I”, and the experience of I AM becomes I am this ego, I am this separate being. Now the soul within I AM has the experience of a particular incarnational ego or personality, with a particular history. (Yet paradoxically, the soul is simultaneously still experiencing oneness. It is like when we go to the movies-we can get lost in the movie but we never entirely forget who we are.) This is the beginning of karma. Before the incarnational personality has even entered into a dense living form, such a human form, its karmic journey has begun, for it now has a karmic issue, the experience of separation.


Karma is the ongoing process of cause and effect as it affects our consciousness and our lives. It is the sum total of the consequences we are forced to experience in the present as a result of everything we ever thought, felt and did in the past. But these consequences of what we thought, felt and did comes back to us in two different ways-either in the form of external events or as internal conditioning-creating two very different kinds of karma.,/p>

The first kind of karma I call “karmic events.” This is the “what goes around comes around” kind of karma. It arises from the fact that whatever we put out into the universe comes back to us in the form of external events. We act and life reacts by generating events that reflect the energy of our original action. For instance, if you kill someone, you may be killed in return. But other consequences rather than “an eye for an eye” are also possible. Perhaps it will be your child who will be killed; or perhaps you will grow up in another life with a parent whom you fear will kill you. Divine intention is for you to experience the consequences of your actions so you can grow from what you created and learn to be responsible for what you create. An eye for an eye is not necessarily your most direct path of evolution. So although an action of killing someone (in a particular circumstance, with a particular awareness and state of mind and emotion) puts a particular energy in motion in the world, the perfect way for you to grow from that energy coming back to you will be determined by what you need to experience at the time the divine returns that energy to you. (Of course, the converse is also true: what you need to experience will also determine the point in time the energy is brought back.)

With this first kind of karma, it is important to realize that although the divine can modify the intensity with which what you created comes back to you, there is no avoiding it. No amount of healing work or meditation can release this karma. Even enlightenment does not release this kind of karma; it continues to play itself out. It’s the way the universe balances itself-whatever you put into the world you reabsorb before finishing your incarnational journey. At the same time, this kind of karma does not at all get in the way of spiritual awakening. Someone who becomes a cripple or becomes blind or develops cancer because of things done in the past can still become enlightened as easily as someone in good health. External events are constantly unfolding and changing; enlightenment is neither affected by these events nor prevented by them. In enlightenment, all reactivity to external events has gone. So although an enlightened being continues to experience the consequences of his or her past, there is no more attachment or avoidance to whatever is being experienced. It is all perfectly NOW.

The second kind of karma I call ” karmic conditioning.” This is our “karmic baggage.” It arises from the fact that everything you do conditions your own consciousness. When you get angry, not only do you put something out into the world that comes back to you, but you also condition your consciousness to be more deeply aligned with and identified with anger. So, with this second kind of karma, every thought, emotion and action creates an inner reaction in the form of conditioning. And this conditioning imprints onto every level of our human and incarnational consciousness. Because our conditioning does reinforce our experience of separation, this kind of karma does block our spiritual awakening. But this accumulated baggage of conditioning can be released by meditation and various healing practices. We can learn to empty our suitcases. Enlightenment doesn’t require us to empty all the baggage; we only need to empty enough of the conditioning to recognize it for what it is and completely lose interest in it. Nisgardata Maharaj said, “The price of freedom is complete loss of interest in our drama.” Since most of our life is spent with our head in our suitcase, in its huge maze of karmic conditioning, when we completely lose interest in it, a space is created in which we are able to realize that the person who was carrying the suitcase, who was involved in all that conditioning, was really an illusion; that person was actually a creation of the conditioning itself. In enlightenment, there may still be baggage in the suitcase, but there is no one left to be involved with it. There may still be conditioning, but there is no one left to condition. As Papaji (C.W. Poonja) said, “Desire may still arise, but it doesn’t reach anyone.”

Our Karmic Baggage

Because there is nothing we can do about the first kind of karma, karmic events, there is really nothing more to say about it. We just accept it for what it is. But it is useful to study our karmic conditioning because recognizing it helps us to empty it out, both in meditation and healing practices. What follows is one possible scheme for categorizing this conditioning, to facilitate its examination:

The Karmic Body: Our karmic body is our incarnational vehicle, our vehicle for moving from life to life. It is where we store our karmic issues and all our past-life history. All of the emotional positions and attitudes that we carry from one life to the next are stored here. Between lives, the karmic body holds all this information while we vacation in Oneness. Once the soul reenters the karmic body and re-identifies with all the history contained there, the consciousness of a separate, incarnational being who has experienced all that history arises-the incarnational personality.

The incarnational personality (which includes the karmic body and the consciousness that arises within it) enters into the spine, once the fetus is developed enough to have a spine. Although the incarnational personality’s consciousness must be present at conception, it cannot really “embody” until there is a spine. Once embodied, it looks like a very thin line, the length of the spine, extended within the vertical center of the spine. (This is not the kundalini, which is a dense physical energy and is comparatively quite a wide channel.) Our most fundamental karmic issues are held as little “knots” on this line, so I call these knots “karma knots.”

The very first one that was created, which will also be the last one to go, is held on that line where the tailbone meets the sacrum. This first knot may have as many as 40 “twists” on it (which represent different aspects of the karmic issue), although the other karma knots usually only have 2 or 3 twists. All of the karma knots are based on our first and most basic issue-separateness. So all the karma knots represent various issues that have arisen around separateness-doubt, power, helplessness, etc. and reinforce our basic identity with separateness. The freeing of any karma knot, therefore, moves us deeper into Oneness.

Our karma knots are our deepest level of conditioning. It was our first karma knot that created our sense of ego, of separateness, for our incarnational personality. When someone loses their last karma knot and their incarnational personality moves back into Oneness, although they will probably still have human ego, a new place of inner freedom will exist within them that will make it much easier for them to release their remaining attachments and fully awaken.

Our karma knots are the foundation of our present life drama. Any major issue we have in this life will have lots of past-life history, and at the root of that history will be some ongoing karmic issue, which is always rooted in our experience of separateness. The structure of the karma knot reflects this: the center of the karma knot is like a hole-an infinitesimal gap in time and space which holds the actual experience of separateness. Around that is some particular issue in relation to separation, and around that is all the stored history connected to that issue. The karma knot can be seen psychically only because of this dense area of stored emotional history around it. As long as an incarnational personality has karma knots, it must keep reincarnating; there is no choice.

Only divine energy or divine consciousness can release a karma knot. Because karma knots are based on the consciousness of separateness, only that which is beyond separation-the divine-can release them. And because karma knots are based on the consciousness of separation, releasing a karma knot is not like pulling out a splinter but rather awakening the separated consciousness to its original experience of Oneness. At the moment of awakening, the hole of separation within the karma knot fills with divine light and the consciousness of Oneness, and that issue, at that karmic level, is released and resolved, never to return.

When the karma knot and its issue are released into Oneness, much of the history surrounding it often remains. This history, as well as the imprinting of the issue and its history onto the “tissue” of the karmic body, will continue to condition both the incarnational personality and the human consciousness. Even when all the karma knots are gone, this conditioning will continue to create “habits” for the incarnational personality. There may no longer be any incarnational ego identifying with those habits, but the habits will remain. Yet a new place of manifested freedom then exists within the human’s system, and that human moves into a new level of consciousness. From here, it is much easier to work on the remaining baggage, because the roots of the baggage are gone. And if a person dies in this state, although they may have to come back to clean up their baggage, they come back without karmic issues; their karmic cycle is over. When they come back it will probably be their last life.

Most humans, at the low point of their karmic evolution, do not usually create more than about 550 karma knots, but some humans create thousands. (Dogs and cats usually have only 3, but their consciousness is not complex enough yet to have more than a few basic issues. Ironically, most of the people we elect to lead our countries have extremely high numbers of karma knots.) The average number for present-day humans is about 250 karma knots; people further along on their spiritual path will have less. But because of divine intention right now to accelerate human beings, anyone who is working with the divine in a deep and committed way today will most likely lose all their karma knots in this lifetime.

Karmic Webbing: Once the incarnational personality comes into the spine, a deep intention to express itself in human form arises. But the incarnational personality’s experiences itself in terms of its stuff-its issues and positions and history. So that is what it expresses into its new human form. Out of the karmic body grows a fine webbing that holds this deep intention for expression into humanness as well as all the history and issues. This karmic webbing weaves itself into all the energetic bodies (the physical, etheric, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies) and the chakras. Most of the conditioning in the emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, as well as in the chakras, comes from the karmic webbing. And because of the incredible force of the intention within it, it is actually harder to release than karma knots, just as the roots of a tree may be easier to cut through than the trunk that grew from it. Even when the karma knots are all gone, this karmic webbing remains. After the karma knots, it is the most significant area of karmic baggage.

In some areas of the body, usually an organ or a chakra, this webbing may become very dense and create “karmic structures.” Because of the sheer amount of history held in one of these structures, a karmic structure will have a strong impact on that human’s emotional consciousness and usually have a significantly weakening effect upon whatever organ or chakra it is held in. (Sometimes though, the energetic pressure it puts on an organ will actually strengthen it.) When a karmic structure becomes old enough (at least 6 lives old), instead of remaining a structure of disconnected layers of history, it may take on a life of its own. The layers are still there, but the structure has a living center to it now. It is like a little being, except that its entire existence is the expression of a single position, backed up by an enormous amount of history. My friend Jill Hester, a well-known psychic and healer, likes to call these “gremmies.”

As a gremmie continues to age, it shrinks in size, but becomes much denser, compacted with even more history. A gremmie is usually hundreds or thousands of lives old. It has so much “stuff” in it, healing energy usually has little effect on it. In some ways it resembles the Borg, from Star Trek, so I have sometimes called them Borgs. Most people will still have 2 to 5 of these. If the karma knot that the gremmie was an expression of is released, the gremmie will still remain, but enough of the juice goes out of it that it will not be taken into the next life (although we will still take much of the webbing that constructed the gremmie). Gremmies have effects that are similar to that of ordinary karmic structures, but more powerful. Because they are held on the human level rather than the karmic level, they have huge impacts on the human personality.

The Emotional Body: The emotional body facilitates our experience and expression of emotion. It carries a huge amount of baggage in the form of emotional memory and emotional position. Most of the baggage in the emotional body has been expressed into it from the karmic body through the karmic webbing. A small amount of it comes from genetic memory and the rest is from present-life experience.

The Mental Body: The mental body facilitates our experience and expression of human mind. Its baggage or conditioning takes the form of attitudes and judgments. One might also include belief-structures, but these only really become baggage when they harden into attitudes. Most of the baggage in the mental body has been expressed into it from the karmic body through the karmic webbing. The rest is from present-life experience.

The Spiritual Body: The spiritual body facilitates our experience and expression of spirituality. What creates problems here are past or present-life emotional experiences that are deeply painful enough to cause some loss of faith. That experience of loss of faith is held in the spiritual body.

The Etheric Body: The etheric body is our interface with the external world. When we have no resistance to experiencing the emotions, attitudes, positions and pain of others, our experience of the external world flows through our etheric body without a trace. Whatever we resist, whatever we cannot open to, we wall off, but then the experience gets stuck against the wall because it can’t flow through. So our etheric body is full of all the stuff we experienced in the world that we couldn’t be perfectly at peace with. The etheric body’s program for what to resist is generated by our pre-existing karmic positions (from our karmic body); what actually gets stuck in the etheric body is present-life experience, but all this stuff we “picked up” from the world is only a reflection of our own karmic resistance.

The Physical Body: The physical body holds conditioning both within its tissues and within its DNA. Because all the other bodies interface the physical body, everything stuck in the other bodies will be expressed into the tissue of the physical body as well. When a healer finds an emotional “charge” (an unintegrated emotional memory) in a person’s liver, that charge is sitting both in the physical liver and the area of the emotional body that interfaces the liver. It is a single charge but imprinted into both bodies. If this emotional charge is from a past life, then releasing it from the liver (both from the physical and emotional bodies) is not sufficient, because the source of this charge is still in the karmic body. Not realizing this is a mistake made by many healers. If a healer releases a past-life charge from someone’s liver, it will give them relief, but over time it will build back up as the karmic body continues to express that charge it still holds through its karmic webbing.

The conditioning imprinted in physical body tissue can never be completely cleared out (and doesn’t need to be for spiritual awakening). The body just holds too much of it in too many layers of tissue, bound up biochemically.

One special layer of baggage in the body is held in the DNA. If you think of the DNA as having a spiraling center with molecules around it, then all of a person’s karmic history is imprinted into that spiraling center, in every DNA molecule in their body. Their parents’ karmic history is imprinted into the energy field of the surrounding molecules. And all their present life experience is imprinted into the microchemistry of the DNA. No wonder it is so easy to identify with our bodies: our entire karmic history is stored in the DNA of every cell. Our bodies thus become very comfortable for us to live in, but they also become a key source for reinforcing our ego-identities.

The DNA is also a source of “genetic disorder.” Sometimes genetic disorder creates physical dysfunction, but sometimes it will hold a particular ancestral emotional position. All genetic disorder begins when someone has an emotional experience that is deep enough to cause DNA to mutate to reflect this experience. If this person then has children, the mutation is passed on. Of course, only beings that have karmic issues that are aligned with this particular disorder will be attracted to become a child of that parent.

Broken Divine Web Lines

Creation is made of both a vital web (which holds the blueprint for, and manifests, the universe) and divine webbing (which from its own level, outside time and space, feeds the vital web pure life energy and divine intention). The most important divine line in our body sits in our spine, and we have major divine web lines coming out of the center of each of the first 6 chakras and out each hand and foot. Trauma or deep enough “issues” can break these web lines. Approximately 1 out of 50 people have broken one of these divine web lines in their body. Most commonly, this is the line coming out of the left foot or 3rd chakra. If one of the divine lines coming through the feet to ground is broken, that person will not be able to fully ground and may have “out of body” experiences. If a divine line coming out of a chakra is broken, the chakra will have no energy and the organs fed by that chakra will develop problems. (If the line in the spine were broken, the person might die; they would at least become very dissociated.) Although an awareness of a broken line and a deep intention to heal the break can be sufficient to do so over time, VortexHealing (r) is the only healing art I’ve come across that is aware of this potential problem and has developed a simple technique for remedying it.

Vital web lines may also become broken, usually from a physical trauma; but that will only make the traumatized area feel more physically “stuck”. This is far less significant than the breaking of a divine web line.


The word “samskaras” is Sanskrit, and can loosely be translated as “impressions”. (There is another word, “vasanas” that is similar in meaning.) Our samskaras are simply the build-up of all the repeated impressions that we have ever experienced. Our samskaras include all the conditioning held in our various energetic bodies and chakras, but also include repeated impressions not covered in these categories. For instance, if a person spends most of their waking time reading, that repeated activity creates a lasting impression on their consciousness. An impression is also created if someone simply sits at a desk all day. These impressions are neither emotional positions nor mental attitudes or judgments. Yet they do condition the consciousness. They leave a mark. All of our bodies have these kinds of samskaric imprints, both from past lives and our present one.


The amount of karmic baggage we have is immense. I often tell people that if they could truly see how much stuff they will have to work through, they would probably choose to stay unconscious. Thankfully, we don’t need to clear all of it. And in spite of the immensity of the challenge to awaken within all of that, people do. There are fully enlightened human beings all over the earth. They have moved deeply enough within their karmic drama to become completely free of it. Ironically, we must make this journey to come to the point where we fully realize that the journey itself was just a play in consciousness, that there was no real karma, that there wasn’t even any real “I’ that needed to get free-the sense of separate “I” was simply a vehicle within the play. We never really went anywhere-where could the Self possibly go? But still, for reasons that will always lie hidden in Mystery, we have to make this magical, if not quite real journey. As stated in the beginning, the soul’s journey is vaguely akin to going to the movies and being totally involved with the story. We always know who we are, yet it is still difficult to leave in the middle of the movie-the story can be so compelling. We must either become bored with the movie or desire something else more strongly than our enjoyment of the movie to get up and leave. Once we leave we are no longer affected by the drama (or karma) of the movie. And no one is keeping us here. How attached are you to the story of yourself and your life?

Grace be with you!

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