I’m curious about karmic exchange, curses, and the impact people in close proximity to me may have upon my good karma. How do I identify and protect myself from people who both want to replace my good karma with their bad karma and also have the ability to do so?
You ask some probing and complex questions about how karma works. It’s easy to say that karma is simply action and effects of action. But beyond that, it isn’t easy at all. Let’s try to tease out some of the things you bring up in your note:
1. External influences. Yogananda is often quoted saying that, “Environment is stronger than will (power).” This was said and is quoted in the context of the positive value of “good company,” meaning spiritually-minded friends and associates. The logic is unassailable because we spend far more time with other people than we do in solitary, private meditation. But most people don’t have daily contact with other spiritually-minded souls. (This is how and why Ananda’s commitment to the establishment of intentional, spiritual communities that combine home, work, and church into one is so valuable for those fortunate enough to be able to live in one.) So, yes, the company you keep with others is of vital importance. But that’s not all.
2. “Thoughts are universally, not individually, rooted.” This quote from Yogananda’s famous Autobiography of a Yogi reinforces the importance of our thoughts and influences. But here’s the important thing: what influence we are open to is at least as important as what influences we are exposed to. A person with a weakness for gossip, for example, when exposed to an environment of gossip, is going to be influenced in the direction of gossiping! But a person who doesn’t have that inclination will find that an environment of gossip doesn’t attract them. However, unfortunately, exposure to negativity could incite an interest for the simple fact that, being human, we share a wide range of predilections and past karma.
Thus the importance of good company but also the importance and influence of our own, self-created habits and inclinations (karma). Ultimately “the company we keep” is found in our own thoughts and thus practicing mantra or japa throughout the day and keeping company with the saints by spiritual reading and reflection is the best “good company.” Keeping around your person pictures of saints and anything you deem spiritually reminding is helpful. Practicing the divine presence through mindfulness is very powerful protection: “I want only Thee, Lord!” and “I love you!” and “Om guru!”, etc. Affirmations too can be a source of aura-strengthening and protection. Repeating throughout the day affirmations and prayers is vital.
3. Yogananda talked at length about the magnetic exchange between individuals in close association, such that the person with the stronger magnetism (positive or negative) will influence the person with weaker magnetism (regardless of that person’s relative spiritual awareness).
These principles, then, are what govern the topics you bring up. Curses, therefore, can only impact a person whose magnetism is weaker or open to the person and to the nature of the curse being hurled at him. In a culture where magic predominates, people are more vulnerable, but in a culture like the West (generally), where curses no longer dominate our social consciousness, we will tend to be immune to their impact. Unfortunately, however, our society still lacks awareness or acceptance of the power of psychic influences. As a result, some people are going to be especially vulnerable.
Here are some suggestions for self-protection from negative psychic influences. (Most can be found in Swami Kriyananda’s excellent book on meditation: Awaken to Superconsciousness.)
- Avoid, as much as you can, contact with negative people and especially those with stronger magnetism than yours (at least in the arena of their negativity). This is obvious of course but should be stated. Do not imagine that you can change them just because of your goodwill and spiritual lifestyle! Be sensitive to the impact of such a person on your feelings. This counsel can even include not looking into the eyes of such a person (any more than necessary, at least) — not even shaking hands!
- Place your hands together and cross your thumbs one over the other forming a cross-shape with your two thumbs. Hold out in front of you and mentally picture anyone from whom you feel a psychic threat. See your “mudra” as reflecting back to that person any energy they are sending to you. (Not to harm them but to protect yourself.) Avoid dwelling on that person mentally.
- Before going to sleep, trace the letters of A…U….M…. on your pillow before sleeping.
- In standing position, stretch your arms in front of you chest-high, with palms facing inward to each other and touching; next spread the arms in opposite directions until they meet directly behind you. Thus swinging your arms in front and behind chant aloud or silent: AUM, TAT, SAT (this is the equivalent of Father, Son, Holy Ghost calling on God in the triune nature beyond creation, within creation and as creation). Do this as often as you feel to energize your aura which is your psychic protection shield.
- When feeling threatened, mentally or silently chant this mantra: Aum Hreeng Kleeng Krishnaya Namaha!
Your lifestyle and your thoughts should be clean and uplifted. Avoid dark entertainment, including intense images of violence or sex. Exercise regularly and have a nutritious, wholesome diet. Be attentive to the needs of others around you and be helpful whenever you can. Enjoy uplifting music. Your clothes should be neat and clean. Bathe daily. All of these simple aspects of life can help keep your aura bright and clean. Devotion, finally, is the best cleanser!
Blessings and joy to you!