How Karma Influences Our Lives


How much of life is controlled by our destiny (product of previous thoughts and actions) and how much of it is controlled by our current thoughts and actions?

I ask this in connection to the fact that some changes in my life have been very different from what I have expected. And I have actually been thankful that destiny has worked its own way instead of conceeding to my blinkered thoughts.

Thank you.

—Nandini, India


Our lives are controlled completely by our own self-created karma, meaning the actions we do in this lifetime, as well as what we have done in all our previous lifetimes (which are many in number). These actions, or karma, determine what happens in our lives today, especially as these actions have been repeated over many lifetimes.

So your question can be answered by saying that all of our actions, both current and past, determine what happens in our lives today. This also means that if we act now in ways to improve our life, those actions will have an influence as we move forward. Our so called destiny is of our own making.

Much of our karmic influences lie hidden in the subconscious part of our minds. This is where all our karmic actions are recorded. Our karma makes its presence felt more consciously in our lives when the outer circumstances are right. This is why we can have changes in our lives that are different than what we might have expected, as you have mentioned.

The more conscious we are about how we live our lives and the choices we make, the more we will be able to guide our lives in a particular way. But it is only when we begin to choose the spiritual life that we finally find the fulfillment and happiness we have sought in all of our previous lifetimes.