Jack Kornfield – Heart Wisdom – Ep. 3 – Karma and the Power of Intention


In this talk, Jack describes Karma, the ways it can rule us, and the ways we can change karmic patterns through the power of intention.

Jack opens his discussion on karma and the power of intention by reciting a poem by Ellen Bass. The poem, titled Insomnia, romantically describes the complicated thoughts humans often suffer from in the silence of sleeplessness. It also incites a prayer for the restless, wishing them comfort in maneuvering through darkness.

Understanding Karma (7:47)

Jack discusses the many ways we interpret Karma in our daily lives. How do we begin to understand Karma when it has become a word that is commonly misused in our culture? Jack describes a Buddhist passage on Karma involving cause and effect. He explains Karma as a theory of patterns much like a call and response.

“The patterns of love, the patterns of fear, they are very powerful. When you start to meditate and you look in the mirror–you start to see these patterns.”

Four Kinds of Karma (16:35)

We hear Jack outline four kinds of Karma: Weighty Karma, Proximate Karma, Habitual Karma, and Random Karma. He describes how Karma can be a chain of suffering that gets repeated until it is healed. Karma can tell you about the intensity of your life patterns and how much these patterns rule you. We all have a choice each day to make new patterns and heal our Karma.

For an interesting piece on Racial Karma check out: Francesca Maximé – ReRooted – Ep. 53 – America’s Racial Karma with Larry Ward, Ph.D.

“You don’t get to possess the world and make it what you want, but you get to plant your seeds in this garden. Those seeds are the seeds of your words, your actions, and the seeds of your heart.”

Navigating Karma (27:48)

Jack says the key to navigating karma is intention. Each day we experience many feelings such as praise and blame, joy and sorrow, but we have the power over our response to these experiences. We also experience many problems and tragedies, but if our intentions are pure, that is what will bring our karma. We can practice this by what we speak, how we treat others, and even by the way we drive. How can you practice cultivating positive intentions to heal your karma?

“It is not the action that makes karma, but it is the intention…We tend Karma by tending our heart and tending our motivation, tending our intention.”

For more stories about Karma listen to: Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 170 – Stories on Karma
Art Via Prostock-studio