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Karma is formed when you significantly violate another’s domain, creating an energy imbalance that then seeks resolution. Usually a karmic debt is repaid in kind. For example, if A murders B, B will murder A or A will save the life of B in a subsequent lifetime.

Philanthropic or “good” karma results from significantly ex­panding another’s choices in a way that does not benefit you other than through the good feelings that arise.

In the Yarbro books, karma was specifically defined to mean a significant abridgment of another person’s right of free choice without prior agreement, such as murder. Michael through me sometimes refers to this as a “major karma.” Murder creates a significant energy imbalance because it robs someone of his physical body and all the effort he invested into setting up that lifetime. The murderer owes his victim that energy. A person who forms a karmic bond by murdering someone will, in a future lifetime, either be murdered by him, which cancels the debt with an opposite action, or will save his life, which is a more enlightened, joyful way of repaying such a debt. In rare instances, the energy imbalance is neutralized through “grace,” in which the murderer fully realizes his infringement, and both parties are able and willing to forgive the karma without acting it out physically.

Another example of a major karma is a thief robbing a large amount of money that someone worked to save, causing significant hardships that the victim cannot recover from, thereby reducing the choices available to the victim. The money doesn’t belong to the thief; it is “magnetically” linked to the person who generated it, and “tries” to return to its rightful owner, like a wave impelled to the shore, where it can return to equilibrium.

Through some other channels, Michael defines karma more broadly, as being any intense experience. This is more in keeping with the general new age use of the word. This would include lesser energy imbalances that do not significantly abridge another’s right of free choice or alter the course of his lifetime. Michael through me calls these “intermediate” and “minor” karmas. (In Michael’s People,2 Michael refers to the repayment of intermediate karmas as “acts of restitution.”) An example of an intermediate karma might be a business owner firing an employee unfairly; the owner has the right to do it, and although the employee might suffer some temporary hardship, it doesn’t generally cause major long-term harm. However, “what goes around comes around.” If the owner lacks fairness with his employees, he is likely to attract that sort of treatment in the future for himself. It may or may not come from those whom he treated unfairly. This differs from major karma, in which the “books” must be “balanced” with the same party.

If, in a future lifetime, the former owner were to meet the former employee, the former owner might feel guilty or rejective, depending on whether he was repentant. If he felt guilty, he might feel an impulse to help his former employee in a way roughly commensurate with the harm he had caused. If he follows his impulse, he may engage in an act of restitution, probably not knowing why he wants to be so “generous.”

If the former owner was not repentant, and the former employee had not resolved his feelings about what had happened, the former employee might inexplicably feel nervous, angry, or even the desire to “get even.” If the former employee now happened to be in a position to unfairly fire the former owner, he might do that, or he might choose to put aside his “irrational” feelings and act with integrity. This is obviously a milder experience of karma than if the former owner had murdered him; in that case, the former employee would likely feel powerful waves of energy seeking to be rebalanced. Although there is always free choice, he might feel overwhelmingly compelled to reciprocate what was done to him, or to allow the other person to make it up to him, especially if that was in their life plans. Minor and intermediate karmas are not centrally compelling in a lifetime in the way that major karma is. Only major karmas must be repaid before a soul cycles off. However, most of a soul’s intermediate and minor karmas will also be repaid in the passage of many lifetimes.

Of course, getting even, which can be an element of any kind of negative karmic repayment, tends to perpetuate patterns of injustice. The history of civilization could be couched in terms of vicious circles of getting even. There is always a choice about how a karmic debt is repaid. If an essence plans to repay a karmic debt in an upcoming lifetime, the means of repayment is likely to be discussed with the essence to whom the debt is owed. An essence may even agree to incarnate and be murdered at a particular time in order to repay a debt. Even if a person did not agree to repay a particular karma in this lifetime, if he gets involved with someone to whom he owes a debt and the “ball starts rolling,” he may repay it anyway. Once he is drawn into the whirlwind of a major karma, it can be difficult to extract himself from it until the karmic “ribbon” is “burned,” since its energies are so powerful.

Let’s say, for example, that in a past life a person murdered someone with whom he has a close soul-level connection. Let’s also say that they did not plan to settle that debt in this lifetime—they felt that it would be better to work on some other lessons together beforehand. So they meet and become involved with one another. There may be an underlying discomfort due to the outstanding karma—the one who had been murdered may at times feel an inexplicable nervousness or wariness in the other person’s presence, and the one who had murdered may still carry the unresolved emotions that led to the murder in the first place. However, their basically close soul-level connection draws them together and they seek to work things out with each other. If they get to a point in their relationship similar to the point at which the karma was incurred the “last time around,” they may find that they have grown enough to deal with the challenges that arise in a more mature way. They may also find themselves again engulfed by the emotions that come up. In the heat of the moment, the one who killed may kill again, incurring more karma, or the one who had been murdered may this time be the murderer—the energy imbalance of the original karma may surface in full primal force, like a tidal wave, and seek to right itself any way it can.

After a karmic debt is repaid, those involved can carry “karmic residues,” leftover ill feelings that will usually, in time, fade away. If we meet someone who at first triggers negative feelings in us, but whom we come to like or feel neutral about, this could indicate that we were dispersing karmic residues.

Sometimes people assume that every difficult relationship is karmic—that is not the case. Some people are just hard to get along with, or push a lot of our buttons. Also, people can develop patterns of behavior with each other after several lifetimes together that may not be fully productive, but are not karmic. With deliberate work, these patterns can be changed. An example might be two people who basically love each other but habitually compete rather than support one another. There is no energy imbalance here, just an encrusted way of relating.

There is also what Michael calls “self-karma,” which could be defined as an energy imbalance within oneself caused by false, limiting beliefs acquired in past experiences, either in past lives or earlier in this lifetime. This can result in a disease, for instance, that requires a righting of the internal imbalance in order to heal. Seventh-level lifetimes, whether young or old, are often taken up with attempting to deal with self-karmas.

If, for example, a person harbors bigotry without overtly acting it out and tangibly harming someone, he has not incurred a karmic debt, but he may generate self-karma and feel compelled into situations that bring him face to face with his bigotry. Someone who hates members of a particular religious group or race may, in a later lifetime, choose to be born into it so as to deal with that bigotry, just as he might had he incurred a karmic debt with a member of that group or race. However, specific prejudices are fixations of the personality and are not, per se, carried from lifetime to lifetime, although the tendency to have prejudice is. Prejudice is a projection of some rejected part of self. The exact object of a person’s prejudice depends on the culture into which he is born: he will tend to hate whatever group is “popular” to hate in that culture. For instance, in one lifetime his prejudice may be fixated on Roman Catholics; in another, on blacks. However, there can also be patterns from lifetime to lifetime: for example, people may be misogynistic and/or homophobic in many of their male lifetimes if their male energy tends to reject their female energy. Coming to terms with prejudice is a way of learning to love and accept all parts of oneself. Whether a person does this through repaying a karmic debt owed another person, or internally, by dealing with self-karma, the fundamental lessons are the same, since our relationships with others reflect our relationship with ourselves. When a prejudice arises in us, it can be useful to ask ourselves what part of ourselves that particular group represents to us.


Shepherd is a professional Michael channel and author of The Journey of Your Soul--A Channel Explores Channeling and the Michael Teachings and Loving from Your Soul--Creating Powerful Relationships. He does channeling sessions and intuitive readings via telephone, mail, and e-mail. Audio cassettes are available from his site. Visit his website at  Summerjoy Press

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