The Great Karma Exercise
By Dennis Klocek
The roots of the karma exercise lie in the capacity to form an inner picture and hold it at will and then to dissolve it at will. Practice this form of imagining for five minutes as a prelude to the karma exercise. This puts the soul in touch with an inner force that an alchemist would call the aeriform metal, i.e. the ability to intensify, or dissolve a particular mood in the soul.
Then, take a situation in which a particular person has been the source of inner questioning for you, and this has accelerated in to the condition that whenever they come into the room or whenever you think of them you feel the arising of a particular and uncontrollable feeling. Bring to mind the person and the feeling. Then do the following exercise.
- Inwardly build an inner picture of the way in which they use their limbs when they walk or speak or move. How do they turn their head when they hear something? How do they move their hands when they are emphasizing a point in conversation? What is their body language when they talk to us? Do they ever touch other persons? Do they meet another’s gaze? How does their jaw move when they talk? These kinds of sensations are used by our own sense of the Ego of the other. With them we try and see into the True Self of the other but usually are unable to penetrate there consciously so these inner pictures remain far below the threshold of our awake consciousness. Hold these inner pictures in the inner eye for a few moments and then dissolve them.
- Then build up a detailed inner picture of the way in which the moods of the person manifest. What are their characteristic facial expressions? How quickly or slowly do they change their moods when they encounter different circumstances? Do their moods change predictably during the day or the season? How do their mood swings unfold when they begin. Is there a pattern to the swing? The next step is to dissolve these memories.
- The next phase of the exercise is to picture to your self how the person might form a thought in response to a sense impression. That is how do they think about things in the world? Do they form thoughts rigidly, tentatively, forcefully or flexibly? Is their thought formed sporadically or methodically? Does this tenor of thought change in the person with different sense experiences? Do they follow a logical pattern when thinking or do they jump from thought to thought? Do their thoughts rely upon sense experience or do they live in the realm of concepts? Do they think on the wing or do they deeply and silently mull over a thought for a long time before expressing it? Do they offer their thoughts freely in meetings or are they the last to speak and then only speak their thoughts only when prodded? In short how do they form and express their thoughts in relation to sense experience? This mood picture is then dissolved into a state of inner silence. This may take quite a time to do this so the next phase may be done at another time or done consecutively with the first exercises. This is the first phase of the work.
In the second phase of the work we inwardly picture the thoughts and related sense experiences of the other person as if we ourselves are having them. We imagine that we are actually inside of them thinking the thoughts, we think them as if they were our own. Then we dissolve this picture and its feelings into silence. This condition is known esoterically as Saturn (lead), the give away of the sense memory and the formation of concepts resulting from the experiences of the soul within a physical body.
We then recall the temperamental moods of the person but this time we strive to experience the temperament as if we ourselves were actually in them looking out at ourselves. When this is clearly in the minds eye we dissolve this into silence. This esoteric condition is known as Sun (gold), the give away or surrender of the memory of the body of life forces or life body. The life body is the source of temperament.
We then build up a picture of the way in which the person uses their arms and legs to move and walk, how they express themselves with their limbs but we ourselves try to be them moving the way that they do by living into their characteristic motions, practice walking like them or holding a pencil like them, or sitting in a chair like they do. Then dissolve the inner picture of how it is to move like them into an inner state of silence. This is known esoterically as Moon, in this practice we give away or surrender the constant unconscious geometrizing of the astral body. We swim among the planets with our limbs.
In these ways the practitioner gradually distills a spiritual essence of the True Self of the other person without the temptation of dwelling on all of the alienating habits and impulses that give rise in our soul to bad feelings about others. These exercises render the other person transparent to the tender vision of our heart eye because they cannot be done except with the utmost feeling of attention, respect and interest in the other. Through these exercises we gradually can come to have an experience that I and the other person are truly one being in the Spirit, as we gradually see into the common karma patterns that exist between ourselves and others.
Dennis Klocek, MFA, is co-founder of the Coros Institute and a faculty member at Rudolf Steiner College. He is the author of nine books, including the newly released Colors of the Soul; Esoteric Physiology and also Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics. Dennis is also an international lecturer.