Yoga, Meditation & Family Karma (a True Story).

Via Eric Klein
on Jul 31, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

Here’s a true story from my yogi life:

HFK title
HFK story 1
HFK story 2
HFK story 3

What caused my yogic peace to crumble into teenage angst?

In a word—capacity.

I had not developed the capacity to sustain balanced awareness in the presence of my family.

I had developed the capacity to experience peace and balance in my bedroom—but not in the kitchen.

When I was in my bedroom cave, with my beloved dog, Kubla, I could untangle awareness from the thoughts, plans, hopes and fears that constituted my everyday state of consciousness.

I could open and follow the breath into a state of undefended, moment-to-moment appreciation for the simple wonder of being.

In short, my capacity to attain and sustain meditative awareness was heavily dependent on a narrow range of conditions.

In the privacy of my room—I had enough capacity. But, I could only stay in my bedroom for so long. At some point, I had to cross the threshold of my room and enter the hallway that led to kitchen. I had to make the journey from the cave to the rest of my life.

And what awaited me in the kitchen?

Three karmic mirrors: my mother, my brother, my sister.

Each reflected, with precise clarity, the state of my meditative capacity. Each revealed a particular pattern of unconscious reactivity within my soul.

It’s the same in your life. In your family, in your work, in your community—there are key people who reveal the state of your meditative capacity.

They are your karmic mirrors.

They reflect with precise terrifying accuracy the reactive patterns of unconscious reactivity within your soul.

Whatever may arise as you face the karmic mirrors, know this:

It’s not their fault and it’s not your fault. It’s the nature of karmic mirrors to reflect and reveal.

Karmic mirrors reveal that which is not yet healed in your soul.

It’s not always pleasant to look into the karmic mirror. (Do I win the spiritual understatement award for that sentence?) But, it is always revealing and, if you turn towards what is revealed . . . healing.

Healing is the primary function of karma.

Karma isn’t a punishment—it’s a healing mechanism. It isn’t a cosmic scoring system—it’s an expression of Life’s unwavering pursuit of wholeness, healing and integration.

Life’s pursuit of wholeness isn’t an abstraction—it’s the nitty-gritty essence of what’s happening in your life; in your relationships; in your family. The pathway to wholeness goes through your present experience—even (or especially) when that experience feels un-endurable.

Life is relentlessly promoting your wholeness and integration.

Life is seeking to realize, embody,and express wholeness through you and as you. How does Life do this? By bringing your awareness to whatever is unconscious, incomplete and unredeemed in your soul.

Karma is an organic reflective, creative, learning process!

Karma is the process by which Life reveals what needs attention and integration.

It’s all done with mirrors.

For most of you and me, these mirrors come in the form of people.

Specifically, those people who reveal the limits of your meditative capacity; in whose presence your mind and emotions spin wildly into familiar, habitual, patterns of suffering.

So, what can you do other than have fights at the breakfast table or hide out in your bedroom? You can develop capacity through cultivating an ever-deepening, daily spiritual practice.

What is spiritual practice?

Spiritual practice is a way of life.

This way of life includes:

  • Formal meditation—periods of stillness and inner communion
  • Meditation-in-action—whereby you bring the energy and presence of the inner communion out into the “kitchen”—the relationships and situations of your life

It takes both—the inner communion and the outer engagement to develop the capacity to cooperate fully with Life’s primary agenda—to realize, embody and express wholeness through and as you.

The primary karmic mirrors are your family members.

Your family of origin, your ancestors and your current “family” of loved ones—are your karmic mirrors. Each reflects and reveals key aspects of your soul.

That is why one of the most powerful—and direct—ways to cooperate with Life is to focus your spiritual practice on your family karma.

Encoded into the emotional patterns of your family dynamics are the keys to your awakening and freedom.

Does this resonate with you? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

Like elephant meditation on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick


About Eric Klein

Eric Klein is one of the few people on the planet who is both a lineage holder in a 5,000-year-old yoga lineage and a best-selling business book author. You can get his free ebook & guided meditation audio "The 7 Reasons Meditation Doesn't Work (and how to fix them)" at Eric has worked with over 35,000 people to infuse greater meaning, awareness, and purpose into their work and lives. His book "You are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For" won a 2008 Nautilus Book Award for being “a world-changing book promoting positive social change and responsible leadership.” With his wife and partner Devi, Eric is also the creator of the Healing Family Karma programs and The Meditation Habit. Eric and Devi have two adult sons, a ball-obsessed pup, and live in Encinitas, California. To learn more about their work (and access free teaching videos on meditation and mantra), go to


5 Responses to “Yoga, Meditation & Family Karma (a True Story).”

  1. @DanaGornall says:

    Thank you for this. This is an almost daily experience for me. I get up each morning with an intention of being mindful and filled with peace…and then my teenage daughter gets up. Somewhere along the way the mindfulness flies out the window.

  2. bill66912 says:

    Great article with wonderful analogies! Love your inclusion of the usage of mirrors too.
    Yoga off the mat. Well done!!

  3. Janine says:

    I love the idea of "Karma isn’t a punishment—it’s a healing mechanism" – thanks a lot, very helpful xx

  4. rhonda says:

    really enjoyed your thoughts on this. I found it very helpful and enlightening. thank you.

  5. rhonda says: