Karma & Dharma by Mike Booth
(a transcript from teacher’s 2 in Thailand, November 2002)
As part of the introduction to the teacher’s 2 course, Mike discussed the phrase ‘you are the colours you choose’ and its significance within Aura-Soma from the perspective of Karma and Dharma. Several of the teachers requested that it be printed in the newsletter, saying that they found it a very inspirational introduction. What follows is the transcript of that introduction.
When I first heard Vicky say, ‘you are the colours you choose and these reflect your being’s needs’ I did not think it was very important. I thought it may be some clever phrase, clever idea, not particularly deep or important. Over the last seventeen years, I have come to realize that this phrase says much about understanding Aura-Soma. It does not say you are a little bit like the colours you choose, or your are nearly like the colours you choose, or you are approximately similar to the colours you choose. What it says is you “are” the colours you choose. This means that there is no difference between what you are and the colours you choose. There is no separation between the colours you choose and what you are. What does that actually mean? The quality of the consciousness that perceives the colours that they identify with, is the same as the nature of that consciousness itself.
When we make a colour selection, we identify ourselves as a particular quality of consciousness, this is something important in the understanding of Aura-Soma.
What is the basis of Aura-Soma and of Vicky Wall having said this remark? It is not just an Aura-Soma idea, it is as idea which goes through many of the ancient wisdom systems. It goes through the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bardo Thodol, it explains about what happens to consciousness as it leaves physical from and begins to experience itself, independent of physical sensory perception. It describes consciousness in relation to the manifestations of colour and light. In other words, if you do not have a body, then you do not have eyes to see, which means that you do not have the sensory apparatus which you would link to visual stimuli, and yet, according to this ancient Tibetan work, consciousness, independent of these physical senses, still perceives colour as part of its experience of itself, a point important in relation to the idea of ‘you are the colours you choose’. What it implies is, that in the choosing, the colour selection, the recognition of your own colours, you are entering into a relationship with the consciousness that goes beyond sensory experience.
In the Egyptian book of the Dead, the Egyptians describe the journey of the soul to the other world in terms of colour and light. The Mayans did the same thing in the Mayan Codices, also within Christian Mysticiam there is the same phenomena. In ‘the Dark Night of the Soul’ by St John of the Cross, is the description of the journey of the soul, independent of sensory experience, described as a journey of colour and light. If all of the ancient wisdom systems pose the same theory, then one must presume there is the possibility of an objective reality to consciousness experiencing itself in the form of colour and light.
What happens when somebody looks at the one hundred and three different colour combinations of Aura-Soma? They are assessing themselves in relation to the subtleties of colour and light. Defining themselves in relation to the nature of the consciousness that is contained within them, independent of their sensory apparatus.
What makes the difference between one person and another selecting a particular colour or being identified with a particular colour? What are the factors that produce those differences? In Aura-Soma, one aspect we define that determines the difference between quality of consciousness as factors, are what in the East are called Karma and Dharma. The fact that we use two Sanskrit words to describe these two phenomena is because they describe more of the phenomena simply.
Karma has to do with the seeds that have been planted in the past that have and inevitable consequence in the present. Karma is also what we are planting now that is going to have an effect on the future. In other words, Karma has to do with the way we plant what we are planting and also why we plant what we plant and the nature of what has been planted.
There are many factors and conditions which influence what is called the karmic pattern. A good feeling, a good intention that is really felt and experienced now, can have a repercussion for who you are going to be in the future. Equally, what you are experiencing now in relation to the quality of thoughts, feelings, body awareness and awareness in general, has its origins in the past. Quite simply, you can say that whatever you think, whatever you feel or are experiencing, has had its origins in the past, otherwise you would not be experiencing it now, in the present. This also has to do with not only the conditioning in the past, having the repercussions on the conditions in the present, but also the way in which these conditions manifest themselves.
When a soul incarnates into physical form, it brings with it certain things that then enters into the genetic situation in which it is about to incarnate. The genetic circumstances already have particular ingredients which interlock or mesh with the seeds of the consciousness of the soul that is coming in to the midst of those conditions.
This idea goes beyond that we just choose our parents, there is a match from the consciousness of the soul of the person that is entering into the genetic circumstance of the mother and the father and in those circumstances the possibility for what is meant to occur is precise, that is one understanding of what karma is.
Another simple way of expressing it is, whatever we have done right or wrong in the past, influences the way in which we do whatever we do now. Certainly it influences the conditions within which we find ourselves. As a being that we may have been in the past, that being has done certain things in particular ways and that is our present inheritance.
We cannot undo what has been done, but we can come into different relationship with it. The different relationship with what has been done, which creates the conditions that we find ourselves in, that quality, that awareness, change or shift in being, is called Dharma. It is far more related to the way we do what we do, the karmic seeds are going to influence what we are doing and the conditions within which we do what we do. Dharma has to do with the way in which we do what we do and the quality we bring to that situation which has the possibility, through the modification of attitudes towards the conditions, and what we do, of changing the karmic seeds from the past in the present.
Both of these things, Karma and Dharma, influence the quality of the consciousness.
These two dynamic forces also influence the quality of consciousness in relation to its appearance in relation to colour. The conditions of the past, the karmic circumstances, the way in which the Dharma has been integrated within the life, will effect the colour selection. Say you feel a particular attitude, that is a consequence of the karmic patterns of the past, then you have the possibility of either identifying with that or nor identifying with it. I feel this, I feel that, I think this, I think that and you are identified with it. What is the other alternative? There is thinking, there is feeling but there is no ‘I’ that grabs hold of it and says this is me and mine. Simply then that is an aspect of the difference between karma and dharma.
You could define it simply then, as identification. The more you are identified, the more you are reaping the karmic patterns and planting the seed of karma for the future. The less you are identified, the more you are clear that what is passing through and what is happening on the stage of yourself and what is happening in the movie theatre of the thinking and the feeling is not something that is you, but is more to do with something that is just going on and you are not identified with it, all you are doing is seeing it happening. That is conceptually, more to do with dharma.
Regardless of what is happening and whether you are identifying with it or not, the quality of consciousness has to do with karmic seeds or conditions that have arisen in the past that are being experienced in the present, that manifest as the type of consciousness that is the basis for your experience, the actual quality of the colour, the differences in the way in which the manifestation of colour occurs, depends upon the karma and dharma factor within the individual being.
There are two reasons why there can be dis-identification. One is not wanting to associate because of painfulness with the conditions one faces, firstly we dis-identify with the thoughts, feelings, body sensation, because the quality of those thoughts, feelings and feeling in the body sense, is such that we do not want to identify.
The other one is dis-identification through relaxation and meditation. As we become calmer and more peaceful, so the quality of thought, feeling and body experience also shifts. That shift in body awareness, feeling or thinking to do with calmness, actually produces the same effect in relation to increase of the factors of light, that influences whether a colour is lighter or darker in relation to consciousness.
In other words, you cannot tell when you look at a pale colour, whether or not that paleness has to do with dis-identification connected with suffering in relation to thinking, feeling or the sensations of the body, or whether it is dis-identification which is more calmness, awareness, relaxation that has come about that reduces dis-identification through an increase in calm.
The paradox of colour and light is that the same quality exits in relation to the pale colours whether or not the causative factors are the same or different.
Another way of saying ‘you are the colours you choose’ is, you are the colours you choose and you cannot avoid who you are by choosing colours that are not you because you can only choose the colours that you are. Eventually you will meet yourself in the mirror of colour, whether or not that is sooner or later, does not matter. If it is sooner then it is likely to be in the context of the 103 different colour combinations of Aura-Soma, if it is later, then it is likely to be when you do not have a body, but inevitably, you will meet yourself in the mirror of colour and light.
(this article from the practitioner newsletter issue 8 –june 2002)