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About the Author
Shelly Wu is the author of Chinese Astrology: Exploring the Eastern Zodiac and Chinese Sexual Astrology: Eastern Secrets to Mind-Blowing Sex. Her columns and feature articles have appeared in the Associated Press, on ABC News and the BBC, as well as in Psychic Interactive, Your Stars, InTouch and LIFE magazines. Wu lives and loves in sunny California and can be heard on radio talk shows worldwide.
Read an Excerpt
Karma and Your Love Life
Love is born from practice.
Just in case you haven't noticed, the universal law of cause and effect is alive and well. Going to sleep tonight isn't going to make your threat to perform a do-it-yourself vasectomy on your boyfriend go away. When you wake up, you will still have to face the consequences of your not-so-veiled threat. Sure he was flirting with your roommate, but you can expect him to be a little leery of getting near you in a pair of shorts for a while. Karma works in a similar way. Its essence is absolute natural consequences.
In 1687 Sir Isaac Newton recognized a universal truth, a little something he liked to call the laws of motion, and he used these laws to explain the many effects that motion had on physical objects. Newton also taught us that for every force or action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What Newton couldn't see, prove, or quantify is this same principle in action on the spiritual plane. The spiritual equivalent of natural consequences (or "cause and effect") is what religious philosophers call the law of reaping and sowing. You may have heard the modern version, "What goes around, comes around." There is a law of balance operating in the universe that demands equality. For every win there must be a loss; for every happiness, a sadness; and for every positive move, a negative challenge. You cannot have one without the other; it would be like trying to separate day from night or man from woman. To understand the natural laws of the universe is to also understand the spiritual laws. As the laws of motion form the basis for all physical mechanics, so do certain laws of love form the basis for all "spiritual mechanics." Whether it be the physical realm or the spiritual realm, cause cannot be separated from effect.
And that's where we begin.
Karma is Sanskrit for "action" or "deed" in denoting the cycle of cause and effect. It is the sum of all that you have done, are currently doing, and will do in the future. The results, or "fruits," of these actions are called karma-phala. Karma is not about retribution, vengeance, punishment, or reward; karma simply deals with what is. From the immediate effects of our kriyamana (daily, or "instant") karma — for example, getting caught in a lie or cheating — to the long-term, accumulated debts of prarabdha (the future effects of present actions and intentions) karma, each moment of every day we are tipping or balancing the karmic scales.
Any thought, action, or emotion, whether positive or negative, is a pebble cast out onto the serene surface of our relationship ponds. This pebble sends ripples through the water; the larger the pebble, the greater the impact on the pond. This creates changes in the pond as well as in objects on or around the water. We each toss our pebbles (energy) into the universal pond (the collective consciousness — our shared beliefs and attitudes) moment by moment. Learning to accept responsibility for the results (natural consequences) of those tosses, skims, and skips is a lifelong process. But it is imperative that we allow ourselves to learn from, and be shaped by, these consequences.
Although all aspects of our lives are influenced by karma, this influence is most evident in our love lives. The interaction between karma and romance starts even before we are born with our selection of physical attributes, the particular spiritual lessons we must master, and the environments that shape and mold our personalities. Although each love relationship will have its own unique "script," or destiny, what is common to all of them is the potential for growth — the kind of cataclysmic spiritual evolution that unites the ego with the soul.
We immediately evaluate each potential love interest on many levels. Some evaluations are conscious (I love his hair and eyes); some, subconscious (he reminds me of my father); some, personality based (we have so much in common); and some, spiritually based (we recognize each other and have unfinished business from the past). Occasionally, relationships crash and burn because of past karma, rather than due to simple incompatibility. Despite the passionate feelings involved, sometimes we just have to part ways with a beloved person. These kinds of relationships involve a lot of trial and error, and the learning process can feel like birth pains. A difference in spiritual maturity between two partners is responsible for the relationship drama, obsessions, and depressions that you yourself may have survived. In addition to some sleepless nights, these journeys will also create some entertaining (and some not-so-amusing) memories for the rocking chair. But the end result is that both partners learn lessons. Both have completed the purpose for the union.
When walking the tightrope of love and attachment there are only meaningful coincidences. When you first encounter someone, your eyes meet and you see his hair color, eyes, and smile, but you also "see," or sense, his spirit energy (essence). Physical appearance, professional aspirations, or social circumstances can't explain the intense attraction that exists between certain people. This attraction is not based on sexual chemistry alone; rather, it is a "spiritual rendezvous" between kindred and familiar spirits. Sometimes, however, our personalities are so oblivious to the purpose of certain karmic situations that we feel like victims and captives in our own arenas. Not only can relationship karma be a proverbial bitch, but it can also come with no conscious warning. As much as we think we are planning and directing things, relationship karma can charge in like a bull or quietly stalk us like a cheetah.
We are spiritual creatures inhabiting physical bodies. The soul or spirit is the point of consciousness or essence that survives from one life to the next. When our personalities have served their purpose, our souls will quite naturally discard them. Our quest is to bring our personalities into harmony with our destinies, as chosen by our souls. As our choices actively create past, present, and future experiences, we alone are responsible for our lives, and the pain or joy they bring to others.CHAPTER 2
Could Your Past Be Ruling Your Present?
We rarely encounter someone of importance in our lives who doesn't have some foundation in our past. When you start to examine what has been happening in your relationships you may begin to see some patterns. Relationship dynamics are destined to be repeated until they are finally healed or made right. Lovers resolving karma are two souls who meet up once again to learn, resolve issues, reverse roles, and/or generally work out past issues in a new arena. These types of relationships can be identified by the tumult they bring — think of the couples who survive 50 brawling years of marriage. These particular connections are often of the love/hate variety, in which the balance of power is always in question. On again/off again partners and those who divorce and remarry each other find themselves in this pattern, as well.
Never is the concept of "like attracting like" more evident than in the realm of relationships. Opposites may attract on a personality level, but this is never the case on the spiritual level. Those with similar intents gravitate toward one another. Likewise, couples who are fascinated by and initially attracted to each others' personalities or physical appearances, but are dissimilar spiritually, will eventually repel each other due to clashes between bodiless forces. If you've ever wondered why you couldn't seem to disconnect from a distressing love affair, or why you were attracted to someone utterly unsuited to you, relationship karma may be the culprit.
Some nasty karma exists between certain individuals. You might have had the unfortunate experience of being trapped on a road trip with one of these unpleasant pairs. Locked in combat with one another over a myriad of unseen issues, these couples can make the Fourth of July seem tranquil. Amongst these couplings are found previous enemies, rivals, and antagonists. The jailed meets his or her jailer and the duped meets his or her trickster, but this time each is wiser and experienced enough to do some real reciprocal damage. These are the worst of the worst karmic love combinations and the stuff of which the domestic disturbance police call is made. On a brighter note, the same dynamic responsible for antagonistic pairings also produces torrid love affairs, love triangles, and memorable love scenes. From soul mates and twin flames to obsessions and fatal attractions, interlocked destiny happens!
Fresh insights, new arenas, and different choices are offered to us as we search for inspiration, learn from our mistakes, and perfect our spiritual character. Fate will assist us and steer that familiar soul into our path, but our destiny will ultimately be determined by what we choose to do with our opportunities, as well as the natural consequences of our choices.CHAPTER 3
Joy ('joi), n. The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or possession of what we love or desire.
Happiness ('ha-p'-n? ^s), n. An agreeable feeling arising from good fortune of any kind.
(Source: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English)
Affairs of the heart preoccupy most of us. They bring the highest highs and the lowest lows. Enticement, affection, and love all originate at a soul level. Significant people come into our lives at appointed times. We are presented with many choices throughout our lives, and many people who will, each in his or her own way, take us down a certain life path. Because we are spiritual creatures contained within physical shells, the ultimate purpose of our earthly existence is not physical development, but, rather, spiritual or soul development. Each potential partner carries his or her own unique combination of spirit-improving or spirit-destroying potentials.
It has been said that there is a special someone for all of us. Actually, there are many special someones with whom we could be very happy. By being in synch with the universal laws of spiritual motion we can attract those partners who will further our spiritual, mental, and physical happiness. We need not look far to find significant connections in our lives. Although it is sometimes true that opposites attract each other, in the spiritual realm, like attracts like. Kindred or familiar souls gravitate toward each other and seek to reunite once again. The safety of sameness brings like-minded couples together because they know that their intents will be held in common.
It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between infatuation, lust, and love. As a spiritual connection is the first and most basic support for a successful relationship, one must ask the critical questions: Will a certain romantic alliance make me a better person? Is this a balanced relationship of give and take, or does this attachment contribute only discouragement, continually bringing out the worst in me? One's potential, one's joy, and one's higher purpose can all be destroyed by uniting with the wrong person.
Spiritual and soul mate relationships are unions in which both people have been brought together to achieve a common goal of some kind. A true soul mate can be identified as one who walks alongside of another in support and agreement of purpose. Soul mates share a life goal and steadfastly work together to achieve it. In addition, each person contributes to the personal growth of the other. However, this doesn't mean that two soul mates won't experience friction; indeed, each may feel that the other person is the source of their pain at times. The soul mate "mirrors" the other and spiritually enables the partner to develop his or her strengths and confront his or her weaknesses. The fact is that we cannot grow spiritually until we have the courage to enter into relationships of spiritual depth.
Karmic connections, or "soul partnerships," are pairings between spiritual equals. Those who consciously choose to act from the spiritual parts of their personalities are naturally drawn to one another. They may be colleagues at work, lovers, fellow students, spouses, in-laws, or even neighbors. The common spiritual awareness is what brings them together. A successful soul partnership requires:
1. Awareness of the spirit part of your "selfhood equation." Soul/spirit (sometimes called temperament) plus personality (emotions, preferences, and character) equal self.
2. Awareness of feelings. Cultivate your ability to identify the source of your feelings (fear based or love based). Emotions are critically instructive, and taking notice of them is a direct window to your spirit. Emotions such as fear, jealousy, resentment, and anger reveal their source as personality based, whereas emotions such as happiness, love, joy, and compassion reveal their source to be from spirit.
3. Awareness and control of thoughts, intents, and actions. Be aware of positive impulses and actions such as helpfulness, empathy, and encouragement, as well as negative impulses and actions such as revenge, ridicule, judging, and comparing yourself to others.
4. Accepting responsibility for those thoughts, intents, and actions. Don't dodge this by blaming, judging, needing to be right, demanding admiration, escaping into thoughts (intellectualizing), or trying to convince. Always let the spiritual parts of your personality inform and guide your intentions before you act.
5. Awareness of attachment. This can be seen in expectations, manipulations, and deceptions. Cultivate the ability to release your expectations of, or reliance on, certain preconceived outcomes.
6. Awareness of all six senses, including intuition.
7. A successful uniting of spirit and personality.
Soul mates are aware that there is a specific reason for their union. Each one will learn important lessons about him-or herself from interactions with the other. Soul partners are also committed to examining themselves closely and learning from one another. They know that what you want to criticize in your partner usually reveals what you are in need of changing within your own Self. They also know that they are more than bodies and minds, and are together in order to grow spiritually. Obstacles will arise in their relationship, but the difference is that soul partners expect this and work through it. That is what soul partnership means: finding the one who will help you reconcile and ultimately unite the two distinct parts of yourself — your personality and your spirit.
How Will I Know if He Is Mr. Right?
The head, or mind, is a stubborn and rigid taskmaster that deals with facts and logic. It sets expectations, rationalizes, and judges. It is controlling, and a difficult force to contend with in love. This is the part of you that says, "It'll never work," or "All men are the same." It is the head that says, "He's too short," or "My mom would hate him." The heart, or body, on the other hand, is the feeling part of ourselves. This is our soft, vulnerable underbelly that sometimes gets us into trouble. This is the part that is awash in mood-altering hormones, skewing our perceptions and allowing rejection and disappointment to devastate us. This is the part of you that says, "I'll give up everything for this person," or "I want to float on a cloud with him and never come down."
In most relationships, the heart (body) and the head (mind) are not in agreement with each other. Because of this, the soul, or spirit, steps in. The soul intercedes between the rational head and the emotional heart. The soul is our inner voice, our intuition, and our spiritual essence. Two soul mates don't think with their heads or feel with their hearts; they sense their rightness for each other in "soul language." When two soul mates gaze into each other's eyes, they are filled with a charge of energy. They are inspired to do just about anything to take care of the other person. When the two make love, there is a feeling of unity and a shared envelopment of the other. When two soul mates are apart, they don't feel quite right; it's as if something is missing. When they are together, they feel at peace. You get the idea.CHAPTER 4
Are All Relationships Karmic?
A karmic connection is a powerful psychic connection, a spiritual chemistry between two people. It is the successful reuniting of spirit, mind, and body with a matching (also called "kindred" or "familiar") soul that our spirit picks up time and again in various times and places. These relationships can occur between spouses, between parents and children, between best friends, between work colleagues, and even between ourselves and a beloved pet; however, those that occur in a sexual or love relationship context are extraordinarily profound.
Although all relationships have a distinct purpose, there are some that are particularly karmic in nature. These include: obsessive love, sexual addictions, victim/victimizer syndromes, rescued/rescuer scenarios, loyalty/infidelity cycles, and codependent/controller behavior. Unraveling these tangled webs requires learning the lessons that each relationship is destined to teach. This levels the playing field and converts the negative into positive, the fear into courage, and the bitterness into love.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Karma Sutra"
Copyright © 2008 Shelly Wu.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I Dharma: Spirit, Virtue, and Ethics,
Chapter 1 Karma and Your Love Life,
Chapter 2 Could Your Past Be Ruling Your Present?,
Chapter 3 Soul Partnerships,
Chapter 4 Are All Relationships Karmic?,
Chapter 5 Love, Karmic Style: The Preliminaries,
Chapter 6 Identifying Spiritual Companions: Soul Mates and Twin Souls,
Chapter 7 The Anatomy of Bad Relationship Karma,
Chapter 8 How Sex Affects Your Karma: Fears, Blocks, and One-Night Stands,
Chapter 9 The Biochemistry of Love: Dopamine, Prolactin, and Oxytocin,
Chapter 10 Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights,
Chapter 11 Purposeful Loving: Creating Lasting Love Connections,
Chapter 12 Forgiveness: Legacies, Skeletons, and Getting Over It,
Chapter 13 Affirmations That Work: Meditation, Guided Imagery, and Accessing Your Subconscious,
Part II Artha: Happiness, Success, and Prosperity,
Chapter 14 Just for Fun: Rate Your Man,
Chapter 15 Cleaning Out Your Romantic Wardrobe,
Chapter 16 The 8 Male Archetypes: Explore His Sexual Style,
Chapter 17 Do's and Don'ts of Dating: Some Words of Wisdom,
Chapter 18 Bad Boys: Players, Perverts, and Master Sinisters,
Part III Kama: Erotic and Sexual Pleasures,
Chapter 19 Seduction, Atmosphere, and Romance,
Chapter 20 Kama Sutra Positions for Enchanted Lovers,
Chapter 21 Final Thoughts: Advice From the Sisterhood,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a must have in any Shelly Wu collection. Witty, informative and immensely entertaining. Shelly has outdone herself with this book. Any woman would find the answers to the questions of how to find a good partner. Men should read this to get an insight into what they really may be based on their karma. I would recommend this to anyone. Except of course, those that cannot be put out to review a great work in less than proper spelling and language.
This book is a gem!
One of the best books of its type. The author is insightful and wise. I hope there are many more from this author to follow, as it has opened my eyes and body to a new life.
Lots of fascinating info! I especially enjoyed the KKRS (Karmic Keepers or Kickers Rating System) LOL The section on forgiveness and moving on was especially illuminating.
This is one of the best books I've ever read. It's hilariously funny, interesting and has changed my outlook on a lot of things. This is my second copy as my neighbor 'borrowed' my first one. I tell everyone now to buy their own copy! LOL
I wish I had this book 20 years ago. It is well written and hilariously funny. I had to snicker at the male reader who was "disappointed" in the book. Hit a nerve eh? hahaha I'll bet. Shelly doesn't pull any punches with this hard-hitting, enlightening book. Her observations are astute and she tells it like it is.
Awesome! and funny!
if u r into this kind of thing then this book is for u.
There is no indication that this book was wrtien soely for the female. This seems to be a self help book for women and should be labeled as such. The author offers various catagories of the male and his inadequacies and goes on to write of her distaste for any sexual fetish which is i'm sorry to say, human nature. "Different strokes for different folks" The author seems at times to have a open mind only for it to close when the subject turns to areas not familiar to her. Unfortunately every man & women will fall in to one of her catagories. This book is not what it seems. If your looking for The Karma Sutra way of sex, this is not it.