Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the concept of karmic debt. It refers to the baggage we carry around with us that results from our past life deeds. When we’ve acted in a way that causes negative consequences to others, you’d better believe we’re going to have an experience that throws that negative energy back to us just like a boomerang.
You may wonder if it’s like karma. A little. With karma, the good we do in the world comes back to us — but so does the bad. So there’s a 50-50 chance karma can be enjoyable vs being a royal pain in the neck. However karmic debt is pretty much something we’d rather avoid 100 percent of the time.
When unwanted experiences have happened to me i.e. breakups, financial setbacks, a cancer diagnosis I’ve often wondered if my bad luck was the result of bad behavior in a former life. In other words, I’ve wondered if I was experiencing the consequences of karmic debt. If you’ve ever wondered the same, read on to learn how you can find out.
What is karmic debt?
There is a well-known law in physics: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes it’s easy to see the reaction. If you accidentally step on a dog’s tail, he or she will bark or squeal. But other times, we don’t see the reaction immediately or we don’t have a close enough perspective to identify the reaction. For example, if you call a friend to tell them you won’t be able to attend their destination wedding, you may not immediately see how disappointed they are or notice that your friendship has been altered forever. Karma is a reaction to every action, whether we recognize it or not.
Ever heard the term ‘what you put in is what you get out?’ That’s pretty much how karma works. If you are kind to people, people will be kind to you. If you rob and steal from others, others will rob and steal from you. However, you don’t always experience karma for a past action in this lifetime. Sometimes the lessons of karma travel with you from one lifetime to another.
When we have experiences that are a direct result of the negative actions we took in a previous lifetime, we are experiencing karmic debt.
The pros and cons of karmic debt
On the surface, it might seem like karmic debt is a bad thing. But there are good things about karmic debt too. Among the pros of karmic debt:
- It creates new experiences. One of the reasons we exist in human form is so we can have a multitude of experiences. As long as we have lessons to learn, we will keep coming back in human form so we have the opportunity to learn them.
- It helps us to grow and evolve. We don’t always grow when times are good. In fact, when we experience the greatest challenges, we typically experience the most growth. Karmic debt isn’t designed to punish us; rather, it exists to teach us. As we experience the consequences of our actions, we learn what actions and behaviors will yield the results we want.
- It teaches us lessons. We all want to be better people, don’t we? At least I like to think that we do. Karmic debt forces us to face up to our past life mistakes and ensures that we get the lesson eventually, whether that happens in this lifetime or the next or the one after that.
So what are the cons of karmic debt?
It’s typically not pleasant. Karmic debt tends to show up in those areas of our lives that we’re not good at. If we keep losing one job after another there may be a karmic debt playing out in our career. If we have bad luck with relationships, we may be experiencing karmic debt related to how we treated someone in a past life relationship. If there is an area of your life that you feel bad about you may be facing the consequences of karmic debt.
Why everyone has karmic debt
While you may not be experiencing karmic debt today, chances are you’ve experienced it before either in this lifetime or another. If not, chances are you will experience it in another lifetime. Nobody goes through all of their lifetimes with absolute wisdom; it is through our lifetimes that we become wise. And one of the best ways to become wise is to make mistakes and to pay for them.
If you’re reading this content, chances are you are someone that is spiritually evolved. However, there have also probably been lifetimes where you weren’t quite as evolved as you are today. Think about people you know who don’t think twice about lying and manipulating in order to get their way. We all have seen people who appear to be driven by money and greed and who will hurt others in order to hold onto power or success.
Think about people who you know who aren’t as evolved as you. But you likely weren’t as evolved in other lifetimes. Since we all have lived many lifetimes, we get to experience life through different perspectives. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to experience it. It’s one thing to read about something in a book. It’s another to experience it first-hand. Karmic debt allows you to learn how harmful certain actions can be at such a soul level that you will be able to carry those lessons with you forever.
How to know if you carry karmic debt
Having a string of bad experiences can indicate karmic debt, but there is an easier way to tell if you are carrying it in this lifetime. You can turn to numerology.
Certain numbers indicate that you are carrying karmic debt. They are 13, 14, 16, and 19. If those numbers crop up in your personal numerology, you are carrying karmic debt.
If you know anything about numerology, you may know that certain numbers are particularly important.
Your life path number provides insight into who you are and what your soul is here to do. It can also provide insight into your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your passions. It is calculated by adding up the digits in your birthdate to get a root number. For example, if your birthdate is May 5, 2000, your life path number is 5+5+2 = 12; 1+2 =3.
Your personality number is calculated by adding the number in your birthday rather than your birthdate. In other words you ignore the year. In the example above, your personality number would be 5+5= 10, which breaks down to 1 (1+0).
If the digits add up to 13, 14, 16, or 19 when you’re figuring out your life path or personality numbers, then you are carrying karmic debt. Also, if you were born in any month on any of those days (13, 14, 16, and 19), you chose to carry karmic debt in this lifetime.
How to clear karmic debt
Though karmic debt typically is not pleasant, the good news is you can clear it out in this lifetime and go into your next lifetime free from its grip. Of course, you can also choose not to clear it out. You may choose in this lifetime to ignore it, but if you do, you will be faced with it at some later point whether it’s during this lifetime or the next. We all have free will. We can choose to deal with something or we can choose not to. However, at some point, you will clear your karmic debt; you simply may choose not to do it in this lifetime.
If you do choose to clear karmic debt one of the best things you can do is simply surrender to it. In fact, one of the most powerful actions you can take in life is to surrender to an experience. (One of the best books I’ve read on the topic of surrender is The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. )
If you find that you are experiencing a karmic debt, simply surrendering to it and setting the intention to learn the lessons can make a huge difference. Say you have one broken relationship after another.
There are a number of ways you can respond to it.
- You can swear off relationships.
- You can become bitter about relationships.
- You can blame the other party and never do any self-reflection about how you are contributing to the problem.
- You can surrender and acknowledge that you have a problem and ask for guidance to help you learn the lesson you are meant to learn.
The key to clearing karmic debt is learning the lesson that it is trying to teach you.
What if you don’t want to deal with your karmic debt?
The spiritual path is not a dictatorship. You have the opportunity to choose whatever life you want to live. Even if your higher self had a purpose when you entered this lifetime, you can decide to do something different. The same thing goes with karmic debt.
You may have incarnated at this time with the intention of attracting experiences or people that would lead you to deal with your karmic debts. Sometimes soulmates make a soul contract to interact with one another in such a way that both parties deal with their debt in a particular lifetime.
However, when those experiences take place, you may decide you want no parts of dealing with karmic debt. You have that choice and it’s ok.
If you don’t deal with your karmic debt in this lifetime, it will follow you to another. Eventually, you will learn the lessons you intend to learn; whether it happens now or at a later time is entirely up to you.