A woman meditating by a city lake in the morning.

If you're going to undertake the task of cleansing your karma, it helps to understand karma, and that isn't easy. Buddhists believe in several types, and Hindus, Jains and Sikhs all have slightly different understandings. Its general meaning is that actions produce effects that affect future conditions; you accumulate good karma in this life by virtuous deeds and bad karma by evil ones, and your life conditions may be a result of karma accumulated in past lives. Clearly, cleansing your karma is a monumental task, but Buddhists believe you can do it through meditation and dedication to awakening.

Follow a moral code that promotes the development of peace, love and spiritual understanding. Buddhists follow the Eightfold Path, as taught by Gautama Buddha, as such a code. Its tenets include right mindfulness, intention, action, effort, understanding, speech, livelihood and concentration. If you prefer a more Christian approach, follow the Golden Rule, which is to treat all beings as you would like them to treat you.

Set aside a time each day to review your behavior and contemplate how to improve it. Dedicate this contemplation to the benefit of all beings. This draws your mind into a wider context that includes all living beings and frees it from the karma-producing activities of the ego-centered personality.

Go deeper into meditation as you continue your daily practice. In the stillness of meditation, you can enter a state of being beyond your ego personality. If you believe you are a spirit that transcends your present incarnation, meditation can help your temporal personality connect with that spirit. The connection fosters an understanding that can help you avoid creating more karma while helping you deal with your present karma with equanimity.

Seek the help of guides and masters while in the meditative state. They are manifestations of your own self on the spirit level, and they can help you visualize a life free of activities that produce negative karma. You don't have to believe they exist in a palpable form to benefit from this.

Visualize a higher spiritual principle -- whether you call it God or simply the state of enlightenment. By definition, that state is beyond your present understanding, and putting the effort into visualizing and apprehending it increases both your capability for understanding and your intelligence. As you enhance your intelligence, you'll create less negative karma, because all karma -- according to the Buddhist view -- is the product of ignorance.


  • Karma is one of the oldest religious concepts in the world. It goes back to the Vedas, the ancient texts at the heart of Hinduism that were written some 3,500 years ago. According to Buddhists, karma can be destructive or supportive, and it may be applicable from birth of the immediate result of an action. You can accumulate karma through habitual action or by committing a crime. The last thought that runs through your mind on your deathbed can generate the karma that conditions a subsequent birth.