Working through Karmic Wounds
Written by: the Editors of goop
Updated: April 11, 2019
Photo courtesy of @mauimakaphotography
The first time Caitlin Marino blew us away was a couple of years ago. Marino came to our office with a dowsing rod (an old-school divination tool that she uses to measure a person’s energy field), a handful of crystals, and her own glowing aura. She led a few staffers through one-on-one energy-healing sessions that left each one of them feeling somehow more grounded.
Marino is a Reiki master. Her years of study in the art of subtle energy have made her an outstanding healer. They’ve also made her someone compelled by the idea of karma. Karma, Marino explains, is the universe’s judicial system. And in her experience, it’s more friend than foe—once you understand its purpose in your divine life plan.
This is where Marino comes in: She helps people clear karma out. She sees karma manifest as fatigue, blocked energy, an overly dramatic relationship conflict, and curiously enough, a musty old smell. If anything on that list sounds familiar, don’t worry, says Marino. We all have karma to deal with—it’s part of why we’re here. So now, to clear it out and get on with your life, over to Marino.
A Q&A with Caitlin Marino
You can choose how you react to karma. You can get sucked in to the drama of it or you can witness and watch it unfold. And I think that the purpose of karma is to evolve our souls. It’s the universe’s checks and balances system. When you choose to incarnate as a body and choose to come into a lifetime for the very first time, you’re entering into an experience where you can create karmic debt or reward based on your actions, your intentions, and their consequences. In Buddhism, it’s called the cycle of samsara. You’re bound to this cycle of rebirth until you work off all your karma and attain enlightenment
If this isn’t your first incarnation—and for most people, it’s not—then you have accumulated karma through the experience of past lifetimes. So when you come in, you’re bringing with you karma that needs to be worked off or completed. You may have karmic rewards that show up as benefactors or luck, meaning positive, easy experiences. And there may also be difficult encounters that create a sense of dis-ease or an emotionally traumatic relationship. You can think of this as leftover energy from another lifetime that you’re working through now.
When you owe someone, it may show up in your life as a difficult ending to a relationship. You may not understand why the relationship ends. Or there may be a betrayal that you did not see coming. That may be a case of karmic debt; you may have put them through a similar experience in another lifetime. By going through what you’re going through with them in this lifetime, your karmic debt or your karma with that person becomes complete.
A karmic wound, in the work that I do, is left over from another lifetime. It includes the person who carries the wound and at least one other person. There can be a big group of people included in the wound but one person has agreed to carry the karma for that group. Your past life is impacting that person’s experience today, and there’s usually a lesson that comes out of it. You may start to feel tired if you’re in the presence of someone who is experiencing a karmic wound that’s up for processing or removal.
Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt like you knew them already? That is usually a recognition on a soul level. Your souls kind of recognize each other. I used to be really excited whenever that happened; now I’m a little weary because those people can be boyfriends you’re remembering. But they can also be—and usually are—great teachers. They have big lessons for you. And you made an agreement before you incarnated in this lifetime, with that soul, to help each other with a lesson. And usually there’s a karmic component, where you’re going to try to resolve karma in some way.
Usually the person will report a relationship or situation in their life that’s giving them difficulty. They’ll have a lot of emotion about it. It will be dramatic, and it will seem very unfair. They’ll feel targeted or very victimized by a group, misunderstood or not heard. Their emotional reaction will be kind of out of proportion or just very extreme for the situation, and I can usually feel a heaviness or a sluggishness in their field, and a musty old smell. It’s an old pattern sitting in their field. Karma can pull us off of our path. It’s very dramatic, and it’s easy to get sucked into its pull. If we can learn to recognize karma for what it is and recognize how it comes up in our life and stand witness in compassion, then we have a much better chance of staying on our path.
We contract with the people we’re going to have as family members and partners. I don’t know that those are necessarily karmic bonds, but certainly we can work through karma with our family and partners.
You may not necessarily inherit someone else’s karma, but you might choose a family to be born into to work through a family lineage. There is family karma, ancestral karma, and lineage karma that you can help work through. Usually people will incarnate into a bloodline multiple times. They may come in at different periods during that lineage, and the karma may have been created by them in the first place, and now they’re coming through again to help balance the karma for the family.
Yes. Buddhists would call that attaining enlightenment. You can do it if you’re very conscious and very devoted to your spiritual path and extending your awareness and consciousness.
Yes. You can always create new karma. Karma is about intention, action, and the consequences of your action. It’s a combination of all of those things. The repercussion of your thoughts and actions. You can be working off karma and then make a decision to do something deliberately hurtful to someone else and create more karma for yourself. You can also create good karma. You can create a karmic benefit by doing simple things, like adopting pets, eating less meat, or doing good deeds for other people. These are ways of balancing out your karma and working through it that way.
No. Because we’ve all had different experiences in different states of existence. We’re all coming in to this body in this lifetime with different amounts of karma.
I would say that not working through your karma would mean that you’re going to repeat those patterns in your future states of existence. So if you were to incarnate again, you’d just carry that karma with you into your next life.
It can be, yes. But not every pattern we perpetuate in our life is necessarily karmic. Patterns can be behavioral, and they can be created in this lifetime. But if you have karma with a person and you come into this lifetime and perpetuate that karma with that person, then it doesn’t resolve and there’s no completion to the karma. You and that individual can carry that karma through lifetimes. When I meet with clients, most times, they’ve held that karma for lifetimes with that group or that other individual.
Caitlin Marino is an intuitive, a medium, and a certified Usui Tibetan Reiki Master. Marino primarily works over the phone, creating customized distant energy sessions for clients all over the world.