Can You Work Off Your Karma? When Does Obligation End?

I wonder how people feel about the idea that you can work off your karma. I have felt this is possible but I want to hear opinions from deep thinkers out there.

Let’s say, I am born and I feel an obligation to someone. And let’s say I act in accord with my feelings for a number of years – decades.  Let’s say I am totally diligent and dutiful and immersed in this obligation for years and years and years and then, of all things, I unexpectedly get to a point where I believe I am released from this contract.

Now being as devoted as I was, and as conditioned as I was, I did not walk away without tremendous soul-searching.  It’s like spending your life in a cage. When the door to the cage is flung open, you don’t immediately bolt out because you know the decision to walk away will be life-altering.

I thought this through to my core. I didn’t want to be haunted. I did not want to be amoral. I didn’t want to do the wrong thing!  But I did conclude that walking away was the right thing to do and so I changed my life.

It’s decades later and I have never regretted my decision. I have never had a bad feeling about it or experienced any guilt. This is why I have concluded that it must be possible to fulfill an obligation or to pay your karmic debt or to discharge your duty or whatever you might call it.  This has seemed to me to be the case because I am a deeply moral person and not inclined to shirk any duty. I’d know if I was a jerk, basically. But what has happened now is this same scenario has come back into my life after all these years, forcing me to reevaluate.

As it turns out, I don’t feel any different now then I did when I made the decision years ago.  It was not a hasty decision!  I do feel my debt is paid in full but this is not something I want to screw up on because as always, my soul is on the line.

Do you feel it’s possible to work a karmic obligation or would something like this last a lifetime?

49 thoughts on “Can You Work Off Your Karma? When Does Obligation End?”

  1. On the basis of my advanced age and my experience with 2 marriages and 2 children, now in their 40’s.. I definitely think karma can and should be finalized during a lifetime, so it won’t have to come up again in the next incarnation. We write our charts based no doubt on past debts aka karma. It is up to us to use our free will in how we rectify and or enhance what our past histories in time have been… me thinks. Right now I truly believe my karma has been satisfied in 2 failed marriages and in the upbringing of two children, now adults. So the rest of my time here…25-30 years???… will be spent enhancing and guiding others lives with what I have learned from my struggles, by just being me and living my sun and feeding my moon. Satori has helped me form that goal. Thanks, Satori.

  2. I think it’s possible, but impossible to know if that’s what you’re doing. You will never be gifted with knowing if you’re successful.

    I don’t compartmentalize my karma… while there are things I feel are resolved, others may not be. Memory is stored on my body and can provide some clues, this I believe.

    Some will be resolved; some will not. Always I consider my work is never done, though I do take comfort in my feelings of contentment if I feel an issue is resolved.

    I think it’s my Sagittarius that feels obligation to spiritual pursuit never ends–there is nothing to end.

  3. I will probably come back to this. I agree with norah thus far and would like to add, my karmic debt has to do with my choices and my children and my failed marriages. My oldest is having her first SR now and my younges will next year and then I will, I think I did this right over time, but the judge is still in chambers.

    As you know I am also working on old family dynamics trying to heal the roots, but some things just can’t be healed, no matter how bad we want them to, however I am finding out that although I can’t change them or heal them, do my effort I will be allowed to either discharge or be discharged, kinda like getting an A+ for effort even though you failed.

  4. I think it depends on the obligation. If you are there to help someone and 20 years later they can finally support themselves, then sure, you can be free. That is, however, assuming someone ever gets to that point where they don’t need you any more.

    I strongly suspect that if it’s a family member, you may not ever be able to be free from the obligation, though. Depending on situation, of course, but some folks may be able to become independent and some may never, and you have a blood obligation you can’t escape. I don’t think I’ll be free of mine short of death– and the older my mom gets, the more needy she is going to be. I don’t think I can take on more guilt if I abandon her either, and legally I may not even be able to say “Nope, take care of yourself” anyway.

  5. I think it is possible, but I also think the universe can punish me and I don’t even have to work to ‘pay off’ my karma. My punishment is used to pay it off.

    When does the time for my ‘contract’ to end or my punishment comes to an end? Now THAT is the mystery!

  6. Elsa, what you describe I feel like I did with my divorce. I was with my ex for over a decade, worked my hardest, then I was sprung. I couldn’t tell you what it was we had to work out, but astrology bears out karmic ties, and I can tell you the bonding at times felt influenced by external sources (and not the meddling friends/family kind either!).

    Since cutting myself loose from him, my life has only gotten better and better. A reward? A lightening of the burden? Again, I don’t know, I just know I completed something I needed to.

    I feel like I’m always living with something karmic – I’m a Cap with Saturn on my NN and otherwise placed prominently in my chart. There is always some damned thing I am supposed to learn. 😉

  7. For me, it’s a “knowing” when I’ve paid my debt, and this “knowing” is a something I feel physically. It feels like an even-ing of the score—everything is in balance.

    I do think that I am not on earth to suffer just for the sake of suffering. I think once we’ve paid our debt and we continue in a poor relationship, work environment, etc. then it becomes suffering without a purpose. Crossing into martyrdom and staying there doesn’t help us grow.

  8. Work-out a karmic obligation or last a lifetime?

    That is a big question. From this end of living, I see that the patterns of obligation were imprinted in my 8th House of shared resources and the challenge of power that began with my family origins, continued as I attempted to understand power as a child, and followed me when I chose to leave the tribe. For forty years I physically and psychically revisited the tribe to ‘test’ my resilience and my karma. Pieces of information were always hidden (Capricorn moon in the 12H). Losses have been deep. Mask after mask has been stripped away: what is a good mother/good daughter/good work?

    I think the options for working off karmic obligation vary with the soul. I see that without others my options are different, though complicated because my will wants to win (Mars in Leo) but Saturn conjuncts that will and the payment plan is more long term debt, paid off in increments. My life study of ancient ways and ancient obligation through investigating the Moon’s role in karma and daily course corrections keeps me present. This means, transcending through spirit, is not how karma is worked-out. Physically choosing and experiencing the result is how my karma moves. That 12 H Capricorn Moon is capable of going deeply into the hidden realm, but it is the human — messy, gritty, dig-shake-and compost stuff that is going to make a difference in my karmic debt.

    I’m not a free and easy, lacy soul and recognize that I am in a lifetime where my public role must offer service and my physical body carries a lot of the residue so sharing my journey is a way through. Patterns of karmic debt show up in classic spiral fashion with some of the old characters calling on the old character in me: sometimes I answer, but more often than not, I filter the call and let time move life. Historic karma found in my South Node reveals clues to a better future (mine and perhaps my family’s) and still, it’s up to me to craft the physical venture and recognize my choices consciously. It matters that I know the power of words and sounds of words, that’s imprinted too, in my Mercury-Scorpio-Chiron 10 H squaring all that 8th H.

    Not an easy question to answer, Elsa but a good one to ask anyway.

  9. That is a tough call, but I do think it’s possible. Why should it take exactly one’s entire lifetime to pay any number of certain debts? Sometimes our obligation to pay isn’t realized as soon as we’re born, so I think the amount of time it takes to pay off karma is relative.

    Although I disagree with Kashmiri (a rarity!) in that I do believe that we can become aware our karmic success; I really like the following comment, “I don’t compartmentalize my karma…,” because it implies relativity. To me, karmic lessons don’t seem bound to a certain time frame (life span), nor to a particular person. It’s more about the greater cause.

    I think that a person can reach a point in their life when the lesson evolves, and it becomes time to bring the lesson to a different area of their life. By no means should one abandon the lesson all together, but can’t it go stale if it’s being overworked in one direction?

    I think it’s OK to move out of one cage, as long as one never forgets where they came from, and doesn’t fear the next cage. That’s the thing about continuing to work with karma- it’s always worth it at the “end” because you’re only gonna have to do it over again (in a circular way of learning, that requires moving forward).

  10. I got the ex into, through medical school, and then walked away (after many many years of emotional abuse). He’s now a multimillionaire, and I am penniless. I don’t care, I’ve always known that it was a debt that had to be repaid. He had a best friend. I loved him dearly (only as a friend). I finally had to cut ties with the friend, years later, because the friend tried to harm me. I’ve always felt like I was giving the friend another chance to prove himself,karmicly, to show that he had grown. He failed the test. I walked away. I feel like my hands are washed of the two of them.

  11. I believe in forgiveness and the release of karmic debts. However I believe it is by the grace of God that this happens, and it takes a leap of faith (in the cosmic order, what-have-you) before a person can truly ask for and believe in such a release.

  12. Coco what you say reminds me of the concept of karma in this lifetime.

    I liken it to my idea about ‘close calls.’ I will never know how many close calls with death I have actually had in my life; I can become aware of one or two. Maybe I disagree with myself, too, after reading your comment:)

    My Neputne/12th believes nothing is permanent but mystery.

  13. When I ended my 20yr marriage (7 yrs ago)I hurt my ex terribly and my children. I wont go into the reasons why I devorced but I started to change and I knew it was over. I am a better person because of it and a better mother. But I still caused pain on my family. I often wonder if I will pay for it. I know that I made the right decision(it took me 3 yrs to finally get out) it was well thought out. Just as I could have karmic consiquences how do I know that the pain he suffered was not karmic on his part? I dont think we will ever have the answers on when and why or even if we are experiencing karma. Thats the whole plan..plan not to know and just grow.

  14. oh that’s so interesting Kash, about how many times something fatal has been right behind your back. eek, karma is supposedly a bitch, I guess! Those things you’ll probably never know… but perhaps you could find out, if you have the chance to come full circle? Neptune in the 12th- I guess that means there are no bounds on your idea of time and the universe. I have Neptune in the 6th… in Capricorn.. square Jupiter and sextile Pluto, and I feel like mysteries are solved all of the time, it’s just always one step forward, two steps back or something like that. 🙂

  15. OMG I made a smiley! I haven’t had the box of symbols and smileys in my window for the longest time, anyone know about that little mystery?

  16. When you wrote “cage” I felt the shiver in my spine. That’s exactly what it feels like.

    My take on the whole thing is that it’s not so much the person, it’s something I personally need to release that is keeping me bound to that person.

    I know that “we know each other from someplace else thing” or worse “carrying a torch”. Aaaaargh! I would just as soon say howdy, how are ya doin. Have a lovely journey. And walk away and be done with it.

    So for me it was more a matter of releasing, which is its own brand of work.

  17. that might explain some fundamental shifts in my priorities over the decade. also, motherhood.
    but, i have definitely already reached the point with someone where i felt i had done what was required of me. that my responsibility had been released. but i couldn’t put my finger on why that happened.

  18. karma wise, i think it’s the weight of the responsibility, rather than its duration, that addresses whatever karma may be there. eg saving someone’s life a few times can change the scales quite a bit i’d think.

  19. When you type an emoticon in the blog’s comment box, it will create a smiley for you, but it has to stand alone. Compare this:D to this 😀

  20. I’m not sure if I can articulate this clearly, but I’ll try… I think there’s a basic pull, motivation, of karma which can be expiated. there are also attachment bonds built between individuals when you meet and work together. two separate things, the karma bond, the attachment to the situation/problem/person. even if you fulfill the karmic situation, even if you release the attachment on your side, the other person may not have released their attachment. Or if it’s a specific situation rather than a person, the attachment to the ISSUE may remain, even after the karma is fulfilled.

  21. I do believe Karmic situation can be worked off and through. I also believe it is important to be aware enough not to create more karma.

  22. Is it possible for a person to carry around somebody else’s bad karma?

    I read on this blog somewhere that scorpios can be the carriers of karma. I never knew this or really understood it. Do Scorpios show people their karma or due to their energy-absorbing nature, can they unintentionally carry someone elses karma?

    Recently it feels like I have been holding up a mirror to people so they can see the ugly in themselves, i don’t even mean too. Just yeserday I confronted two different people who have done me wrong, one – a past wrong that unintentionally affected me, the other – a relationship I ended because he refused to not face his wrongdoings (but he hasn’t done anything too bad to me, I.

  23. Is it possible for a person to carry around somebody else’s bad karma?

    I read on this blog somewhere that scorpios can be the carriers of karma. I never knew this or really understood it. Do Scorpios show people their karma or due to their energy-absorbing nature, can they unintentionally carry someone elses karma?

    Recently it feels like I have been holding up a mirror to people so they can see the ugly in themselves, i don’t even mean too. Just yeserday I confronted two different people who have done me wrong, one – a past wrong that unintentionally affected me, the other – a relationship I ended because he refused to face his wrongdoings.

  24. Also,

    From a Scorpio perspective, how deep does karma go?

    e.g. the first person I confronted has there own issues to sort out before the “working off” bad karma or repairing can be done but in those issues will be confrontations with other people who have done that person wrong and those people have things to work on and so on and so on. And if this is at all right, when does it come back around in a good way? – assuming people want to make it right.

  25. PsychoScorpio I have had many intense encounters with Scorpios that are DEFINATELY Karmic, however I put this down to my South Node in Scorpio with some of their Suns conjuncting it. However each one has completely transformed me and my life with the contact, this recent one with an exact conjunction to my SN my life will never be the same ever, it has done a 360 and looks bad, perhaps will be right in the end but very painful and huge implications for lots of people. We have never really done anything “wrong” to each other but they have all been “firsts” in my life (perhaps not if they came from past lives!)

  26. In order
    First intense crush
    First sex
    First living with partner
    First affair (him)
    First breakdown
    First office romance (never went anywhere but feelings were acknowledged)
    First Obsession (mine)
    First affair (my affair with Scorpio)

    First Love

    I think Last

  27. Of course it’s possible! These things don’t come packaged in neat time frames, like a life time. I think there are many “debts” we are saddled with, not just one, & we are here in part to work on these issues & resolve them as we go…
    Sometimes you think you’ve nailed it, but the issue or similar comes up again because you haven’t. But sometimes, the issue comes up to test you & your “now” beliefs.
    If you felt this lift inexplicably & you had been diligent all that time & dedicated to “solving” whatever it was, I say you’re done.
    I believe it works like Saturn. Do the work & he’ll release you! =)

  28. Lots of food for thought here. Thank you. Everyone here has articulated far better than I.

    I found myself saying this to two different people this week, “how long do you have to pay for a mistake? A lifetime is too long”.

    I finally have the opportunity to move foreward, yet I am carrying guilt from 30 years ago, and I do not feel free to go.

    No, I do not know when a karmic debt is paid, but I do think it’s possible to work through in this lifetime. I think along the same lines as julianwinter and Satori.

    And what about a responsibility to ourselves? I’m not any good for anyone if I spend my life in misery. I suppose that would negate the working out of karma, if the debt is being repaid….yet not in the spirit of service, or awareness.

  29. I truly believe that I took on a serious amount of “karmic debt” in thislife. And I think I did my best to deal with it.

    And now… I do feel a responsibility to myself to be a priority in my own life before it’s too late.

    Is this selfish? Used to think so but I’ve gotten over that.

  30. I believe some tasks can be done during (a part of) one lifetime; some take more than one. Other then the obligations I feel I have to others, there is also this obligation I have towards myself. Like denise said: a responsibility to myself to be a priority in my own life. Well said.
    I truly believe life is Libra! Everything is about balance. How much dept can you pay off in one lifetime without destroying yourself in the process.

  31. “Selfish” I keep hearing/seeing this word!!!

    I’ve put myself as a priority and didn’t think it was selfish. It’s led to where I am right now and it’s a good thing. I believe the 2nd person I confronted to be selfish – one of the reasons I don’t want to be around him anymore. It was a selfish relationship but not in a bad way. I have this feeling we met for a reason, both of us needed to change and I learnt alot from him, he learnt from me and then I felt it had ended, the purpose had been achieved and I was content.

    We met one more time (MISTAKE and I knew it at the time but ignored it!) while I continued to move forward, he went backwards. He was back to his old self and is content being in denial. Now I feel I might pay for it in some way – he’s holding me back – can’t leave the cage.

  32. I truly believe life is Libra! Everything is about balance. How much dept can you pay off in one lifetime without destroying yourself in the process.

    Esther, I LOVE THAT!

  33. I definitely felt the Karmic contract break with my two exes. I knew the EXACT MOMENT when God released me from my debt. A weight physically lifted on my shoulders the first time, and my solar plexus felt the heaviness leave the second time.

    Like anything, there are a lot of ways for things to be cleared out. I truly believe that the Grace of God can clear you of your Karma earlier, or altogether, if you put enough effort into it – even if you did not accomplish what you were supposed to.

    I totally agree with others who stated when it’s done, it’s done, and there’s no reason to stay past that point. Sometimes, we sacrifice ourselves to help another Soul who is having trouble on Earth. They get so much of our time to straighten up, and if they refuse, then we are free to go and owe them squat after that.

  34. I have pondered this very often. The question for me has been what if the other party seems to do everything in their power to prevent you from completing the karma? It’s even worse when you can actually remember your past lives together, understand completely what you are meant to do and after years of frustration get to the point that you actually tell the person (who doesn’t believe in reincarnation) the truth and they only laugh at you.
    I recently heard that you can cancel the contract by meditating about you and the other person – invite their soul into the discussion and explain that you have done all you can to complete this, you honour their free will to choose not to and in so doing you rip up the contract.
    I did this recently and the obligation that I felt towards this person for ten years lifted immediately.
    Works for me!

  35. Isernia – yes, that’s what I felt before I met up him again but karma exists whether you know the consequences of your actions or not and Mandy that’s the conclusion that I have come up with but just in a different way and apologies but using this blog post to think out loud…

    He is a dead fish. If I can’t help him, I can be selfish and help myself which will lead to helping other people in my life. Plenty more fish in the sea so I’ll go fishing…after I help myself >=( damn you universe!

  36. I’m glad I came back here to finish reading today. Thanks, particularly Isernia and Mandy. I’m going to consciously work on breaking ties.

  37. A related link on parental obligation I couldn’t find for the first post I did:

    Yes, I am legally forced to care for my mother if she spends herself into oblivion, which she probably will. Whee.

  38. I do believe karma can be worked off but not necessarily forgotten. Maybe test will come by here and there to be sure that you remember the whole purpose of the karma. If the task is taken seriously and diligently, the opportunity of an open door will present itself because it will symbolize growth.

    I love this post Elsa.

  39. Hmmm… looking at my comment up there & wondering if my views have changed since. Think I’ll reserve judgement until I’m in a slightly better place again =)

  40. I have felt as if I have been “deployed” into certain situations where there is some role that I am supposed to play. For instance, while on a first date with a man that ordinarily I would have NOT had a 2nd date with, he told me of circumstances in his life that compelled me to feel something I would not have ordinarily felt. He was paying over $10,000 in alimony to his ex wife who had been his bookkeeper and defrauded him during divorce proceedings. Long story short, after 2 attorneys had held hearings and not been able to get the divorce agreement overturned, he was looking at having to leave the country or go to jail because he couldn’t pay. I asked him enough questions to know that a serious point had been overlooked (I am a paralegal) and took him to an attorney I worked for. She told me to write the brief and during the 4 months it took me to write it (I had never done something like that before) we became very close. The Judge overturned the agreement and his payments were modified to a very reasonable sum. I knew that I was supposed to help- I didn’t want his eternal gratitude or a commitment for life in return; I just wanted to complete my deployment. To this day we are very good friends.
    I have failed to complete the deployment in other ways, when I was younger, and lived (to this day) to regret it. There is definitely a certain “energy” that accompanies the “knowing of deployment”…. feeling compelled and “caged” is one of them. Despite my horrific fears of having to move in with mother due to unemployment, I do recognize the energy as deployment, and feel that perhaps all the events that led up to me being forced to move 3,000 miles away from where I loved living and eventually into my mother’s home is because I have resisted this deployment with all my strength. But, as they say…. Karma Is A Bitch.

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