Amongst various schools of thought it is not possible to achieve full liberation whilst there remains karma to be worked at. Phrased differently we could say unresolved challenges or gaps in knowledge. Or in other terms we have not atoned for our sins. If you like there is an Excel spreadsheet of our account with the universe, the planet, and we cannot leave whilst there is still red ink. Whilst we are unbalanced both emotionally and karmically, we cannot be free. So, though we may be great at meditating, praying and devotion, there remains work to be done, tasks unfinished. We have to clear up the messes we make. This love in action differs from passive adoration. If there is proof, it is in action and not word.
Not a lot of emphasis is made on this idea of working things off. This kind of gritty “dirty” engagement with life can seem somehow beneath those of a lofty calling. Depending on your belief system one could pray to be forgiven but that is not quite as active as getting out there and doing something about it. If you are a Christian what do you think God would prefer, an appeal for forgiveness or a real live demonstration that you aren’t going to repeat and some meaningful remedial action on your part?
A major part of freedom in a personal sense is knowing that one is not in debt, that one has paid all dues. One has become karmically balanced and there is no more karma to work off. The burden of karma is eased, and its yoke lifted. A new lightness of being can be found.
Yoga means union and in its full sense is might mean union with spirit or God. To do this one has to lift the level of consciousness from the petty and the day to day, upwards. In the way is a kind of “glass ceiling” which cannot be passed. We might call this the emotional plane. We cannot get past these emotions, such as blame until we have worked them off. These emotions block the way. The “glass ceiling” is dirty and covered in emotional detritus. When we have worked at the karmic impediments on this “glass ceiling” we can start to see past it, to higher levels of being. In time the ceiling becomes transparent. Then it changes from glass into a two-way membrane. We can pass through it at will, either way. Our consciousness is not limited by emotional reaction. After that the membrane breaks. None of this can happen until we have cleared off our emotional plane. Thus, our emotions and our emotional detritus are karmic impediments. These are, in a way, markers of our karmic debt, the red ink, if you like.
There is no time like the present for starting. The more karma you accumulate the greater the work outstanding. Without moralising or defining over much, the best way to not accumulate karma can be summarised by the entreaty; try not to be a dickhead. Sounds simple but this covers pretty much everything, if you think about it.