Moksha: (from Sanskrit moksa) release from the cycle of rebirth impelled by the law of karma (in Hinduism and Jainism). The transcendental state attained as the result of being released from the cycle of rebirth.(New Oxford American Dictionary)
Moksha relates to spiritual liberation, a soteriological (salvation) goal in Hinduism and Buddhism…freedom from samsara or the karmic cycle of death and rebirth. In America this word is often first encountered through the practice of yoga (or perhaps confused with an expensive cup of coffee), so maybe understanding it can come from using a yogic analogy.
When first practicing a new asana or pose in yoga like half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana), a new yogi may experience many kinds of drama in the attempt. From laughing to grimacing to collapsing and struggling anew, then finally being able to hold the position for a few seconds. This is the karma of learning something new—a cycle of ego deaths and rebirths to try again. With practice and time, the drama fades. Eventually the posture becomes second nature, the struggle is gone and the mind has transcended the drama. It might be said that moksha for this pose has been achieved.
Perhaps this sounds quite heavy or serious, but that may be because in America people tend to take their beliefs so seriously, attaching ideas of damnation to failure. Let it go. There’s an idea that all karma is instant, and once a person begins to understand instant karma they can begin to escape the cycles of death and rebirth, the narcissistic drama of their self-absorbed life. To a person raised in a strict God-centered religion, they often see karma as flowing through a supreme being, an enactor of judgement. In truth, no enactor is needed, whatever one focuses on in any moment is their karma. They may miss the beauty around them if they are focused on ugliness or lack.
Moksha is a word that is part of the name for this new space (as explained here), and it’s always something to be in search of. Maybe it can never be fully achieved or completely understood. There’s always new experience over the horizon of our current awareness.
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