Karma. It’s a tricky term that seems to have countless meanings. Simply put, karma is a word that points to the endless cycle of cause and effect. It comes from Sanskrit, and is used often within the yoga world regarding the journey to enlightenment. If we want to reach this formidable state, we’ll want to learn how to work with our karma and, ultimately, clear it.

It’s certainly not a simple task -- this notion of clearing your karma -- but it can be done. Here is a bit more about karma and five straightforward ways in which you can work to clear it.

About Karma

Karma doesn’t always point to some kind of negative action. It can also be associated with positive ones. In essence, what we do in this present moment, as well as how we think, will directly affect our future circumstances. It’s kind of amazing when you think about the amount of potency our thoughts, words and actions have in creating our future reality.

The idea behind the concept of karma is that the universe will bring back what we give out. If we cause suffering for another person because of our words or actions, we’ll most likely experience some form of hardship, in order to teach us the lessons we still need to learn.

(Read on about The Truth About Karma and How to Handle It.)

How to Clear Your Karma

Love Comes First

If you can somehow act from a place of unconditional love toward every, single person you meet -- including those who’ve wronged you in some way -- you are well on your way to clearing your negative karma. While this may sound almost impossible in some circumstances, this is where the real work lies. It’s easy to be loving toward those who are good to you. But those who haven’t been so great? If you can speak to these people with love and do things for them out of love, you’re well on your way to that promised land free of past negative karmas.

Gratitude Is Everything

Try to always be grateful for everything that comes your way -- no matter how it makes you feel. The good, the bad and the ugly -- express your gratitude for all of it. These are your life lessons and when you thank the universe for bringing them to you, you are in the act of clearing negative karma. So, stop complaining and embrace everything!

(Learn how in Give Thanks, Get Gratitude: 3 Reasons We're Thankful for This Mindfulness Practice.)

Think Before Acting

Before you act, think of how it will affect the people you love. Then consider how your actions will affect those who are merely acquaintances. Next, think of people you might even consider to be enemies or adversaries. Last, consider how your actions will affect all the animals, plants and the environment as a whole. When you get really clear and concerned about how your deeds affect all sentient beings on the planet and then work to make sure you’re doing no harm whatsoever, you are well on your way to clearing any negative karma you may have in this moment.

Release Resentment and Forgive

The esteemed Buddhist nun and teacher, Pema Chodron, says that the greatest obstacle to connecting with your joy is resentment. So, we must release it, at all costs. It only gets us stuck in the rut of samsara, and holds us back from clearing our karma on the path to enlightenment.

Every one of us holds the power necessary to change our thoughts. We can all change our perspective and choose to let go. Forgiving ourselves and forgiving others is a choice. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been wronged in some way or another. It’s inevitable that all of us will need to learn how to let go and release expectations as to how things should or shouldn’t have been, how things should or shouldn’t be. We all need to let go of the past and choose to see particular situations with love and compassion. While it’s no doubt a difficult thing to do, it’s part of the journey. Forgive everyone, and don’t forget to forgive yourself while you’re at it!

(For more on letting go, try Let Go of Attachment With This Daily Practice From 'True Yoga' (Excerpt).)

Make Peace With Where You Are

It’s essential to accept exactly who you are and where you are in your life, in this present moment. This is necessary to move forward and clear your negative karma. You have the power to change your life, by connecting to the present moment and then accepting it, exactly as it is. Everything in your life is part of a bigger plan. When you understand the divine nature of the universe, you can move through your life from a higher state of consciousness, where it’s easier to clear negative karma.

Happy New You

Karma’s a tricky concept, but the more awareness you bring to it, the easier it will be to work with. The more consciousness you bring to the aforementioned tips, the more you’ll naturally begin to clear negative karmas; and in doing so, live a happier, richer and more enlightened life -- a life that is, in essence, your true nature.