Karma means action. But action can be of two types. It can either be a reaction or it can be a response.
When somebody insults you and you become angry, he has made you behave the way he wanted. Now if he apologizes, your mood suddenly changes. So he is the master. You are behaving like a slave. You are a victim having no control over the situation. When somebody insults you, you are immediately reacting out of your past experiences. This reaction is karma. It is a binding force. It creates chains for you.
But a response is totally different from reaction. When someone insults you, you don’t need to give in to the emotion of anger rising inside you. You can listen to what he is saying objectively without judging whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. First you listen to him without immediately reacting. Then you respond with awareness. You don’t react from the past. You are now responding from the present.
If the other person is right, you will thank him for pointing out something to you and making you aware of yourself. If he is wrong, you can simply witness the emotion and not react. If the statement is not true, why should you react?
A beautiful story from the life of George Gurdjieff:
George Gurdjieff was a young boy of nine years when his father died. He was from a poor family but his father was a very honest and integrated person. When his father was on his deathbed, he called Gurdjieff and gave him his last teaching.
If somebody insults you, listen silently and in detail to what he is saying. Then tell the person, ‘I am grateful that you have taken so much interest in me. After twenty-four hours I will come and reply to you.’ Gurdjieff promised his father that he would always follow this advice.
In his own old age, Gurdjieff said to his disciples, ‘My father’s simple technique helped me immensely. Because, after twenty-four hours who remains angry? After twenty-four hours, either you find that the person was right or he was not.
If he was right, it means you have an opportunity to learn and improve yourself. Your awareness about yourself has increased. If the person is wrong, there is no need to be agitated because the statement has no solid base.
Let your response be like a pure reflection in a mirror with no judgment. Let it not come from the karmic baggage of the past. Instead let it come from the freshness of the present. Anything that comes from your past experiences is going to create a karmic chain. Anything from the present liberates.
You create your own karma. Karma does not create you. You are not a byproduct of your actions. You are far bigger than your actions.
source: Living Enlightenment