Q: Would you address the interaction of karma and bad choices (for example, self defeating, free will choices in life possibly made from a poor sense of self esteem). If they do affect each other, how does one affect the other?
Simplistic statements are usually not very trustworthy, but I believe we can safely consider that our experiences within relative existence from beginning to end are a single thing: Karma. That is, karma is the seed from which the phenomena of our many lives result. Continued existence in relativity is the fruition of karma. That is why karma has to be ended to transcend relative existence and enter into perfect liberation (purna- or kaivalya- moksha).
Solomon expressed it this way: “That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). What is the present is really an extension of the past, and the future is an extension of the present which then will be the past. It is all one in actuality.
As a consequence, when we make a decision it is made from either a clear or cloudy state of mind and that cloudy or clear condition is a result of past thought and action: Karma. And when that decision is carried out in the form of action that makes new karmic force. And so it goes on perpetually. Karma, too, “reincarnates” as further karma. All of relative existence is completely interrelated because even duality is unity.
Further Reading on Karma: