Wednesday, 2 May 2018

KARMA: A Tool for Spiritual Development/Growth by Laura Iacovides Sept. 2017

In the Universe we live we are under some Universal Laws.  On of them is the Law of Cause and Effect which rebirths are carried on by placing us in every circumstance of growth. In Sanskrit is called ‘Karma” The word Karma means ‘action’, ‘to do’ or ‘to make’.  Every Action has a reaction and effect (consequence). There is no chance or accident to what may happen to us. Every situation we are facing is linked to a cause that has a following event.  It is like Newton’s law of physics that " in every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" or as in Bible “you reap what you saw”.  
This is the way the universe maintains its harmony and balance.
The tennis ball hitting the wall, has to rebound. Every single action we take; is like a little seed we plant. In the words of H.P. Blavatsky, the Law of Karma is “the ultimate Law of the Universe.” Every self-conscious being in the universe, without exception, is subject to the Law of Karma. Every being in possession of individual self-consciousness and the intelligent power of choice, is a creator of Karmic causes. The Law of Karma is directed related with the Law of Reincarnation that’s why a physical incarnation itself is a Karmic effect, since one of the main reasons we reincarnate is in order to deal with our past Karma.
Our mental, intellectual and personality differences are most of them due to our actions and tendencies, both past and present.

Karma in most cultures often means that people get what they deserve. It is often misunderstood as the punishment of God or fate and most of the times just hearing the word brings fear to the people.  But this fear can bring knowledge and can became an inspiring uplifting force if deeply understood.  If Karma is seen as an action and not as a result it can change the course of it now, by changing acts and self destructive patters.  Karma and reincarnation are found clearly expressed in the world’s oldest religion – Hinduism, in Buddhism, and in other Eastern religions but it is not solely an Eastern teaching. In the Buddhist tradition, karma refers to action driven by intention (cetanā) which leads to future consequences. Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's (Atman's) reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth.

Reincarnation and Karma were part of the teaching of Christianity until the 6th century A.D. At the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D. those teachings were repudiated, declared heretical, and officially replaced with doctrines which are more representative of the present form of Christianity. Although the Law of Karma and Reincarnation is not taught in the public, exoteric teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc., it is taught in the inner, esoteric teachings of those religions and indeed of every religion. In the New Testament, the action of karma is formulated in the well-known words of Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians 6:7: "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." in Judaism, the idea of karma is implied in statements like the prophesy of Hosea (speaking of Israel), “For they sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).

Dr. Stylianos Atteshlis also known as Daskalos who lived and died in Cyprus explained Karma by saying "all illnesses are due to karma. It is either the result of your own debts or the debts of others you love" (Markides, 66).  In The Key to Theosophy, H. P. Blavatsky defines karma as that unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its producer. Sri Ramana Maharshi regarded the law of Karma as a manifestation of God’s will. He said that prior to Self-realisation there is a personal God, Iswara, who controls each person’s destiny. It is Iswara who has ordained that everyone must suffer the consequences of his actions and it is Iswara who selects the sequences of activities that each person must undergo in each lifetime. One cannot escape from Iswara’s jurisdiction while one still identifies with the activities of the body. The only way to become free of his authority is to transcend Karma completely by realising the Self.

Actions are considered to be thoughts, emotions, words and deeds, and the motive, desire and the intent behind each. Harmful thoughts directed at others have the ability to hurt not only others but also the person who has unleashed them. Thoughts is the most potent in the creation of Karma because the thoughts are working in the mental matter which is not visible to a normal eye but the results are. Physical actions can have an end but thoughts are internal once released into the universe. Through thoughts people create desires, and if desires are cruel, unclean, harsh they became cause of future effects such illnesses.  As Paramahansa Yogananda wrote the ‘The karmic law requires that every human wish find ultimate fulfilment. Nonspiritual desires are thus the chain that binds man to the reincarnation wheel.’ Our actions generate great deal of Karma by the effects to other people and can determine our future encounters such as family members, friends and enemies.  So our surroundings into where we were born depends on the effect of our previous actions bad or good.  If good actions were made we will be in a positive circumstance but If the cause brought to people suffering, we will reap physical circumstances of physical suffering. The strength of a karma depends on the intention to do it, the action itself, its completion, and the feeling it causes afterward.

There are different kinds of Karma.  Firstly, is the accumulated past Karma waiting to come to fruition from previous actions both good and bad, which is not revealed yet and which appear in this birth in the form of desires. Secondly, the results of karma already worked out in a previous life which appears in the present life in the form of fate, and the present karma we are continually making in our present actions and will be making in our future actions.  The Law of Karma applies to everything in the manifested universe. As well as individual Karma, there is also family Karma, ancestral karma, group Karma, national Karma, racial Karma, planetary Karma, and so on.  All of these levels of karma interact with each other.
Humanity has always regarded a natural disaster such as flood, earthquake, volcano eruptions, hurricanes etc as menaces performed upon us by either an unjustified Deity or physical natural forces. If the law of karma is true, then no manifestation can operate outside the power of cause and effect. Our misuse of natural kingdoms is responsible for nature’s violence. By creating wars, abusive behaviours to lower forms of life than us, such as vegetable and animal kingdoms we do crimes against nature. They are absorbed by the elements which make up nature until the imbalance may no longer be contained, and big physical disasters result.

In national Karma a person will be identified with a specific race (nationality) according to the needs and traits of the person for the lessons to be learnt. Usually the lessons in this karmic relation varies with the lesson to be learned by group of people attracted to each other karmically. The race serves in the evolutionary growth of all people, providing the karmic conditions for the learning of those special lessons, very much like grades or departments of education in school. Democracy, monarchy, dictatorship, religion, customs are samples of national karma.  As karma drawn us to our race, we also are drawn to our family, friends and enemies that surround us.  The interaction with people like sharing a house, feelings, is karmic involvement; in bigger picture sharing earth is karmic involvement.   So understanding in what situation we are in the moment shows us glimpses of our past actions, and what we may do for our future.  In order to balance our karma or at least not to create a heavier burden to our future we need to deeply understand the Law, accept it and feel gratitude for it.  Accepting our Karma its like accepting a gift from God, if we don’t accept the situation is like pushing away the the gift and the lesson is not learned.  Acceptance takes us nearer to God and Creation.  Keeping our mind calm is a way to prevent Karma, when our mind is filled with good attitude and positive energy then our actions can be similar.  We can achieve the positive attitude towards everything by meditating and connecting with the higher realms.  Furthermore, we can practice Raja Yoga’s stages of yama and niyama, yamas are about preventing behaviours that are motivated by hatred, delusion, greediness while the niyamas guides us to create well-being for ourselves and others around us.  This can stabilize our bodies so we are no longer vibrating with so much negative emotions.  Of course in all religions we have clues of how not to create further karma an example are commandments of Moses.

So a deep understanding of the Law Karma, will bring us to realization to stop resisting and act. Act and stop resisting means to take responsibility of our actions. We can train our mind with the ability to choose which flowers we water and which we don’t and not to react to conditioned thoughts patterns. So in order to use karma as a force for our own personal and spiritual development, a force for great good we need to identify our karmic energy and work to heal any karmic energy holding us back. Karma is meant to teach us lessons. If we learn quickly, we will make progress towards spiritual development. If not, we will be presented with much harder options until we realize our acts and correct them. Once we became conscious and access the higher stages of awakening, then we can step of the karmic wheel and endless cycles of rebirth.  This is the aim of our karmic lessons, to gain complete mastery over our thoughts, words and deeds which ultimate will lead us to the spiritual practice and development.  

Karma Law is much more important and meaningful for our own awareness, understanding karma deeply we can move from being a victim to being in charge of our own growth.  Understanding karma is about opening our heart to kindness and love, for ourselves and others. Its about being aware of our actions without the veil of ego’s delusion.  Joy and sorrow, pain and happiness, poverty and wealth everything will ultimately result in our spiritual growth and thus expanding our consciousness to recognize and connect with the common Source of Everything! God!

Famous statements about Karma
Do not do to others what you yourself do not desire (Analects, 15.24). Confucius.

We are our own children. - Pythagoras.

Nothing can work me damage but myself. - St. Bernard.

Not from birth does one become a slave; not from birth does one become a saint; but by conduct alone. -  Buddha.

Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.-- Solomon.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. – Apostole Paul.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. -- Jesus.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Luke 12:24

2:14. Experiences of pleasure and of pain are the results of merit and demerit, respectively. - Patanjali

2:13. So long as the cause exists, it will bear fruits--such as rebirth, a long or short life, and the experiences of pleasure and of pain.- Patanjali

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.- Matthew 26:52

When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.- Confucius

“In the long run, every man will pay the penalty for his own misdeeds. The man who remembers this will be angry with no one, indignant with no one, revile no one, blame no one, offend no one, hate no one.” ― Epictetus

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