The Question of Reincarnation:
There is a conflict (for some,
it can be called a battle) that wages within most of us. The conflict is between
that which we desire and that which we need. This conflict is termed the kama-manasic
conflict, from two words coined by early Theosophists: kama,
meaning desire; and manas, meaning mind or need. The purpose
of our many lives upon the Earth plane is to transcend from a state where
we react very strongly to the desires of the personality, to a state where
we respond completely to the higher aspects of the soul and spirit. Little
by little, we chip away at the illusory desires, and we begin revealing
more and more of our spirit.
Great Law of Karma
If we consider what we have
said thus far, we can see that we are involved in a marvelous system of
life. We are given every opportunity to become all that we already are.
Again, we have a paradox. Why should we strive to become something we
already are? The answer is profoundly simple: we do not believe that we are
what we are! We have convinced ourselves that we are the body, or at least
the personality. We very carefully categorize and label people, based upon
color, creed, religion, and sex. We constantly refer to and judge others as
more or less spiritual than we, when, in effect, we are all plainly and
simply spiritual. We even go so far as to argue whether God is male or
female; perhaps the most ludicrous argument of all. All this categorizing
and polarizing has created a dichotomy of the soul and caused us to forget,
or not truly believe, that we are all spirit!
In Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1,
Verse 9, it says, "There is no new thing under the sun."
This is true of the spiritual quest. Our journey is not so much one of
discovery, but rather one of rediscovery; rediscovering the hidden
mysteries of the soul, the hidden mysteries of life and of God. Besides
rediscovering that which already is, we are constantly creating and
changing. Although there is nothing new under the sun, that which is not
new is constantly in a state of growth and expansion. As God expands and
evolves (in a manner incomprehensible to any of us), so do we; and vice
versa. Thus, life is a cycle. We are not traveling home; we are traveling
back home. Jews refer to this as Teshuvah, a return back to
the Source; a turning and returning.
As co-creators with God, we
are bestowed with a most wonderful gift: freedom of choice. We have the
freedom to choose whether we shall live by God's plan or in opposition to
it. This is our greatest gift. Along with this wonderful gift comes
responsibility, and this responsibility is manifested in one universal and
eternal law: the great Law of Karma or Cause and Effect. In a nutshell, the
Law of Karma states that we must sow, now or in the future, that which we
reap. We are responsible for our actions and our thoughts. Everything that
we do, say, and think has some effect, and we are obligated to deal with
that effect. How we deal with it is determined by each of us, but deal with
it we must. This is the law! Apart from explaining why there is evil within
a loving creation, the Law of Karma guarantees justice; not through
punishment, but through consequence. Please pay particular attention to
is not a law of punishment or revenge; it is a law of natural consequence. No
one escapes the effects of the Law of Karma.
Myths Surrounding Karma
There are many myths
surrounding karma. Let us now dispel a few of them.
is not a form of divine punishment. Karma is simply the law. There is no
punishment here, nor is there reward; there is merely consequence. How we
live our lives today will determine, to a great degree, what our future
will be like; it is as simple as that.
we must never look at karma as retribution for the deeds of the past. To do
so would be to look at life in a very negative way. If errors need to be
corrected, we should attempt to correct them. This is the responsibility
which comes with freedom of choice.
should not be equated to negativity. People love talking about their bad
karma and how they are suffering, today, for the deeds of the past. Again,
karma is the law. There is neither good karma nor bad karma; there is only
karma! The consequences of our past deeds may be very unpleasant, or they
may be very rewarding. We determine that, not karma. Karma is what makes it
all come about. Karma can be equated to atomic energy. In its raw state,
atomic energy has great, but silent, potential. Once we tap into it, we can
use it either to solve our energy problems or to destroy the planet upon
which we live. So it is with karma. In itself, it is neutral; once we
engage it, it takes on character, and we usually label it as good or bad.
must never be looked at in terms of "an eye for and eye and a tooth
for a tooth." If we injure an individual, we do not necessarily have
to be injured by that same person. We must deal with the fact that we
injured another soul. How we deal with that is up to us. Those involved
will very likely work out a strategy of karmic compensation. But karma
should not be looked at as a means of revenge for the injustices committed
by others. This perverted attitude concerning karma results only in one
thing: a continuation of a vicious cycle of inflicting one injustice upon
another because of what a person may have done to us. This solves nothing.
Karmic relationships between
people are complex and involve many different aspects, more than we
generally realize. The problem arises when we constantly look at the people
with whom we are involved and ask: what karma am I working out with you?
You may not be working out any karma with that person. The question to ask
is: what can I do to make myself a better and more loving person? If we
worry too much about the "karma" of things, we fall victim to
living our lives under the assumption that if we do all the right things,
we shall free ourselves from karma's debt. This can be a selfish and
What are we attempting to say
here? Very simply this: we should be fully aware of karma and its many
implications and then leave it at that. We should strive to live our lives
in light, love, and goodness, not because it will help wipe out karmic
debts, but because we know that this is the way we should be. If we do
selfless things for selfish reasons, our motives becomes selfish, and there
will be karmic consequences to this.
Finally, we must never judge another
person based on his or her life. Too often, we tend to look at the
"lowly" and downtrodden as people who are having to suffer
because of past deeds. Why a person chooses a particular earthly life is
between that person and God and should not be subject to judgment. We must
never equate bodily health and material comfort as indications of spiritual
growth or achievement.
As individual souls, we are
subject to varying degrees of karma:
KARMA is that which involves us as individuals; that which we are dealing
with and working through on a personal level.
KARMA involves the family with which we grow up. We come to the Earth plane
with certain parents and siblings; not by accident, but because we have
chosen to live and work with these people for a number of reasons.
KARMA involves the over-all group to which we may belong. This can be based
upon sex, color, ethnic heritage, religion, etc. Today there is a definite
evolution of understanding between the sexes. A person chooses to come onto
the earth as a male or female for specific reasons, but his or her life
will also be influenced by whatever his or her sexual group does. So it is
with racial, ethnic, religious, and other groups.
KARMA influences those living within a certain country. Nations are subject
to the laws of karma, as are people. United States citizens are influenced
by the karma of this country. So it is with citizens of all countries.
KARMA involves the karma of the human family as a whole. As members of the
human race, we are each subject to that which influences this great group
of spirits. The general human struggle affects each of us, and it is unwise
to feel that the actions of a group of people thousands of miles away have
no bearing upon us. We are all members of the human family, and we affect
each other on many levels.
From this, we can see that
karma, together with its implications and influences upon our lives, is a
bit more complex than we might think. We are subject to varying influences,
from varying sources. Once again, we repeat: the secret to successful
living is to live our lives as loving and caring people. Peace on earth
begins by achieving peace within the individual. Harmony on earth begins
with inner harmony. Racial, sexual, and ethnic barriers begin to break down
with the breaking down of barriers from within. It all starts with the
individual. From there, it expands outward, gradually encompassing more and
more of the whole.
For clarification on the
difference between Spirit and Soul, you may wish to read an article on the Spirit-Soul-Body trinity.
Part Three of this series: The Process of Rebirth.
Further information on this
and other related subjects on the Journey of Your
Soul and Spirit is available.
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