Things and people are not separate, but part of a Whole. All is
actually One. All is within the Whole. By increasing the focus
on self, we have created the illusion of a self separated from
the rest of life, but it just isn't so. Our individual actions
and thoughts make an impact on the Mind of the Universal One.
When the legendary seer, Edgar Cayce, was in the deeper levels
of consciousness and was asked to give a "reading"
of the soul-record for an individual, he found it very difficult
to determine whether the soul had thought of doing something
or had actually done it. In the deeper levels of consciousness,
thoughts and actions are equal in their impact. Perhaps this
explains Jesus' admonition that adultery in one's heart is the
same as committing it in deed.
Thoughts are things. Thoughts are real.
Reactions to past thoughts and actions become our fate, destiny
and karma. An individual's fate is simply the rebounding effects
of previous choices remembered by its soul. The reason the effects
of these previous choices often seem unfair to the conscious
mind is because the personality doesn't see beyond its own life
for sources of current conditions.
"Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he
was born blind?" (John 9:1-2) Now if these disciples didn't
believe in and understand pre-existence of the soul and karma,
why would they ask if this man's own sins had caused him to
be born blind? The only way this could happen is for him to
have sinned before his birth! And, in fact, that is just what
they thought he might have done. Notice also how the disciples
thought that his parents might have brought this upon themselves
through past mistakes. Here is a clear indication that within
the inner circle of Jesus' followers there was the concept that
misfortune had a source, and that that source could extend beyond
the present lifetime.
As companions of God, we are free to live and choose and grow
almost as we desire, but not without being subject to Universal,
Spiritual Law. Through meeting our thoughts, actions and words
we learn to discern wisdom from folly, lasting strength from
weakness and true life from illusion. In turn we become more
able to fulfill our ultimate purpose for existing: to be a companion
to the Universal Creator. The law is actually a magnificent
tool for perfect learning. It is completely impersonal -- everyone
experiences it equally and for the purpose of enlightenment,
even Jesus: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered." (Hebrews 5:8)
THE MEMORY COMPLEX
The law of karma is not some fierce god in the sky keeping
track of everything so that it can zap people when they least
expect it. Most karmic reactions in fact come from the individual's
own deep memory of what it has done.
You see, actions and thoughts build a consciousness much in
the same way that exercise and food build a body. In a way,
we are a memory complex. Our body and mind is the subtotal of
all we have done. The memories, whether conscious or unconscious,
make up our present condition. Thus, when we look at one another
we are actually seeing a memory complex. Decisions are based
on our past; reactions are based on our past; so are our goals.
To understand a person, we must know something about their memory
Not surprisingly, karma has been described as memory. Karma
is memory coming to consciousness again. What has occurred in
the past is recalled and has an effect on the present. Now,
the recollection may not surface to the conscious level; the
personality may have no awareness of the memory, in fact. Yet,
it exists at the deeper, soul level. Nevertheless, the soul
sees through the same eyes as the personality, and is reminded
of its past use of free-will and consciousness. Naturally, some
of these memories will be compatible with the Universal, and
some will not.
Memory is an important concept in understanding how the law
of karma works.
As a soul draws closer to the Universal Mind it becomes aware
that some of its memories are not compatible with the Creator,
and since its ultimate purpose for being is companionship with
the Creator, it seeks out opportunities to resolve these incompatible
Suppose a soul criticizes another soul among its peers and
behind its back. As it becomes more aware of its true nature
it will recall this wrong, and because of its incompatibility
with the Creator, will seek to correct it. Now, the resolution
could take many forms. The soul might seek out an opportunity
to work closely with the injured soul as a supporter, assistant,
publicist, agent or the like. Or perhaps it would seek to re-create
the original scene -- putting itself in a position to criticize
the other soul again in front of the same peers. The test would
be to see if the soul would choose not to criticize this time,
even if it meant a certain loss of position for itself. Throughout
all of this the soul grows wiser and more compatible with the
If, however, a soul has gotten so far away from its true nature
that it has no conscience, then the Law can become a formidable
obstacle to any further free-will action. Such a soul becomes
surrounded by its karma; everywhere it turns it meets the terrible
effects of its previous actions and thoughts. Yet, even a soul
who has gotten in this pathetic situation can return to perfection
because there is no total condemnation from the Creator or the
Law. If the soul turns away from its self-centeredness and begins
acting, reacting, thinking and speaking like a companion to
the Universe, then the Law is just as perfect as it is with
error; and the reactions begin to build and establish a new
destiny for that soul.
Karma is memory. As one recalls or relives situations, one
meets self again, and a new decision point or crossroads is
presented to the soul. "Before thee are set good and evil.
Choose thou." (Deuteronomy 30:15) In our portrait of life,
good would be equated with compatible, harmonious actions and
thoughts which consider the needs and desires of others along
with self's needs and desires. Evil would be equated with actions
and thoughts that are motivated by a self-orientation that pays
little or no attention to the needs and desires of others and
the Whole. Metaphysically speaking, good results in oneness,
and evil results in a sense of separation. Decisions in one's
life could be approached by evaluating which choices promote
greater oneness and which promote separation.
However, it gets a little difficult to support this idea much
further than that because in most of the secret teachings there
is the belief that one must separate oneself from the world
if one is to awaken to the greater reality beyond this life.
Yet if we look closely at this belief, we find that the separation
is more accurately a detachment than a separation. One is to
strive to release oneself from the possessive power of the things
of this world while still actively participating in it. In other
words, one is to enjoy food and drink without being possessed
by food and drink; one is to enjoy material life without being
possessed by it.
Look at the "Seven Deadly Sins" of Western religion.
Each of them (lust, envy, greed, gluttony, etc.) expresses a
type of possessive power that overtakes the partaker. The "Seven
Virtues" on the other hand, express selflessness on the
part of the recipient: kindness, gentleness, patience, etc.
Notice also that the Sins are mostly self-experienced, but
the Virtues require another person in order for them to be realized.
This follows Jesus' teaching, "I seek mercy, and not sacrifice.
He who has ears..." Sacrifice can be done alone, but mercy
requires that one reach out beyond oneself and consider others
and their needs.
Again, we come to the inevitable conclusion that sin is self
to the exclusion of others and the Whole, while virtue is oneness
with the Whole and consideration of others. It's important to
note here that the ultimate goal is not the complete loss of
self-identity, rather, as Cayce so aptly phrased it: to know
yourself to be yourself, yet one with the Whole.
GRACE, MERCY AND FORGIVENESS
In one sense it is true that "not one jot or tittle shall
be removed from the Law." One must meet every bit of its
karma. However, there is a way that it can be modified, softened,
even ameliorated. If a soul, knowing another soul has wronged
it, forgives that soul and holds no lingering resentment --
perhaps has even forgotten the wrong in the depths of its forgiveness
and understanding -- then it begins to take hold of the power
of forgiveness. The more it forgives, the more it perceives
and understands forgiveness. Then, when it approaches the Universal
Consciousness and realizes it possesses memories that are incompatible
with the It, forgiveness is much more viable, removing the barrier
between Father/Mother and son/daughter. The law is so precise
(what one gives one receives; no exceptions) that if one begins
showing mercy and forgiveness for others, one begins to receive
mercy and forgiveness upon oneself. Now, the law is very sensitive
to the deep, true purpose for which one does something, and
if the purpose for forgiving another is simply to obtain forgiveness
for oneself, then little is gained. But if one truly forgives,
and forgives by understanding, through empathy and compassion,
then there is no way one can avoid receiving forgiveness upon
The law also works in some very curious ways. Somehow one's
greatest weakness possesses the potential to become one's greatest
strength. With each difficult situation, whether physical, mental
or spiritual, there comes an opportunity. These "opportunities"
sometimes appear to be hopeless problems, like a crippling disease,
an uncontrollable habit or a situation in which one feels totally
victimized without cause. More often they appear as annoyances
or frustrations, like an unattractive nose, a difficult sibling,
spouse, colleague, boss, lover or friend; or an ever present
lack of money. In each case, the soul has an opportunity to
resolve and overcome some weakness in itself, and by doing so
with the right attitude, the soul can rise to new heights of
consciousness, love, and companionship. Attempting to sidestep
one's crosses is simply a temporary diversion, delaying the
eventual glorification that is the soul's inheritance when it
All has to be met. And yet, no soul is given more than it can
bear to carry -- this is the paradoxical blessing hidden in
the limitations of time and space. A soul is given the time
it needs to turn away from its selfish ways and, like the prodigal
son, return home to a feast of joy and welcome from its Father
in heaven. Reincarnation is not a way to avoid judgment and
responsibility;, it is a way to allow the soul enough time to
correct its mistakes and develop itself.
FATALISM & FREE WILL
How can free will coexist with fate?
Suppose while traveling on a road you arrive at a point where
the road divides into two and you must decide which road you
will take. Once you make your decision, you have set a direction
that can be almost totally predicted. In this way your fate
is decided; but remember, it was your free decision that cast
it in the first place. Now suppose that you could fly up in
the air and get a bird's eye view of the road you selected to
travel. From this vantage point you would see your future. The
catch is that you couldn't be absolutely sure you'd stay on
this road once you started. You might decide to go back to the
beginning and take the other road, or you might choose to take
a side road off of this road. You might even decide to sit down
for a long time in one place along the road. In this way, your
fate is before you, but you still have the free will to change
your direction. It may take you some time before you can make
a significant change, and perhaps it will require some considerable
effort. For example, let's suppose you did decide to travel
a different road. Where you are on the present road will in
some way determine what options are available to you. There
may be only one side-road within miles. You might be close enough
to the beginning of the road to turn around, or too far down
the road for that, in which case you'd have to push on until
you could choose another route. Many of the decisions in our
lives are like this. They are affected by our original choices,
which may be long forgotten by now. The present road we're taking
also affects our options. Nevertheless, no matter where we are
in our lives, no matter what circumstances in which we find
ourselves, once we finally wake up and take notice of what we're
doing, our free will is at our disposal to effect the necessary
changes. The only limitations are how long it will take us to
get to the place where we can make a significant new choice.
"IT'S MY KARMA"
One of the most distorted views of karma is the idea that nothing
can be done about it. No matter how terrible our predicament,
there is always something we can do, even if it's just dealing
with it as best we can with a patient smile, a good attitude
and a loving heart. The time will come when we will be through
with this stretch of the hard road, and it's best to come out
of it with no bitterness. Remember, no one has done this to
you, it is a result of your own actions, thoughts or words.
In patience you will overcome it and rise again to an even greater
level than before. Again, keep in mind that in the worst situation
often lies the greatest opportunity.
THE CENTER IN THE MIDST OF CONDITIONS
From the ancient Taoist text, The Secret of the Golden Flower,
we find another wonderful concept: Amid all the circumstances
of our life, all its activities, all its demands, there lies
deep within us an undisturbed, unmoved place of ultimate quiet
and peace. This is the center in the midst of conditions. When
we learn how to enter this place for short periods each day,
the demands of the day lose much of their sting. We find we
can not only cope better, but we can actually make better decisions
and effect better use of our time and energy each day. Meditation
is a key tool for experiencing the center in the midst of conditions.
See the section on Prayer and Meditation in this web site.