God Isn’t Punishing Us, We Punish Ourselves

“The Yogi teachings related to the law of Karma do not teach us that sin is an offense against the Power which brought us into being, so much as it is an offense against ourselves. We cannot injure the Absolute, nor harm It in any way. But we may harm each others, and in so doing harm ourselves. The Yogis teach that sin is largely a matter of ignorance and misunderstanding of our true nature … The Yogis view the sinning soul as the parent does the child who will persist in playing with forbidden things [until he is injured]. The injury is not a punishment for the disobedience … but comes in obedience to a natural law which is invariable. … The parent sought to save the child the pain of the burn, and yet the child-nature persisted in experimenting, and was taught the lesson.” ~William Walker Atkinson

Many people believe that God Himself is punishing us when we do something wrong or something stupid. As Mr. Atkinson points out, that is neither true, nor necessary. God simply has laws, as does nature, and those who insist those laws can be violated quickly find they can’t. An insane person may believe that he can jump from an airplane without a parachute and drift slowly to the ground like a flying squirrel, but the law of gravity says otherwise and I haven’t heard of a case yet where gravity failed to win that argument. I know, of course, that there are a few well-documented cases of people levitating a few feet off the ground, but that is not quite the same as jumping from a plane 5000 feet above the ground. And the person who is levitating, assuming he is not just a clever magician, is not really defying gravity, but rather working with it. He uses esoteric methods to temporarily reduce the weight of his body until he is lighter than air and starts floating in complete compliance with the law of gravity. When he increases his weight again, he quickly descends. Continue reading “God Isn’t Punishing Us, We Punish Ourselves”

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redeemer and karma

The Perfect Justice of Karma

“Throughout the operations of the Law of Karma the manifestation of Perfect Justice is apparent. We are not punished for our sins, as the current belief has it, but instead we are punished by our sins. We are not rewarded for our good acts, but we receive our reward through and by characteristics, qualities, affinities, etc., acquired by reason of our having performed these good acts in previous lives. … When we fashion around ourselves the evil of bad karma, we have taken to shelter a monster which will gnaw into our very vitals until we shake him off by developing opposite qualities. And when we draw to ourselves the good karma of duty well performed, kindness well expressed, and good deeds freely performed without hope of reward, then do we weave for ourselves the beautiful garments which we are destined to wear.” ~William Walker Atkinson

I find it interesting that so many people who accept the scientific principle that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction (Newton’s third law), find it hard to believe in karma. It is really just a reinforcement of Newton’s Law, but looking at the non-physical part of the universe: the mental and spiritual areas. We can also find the law of karma in virtually every religion stated in slightly different words. It may be, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or, “Do not do to your brother what you would not wish done to you,” and so on, but it is all talking about the law of karma. Continue reading “The Perfect Justice of Karma”

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Trolls and Snarks

“The Law says about a bull which is given to goring other bulls: ‘If men have protested to the owner and he has not destroyed the animal, he shall pay’ (Exod. 21:36. LXX). You should apply this to your thoughts and impulses. Sometimes during a meal the impulse of self-esteem springs up inside you, urging you to speak at the wrong moment. The angelic thoughts protest within you and tell you to destroy this impulse to speak. If you do not resist the Impulse by keeping silent as you should but allow it to come out into the open because you are puffed up by delusion, then you will have to pay the penalty.” ~The Philokalia

trollI wonder what the writer of this quote would say if he were shown the internet and the comments that get posted on social sites by snarks and trolls! But as the author says here, if the owner of the bull that gores others doesn’t solve the problem, he will have to pay. The Bull being anyone who insists he has to say something when nobody has asked because he is so puffed up with his own self-esteem (Ego) that he can’t accept at all that his opinion on everything matters to others about as much as the cawing of a crow—but is also just as annoying—and the paying being the laws of karma, namely that how you treat others is how they will treat you and if you are always insulting others, especially if it is not honest criticism but the ridiculous snarkiness of a know-it-all.

The book gives the example of someone speaking out of turn or improperly at a communal meal, but this applies even more today on the internet. I had to laugh a few day ago when another writer who is in the same Facebook writer’s group that I’m in (one of them, anyway) apparently got upset because someone criticized her snarkiness so she posted a message that said something like, If you don’t like what I post, unfriend me, because I am going to say whatever I want to. I never say the original post, I don’t know what snarky comment she made that turned others against her, but her attitude when other sent it right back at her made me think she was not a person I wanted to communicate with and I followed her suggestion by unfriending her. And if you think I am going on about snarks and trolls because I have received some unfriendly comments on this blog, you are wrong. It’s actually just by coincidence that I found this on the next page I read in the Philokalia. Continue reading “Trolls and Snarks”

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The Karma Pyramid

“Not only have individuals their own Karma, but families, races, nations and worlds have their collective Karma. In the case of races, if the race Karma generated in the past be favorable on the whole, the race flourishes and its influence widens. If on the contrary its collective Karma be bad, the race gradually disappears from the face of the earth, …” ~William Walker Atkinson

woman defending herself with her hands from the boomerang

Karma works a lot like a boomerang.

What a lot of people don’t seem to understand about karma is that it exists at several levels. Most people think of personal karma and realize that what they do, what they think, and what they fear has a great effect on their lives, then something happens to them and they don’t understand why. Still others will say that karma isn’t real because they know of people who may be suffering from a disease, or have been robed, or live in severe poverty, yet have done nothing to deserve this. In places like India, this is explained by reincarnation and they say the person is facing those difficulties because of something they did in a past life. While that seems to make sense, I question whether it is really right for someone to suffer for the deeds of a past life she doesn’t even remember (I also question the whole idea of reincarnation). There is another explanation, and this one is also accepted by man in the East: different levels of karma.

What I mean by levels of karma is that your life is not only affected by your acts, but also by the acts of others. There is family karma, geographical karma (town, state, nation), group karma for any groups you belong to, and racial karma. There may be other levels, but those are the main ones. Let’s look at them individually.

Personal Karma. I have covered this before and much has been written or said about it, so I won’t go into this too much. This is what the prophets and saints are talking about when they say we reap what we sow or that we should treat others as we wish to be treated.

Family Karma. This is the situation where you may feel the consequences of acts performed by other members of your family. This may vary greatly depending on how much you supported or contributed to the family members bad behavior. It can also be reduced or eliminated by the good deeds of yourself or other family members. So if the family members of a serial murderer were unaware of his activities and certainly didn’t support them, their karma will be minimal and they can eliminate it easily with good deeds. On the other hand, if you were aware that this family member was a killer, you face a greater karmic debt. If you not only knew of the murders, but helped hide evidence, bought the guy a gun knowing he was unstable, or otherwise actively helped, then your karma is almost as great as if you assisted in the actual murders. On the other hand, the good deeds of a family member can also help bring you good karma, so it isn’t unfair at all.

Geographical Karma. This is the karma that is associated with a place. That place can be a town, a state, a nation, a continent, or even just a single home. Some of what are called haunted houses may just be a place full of bad karma. The types of things that affect personal and family karma can also be at play on this level, but there are other things found only here. Lets look at a few examples. Say a small town has a monastery in it with very real, very spiritual monks. But religion has fallen on difficult times and the monks are having difficulties paying their bills. The people in the town help them out so they won’t have to shut down the monastery. That will bring all the people of that town some good karma, though the amount will vary depending on how much they actually participated in saving the monastery. On the negative side, suppose a factory in the town is dumping hazardous waste into a river that passes through the town (many did that before laws were passed to stop it). Other people in the town see this and, instead of complaining to the management at the factory, or the town mayor, they decide they will dump their trash their as well. Soon, the river has piles of trash in it and begins harboring diseases and many of the people in the town get sick and some die. That’s bad karma at work.

Group and Racial Karma. Karma can effect people based on the race they are part of or groups they belong to. When most members of a race suffer from a particular problem, it is a safe bet that karma is at the bottom of it. Group karma is more associated with groups we belong to voluntarily. A terrorist group like ISIL is building up great bad karma for everyone in that group, even of they haven’t personally been involved in the murders, rapes, beheadings and so on, as part of the group they share is the karma the group earns. This is also true on other scales such as a neighborhood gang you belong to. The other side is that when you belong to groups that seek to help people, animals, or the environment, you receive some good karma just by belonging to the group. On a spiritual level, a group or race that suppresses the rights of others to practice their own religious or spiritual beliefs will find their members ability to grow spiritually being limited, while the group who supports the rights of all will see their spiritual rights growing and their spiritual progress great.

One might ask at this point, “If karma comes from all these levels, why should I do good as an individual?” The reason is that doing good is always the right thing to do, but also, most of our karma does come from our own behavior. Probably 80 or 85 percent of our karma is the result of our personal actions, so it does help for us to behave in a manner that brings us good karma. And in any groups we belong to including family, nationality, and so on, our good behavior also give good karma to the group.

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