Karma has been defined as the law of cause and effect.
The word is Sanskrit in origin and literally means “deed,” or “to do.”
Applied to our lives, our thoughts, actions, and deeds, are karmic causes which set into motion certain circumstances, which in turn produce resulting effects in our lives.
With these thoughts in mind, are all the events of our lives the result of karma?
After all, there are people who are firm believers in the concept of karma and who are quick to point out, when coming across a person in a condition of poor health, or undesirable circumstances, that the individual obviously has karmically brought the condition upon himself.
Now, it is true, that being human, we occasionally, or even frequently, act in such a way as to be out of harmony with the laws of nature and thereby bring about an imbalance which may result in illness or other undesirable effects.
All human life is susceptible to such an occasional occurrence.
On the other hand, to make the sweeping assumption that all illness, or even all undesirable situations, are the result of improper action on the part of the individual is judgmental, and is the height of arrogance.
All of us experience many events and occurrences during our lives. Some of these events fall within our control.
Frequently, we can avoid many adverse conditions through the application of intelligent living, such as is taught in our Rosicrucian teachings.
There are, however, events which are beyond our immediate control.
We are unable to trace such events to actions on our part which may have brought them about.
They may be sudden occurrences which we did not expect and for which we have no immediate solution.
Or they may simply be situations we do not, at present, understand and which we do not as yet know how to master.
To assume that such events are always the result of karma and that we are doomed to suffer may lead to very negative introspection of an unhealthy nature.
There are, unfortunately, people who must have life pigeonholed into tidy compartments of good and bad.
Such people must also have equally tidy explanations for events or occurrences, and are extremely quick to explain misfortune by the placing of blame, usually upon others, but often even upon themselves.
To the Mystic, however, events are not so readily good or evil as they are opportunities for growth and enlightenment.
The occurrences in our lives, the seemingly good, as well as the seemingly bad, offer vast opportunities for the expansion of our awareness and the refining of our nature.
More important than the limitations of health or circumstance which we may encounter, are our reactions to these same conditions.
We may not always be able to know what will come into our life at any given time, but we can control the way in which we react.
We can use the vicissitudes of life as a springboard to greater achievement and insight.
The example of Beethoven comes readily to mind.
The very idea of deafness in a musician of his caliber seemed absurd. Yet, this calamity, excruciating as it must have been, did not prevent him from composing superlative symphonic works which are among the greatest ever written.
Another example is Harry Houdini. Houdini was seemingly limited by poverty and lack of formal education. However, his belief in himself and his ultimate greatness allowed him to rise well above these limitations.
Even today, more than a half century after Houdini’s death, his name is still the biggest in the field of professional magic.
Certainly, these names represent only two of the numerous individuals throughout history who did not accept limitations in life as liabilities.
Each one of us is here to experience life.
We derive knowledge and wisdom from our various experiences. We grow as a result.
Naturally, we endeavour to maintain optimal health and to be free of the results and frustrations of avoidable stress in our lives. To this end, our teachings contain many marvellous principles which can be applied to excellent effect.
Yet, as physical beings, in a physical world, we are going to occasionally experience pain.
Pain is a signal that an adjustment needs to be made. Sometimes the adjustment is no more than a change in our attitude.
At other times, the adjustment requires contemplation, evaluation, and persistent effort.
Let us never make the mistake, however, of judging that all we experience in life is the result of karma for past actions.
And, certainly, let us never sit in judgment of others because, they too, like all of us at one time or another, are subject to some of life’s more painful experiences.
Judging in this manner only intensifies the pain for the one suffering, and falsely boosts the ego of the one who would make a pretence of superiority.
Very Important Questions
That situations in our experience may or may not be karmic in origin is true. But, whether or not they are, is perhaps less important than what our reaction is going to be.
We should ask a number of questions of our Inner Self:
Have I done anything to bring this about? If I have, what can I do to change it?
If I haven’t, what can I learn from this experience?
How can what I am going through enable me to understand life and the situations of other people better?
What gift does this experience hold for me?
Life may not always be predictable, but the restrictions we experience need not be limitations.
What we have and experience in life may not always be within our control. But what we do with our lives and what we achieve are entirely and completely up to us.