The Universal Law of Harmony
Order pervades the universe, nothing exists which is not under the sway of law. A divine plan governs all things.
Natural law operates not only in the physical world, but in the realms of thought and feeling as well.
Karma is the law of spiritual dynamics that can be related to every act in daily life. The word "karma" is Sanskrit, meaning action and implying the entire cycle of cause - effect Emerson's " law of compensation" approximates it in meaning and understanding. The law refers particularly to the accumulation of effects brought about by causes set in motion through our attitudes and actions in the past, and includes the new causes initiated in the present that will result in future effects.
The science of physics demonstrate that no particle of energy can be put forth anywhere in the universe without a natural result following. A stone tossed into the air returns at once to earth as a result of the law of gravity. The energy expended in winding a clock will produce a more delayed result, but the resulting force will exactly equal the original expenditure of energy or cause.
In mixing chemical elements, the reaction may be immediate or long delayed. This is no less true in the chemistry of living, as we bring together actions, thoughts and feelings. The result may follow at once or be postponed in accordance with obscure factors. All thought, desire and action disturb in some measure the equilibrium through a process of readjustment. The operation of this law is as truly a moral law as it is a physical law and can be directly observed as such.
We Choose Our Destiny
The law operates whether or not we are conscious of it. By its functioning our destinies are shaped. Its continued action arises from and depends solely upon our own free will. By our ignorance, we bind ourselves through selfish actions, feelings and thoughts. Only when we have learned that in order to find happiness and peace we must cease the flow of selfish action. Will we begin to use the law consciously for our liberation from the cyclic necessity of reincarnation. Even the slightest thought or act has its inevitable consequences. Death does not settle the score, anymore than moving to a new town will cancel the debts incurred in the old one.
Each of us is born with a character, in an environment and family that seem either helpful or inimical to our progress. In reality all sets of circumstances are opportunities for us, for they are natural results of past living and should be viewed as the stepping-stones for our future growth. Our destiny is not imposed upon us. It is of own making, and we daily weave the threads of our future destiny.
Cause - Effect
Sometimes the result alone is seen without the preceding cause, and it therefore seems entirely unaccountable. Or the cause is witnessed and the result seems non-existent. When one first meets the knowledge of reincarnation and karma, One is apt to feel resentful over the fact that one now suffers the result of causes set in motion by some body else. But when viewed from the pattern of Immortal Life and the inner being is seen as truly imperishable, living through successive lives, all events are perceived to have their natural cause and logical consequence. In fact cause and effect can be seen as inseparable, for effect is inherent in the cause, and the two may be thought of as one cause -effect.
The law of spiritual dynamics makes us self -reliant beings with the realisation that we neither desire nor seek to escape responsibility. Rather, we wish to become self-conscious masters of our environment. Only by understanding the law and working with it, can we master natural law, as an aviator learns to fly by understanding the law of gravity and opposing to it other natural principles.
Similarly, in the moral world we transcend the inevitableness of consequences by understanding the law of karma and setting in motion causes that will produce the desirable effects, neutralising the under desirable. In the inviolability of law lies our change and remake the character that is the outcome of our past living and create our future character more perfectly.
Certainly without such a law, we would be drifting aimlessly on a shoreless sea, without chart or compass, at the mercy of every adverse wind, borne onward only by the ceaseless tide of evolution.
Karma is neither predestination nor fate. The application of this natural law does away with any possibility of such a thing as luck, either good or bad. Behind every piece of good fortune lie the causes that the individual has consciously or unconsciously precipitated, perhaps recently or in a previous life. Behind every bit of misfortune lies the energy likewise generated by the individual. While it is true that the accumulated karma of an individual helps or hinders one's progress, we are still free to choose within the limits of our making. By successive efforts and choices or lack of effort; we determine the orbit of our freedom. Fatalism or predestination implies that we are so bound by circumstances or by some power outside ourselves that no effort of our own can free us. Under the operation of the law of karma, the ones who generate the causes or forces can modify or neutralise them. We may be temporarily bound, but we do own binding. In the present we have the power to modify and improve our future.
While the working out of the law may be very complex; with almost infinite permutations and combinations in human lives, yet certain basic principles of operation may be grasped and employed immediately.
We are normally living in three worlds-physical, emotional and mental- in vehicles appropriate to each world. We generate energies or forces as we act in each of these worlds. These energies bring corresponding results on their respective levels. Physical acts or deeds create physical environment, desires determine family and social links with other individuals and thoughts result in mental abilities or inability's. The summation of all these is what we call character.
Action on the Physical Level
If we act in such a manner as to bring happiness to others, we will find ourselves sooner or later in a fortunate physical environment, with an increased opportunity for spreading happiness and goodwill.
If, on the other hand, we cause pain to others by our actions or our failure to act, we will find ourselves eventually in unhappy surroundings until we learn by experience a greater wisdom in living.
The law itself is impersonal, neither good nor bad. Good or right may be defined from the evolutionist point of view as being all that is in line with the furtherance of evolution, bad or evil is therefore all that opposes progress toward perfection. Even in the case of bad actions, the law functions not to punish the evil-doer, but to teach . When the lesson learned is beyond the possibility of failure, natures purpose is accomplished.
Action on the Emotional Level
The force generated on the emotional level is that of desire or feeling. The pursuit of desire stimulates exertion and aids in our development by binding us to the objects of desire. We may judge the wisdom of a particular desire by experiencing the results of its gratification. Through experiencing the unpleasant results of unwise desires, the soul learns to raise lower desires, into higher ones and finally to attain liberation from all desires Through the happiness enjoyed by wise desires, the soul gains expansion and illumination, with the final power of being happy in all circumstances.
Desire also makes opportunities. Once we perceive this principle, we will understand that if we wish to have future opportunities in any particular line of endeavour, we should not only cultivate the present desire along that line ,but try to put that desire into action now so far as is possible.
Action On The Mental Level
The third force is that of thought. The force generated in thinking increases our ability to think, and increases the power of the mind as an instrument.
Most thoughts are primarily associated with emotion and therefore may bring the thinker into contact with other persons in the relationships of every-day life, either pleasant or unpleasant.
Thought is also a great creative power by which one can build both habit and character, which is the sum total of our habits. Action is but the physical expression of thought, as natural and inevitable in kind as the growth of a plant from the seed.
This is our key to power. Knowing that we become that which we think, we can deliberately set our ourselves to think of those virtues and qualities which we desire to possess. Slowly the moulding power of thought builds those virtues into manifestation. The process is as natural as that of developing muscles by exercise and can be scientifically employed.
Reincarnation A Necessary Means
Every human being is constantly generating these three types of force-physical, emotional and mental. These determine not only our mode of life now, with its successes or failures, and the state of consciousness after death, but also our environment and relationships with others in succeeding incarnations. Obviously the balance of justice is not always struck within the limits of one life. That is why reincarnation is said to be a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. The cycles of reincarnation provide the necessary extension in time for the operation of the law of causation. The law of justice and the re establishment of equilibrium in the universe must work out in individual experience. We must also gradually develop our power, knowledge and skill in action and unfold our divine nature.
It is important in understanding karma to realise that motive must be differentiated from action. Deeds react upon the environment, but motive reacts on character.
When we are faced with a piece of unpleasant karma ,we must seek to meet it constructively and modify it, remembering that it is in reality an opportunity to build new qualities of character. Courage and serenity in meeting misfortune, and the persistent effort to eradicate all feelings of ill-will or resentment toward those who seem to be responsible for our unhappiness will do much to mitigate both present and future effects.
Occasionally, an opportunity comes to us that we feel is impossible for us to fulfil. But it would not be there unless the law had brought it as a result of past desire and effort. Such opportunities should be seized bravely. If we can nearly do a thing, we have worked for it in the past. To the strength of past efforts we may be adding the final step to bring a latent power into active expression.
Very often the action of karma is not felt immediately. It is like a seed that lies dormant, seemingly dead, but eventually sprouts, matures and the harvest is reaped. In the fertile soil of our physical, emotional and mental natures, we plant the seeds of our future, and we carry with us the rich harvest of many past sowing's. If the harvest seemingly is poor and unfruitful, it can be improved by planting better seed. We are never without opportunities to plant anew, to plant the seeds of love, of kindness, of beauty, that we may reap the harvest of tolerance, faith and loveliness.
Character is the visible record of the past, and the promise of the future. The qualities and capacities of today are the results of our yesterdays and rungs on the ladder stretching to greater tomorrows. As we climb we reshape the present more nearly in the image of the future, and so change the past. The failures become but steps up the ladder leading to perfection, When the whole of time is glimpsed at last as an Eternal Now.