According to survey 70% of Americans believe in karma, the universal law of justice that reads, in street language: “What goes around comes around.” It is an interesting statistic for a culture which is built on the concept of sin and punishment. Karma is based on the notion of mistake and consequences.
This blog connects with previous blogs on rainbow body, Dzogchen, the practice that produces rainbow body, and reincarnation. Karma is the final piece of the puzzle that explains why we are all here on the plane,; how we got here, what we should be doing while we are here, and what happens when we are gone.
Often times people refer to a fortunate or unfortunate happening as karma. This is not karma. Karma is an action word; a verb. The bad/good luck label is really the effect of karma. Everything is karma. The only question is the nature of the action which is taken: good, bad or neutral. In karmic law the rebound effect is perfectly matched with the originating cause. Cheating produces an effect of what it is like to be cheated on. Philanthropy produces reward. Multiple karmic effects may come to fruition simultaneously so that it is usually impossible to identify specific causes. Some may come to fruition in the life in which the cause took place. Others in future lives. Karma and reincarnation are but two sides of the same coin. You can’t believe in one without belief in the other. Nor can you believe in the Abrahamic God. The Abrahamic God is in the business of creating and punishing souls for bad behavior, not recycling them in order to teach a lesson.
Assume for the moment that you are God. Ask yourself: “As God, how would I want to come across to my created subjects?” It is a trick question. The quick answer is that you would want to be revered as non-dualistic. That is, you don’t play favorites. You treat all of your creation, be they human, tree or flea, with sameness. The trick part of the question relates to the not too subtle divide that separates you from your creation. In order to be divine, everything has to be treated equally with sameness. To do otherwise is dualism. A creator that is superior to its creation is the ultimate expression of duality. Thus, dualism and theism are mutually exclusive. If you believe in a God that is “up there somewhere” who is separate from you, then, perhaps this blog is not for you. Or, on the other hand, perhaps it is especially for you.
The notion of non-dualism is grounded in a Jesus teaching, Luke 6:37. Here He tells us to judge not lest we be judged. Receiving the material world with polarity, such as fat/skinny, tall/short, smart/ignorant, normal/handicap, male/female epitomizes being judgmental. In non-duality, everything just is. Non-duality is reached with perfection when one can look at reality with spontaneity and without effort and find sameness. The fat lady with a screaming one-year old who is last on the plane and the only empty seat is the one in the middle next to you just is. What fat lady? What bawling kid? Jesus also taught against dual thinking in Gospel of Thomas Saying No. 22: where He tells the disciples to make the two into one, the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, the upper like the lower, the male and the female into a single one such that the male is no longer male nor the female, female.
Through karma the fallacy of dualistic thought extends into the moral sphere. An intentional act of harm done to someone represents an unpaid bill. The unpaid bill can only be paid by enduring the feel and/or consequence of what it is like to be harmed. Similarly, a virtuous act is also an unpaid bill which can’t be fulfilled until an appropriate reward is made. Both unfulfilled acts, harmful and virtuous, represent a duality. As mentioned, the divine realm cannot tolerate duality in any way, shape or form. Justice must prevail. Duality thus produces a fleshy existence which is the only way a bill produced in the realm of the flesh can be paid. An unpaid bill, good or bad, is unjust and intolerable and the need to make it right is the driving force, the catalyst if you will, the condition precedent which allows spirit to transforms to flesh. This then is karma. It connects with matter duality as explained in my earlier blog on the science of the atom where consciousness (manifest here as the need to make things right) is known through science to be the derivative of all matter.
An intentional act of harm done to anyone or anything represents an unpaid bill. The unpaid bill can only be paid by enduring the feel and/or consequence of what it is like to be harmed.
Jesus spoke to karma but his teachings were lost in the bottomless pitfall of sin-punishment doctrine. In Matthew 5:26 He says that we will not be released until we have paid the last penny. In other words, there is no such thing as a “white” lie. Everything counts. All duality must be accounted for. He also reminds us of the destructive nature of intent. In Matthew 5:27-28 He tells us that if a man looks at a woman with lust he has effectively committed adultery. The notion of willfulness and desire is embedded in the law of karma.
The bottom line is this. We are here on this earth because of the effects of karmic actions taken over many, many lifetimes. Our purpose in life is to endure the karmic consequence and remove the duality, that is, pay the unpaid bill they represent. Our life purpose however is not to willy-nilly accept a consequence and let it play out as if it is inevitable and unchangeable. Virtue is accumulated by recognizing an undesirable situation for what it is and intervening as appropriate to make it beneficial for all concerned. Wealth in this life, a reward for virtue in a past life, is not to be squandered under an “I earned it” attitude but, instead, used to the benefit of the less fortunate. While the objective in life is to endure and eliminate karmic effects, all too often we wind up adding to the inventory instead of taking away. We exit life with even more karmic effects to resolve than we started with and another incarnation occurs in order to take care of unfinished business. And, the road goes on forever.
The most obvious karmic effect takes place at death. Here, the beautiful human body that was catered to over the lifetime that just ended degrades to a rotting, stinking corpse. Life doesn’t have to end that way. It is not how the human body is designed to exit the planet. Other blogs of mine attest to the natural way the body is designed for graceful departure. It is called rainbow body and it is where human bodies vanish into nothingness when the person is free from all karmic influences. Jesus died with a rainbow body in what we have come to call resurrection.
When the body succumbs to decay at death it is because it is stressed and lacks an already compromised immune system to protect it. It is mechanical. Things that are under stress are vulnerable to structural attack. I learned this lesson well when a natural gas pipeline owned by the company I worked for failed in service because the pipe was not treated for stress relief in the manufacturing process. All of this tells you that the dual thinking that makes one think he or she is different from everything else in the field of vision places the physical body under stress, ultimately reducing it to a putrid mess. Jesus addresses this fundamental law of nature in Saying No. 6 of the Gospel of Thomas. Here He advises His disciples to not lie or do anything they hate. Lying and hating are silent killers because of the stressful duality they create and the karmic effects that follow.
Not all reincarnations are caused by karmic influence. In situations where the departed are free from karma influence they voluntarily incarnate for the specific purpose of revealing the path for others. In Tibetan Buddhism they are called Bodhisattva. Jesus was a Bodhisattva. Unfortunately, His salvation actions were interpreted in the context of the need to suffer in order to reconcile sin rather than demonstrate that for the non-dualist, death is an illusion.
Will I die a rainbow body death. Yes….eventually. The odds against it at the end of this life are about as great as me winning the power-ball lottery three times in a row. But, I’m ok with it. Reincarnation is real. It is the process by which we achieve spiritual perfection over time. If I don’t get it right this time around there is always the next, and the next and on and on. The important thing is to realize the game we are in, called life, and the rules which govern it. Achieving a non-dual lifestyle is not easy. But, I rest comfortable in knowing that if you tell yourself something enough times you will eventually come to believe it.
So, as I stand at a funeral service under the protective canopy of a rain soaked graveside tent and witness the coffin suspended over a stark, dark hole in the ground, sanitized with an astroturf border, I think. I remind myself that it didn’t have to be this way. The deceased one brought it upon him/herself. How sad.
How even sadder it is to think that Western religions teach that the graveyard scene is normal; the way things are supposed to be. How can anything that ends with a stinking mess be normal? What in heavens name are we thinking? The words of Genesis 3:19, “…to dust you shall return” turn out to be a personal choice and not a divine verdict rendered in wrath. Argue with me if you wish, but I have rock solid proof that those words are WRONG! The proof is called rainbow body, the living evidence of what can happen when karma is not.
How very, very sad.