How many times have you pondered these questions: What is the purpose of this life? Are we all just here for a one time ‘go-round' or is there a greater plan for which this lifetime serves as but one chapter?
These questions have concerned mankind since the dawn of its creation. Many ancient and contemporary philosophies, theosophies and religions hold fast to the premise that we all do indeed live many lives through the process of reincarnation. One may ask, "To what avail does living multiple lifetimes serve?" Best Selling Author and Past Life Regression expert Michael Newton PhD spent years conducting studies based on the premise that after death, the Soul has a "life between lives." According to the general consensus of his subjects in hundreds of those regression case studies, all of us literally go back to "school" ... each of us studying his or her own "Book of Life," a record of lives past. We do this with the goal of ‘improvement' in mind.1
If we accept that the answer is the Evolution of the Soul, then the next query is the role of karma. How does it work?
From a scholarly viewpoint, most of us understand the Law of Karma simply as the product of cause and effect or as the Bible puts it "As a man soweth so shall he reap." In many esoteric and philosophical circles it is believed that the energy of thought is what exists after the death of the physical body. It acts like a great processing center that carries information from one earth existence to the next. According to the Buddha, "You are what you think, having become what you thought." Astrological scholar Martin Schulman believes, "Every thought you have impresses itself in to the substance of universal matter where it will ultimately manifest as an effect in the physical world. Sometimes the effect may occur in a few minutes ... other times the effects go out years after the cause. And yet one season follows another ... always the right foot follows the left. Never can man be going somewhere without coming from somewhere."2
The great Edgar Cayce, whose wisdom is timeless, talked often about reincarnation and karma. On many occasions he was asked if karma was a punishment and a way of paying off debts for past life misdeeds. Cayce believed that only the Soul could defame itself and that the only debt any of us carry is the debt of the Self. He also differentiated between personality and individuality explaining that the personality was merely a material expression and what a person wanted others to think. Individuality was an expression of the ‘inner self' - what the Soul desired. He expounded further that karma was residual in effect; that which was carried forth through the, "...experiences of the Soul, in a body, in an experience on Earth... that which has been built in the past as indifference to what is known to be right.3"
Looking at this from yet another perspective, Karma is the vehicle of the Soul's intent for Self correction. Karmic residuals can operate as the ties that bind and awareness of these residuals is the first step in loosening these bindings and releasing the personality and individuality. When we become aware we become cognizant of how to live a happier, healthier, and more productive life. Each Earth life we live serves as the process through which we gain more Soul Evolution.
In The Prophet by philosopher Kahlil Gibran, there is a profound reference to the subject of Freedom. The Prophet tells the townspeople, "And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour? And what is it but fragments of your self you would discard to become free?4" If we do indeed discard "fragments" of ourselves... these so called "residuals" in order to promote the growth of the Soul then the goal of Evolution is Freedom and the promise of Freedom is Ascension.
Mystical rendering by Kahlil Gibran.
The highest Universal vibration is Collective Love. This is what all Souls gravitate towards. It is an all encompassing and selfless love that begins with a pure understanding and love of the Self. Personal Karma can be understood only through a willingness to become aware. Some people are cognizant of the fact that they mentally, emotionally and often physically are affected by dramas and traumas from the "past." They innately "know" that they have "something" to do in this life but feel less confident to strive forward. Often they repeat behavioral patterns and habits that are detrimental to their spiritual growth and human achievement. Others have no clue that they may be carrying baggage or burdens from the past. They develop irrational fears and even worse, phobias that literally hold them back.
There have been multitudes of past life regression cases showing that such incidents cannot always be based on psychology formed in childhood conditioning or traumatic events. Many of these people had perfectly normal and happy childhoods free of trauma. The possibility that issues from past lives can "bleed through" affecting a current life status is becoming more and more acceptable by society at large. In these instances the expression, "It's just the way he/she is!" couldn't be any closer to the truth but, that way of "being" isn't anything new and more likely very old.
To digress for a moment - It should also be mentioned that not all past life residual is necessarily negative. Kernelled within every past life legend are experiences whereby special talents have been acquired that can be incorporated to help with current Karma. A Soul can be seeking to further use these talents or simply ignore them. These talents can be useful in the current lifetime to some extent. Clues to these talents are things that "come easy" to an individual in their current life station. Sometimes a person can be confronted with something that is so familiar they can experience total or near total recall of an event or circumstance connected to a past life. This is known as Morphic Resonance and should not be confused with déjà vu as it is much stronger. Morphic Resonance can be used in a deliberate fashion as well by those who wish to jar past memories. For example, an individual who feels strongly that they have innate artistic talent might choose to peruse museums or art books and catalogs to see if something clicks. If a positive residual is Divinely intended to aid Karma it will be incorporated into the individual's life quite easily. If not, the individual will simply not be interested or motivated to use it and move on to something else.
Unfortunately, there is some belief that Karma can be erased, changed or altered. Karma will play out one way or another because it constitutes part of the life lessons we have chosen for ourselves for Soul evolution. By understanding the etheric root causes of our distress we can alter our view of ourselves through a better understanding of what we have come to do in this lifetime for spiritual achievement. World renowned psychic Sylvia Browne puts it this way, "So we choose to come here, as rarely or as often as we feel the need, and we choose what we're interested in learning and working on this time around. We make these brief trips to earth to learn the hard way, through firsthand experience, for the growth and progress of our souls on their eternal journeys."5 According to Spiritual astrologer Mae Wilson Ludlam, current karma is, "... the forming stage where you still have the power of choice; power to modify what is happening by your response."6 The "key" word is response. Overcoming limitations is always based on our response... we all have a cosmic preconditioning for this!
There is a reason and a season and there is a way for everyone to move forward breaking the ties that bind into full human creativity and higher vibratory consciousness. Are you ready to initiate your "Self?"
Disciple: "Master, I am conscious only of the present life. Why have I no conscious recollections of previous incarnations and no foreknowledge of a future existence?"
Master: "Life is like a great chain in the ocean of God. When a portion of the chain is pulled out of the waters, you see only that small part. The beginning and end are hidden. In this incarnation you're viewing only one link in the chain of life, the past and the future, though invisible, remain in the deeps of God. He reveals their secrets to who are in tune with Him."
- From Sayings of Yogananda
1 For more on this study read Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton, Ph.D.
2 Schulman, Martin. "Karmic Astrology - Volume 1". York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1975. 16.
3 Smith, Robert A. "No Soul Left Behind, The Words and Wisdom of Edgar Cayce." New York: Citadel
Press Books, 2005. 190.
4 Gibran, Kahlil. "The Prophet." New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. 48.
5 Browne, Sylvia. "Phenomenon." New York: Dutton. 2005. 60-61.
6 Wilson-Ludlam, Mae R. "Ten lessons in the Universal Rays." Tempe, Arizona: American Federation of
Astrologers. 1984. 64.
How good is your awareness meter and willingness to be accountable?
A recent "coined phrase" that has seemed to infiltrate the metaphysical community at large in recent years is, "There is no right or wrong ... there just IS." If an individual is ready to accept this statement, does that mean it is perfectly fine for that person to just go about doing whatever he/she wants at any given time because everything "just IS"?
Since the precepts of right and wrong constitute what we understand as concepts pertaining to human morality, let's approach this from a different angle. The basic common denominator of all Universal understanding be it human derived philosophy, theosophy, physical science, or even religion is that all in the Universe is perpetuated by BALANCE. Balance indicates that everything functions along the lines of equal yet opposite. This is known as POLARITY. Everything that we know works in polarity ... light/dark, up/down, black/white, me/you, yin/yang and so on and so forth. UNIVERSAL BALANCE is based on three Laws - the Law of Correspondences, the Law of Alchemy, and the Law of Beginnings.
The Law of Correspondences states:
"As above, so below
As within, so without
As the Universe, so the soul."
This Law explains itself rather well and along with the concept of polarity speaks of high harmony between man and his place in the Universe. Balance via polarity is inherent in everything large and small and you can't have one without the other.
The Law of Alchemy states:
"All of the energies that are inside of us must manifest on the outside of us." With this Law comes the expression of "responsibility." The topic of responsibility is remiss in the "no right or wrong" concept. So, from this vantage point what does responsibility entail? Since all humans have freewill we ultimately "choose" how we learn the lessons of life. If we "choose" to be responsible for our actions and exhibit enough spiritual effort to overcome our fears we should be able to find balance both inside and outside of ourselves. This is known as positive manifestation. When we fail to do this, events will manifest on an external and disruptive scale. This is known as negative manifestation. According to our own conjecture, we have literally acted right or wrong. Some will argue that for certain individuals negative manifestation is necessary because there is a tougher lesson that needs to learned. Even when this is true and the lesson is harsh or even devastating there is no room for doubt that the individual will walk away at the very least thinking they could have "done it better."
Another troublesome take on the "there is no right or wrong" dictum is another coined phrase, "You cannot do it wrong" which seems to be associated with Karma and Soul evolution. Soul growth is associated with and measured via Karma or how well an individual has been able to handle his/her own capacity for give and take in a given lifetime. If we are in full understanding of positive and negative manifestation, then we also understand that The Law of Alchemy says you most certainly can do it wrong and that you will suffer the consequences from your earthbound life in your spiritual evolution. Can anyone who has acted negatively say that they didn't suffer from the consequences of choosing to act negatively in one way or another? Further, as far as Karma goes - why would anyone with a degree of consciousness want to deny their own Soul advancement? We are all human and no one is capable of manifesting positively all the time but, we do have a responsibility to learn from our experiences and change our perceptions so we can find the balance. How is that possible if there is no right or wrong and there just IS?
The Law of Beginnings states:
"The beginning point of human life contains potential that will be fulfilled throughout the cycles of life and beyond life." Astrologers and past life regressionists often talk about past life or Karmic residual behaviors that have bled through or been subconsciously stored and are influencing an individual's current psychological and emotional status. These are negative behaviors that the astrologer or therapist helps the individual identify so they can understand them and seek out a more positive outlook. The source might have been a negative act perpetrated by the individual or negative act perpetrated upon the individual. No right or wrong huh? If everything in every lifetime "just IS" there would be no trauma or drama to address. What we have done in the past or what we do in the present would not matter. There would be no need to do better. There would be no need to grow.
Portraits from the movie A Picture of Dorian Gray based on the supernatural novel of the same name by Oscar Wilde which addresses the propensity for good and evil in all human beings. In the story Dorian Gray cries, "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young ... If it were only the other way! If it were I who was always to be young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that - for that I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!" He does indeed lose the goodness of his being by embracing a life of depravity and evil while his soul represented by the portrait grows old, deformed and hideous while he stays physically young and beautiful.
There is balance in the Universe and it is the foundation upon which it was created. There is a balance in all of humanity and each of us has the capacity for good or evil inherent within us and the ability to discern right and wrong. This is the balance of the human essence. Everyday, we all make decisions based upon what is personally correct or incorrect for us. Without polarity and balance we would be no more than impassionate pawns void of responsibility strewn about a gray landscape lost with no direction. Do you choose to live your life in accordance with the Universal foundation of BALANCE? Do you choose to deal with the "black" and "white" of life and choose not to live in those "gray" areas full of empty concepts ... What is right or wrong? That depends on your perception of accountability while you attend Earth School.