In Spirituality we learn a concept and we talk about applying it in real life; but most of the time we are short from that “dream.”
For example let us take a look at a spiritual law such as “karma.” We could be very knowledgeable on what karma is. We could give many talks about it, but when “real” life comes, at that point we forget everything. We cannot “apply” the theory into the practical.
When it is about life itself, doubts may even come: Did I act in a way as to create “good” karma or not?
Then at that point, we need reassurance from someone. The authority, the senior, the priest; someone who will give us reassurance about the “goodness” of our actions. We don’t know what karma is when it is applied to our own life.
The bottom line is that theoretical know-how is just another nice concept to talk about. Something to debate about on a Saturday afternoon while drinking tea or coffee… or just water 🙂
Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own laboratory where we could experiment with our own selves in relationship with life, by looking at it, by feeling the feelings that are going on at one moment in time with total awareness? Wouldn’t it be nice to know by sensing it, by feeling something rather than just thinking?
That inner laboratory is Zen meditation for Avyakt7.
We are part of life. In Spirituality the whole is equal to the part; any part; thus within myself lays the totality of life, the universe, all what is.
In Zen meditation, the task is only to sit. Put your “effort” on sitting. That is all… but then let everything else happen as your breath is; automatically effortlessly as it is meant to be. No need to control anything.
Just “sitting” is a very complex matter when our mind is cluttered with thoughts. Then, we are not just sitting; but we are “doing” other things even though sitting.
If we have experienced “just sitting,” then we can observe everything else. We can feel everything: Breathing, tiredness, nervousness, anxiety, impatience, fears…. They start coming out.
If we don’t move at all during those 25 minutes that we are sitting in a particular posture, (traditionally half-lotus or full lotus, but a chair is alright) we could feel elation coming from the “inner smile” of feeling the inner self; but at the same time; we could feel physical pain: knees, groin, muscle cramps, etc.
What do you do?
Observe how the mind reacts and how our calm state changes. Observe how when there is deep acceptance, things become easier to deal with.
That attitude is useful in “real life,” out of the laboratory. No need to remember the law of “karma” when we understand “not doing.” 🙂
But, what about if we break something or hurt ourselves by sitting there?
The lesson of learning our own limits is important. Many times in “real life,” we break down and exceed our own capabilities. Know your limits. A “don’t move” means, “go ahead, move” in some occasions. This is the wisdom of living life and not of some theory to be applied by everyone at all circumstances.
In this “inner laboratory” many things could happen. It is one of the best tools that Avyakt7 has found to become acquainted with himself… while “just sitting.”
Note that there are no beliefs here. Nothing to think about or visualize. It is as “real” as sitting. We can look at the wall for additional “reassurance” that we are indeed “just sitting.”
In this practice, we can connect with “nothing” and be everything. We can learn from “no one” and learn a lot.
We could experience life while doing nothing, that is we could go back to sheer activity without moving an inch. 🙂
When I learned in “depth” about the law of karma (action) a few things were constantly repeated as the “facts” of this law.
1) If you do something to someone, that will come back to you.
2) Actions are neutral, sinful or just actions.
3) This is the time to “close” karmic accounts. Therefore, avoid opening “new” accounts.
4) Yoga and suffering are the 2 ways of “paying” the “price” of karmic accounts that are “unsettled,”
5) There is a “new” type of actions at this time: Elevated actions.
Of course, after learning such a concise list, there was another list to remember about the Drama of life, the movie which is predestined and eternally repetitive.
1) The Drama of life is beneficial for all.
2) The Drama of life is an eternally repeating movie.
3) Actors (souls) have a predetermined part to play.
4) At this time, we should close our karmic accounts to play the role of “angels” in the Drama of life.
5) Because we don’t know what we have done before in the Drama, we should strive to do “good” now, for otherwise we will repeat the same “wrong” actions again.
Therefore, we should close karmic accounts and forget anything related with the physical world and become engaged in giving this knowledge to others at this time as this is an “elevated action.”
The above was the simplistic view of Karma. As a consequence, most will operate from the premise of fear. Fear of the eternal “punishment” of repeating the same “wrong” action. In different religions that eternal “punishment” has been portrayed as “eternal hell.”
If the actions of a soul are predetermined roles; then; why is there a need for “punishment”?
If the actions or roles running through a soul are part of the Drama, then why label some actions as “good or bad”?
If the Drama of life is beneficial, then everything, every activity, is beneficial.
Therefore, why “opening” new karmic accounts is not desirable?
What about if those “new karmic accounts” are necessary to settle other karmic accounts?
How do I recognize when opening a karmic account is OK and when it is not OK? 🙂
How do I know if my aim of “closing” karmic accounts is in fact, not helping me to settle karmic accounts?
I could come up with many questions like the above and I could expand into several “theories.”
The above just illustrates that whenever I use “logic” to understand a spiritual principle, I will “dogmatize” that spiritual principle; and thus I will become one with a rigid understanding. Fear, without a doubt, will surround my life.
Fear of making mistakes, that is, fear of living and learning.
When the law of karma is explained as if there was a bank of karmic accounts with debits and credits, automatically duality will enter into that concept and even though the explanation is simple, it will be inaccurate.
One of the main teachings in Spirituality is to understand the egoic mind, and how ego makes up a personality which in turn will only think about “earning credits” that is to “gain” Paradise in return.
The above concept merely strengthens ego. That is known as “Spiritual ego.” Which I ‘d like to rename as “religious ego.”
The difference between “earning credits” to gain Paradise or to buy a car is minimal. It is basically the same concept.
When we look at Spirituality from a deeper perspective, we could see that the “law of Karma” is simply reduced into: “What you do, you do it to yourself. There is no “other.”
Therefore, rather than trying to figure it out if what you do is “good” or “bad” simply, eradicate that “you,” and then “doing” will be there for the sake of it. (As BapDada has mentioned as well as Lao Tzu and Zen masters.) That is called “witnessing” or a “detached observer.”
How is this possible?
When we observe the inner self, we will find that many emotional disturbances and complexes are still within us and our activities will be triggered under their influence.
A lack of self esteem will trigger certain activity, which even though may look “good” is colored with that emotional disturbance. That disturbance is known as desires by many.
You see, in general desires will always be there in one way or another. They are not “bad,” but our attachment to them, that is, the emotional disturbance makes that desire “impure,” “sinful” and all of that.
Once the emotional disturbances of our psyche are healed (this is the journey) in the experience of serenity and peace and the practice of virtuous living through undivided service to all, then ego will start dissolving. At that point that “you” will not be there and then, activities will not be coming out of emotions but rather from insight, from inner goodness as they will manifest feelings from the soul.
At that point, concepts are not needed. “Laws” or booklets explaining whether I am performing “good or bad” karma will not be needed. Fear of living life will cease and accepting the opportunities that life offers will not be rejected due to being afraid of not enjoying paradise in a forthcoming birth.
Please see this point: Do you think that God will “punish” you because you are not “making effort” to go to Paradise or to get a “good status” in heaven because you have decided to take care of “now” instead, that means your thoughts, feelings and relationships with all at this time? Isn’t it that what you do “now” will decide what you will become tomorrow due to the law of karma? Or do you believe that praying, asking for “salvation” performing devotion and defending your beliefs about the “afterlife” is what is important?
Honesty resides in being your most refined, elevated self not out of a reward in the future or in this life, but just because it is in your heart to be so as an offering to the common good, the world, as it is “now.”
By observing, taking care of my thoughts, my feelings then my activities will become naturally aligned, then my “karma” will be aligned with the common good.
At that point, Spirituality will be practiced “naturally,” that is in harmonious unity with all.
That is the most elevated “karma,” I “do” without doing because there is no “I” in between.
Therefore, what is the purpose of looking at what kind of actions “I” perform according to the concepts and definitions, when everything starts in my thoughts and feelings? 🙂 Take care of them, then karma will take care of itself.
Thank you for your great question!
Your questions require answers with a higher notch of depth… Here we go… 🙂
We probably need to realize that the only thing that we have the responsibility to understand is the self. God in relationship with us becomes an incentive, a source of inspiration and knowledge. Those things which God provides are meant for self realization, not to discuss if God is this or that.
I enjoy when I see the reaction of people when I say something like “God is omnipresent but also a soul…” 🙂
That will be the “highest manmat” for some, equivalent of receiving hell forever… 🙂
Caught up in words…
Please be mindful that those words are plain definitions. If we define God we cut off the experience that we may get. Many think that because we see BapDada then we “know God.” For some bhakti individuals God is equivalent to seeing Dadi Gulzar, for others, equivalent of Brahma Baba and yet for others, they just visualize a point of light in the subtle body of Brahma Baba who in turn is “loaning” Dadi Gulzar’s body. Describing that, they call that description “God.”
None of that gives the experience of self realization. As the murli mentions, “very few will know God as He is.” Please remember that. More concepts we use to try to define Him, the further from the truth we will be, because words are in the realm of duality and God is beyond that.
On your question: “Action is equal to equal and opposite reaction. If this is true then deities must also be getting the reaction for their actions.”
Sure. But it is “neutral” for there is no duality and… there is entropy so the quality of those activities will diminish until it gets to the point where it loses neutrality and then we have “good and bad actions.”
On your last questions about “karma,” “akarma” and “vikarma.” According to the sanskrit dictionary, we have “karma” as “action,” meaning “doing something,” then we have “akarma,” meaning- without performing actions (detached observer) and then we have- “vikarma,” as “sinful” actions. (I would suggest to use the word “dual action” rather than “sinful” for the “bad” connotation that this word brings.)
Karma can be neutral when there is a return without duality- Golden age.
Karma could be “sinful” when there is duality. The deep significance of that is once we understand duality, that an apparent “good action” has its counterpart of “bad” and viceversa. For example: I think I have done a “good action” by paying for the school tuition of a child. Now, because of that, this child experiences being beat up at school by “bullies.” As you can see, there is nothing “pure” good.
Akarma is the “doing” of actions of ego-less beings. Doing without doing. This is what BapDada calls: “doing for the sake of it.”
Karma is one of those “trivialized” words used in “new age” talk and spiritual teachings which are “in” with the wisdom of ancient Indian traditions.
Karma means “action” as we all know. The usual example of karma is summarized in the saying:”What goes around comes around,” and that becomes the “fear”necessary to act “morally.” In other words, God does not need to punish anyone, but your actions will do that. Therefore, we liberate God from our pre-conception of someone out there who is looking at us from “up above,” sitting comfortably in cloud #8, just long enough so He will see us “fall into temptation,” so He can say :”Aha!” and then punish us accordingly. 🙂
This is the simplified version of karma. The “karma for dummies” version1.0
Gyan (Knowledge) has added many layers of depth to it, which I will expand a bit.
1) Actions are merely the expression of thoughts and feelings at one level
2) Actions, thoughts and feelings are the expression of a sanskara (embedded behavioral inclinations) at a deeper level
3) Sanskaras are the expression of the Drama at the individual, personal level
4) The Drama is the expression of all individual sanskaras of all souls “Actors” at any point in time
5) Sanskaras exist according to the capacity of the soul
6) Sanskaras play according to time
7) Time is understood in a cyclical way as gradual changes happen from non-duality into duality.
8) Non-duality brings duality and duality brings non-duality. That is, the seed expands into a tree, to become a seed again. This process repeats eternally, That is why time is cyclical and repetitive.
Therefore, we have gone from a “simple” action to the depth of cyclical time.
As we can see the roles in every soul will express eternally. Those roles will express activities which while in the “non-dual” turn of cyclical time; those actions will be “neutral,” meaning that consequences will not be experienced for there is no “duality.” In other words, if I play “hide and seek” with someone; that action is neither “bad” nor “good.” Any activity at that time (non-dual) is void of polarity. However, there is “degradation” of qualities of such activities. This is what in gyan is known as “celestial degrees,” and some may use the word “entropy” to refer to this.
Once the threshold of non-duality is reached, then duality appears. Here the activities have a consequence just because there is the appearance of ego.
There is duality because the real self, the soul; is in conflict with an illusion of personality, which is known as ego. As greater “entropy” increases in “duality,” greater will be the experience of the consequence of our activities. Ego is nothing else but the experience of duality.
Gyan explains that there are 3 types of actions:
1) Neutral actions
2) Sinful actions
“Sinful actions” are those activities which will bring sorrow to others and us. What is known as “good actions,” are the perception of something which brings a happy state, although is temporary.
Example: If I send a child to college to study, I may get an education in my next birth. That activity is neither “good nor bad” in itself; for that activity will come mixed with other karmas that we have performed. For instance, I could suffer “bullying” while in College or my intellect may not be good enough to grasp the materials being taught, etc. That is why, in gyan those activities are known as just “actions.” For there is a mix in anything which appears to be”good.”
In the world of duality. Because there is a mix of sorrow and happiness, we believe that this is “life.”
Note that those activities will be performed according to the role of every soul “actor.” As a matter of fact, we have been performing many actions in past lives without knowing how everything was threaded, but just following the “morality of the time.”
Since we are aware that soul-actors will perform activities according to roles already “predestined,” then we can see that every soul has the capacity to deal with every karmic account experienced as well.
Settling karmic accounts means to be “bondage free” from the web of experiencing Karmic consequences and that is possible when “neutral actions” are performed again. In order to do that we need to become soul conscious again, for in soul consciousness we are beyond duality; we experience a “non-dual” time while performing actions which will have benefit for all.
This is what is known as “elevated actions” at this time. While performing “elevated actions” we are experiencing the “karmateet” (beyond the bondage of karma) stage practically until becoming “karmateet.”
The theme of these “laws” is very simple. From soul consciousness with experience body consciousness and from this, we experience soul consciousness again.
Free will resides in being aware of the “rules” /laws of the game of life, to be free.
Is an action right by itself? For instance the lack of activity in: ” Do not kill.” Are there any instances when killing / taking someone’s life or your own, could be considered to be “good”? (as shocking at this may seem, just consider it) If so, what makes an action right or wrong?
Perhaps are there universal “boxes” of good actions and bad actions, right or wrong? or this is something that only enlightened souls can figure out? What makes an action “right”?
One sakar Murli inspired me to look into this. It was mentioned that actions are performed by deities as well, but as we know; those actions are “neutral.” In other words,: “I eat now; which is an action, but that action could be sinful or just merely an action with either “negative” or “positive” karmic return, but in the golden age it is “neutral. “ Why? 🙂
The simple universal answer: It is a matter of soul consciousness.
In that simplicity, lies something deeper.A Deity will not kill. A deity doesn’t need a “code of conduct” or “morality.” Those things are “built in.” – “You shall not kill” is not a commandment needed for them nor even heard of.
Ever wonder why Baba hasn’t mentioned in the BK Maryadas, “you shall not kill”?
That brings the awareness that Bks are beyond that. There is no need to mention that “law” as other religions have it; however, we are looking here into the “rightfulness of an action” by itself.
in the Bhagavad Gita, was mentioned that Krishna told Arjuna: “Do your duty and fight. Your relatives are already death.”
In the “unlimited” as Baba points out; the soul is imperishable, thus actions do not matter as long as they are necessary for “self preservation” of the Drama . As such any activity as we know, is according to the Drama. However, when we consider the law of karma; actions matter, because we will experience the consequence of those actions. Yet another paradox!
Killing does not matter in the unlimited for we are immortal souls. It is impossible to kill someone. See that? The unlimited does not have any moral standards which we are used to (in linear thinking- limited thinking- black and white world- right or wrong world.)
Killing matters from the individual perspective, for the consequence of killing will be experienced. There is suffering as a return. That is what the law of karma teaches us.
The act of taking someone’s life have many circumstances surrounding it (euthanasia, wars and such comes to mind, even Baba mentioned one time that those who sacrificed, took their own life in Kashi for love to Shiva had their sins absolved for one birth….Interesting return for a plain suicide!) Thus, actions in itself lack morality as well. Here is when the word “intention” comes into the picture. Is my “intention” tinted by “my moral standards”?
Then, there is no “pure intention.” There is ego in it. Please consider that.
When any activity is performed from an “ego” stand point, it will not “flow” with the Drama. The return will be the experience of duality.
A “normal” soul will perform mostly sinful actions because activities are meant to satisfy the ego. Actions are tinted by the vices; which will be experienced by the soul in return as duality.
For instance, “Mahatma” Gandhi was murdered. A pure soul cannot experience that karmic account. Simple math.
The sense of “duty” is not an indicator of “right or wrong” activity as the example in the Bhagavad Gita. It is just a mere moral standard.
Nothing wrong with having moral standards, but someone in the “unlimited” can see that “morality” is for impure souls only. A pure soul does not need “moral standards.” The activity of a pure soul cannot bring suffering to others or the self.
According to the level of soul consciousness of a person, so the quality of the activity will be. More purity, less morality. Less purity; greater moral standards are needed.
Nudity in a child is alright. In a grown up is considered offensive. Morality.
A “normal” person sees only activities, actions being right or wrong and surrounds the self by the perception of those actions. This is “right” that is not.
Many times when we see someone in “need,” we would like to play “good” and act upon that moral standard that what I am doing is “right.” However, even the thought of “ I am helping that person now, I will be helped in the future” or “I am good” or “I am building my golden age castle with every action now,” those thoughts are not pure thoughts. There is impurity, mixture in them…ego.
When that action comes up automatically without the thought of “I” in the picture of the mind, and that action brings benefit to the self and to others in an “unlimited way” then something “right” is happening.
“Doing nothing doing, to get things done” only when ego is gone. That is a “neutral action.”