The exterior is simply the reflection of the interior; whoever changes internally creates a new order of things. - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
Everything: you, your family, your skin color, the way you smile, the way you talk, the greed you feel, the happiness you feel, the city you live in, the friends you have... and this is true of everyone, all of us: everything is a manifestation of karma.
The scale of this is unimaginable, unacceptable to our minds. It's a little like contemplating infinity: the mind cannot hold it. The mind we have now is finite and very narrow. These concepts can never be fully understood by this intellectual mind, the sensual mind.
So in order for us to try an approach this law in some practical way, in order for us to begin to grasp the depth and magnitude of Karma, we will focus on one aspect of it, the part of it that concerns us the most.
How do we create karma?
What do we do, each day, which creates our future? Because really, everything we do is planting seeds that will grow into something in the future. If we are planting flowers everywhere we go, all the time, then in it's due season we will be surrounded by a fragrant field of beautiful colors. But we must make the effort to plant those seeds. So how do we live now, and are we doing that?
It is vital for us to be very honest with ourselves, very sincere.
Firstly, we need to understand that the term karma is used in different ways. The Law of Cause and Effect is called the Law of Karma.
The result of harmful action, the consequence of that act that returns to the one who performed it, is called karma.
The result of upright action, the consequence of that act that returns to the one who performed it, is called dharma.
A result is created for ALL action, not just "major" things. You don't have to murder someone to accumulate karma. Neither do you have to give away a million dollars to accumulate dharma.
Drop by drop, little action by little action, you are planting seeds, you are making little deposits in your cosmic account. It is like a savings account. Many people do not save money because they feel that $5 here and $10 there will never amount to anything. So they save nothing. They spend it all. They think that only if we can make a lot of cash can we save something. But really, wealthy people often became wealthy because they understood that things don't really work that way. I was once told that the rich are only rich because they do not spend their money. And this made a lot of sense to me. Do you understand? They become wealthy by a process of accumulation, by not spending, and saving a little here, and little there. Nor do they become rich by suddenly inheriting a lot of money: most people become wealthy OVER TIME, slowly, by a process of intention and willpower and hard work. It is exponential, and karma works in a similar way. As you plant a little here and a little there, those seeds can grow into huge trees, provided that the conditions are right. Karma ripens when the conditions are right. So it may be that you have planted good seeds in the past, but if your environment is really negative and your actions are really negative, those seeds cannot sprout.
We live life thinking that life is an unlimited thing, as if we have 100 years or more to do whatever we want, and that there is no real consequence for anything that we do. So we party, and we do whatever we feel like doing, and we spend every paycheck that we get, and we overeat and drink too much and basically do whatever we must to try to satisfy all of our desires.
We think that this is what life is about: the satisfaction of desire. The pursuit of happiness, as interpreted by modern culture. To get whatever sensations from life I want. This is the "American way."
Anything pleasant and desirable becomes our focus, our goal, our definition of life, and anything unpleasant should be avoided at all costs, and denied. If we are unhappy at work, we say "Work is not my life, my life begins Friday night." Somehow, even though we spend 50-60 hours a week at work, we don't think that is really "our life." And we desire so much to be away from work, to be off work, to be out with our friends or out doing sports or shopping or playing around doing this or that, whatever it is. "THAT is life. That is what life is all about." Of course, all the advertising these days supports this: life is a big party, everyone is beautiful and desirable, and it's all about having as much fun as possible, having as many toys as possible, looking good, feeling good, being young, being hip...
And when anything happens that we don't want, we say we "don't deserve it." When we lose our boyfriend, we say we never loved him anyway. And when our friend turns on us, talking bad about us to everyone, we say they are the bad one, we are innocent. When someone hits our car, we blame them for everything, even if we made a wrong turn. They should have been paying more attention. When we are sick, when we are injured, we complain, we suffer, we want to escape from it, we want to feel good again, and we resist it.
There is a pendulum in all of this: we are constantly craving pleasant things, and avoiding unpleasant things. We spend our entire life believing that somehow, some way, we must avoid everything that is unpleasant, and we must gather up as much pleasure as possible. "Whoever dies with the most toys wins," right? But really, in terms of karma, whoever dies with the most toys dies, still dies, and with the largest debts. Death is no escape from karmic payment.
Life for us, for our modern ethic, is defined by DESIRE. Everything we do, we do from desire. We desire to look good, we desire to satisfy our lusts, we desire to fill ourselves with particular foods, we desire to be perceived a certain way, we desire to feel certain sensations. This DESIRE is one of the key components to understanding the truth of our lives.
Remember in the Bible that Adam and Eve were sent out of paradise because they went against the law, they acted out of desire, out of self-will. And their karma was severe. This is an allegory about us. This is how it started for us. In the past, we acted out of desire, and we broke the law. And we were removed from paradise. And of course, today, we still live this way. We have not learned the lesson.
In constantly trying to keep ourselves in pleasure and out of what is painful or unpleasant, we are keeping ourselves in constant struggle, and avoidance, and are constantly acting out of ignorance. Death cannot be avoided. Pain cannot be avoided. Suffering cannot be avoided. This is life. Life contains pleasure, and life contains pain. This is the truth. And yet, we never accept this. We do everything we can to avoid seeing it.
This constant pursuit of illusion, the pursuit of unending pleasure, is ignorance. It is blind. We do it because we do not know another way, but it is a way of blindness and ignorance. Ignorance means to ignore: we are choosing to ignore the facts. We know that death is inevitable, but because it is a great uncertainty, and because we are so full of fear and attachments to life, we cannot deal with it, so we run the other way: toward filling ourselves with pleasure, in order to hide from the facts.
It is evident that if our attitude towards daily life is fundamentally mistaken, if we believe that everything must turn out well, just because it should be so, then we are going to be disappointed...
People want things to turn out well "just because it should be so," because everything must go according to their plans. However, the crude reality is different. As long as one does not change internally, whether one likes it or not, one will always be a victim of circumstances. - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
It manifests from moment to moment. Even now, as you study this knowledge, do you feel uncomfortable? Do you feel resistance to this teaching? Do you feel resistance about talking about your own death? That resistance is precisely what keeps you in bondage. Do you feel resistance to seeing your own anger, your own lust, your own greed? That resistance is precisely your worst enemy.
This resistance to see the truth of your life, the truth of your mind, the truth of your desires and resistances, the truth of your hatreds and jealousies: this resistance to seeing is your worst enemy.
We all believe we are good people. We believe that we do what is right and good, and that we are good in our hearts. We all have good intentions, right? But karma is the Law of Action: Intentions do not count. Action is what determines the nature of our life.
The road to the Abyss is paved with good intentions. - Samael Aun Weor
What counts in life are our actions. The Law of Karma is the Law of Action and Consequence. Good intentions mean nothing if the results of our actions are disastrous.
We may mean to help but instead do harm. How do we avoid making this mistake? By acting with complete consciousness. This, however, is not easy to do. Yet to act without making the effort is act without complete knowledge of what we are doing: and to act in this way is to invite disaster.
Therfore, it is imperative that we learn to act with complete awareness.
To acheive complete awareness in our actions, we must have complete awareness of ourselves.
We don't like to hear that we have anger. We don't like it when someone thinks badly of us, and we don't accept it and tell ourselves and others that it is the other person who is wrong, they don't understand us. We do not like it when our ugliness shows itself, and as soon as possible we cover it up, we mask it, hide it.
And when we do questionable things, we certainly don't want others to know about it, And in our covering up, we may lie so well that we ourselves believe the lie.
We ignore that which we really are. We do not allow ourselves to see who we really are. We blame everyone else. We blame our parents, our teachers, our friends, our spouse: and we take absolutely no responsibility ourselves.
We ignore the facts. We ignore our own psychology. We do not see what is really happening inside of our minds and hearts. And we choose this, because we are always chasing after "the good life" and we cannot stand the taste of the bitter truth. We habitually seek to avoid the unpleasant and seek the pleasant things. So we avoid what is unpleasant about ourselves, and we focus 100% on what we like, what tastes good to us.
This is the habit of our minds. We have a very limited way of perceiving life, and it is entirely based on what is most convenient to our sense of self.
We refuse to see anything that questions our sense of self.
Have you, sometime in your life, ever thought of what you like or dislike the most? Have you reflected on the secret causes of action? Why do you want to have a beautiful house? Why do you desire the latest model car? Why do you want to always be wearing the latest fashion? Why do you covet not being covetous? What is what offended you the most in a given moment? What is it that flattered you the most yesterday? Why do you feel superior to this or that fellow in a specific moment? At what hour did you feel superior to someone? Why do you feel conceited when you relate your triumphs? Couldn't you keep quiet when they gossiped about a known person? Did you receive the goblet of liquor out of courtesy? Did you accept smoking, although not having the vice, possibly because of the concept of education or out of manliness? Are you sure that you were sincere in that chatter? And when you justify yourself, when you praise yourself, when you boast about your triumphs and do so repeating what you have previously told others, did you comprehend that you were vain? - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
This ignorance controls us because we are so identified, so habituated, to this way of perceiving life. We perceive life through this filter, this particular pair of psychological glasses, and we don't realize that really, these glasses that we are so used to wearing, are in fact completely distorted and flawed. They make everything in life skewed and unbalanced, and everything that we see is twisted and wrong.
A person is what his life is... Looking at this matter from a strictly psychological point of view, any day in our life is really a tiny replica of the totality of our life. From this we may infer the following: if a person does not work on himself today, he will never change. When someone claims that he wants to work on himself, and he does not do it today, postponing it until tomorrow, such a claim will be a simple scheme, and nothing more, because within today is the replica of our entire life.... This is very similar to a certain sign that some merchants put in their stores: "Today, no credit, but tomorrow, yes. - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
In order to change this situation, we need to know what the problems are. We need to know ourselves.
In Gnosis we learn the technique of Self-observation. In this technique we learn to separate ourselves from our thoughts, feelings and sensations, and we learn to observe them, as they happen, without reacting to them. We learn to have a sense of inner separation. On one side we have the experiences of life, whatever is happening outside of us in any given moment, and on the other side we have the reactions of the mind, our feelings, and the sensations of the body. In the middle, observing everything, is pure awareness, pure consciousness.
To know and to observe are different. Many confuse observation of oneself with knowing. We may know that we are sitting on a chair in a living room, but this does not mean that we are observing the chair.
We know that in a given moment we are in a negative state, perhaps thinking about a problem, or perhaps we are worried about this or that, or are in a state of uneasiness or uncertainty, but this does not mean that we are observing it.
The observation of oneself, which is one hundred percent active, is a way to change oneself, whilst knowing, which is passive, is not.
Certainly, knowing is not an act of attention. Attention directed within oneself, towards what is happening in our interior, is something positive, active... - Samael Aun Weor, Revolutionary Psychology
This must become a way of life for us, a new way of living and perceiving, if we want to seriously begin to live in accordance with the law of karma, and if we want to seriously make changes in our life.
So make a resolution for yourself: make the effort to remain aware of yourself, aware of your feelings, thoughts and impulses, aware of your environment, while you continue to study this course. Do not relent in your effort to consciously direct your attention.
We need to understand that going through life in the way we do, without awareness, daydreaming, reflecting on the past, imagining the future, fantasizing, doing all of this while we are driving and eating a hamburger, we are in fact deeply asleep to the reality of the moment. We are living a fantasy life in our heads, and our real life is passing by, moment by moment. We do not realize it, but we are losing our lives in that.
Life is only lived IN THE MOMENT: anything else is a fantasy, a lie, an illusion.
This is why life seems to go by faster and faster,... when we were young, we were much more interested in life, in what was happening in the moment, and the days were long and full of wonder... but as we gathered experience, and got bored with mundane life, and began to live more in our thoughts and feelings, then we lose interest in the immediate moment, and we began to think about the future, the future, what are you going to do for a living, where do you want to live, and we fantasize and dream and imagine... and suddenly we are out of high school and then we are married and have kids and a mortgage and one day we wake up and say, "What happened to me? How did I get here? I didn't want to do this!!!"
We fell asleep... Psychologically asleep. Our consciousness was put to sleep.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. - Proverbs 4.23
One Gnostic student and his wife took their two children to the doctor, and the mother went in with the one who needed to be treated. This was a serious situation, and so the father was concerned and really fretting over the potential outcome of this visit. So he wasn't really paying attention to the other child. And naturally, this child was enjoying the freedom of the moment, and began to really get out of hand. In the waiting room was a woman who become very irritated with the child. And she couldn't take it anymore, so she told the father in a rather rude and judgmental way that he should control his child. So he did. He grabbed his child and went outside. He was upset by what the woman said. And as he thought about it, he began to pace back and forth. And he began to tense up, and grind his teeth, and his mind began to race, thinking that this lady had no right to be that way, she was really rude and mean, and he should go back in there and correct her behavior, she doesn't understand that this is a life or death situation... His wife came out and saw her husband, bent over, his shoulders tense, pacing back and forth like a caged tiger, fists clenched, jaw tight and grinding...
What happened to him? Do you see? Now he was saved by the bell in a sense, because when his wife came out he was reminded of his practice and was able to immediately see that he had lost his awareness of himself, and he was following his mind down a habitual road: a road that was only taking him into deeper suffering.
This exercise, this effort to be present, to be in the moment, to observe ourselves, is the effort to become more aware of our own reality, to become more aware of what we are thinking and feeling, and why we are doing the things that we are doing. It is the effort to see what our reality is: not what we think it is, not what we would like it to be, not what we would like others to think it is, but what it REALLY IS.
And this is not easy. We have a lot of resistance to this. We don't really want to see who we are. We prefer to have a positive self-image, and tell ourselves good things about ourselves... and yet, we can't seem to change these painful patterns in our life, our relationships are just painful, our job is painful, our anxiety, our fear, these things keep coming up, they won't leave us alone... or maybe we don't experience these feelings, but we have so much ambition, and we are driven to perform and perform and perform, and we drive ourselves to exhaustion... for what? For some elusive goal in the future, because even when we accomplish something, it isn't enough, and we set another and another and there is no end to it all...
So we in Gnosis learn: when these things come up, we learn to observe them, to study them, to understand them. The first benefit of this: when we learn to stop reacting to the thoughts, feelings, and impulses that manifest in us, we stop creating harmful actions which in turn bring us suffering.
When we are yelled at, normally we yell back. We say hateful things. But when you can observe yourself, and observe the feelings that come up, the thoughts that come up, you can choose to respond differently. And you can choose not to react. You can choose to be peaceful, to walk away. And maybe, you will understand why the person was yelling at you in the first place. Perhaps they were hurting or suffering, or perhaps you did something you should not have done.
When they yell at you, and you observe yourself, you can see: the body becomes tense, there is pain in the body, the heart hurts, heat in the chest, the mind is stunned, shocked, and then a flood of negative thoughts, cursing, vengeance... and all of that, in the past, would have made you react immediately, cursing... because in the past, out of habit, you would have reacted to all these unpleasant sensations, you would want to avoid all this unpleasantness, make it go away... and in that, in identifying with those sensations, with the specific effects of that situation, the energy of that situation becomes trapped, fixed, it becomes a chain that binds you...
Understand that this is not repression. Self-observation is simply the observation of an internal state and an external event. It is pure awareness, which gives one the ability to choose one's actions.
Only by having the choice can one perform what is right.
If we behave mechanically, automatically, then who is choosing for us? What in us is making our decisions?
When we react to situations without consciousness, karma is created. When we go through life the way we normally do, thinking all the time, daydreaming all the time, then we are not fully present in the moment, and we are distracted, and we act from habit, from habits of the mind. And the mind is a mess. The mind, even though we love it and idealize it, is not helping us very much. It is, in fact, making life more complicated.
When you see an object that you desire, and you stare at it, feeling the desire for it, the greed for it, you are giving that desire, that greed, a lot of energy. You are feeding it. This is karma: because you are strengthening your desire for something, you will want it more and more... that desire is not going to go away. It may switch to wanting something else, but as long as you feed and water it, it will grow and grow... And when you get what you want, the desire is not abated: it is even stronger. Because soon, you want something else, and this cycle goes on. You are never satisfied. You cannot be satisfied, because in each situation, you are feeding the desire, and doing what it wants, which makes it stronger. This is karma.
The energy of that desire becomes trapped in our subconsciousness, crystallized. That formation contains trapped energy: energy which, under the right environmental conditions, will manipulate you, will impel you to feed it, to let it act, in the only way it can: the way it was created.
So: if you are in a fight, and you hit someone out of anger, the explosion of that action not only produces pain for the person you have struck, but it reverberates inside your own subconsciousness, and the anger becomes a formation in the mind, and traps energy there. If you have a lot of anger, and you keep reacting out of anger, then you are steadily building up a stronger and stronger storehouse of energy, energy that was formed out of anger and whose critical mass will provoke more and more anger, which, obviously, only feeds it more and more...
So little by little, step by step, you are creating a monster in your own mind.
This is why those who are angry cannot simply stop being angry. Nor can those who are addicted easily drop their addictions: they have created a lot of karma for themselves: karma in the form of energy trapped in the subconscious.
So, an addict, someone who is addicted to alcohol, drinks because of sensations. The drug is used because it creates sensations. And because we want so desperately to escape the realities of life, and merge forever in pleasurable sensations, the addict becomes a slave to those sensations: they do this out of desire for sensation (which is avoidance of what is unpleasant, perhaps painful emotions or circumstances) and out of ignorance, psychological sleep, unconsciousness. The more they feed the habit, the stronger it becomes. The more they sleep, the more they ignore, the deeper the unconsciousness.... and the more dangerous they are, the more depressed, the more chaotic....
This is very sad. It is very painful. But each of us, in our own way, with our own style and flavor, are similar. There are things we are addicted to, so much so, that, like a drug addict, we do not see that there is a problem. We do not recognize that we are addicted to some negative psychological habit, some terribly self-destructive patterns of thinking...
We do not see that we are hurting ourselves in the way we think, the way we encourage certain types of feelings. We do not see it. We are blind to it.
So out of this place of blindness, of suffering, we react. We react to the circumstances of life, and we create more karma for ourselves, deepening our suffering, deepening our problems, and bringing everyone else down with us.
We continue this cycle of self-destruction from lifetime to lifetime. If we never awaken consciousness, then we pass from life to life in an asleep state, always longing, always suffering, tossed about by the chaos of karmic energies that we have set in motion and that we persist in intensifying...
We create karma by all kinds of selfish actions. As we said, the story of Adam and Eve is an allegory for us, about us, and their problems began, all the problems of humanity began, when we acted out of desire for what WE want.
So the first thing we must understand is that we are psychologically asleep. Are you still aware of your body? Have you managed to maintain that awareness completely, without a moment's distraction? No? Then you can see it for yourself: it is very difficult for us to be conscious of ourselves. We are not very aware. We must come to see this. We must come to recognize that we do not pay attention.
From there, from this place of seeing that we do not see, then it becomes possible to change. Then it becomes possible to see the truth.
Meditation vs. Karma
All the problems in your life, all the suffering you experience, all your pain and difficulty, all your questions and uncertainties and insecurities, all your pride and vanity and fear and arrogance: everything you experience in life is dependent upon your mind. So it is in your interest to begin to observe your mind, to get to know your mind.
When we begin this effort, there are certain things that will help us. Because really, in order to understand the mind, in order to deeply comprehend the nature of our own mind, and thus the nature of our own life, we must first stop agitating the mind so much. We must let it settle.
Hand in hand with Self-observation is Meditation. The true and original purpose of meditation is the awakening of the consciousness. The mind, as it is now, out of control and full of surging thoughts and feelings, is a raging sea of chaos. By the practice of meditation we begin to allow the mind to settle, to calm, to become clear and open, and then insight begins.
By combining these techniques, Self-observation and Meditation, we cultivate the ability to choose our own destiny. Hand in hand these two techniques take us to intuitive, direct knowledge of ourselves. Step by step, by gradual cultivation, the technique of meditation begins to sharpen our concentration and our ability to stand calm in the midst of confusion.
Because we are developing the ability to act consciously, to choose how to respond to situations, to choose how to act. No longer do we act out of habit or custom: we act out of a conscious choice.
Thus, we begin to stop the creation of burdensome karma.
Now, in order for us to be successful in this effort, we need a lot of help. We need to know what creates karma, and how to avoid wrong action. Obviously, what we are seeking to do is to reinvent ourselves, to live by a new whole method, and to begin to turn the ship around. The ship, which is the weight of your karma, may be very slow in turning, if you have a lot of karma. It may take some time. It may take a lot of patience. But it can be turned. Drop by drop. Step by step. Little by little, we can turn this wheel that is in our hands every day: this wheel of action, this wheel of energy, and as we turn it, we can begin to turn the direction of this big ship that we are in. It is possible. But it takes effort, every moment, every minute, every hour, every day.
To keep a guard again and yet again
Upon the state and actions of our minds and bodies-
This alone and only this defines
The sense of mental watchfulness.
All this I must express in action;
What is to be gained by mouthing syllables?
What invalid was ever helped
By mere reading of the doctor's prescription? -The Bodhisattva's Way of Life by Shantideva.
Dharma, Ethics & Morality
Dharma is a Sanskrit term, a term that has several meanings. It means Law. It also can be seen as positive karma. When you perform a good action, a genuine sacrifice for someone in need, for example, then you accumulate dharma. This means that you earn the right to be helped.
So Dharma is both the law and the benefits of acting in accordance with the law.
There are, in truth, two Laws:
The First Law: received by those who have reached the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries; the direct commands of our own inner divine Father. The First Law is synthesized in the Twenty-two Arcana of the Tarot and the Twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
The Second Law: the written law, which is given for all of those who are struggling to reach Initiation. This is from "deutero" which means second. This is the Ten Commandments.
The First Law supercedes the Second Law. This is why certain prophets and great masters were able to kill, to move from one wife to another, and to perform many actions that seem to contradict the Second Law. The Will of God (our own inner Father) is the Law.
For those who have not reached their own inner Father, each religion, each mystical tradition has a set of guidelines, a set of ethical or moral codes. Most people see the Ten Commandments or the Precepts of a monk or nun as a big drag, as limitation on our behavior, or a rigid and strict rules that have no real purpose, and we only invented to keep people under control.
But in fact, these guidelines have a very definite purpose: to help us avoid creating terrible karma for ourselves, and to help us stay in balance with the forces of the universe so that we can reach the First Law.
It's easy to see, actually: if you kill someone, you send tremendous energies through your own mind, energies of violence, of selfishness, of animalistic passions, of anger, etc. etc. These things not only become lodged in your subconscious, but they agitate the mind, and make it impossible to see anything clearly. Someone who has murdered will be deeply disoriented psychologically.
Likewise, if we drink alcohol, we are sending negative energies into the mind, we are becoming attached to certain sensations, and as a result of the chemicals we begin to act without any sense of judgement or caution. So we drive drunk, we sleep with people randomly, etc.
All of this creates very harmful effects in our mind, and sets up negative circumstances for the future.
So these rules are in fact help to us, because they show us what kinds of things disturb the mind and make it difficult for us to be in balance. And they help to us avoid creating more karma for ourselves.
It must be understood, however, that the ethics of the Path to the Self-realization of the Being have nothing to do with terrestrial ethics. Ethics and moralities are a slave of time; in each culture, morality is based upon subjective reasoning. What is moral in one place is immoral in another. The initiate who strives to free himself of suffering must act in accordance with the morals of the consciousness, which are beyond any terrestrial law. These ethics are taught to everyone who enters into the conscious revision of his own self through meditation and the positive awakening of the consciousness. True upright ethics are determined by the Being, in accordance with the Laws of the Cosmic Christ.
Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. - John 8.34