Karma (Cause & Effect) | General

10 QUESTION: When one has sinned and sincerely repents in one’s heart, and then tries to make restitution and better oneself, does one still have to accept the consequences?

ANSWER: No. When one truly repents and by this development overcomes the fault that caused the sin, the sin is extinguished. Every karma can be erased. And this is even more applicable to something you have caused in this life.

 

22 QUESTION: You have told us how difficult it is for the spiritual world to prepare a spirit for incarnation in our world. The fluids have to be changed, and so on, even in the case of a newborn baby that dies after two days. Why all this work for nothing?

ANSWER: Oh, the work is not for nothing. The mother has to go through a karma and this little baby will be given to another mother. {Immediately?} Certainly. It will not go back to the Spirit World, it will be brought immediately to the mother who was chosen for it in the first place, for, in the Spirit World it is known that the first mother has to go through this karma.

This unhappiness is in her plan that she has somehow sown before and now she has to reap. It is good for her development and she thus pays off a debt. You all know what the implication of tests and unhappy occurrences are. But the work is not for nothing. For all this is figured out and planned beforehand and arrangements are made before the first birth. And this infant is carried to the mother it was destined for in the first place.

QUESTION: Would that hold true for an infant that has not developed? Just started? In a miscarriage?

ANSWER: In such a case there is no spirit there as yet. The spirit takes possession the moment the first cry is uttered.

 

24 QUESTION: Between what relationships is there a karmic situation, as, for instance, parents, children, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers? Does it go further than that?

ANSWER: Oh, you cannot possibly make a rule on that. In the majority of cases, there are karmic bonds in the immediate family, but not always. It may very well be that there is no karmic relationship with some members of the family. It may be a new relationship that was given because it best fulfills the purpose of the lives of all concerned.

There may be a number of karmic relationships that are not within one’s own family. They may exist with people one meets in the course of one’s life, sometimes even quite late. For all that, there is a good reason and purpose.

QUESTION: The meaning of the question was this – I did not put it right – is there karmic obligation outside of parental or husband-and-wife relationships?

ANSWER: There is no such thing as a karmic obligation. The obligation is a law of love and that applies to everyone. There should not be any difference in your attitude whether the relationship is karmic or not. You do not even have to know about it. You have to act according to the laws of God with everyone alike. There is no difference there.

 

40 QUESTION: You said several times that the cause of sickness is in ourselves. I am meditating on this subject and I can’t figure it out. Let’s say a disfiguration of a bone…

ANSWER: You must differentiate between karmic sickness and non-karmic sickness. This does not apply only to physical sickness but to every other hardship in life – and hardship is always disease, spiritually speaking. The technicalities of cause and effect work the same way in karma as within a single lifetime. In both cases, it is up to you to eliminate the negative causes.

There are, however, certain difficulties you cannot overcome in this life; you just have to bear them. That does not mean that you cannot eliminate the causes – that has to be done at one time or another anyway – but the effects have to be borne.

Other non-karmic effects can be eliminated. A karmic debt manifests as a single event. An effect that can be dissolved usually recurs constantly, in a pattern. This does not mean that the causes were not started in former lives and are thus karmic too, technically speaking. But you can find a starting point in this life, and by following through this work, you often can change your life and eliminate your conflicts.

Besides, it is not even necessary for you to know. Since it is actually quite the same, and any ill-effect must be dissolved by you in any event, you should approach your purification in the same spirit, whether it concerns a karmic debt or whether it applies to causes started in this life, perhaps with a seed you have brought over from former incarnations.

The definite knowledge that a certain state is karmic would only make you lazy instead of doing the necessary work, no matter what the cause.

I can safely say that very few of my friends have karmic circumstances that cannot be changed. Here is a room full of people, and not one person is completely happy. There is not one person who would not want some kind of change – perhaps not even a pronounced change – a conscious “I want this instead of that.”

You may feel an unhappiness, unrest, disharmony, fear, insecurity, loneliness, yearning. All of you, my friends, including those who will read these words, have the power to change this if you want to. And if your unconscious immature nature were not so unreasonable that it wished for effortless change, you would be much further advanced.

It is my advice for all those who are still struggling on this threshold to ask themselves, “What do I really want? What does my uncertainty, my indecision actually mean? Doesn’t it mean that I revolt against unhappiness and I wish for change, but I am unwilling to bring it about myself?” Anyone who has this resistance should pose that question.

If you can answer, you have attained the first victory because you will then see what an unreasonable and childish streak lives within you. For that is what you actually desire. Yes my friends, that is what all of you would want, that the work be done for you, that the dear God in heaven give it to you.

 

41 QUESTION: Did I understand that right: any event about which we really can’t do anything was caused by our images?

ANSWER: You understood correctly. Except when it is a question of the karma of a previous life. But the principle is exactly the same, inasmuch as you reap what you have sown. But you have sown it in a previous life and you reap it now. That may be the explanation of a one-time event that may not have anything to do with an image, in the exact sense.

But, my friends, even in cases like that, you will still find the root in your image. Because if a karma has not been paid off, it must mean that the root is still within the self. If you had paid off the karma, you would not have the root anymore.

You may find in yourself the same faults and trends that in a former life caused you to commit a graver action, one that you would no longer be capable of committing because of your development. Nevertheless, the same root must still be there, for otherwise you would not have that karma. You will be able to find it in the depth of your soul, and certainly enfolded in your image.

QUESTION: This means that karma and images make a vicious circle?

ANSWER: Of course. If you will reread the lecture I gave some time ago on birth [Lecture #34 Preparation for Incarnation], now that you have learned about the images [Lectures #38-41], you will understand how it works. You may remember that I explained that when the entity is prepared for life, certain problems are left closer to the surface in the fluidal body. And according to these problems, parents, country and life-circumstances are chosen, so that you can become aware of the image and challenge it if you so choose. So karma and images must work hand in hand.

If you have certain experiences in your childhood, it is because you have certain parents, and a certain environment. This was most suitable for you, according to your entire incarnation-history, so as to bring out your problems for the purpose of your development and purification. You cannot purify, you cannot eliminate a problem or a fault, if you do not first become aware of it. To become aware of it, something unpleasant must happen, otherwise you would never pay any attention to your inner disharmonies.

Karma, as you all know, is nothing else but cause and effect. The same law works also within one lifespan. If in this present life you find your images and wrong conclusions, you will understand, see and experience in your own person, the truth of the law of cause and effect clearly demonstrated. Thus you will know how karma works. It is the same principle, only more extended in time, over a span of several incarnations.

QUESTION: If, for instance, somebody dies in a concentration camp, which is a karmic effect, how does that combine with the images? What kind of image would there be?

ANSWER: Oh, my dear friend, there are millions of possibilities of images. I cannot possibly enumerate them all. You will gain more understanding about these things by continuing the work you are doing, not only on yourself, but also by working with others.

If you can translate the milder cases into stronger cases of law-violations, then you can imagine quite easily that a heavier karma is built on the same principle as in the cause and effect of image-conclusions. Both draw events built on wrong conclusions which are always violations of divine law and truth. It is only a question of degree.

It does not make any difference if deviation from law and truth occurs out of ignorance and error, or is committed willfully. The principle remains the same. But when a person deviates from divine law consciously, because his spiritual development is still so low, an image will not result. An image is the result of unconscious reasoning, deduction and conclusion.

A conscious, willful law-violation will draw outward effects, that which you call karmic results. An inner violation in the emotions, remaining hidden in the unconscious, will create an image and will have a different effect. Here the law-violation happened in a lesser degree, and in the unconscious. So the two alternatives we are discussing operate on the same principle, but they are not identical.

If a criminal kills someone, this is not an unconscious act, and you cannot speak about an image when he reaps the fruits of his action. But he may, in the next incarnation, wish to kill without doing so, suppressing his desires, keeping them, perhaps, as an imagined defense against the hurts of life, against the fact that his wishes are not fulfilled. This may then create an image.

But you cannot say that every crime that is committed and every punishment for it is due to an image. The image comes from unconscious wrong reasonings and factors. It contains desires and conclusions that more primitive people act out in consciousness.

 

67 QUESTION: Is it possible that a karmic effect of an earlier incarnation will become apparent only after the second or third succeeding incarnation and not in the very next one?

ANSWER: Yes, that is indeed possible. If people do not know what you know, do not do what you do, ignore the significance of self-responsibility, they can only do so much in a lifetime. Sometimes people do not solve anything. So instead of working off the effects of former incarnations, they accumulate and collect new entanglements, in addition to their unresolved conflicts. When the conflicts are not resolved, they create new ones in ever-increasing chain reactions.

Thus they will be unable to dissolve the whole chain in the succeeding incarnation. The most that can be expected is that they solve the problems of the problems, if you understand what I mean. And only in a later life can they do more in order to complete the work of purification. It is to be hoped that then the work of purification will extend into several incarnations where they do not heap up new conflicts compounded from the old ones. Indeed, this frequently happens!

Remember what I said in the lecture about rebirth, about the preparation of the spirit, how certain conflicts remain on the surface of the unconscious mind, which the environment brings to the fore. But deeper conflicts, existing from former incarnations, far back, remain hidden deeper. Only if you solve everything you had come to solve and time still remains on Earth, something of the deeper buried conflicts may then break through. Otherwise, they would remain in the soul until the next incarnation.

QUESTION: Would positive karma also work in this way?

ANSWER: Yes, it would. It is based on exactly the same principle. A good result you have gained, the good effect of a good cause in you, may be a hindrance for you at this particular time. With this positive result, you may find it impossible to solve the accumulated bad effects you have caused. Therefore, it may stay behind and be utilized at a time when it will not be a hindrance.

 

107 QUESTION: In the past, you discussed the close connection between cause and effect. Are we then to believe that we are living in a world of causality where identical effects stem from identical causes?

ANSWER: Of course this is a world of causality. As for the identical causes producing identical effects, that depends on what exactly you mean by identical. What may appear identical causes may, in reality, not be identical at all. The act may be the same, but the individuals are different. Let us take a crass example, like murder.

Let us assume that two people commit murder, even for the same motive. Yet, their backgrounds that led to these feelings, that led to this action, as well as their overall development, their personality and character traits, may be different. Their reactions after the act may not be identical. Consequently the effect – not necessarily the outer effect, but the effect upon the two individuals in question – may not be at all identical.

But if you mean that this law of cause and effect is, to the finest detail, an organic, infinitely just and harmonious process, a balancing factor in the entire universe, so exact in its workings that error or injustice is utterly impossible, in that sense identical causes stem from identical effects.

Why it should be so hard for human beings to accept that they live in a world of causality is not easy to understand. When you really look at the world and the events in it, you are constantly confronted with the living reality of cause and effect. In the smallest daily issues, cause and effect operate. But you are so used to it, it is so much part of your daily life, that you take it for granted. You have lost the ability to see the operation of cause and effect with the newness that is necessary in order to derive deeper understanding.

Were humans able to see what happens constantly, it would not be so difficult for them to realize that the same law must exist also in a wider context. They would not assume that a different law operates merely because in one case cause and effect are close together, while in other cases they are separated by time. Time has no bearing on it; it only discloses the cause or the effect to you.

Sometimes human beings can see both. Sometimes they can see only one or the other. If people were to follow through logically and see the ultimate consequences of this phenomenon, they would realize that their inability to see either cause or effect does not change the fact that cause and effect are interdependent.

When you uncover cause and effect sufficiently in your own personal life, then what is called faith, but what in reality is an experience of a truth, comes into being. Then it is no longer a question of superimposing doctrines or postulates. Various happenings and results have puzzled you when you saw no cause for them.

By getting to know yourself better, you discover causes for many effects. You discover the connections as indisputable facts. This gives you not only freedom and strength, but also shows you causality in its true light. You then know that the same law of causality must hold true also where you cannot know the causes, whether in your own life or in the lives of others, or in the world, or in Creation generally.

 

111 QUESTION: I would like a clear definition of what the soul is. I think it would clarify this lecture [Lecture #111 Soul Substance – Coping With Demands].

ANSWER: As you know, there are many interpretations of the soul, and they may all be quite accurate. If they seem contradictory, it is because words are too limited to describe a dimension inaccessible to human language. This is why higher dimensions can never be made accessible by verbal learning, but only by inner experience which, in turn, becomes possible only if and when inner errors and distortions are dissolved.

Let me explain the soul as we use it here. The soul is the sum total of the inner personality: the thinking, the feeling, the concepts, the potentials, the attitudes, the patterns, the characteristics, the temperament, the emotions, the idiosyncrasies – everything that is behind the physical being.

It also includes, of course, unresolved problems. But it does not include the cover-up for the unresolved problems, the pseudosolutions, or the false defenses. They are not part of the soul itself. But the particular choice of the pseudosolution is an expression, or manifestation, or indication, of the soul.

QUESTION: Karma, then, is the memory of the soul from former unresolved problems?

ANSWER: I would not say memory. It is the result of all previous incarnations. Karma is the effect the soul has produced.

QUESTION: The sensitivity is carried along?

ANSWER: Of course. The sensitivity, the perception, and the ability to experience. All these faculties have a progression. One person’s sensitivity may be on the lowest note of the keyboard, another’s on the highest. The latter may exist in a healthy or unhealthy way. Karma, as you know, is the result of everything up to the present point.

QUESTION: We claim that attitudes determine the happenings in our lives. How is it that people with bad motives so often derive all the happiness and success in life? I know such cases.

ANSWER: I have answered this question in previous sessions, but will answer it briefly again. In the first place, the human view is very limited. Whenever effect does not immediately follow cause, people lose the link and therefore become unable to see their interrelationship. If they nevertheless attempt to make judgments, such judgement must be faulty. Cause and effect are often far removed in time.

In other words, human beings may experience the effect of a cause from way back, while the new causes they institute have not yet taken effect, but will do so later. With increasing spiritual development, inner health and oneness, cause and effect come closer together. As long as they are separated in time, an inner division of the soul must exist.

The overall development of the soul, its potential for growth in particular areas of development, is still limited when cause and effect are removed from one another. Only when the soul’s potential is greater than its actual development – and therefore it can become actualized – are cause and effect closer together.

Moreover, when motives are split, the effect is influenced accordingly. For example – as I pointed out in a recent lecture – if people are still so crude in their spirituality that they have no conscience, nothing will interfere with the bad motives, which will therefore be unified. Because there is no split, the bad motives will have an apparently favorable effect.

Only later, when the conscience has grown, will the retroactive guilt have an effect and manifest as though it were punishment from the outside. When someone’s motives are already split – which in this sense is a positive development, compared to the person who can have destructive motives without inner conflict – success does not come.

One side of the personality has acquired much higher standards than another side – and I do not mean superimposed standards, but real, inner standards. When such is the case, destructive motivations, even though they may be quite conscious, will not bring the desired result. On the other hand, constructive motives, no matter how conscious, will not bring the good results either if they are undermined by unconscious, destructive motives.

Hence, a ruthless person may not attain his ruthless aims because an inner voice, that he may be completely unaware of, hinders the impact of his will. His own inner development, still hidden, and very contradictory to some facets of his being, prohibits an unsplit will. Therefore, a conscious determination to be ruthless will have no effect because the soul has already gained a new potential.

Similarly, the person who tries very hard to be good, but is unable to cope with his hidden selfishness and cruelty, due to repression, is unable to attain the desired positive result. It is always the split motives – especially that part of them which one is not conscious of – that hinder the will and subsequently influence the outcome.

 

QA115 QUESTION: In Lecture 114 [Struggle: Healthy and Unhealthy] you wrote that life is what we make out of it. Now my question is, it seems to me that the person who will be murdered, not the murderer, is guilty. And how about a child who is very young and catches a very serious disease and is handicapped for the rest of his or her life, or is born blind? Is this a karma?

ANSWER: Well, of course it is a karma.

QUESTION: What can she do about the present life?

ANSWER: Well, you see, in the first place, my dear, there is a misunderstanding here, the way you interpret the statement in this lecture. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is not the murderer’s fault, but the murdered one. The statement really referred to the following. It means that if you feel your life is meaningless, then this is a projection of the way you lead and perceive and experience your particular life. But it doesn’t make life that way. It is a reflection of yourself.

Or if you feel life is cruel, then this does not mean life is cruel. But it is your images, your misconceptions, that have given you this idea, and not life as such. Or if you feel life is joyful, then this is again a reflection of yourself. This is what was meant by it.

QUESTION: Oh I see. Then I misunderstood.

ANSWER: Yes, you misunderstood that. And you see again, here it is not sufficient to know these things in theory. Anyone on this Path who has come across the specific facts and factors and aspects in himself, when he experiences these words to be actually so, will have a completely different interpretation of these words than if it is merely a theory that one vaguely understands with one’s intellect. This has to be experienced in your own personal Pathwork.

 

132 QUESTION: I cannot visualize how the law of karma and heredity works, and how the process of birth takes place. Does the soul exist before the baby is born? How does that work?

ANSWER: Perhaps the best way for you to understand these principles would be to realize that the human body is a direct result of the personality which, of course, exists before the baby’s birth. The personality’s thinking, attitudes, emotions, actions, all have their effects. The body with its environment, the life and life situation, the personal fate – all these are effects of the mentality and personality and character.

Not only your body, but your life conditions, are a result of what you are. If you look at the question from this point of view, you will avoid a great deal of confusion. Karmic law, heredity, and specific conditions of birth, are then no longer a problem. The way you now perceive the process of birth is as if a body were built by forces outside the personality.

This creates confusion because such thinking occurs in a dualistic split, rather than in the spirit of unity, where you perceive that you are an immediate result of yourself, including your body, your country, as well as every other factor in your life.

QUESTION: It is difficult to feel that.

ANSWER: Of course. You must not try to force such feeling. It will come by itself if you shelve this problem now. The more you comprehend cause and effect in your immediate life, where blindness in this respect still prevails, the greater your experience will be of the self as the central cause of your life.

All my friends still overlook very immediate links of cause and effect: how you forfeit the results you wish for, and overlook patterns and attitudes that create certain undesirable conditions in your immediate life. As long as there is a veil over these links between cause and effect, it is impossible to feel how this law operates over a wider time span.

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