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- Bill Gaum
We have all lived hundreds of lifetimes (see: Reincarnation). And as we go through our various lifetimes we often make mistakes based on the fear that we might not get all that we "want" or "need", as well as the erroneous belief that living selfishly will make us happier. The kind of mistakes we make might include: manipulating others to get our own way, deliberately hurting someone's feelings to "teach them a lesson", being controlling, dominating, lying to others, being antagonistic, spiteful, greedy, stealing, and so on. When we mistreat others in these ways, we set into motion an inexorable law which now requires us to become the "victim" of similar experiences in order for us to learn what it feels like to also be the victim of these same kinds of mistreatment. Jesus taught this law as:
"As you sow, so shall you reap."
Similarly, some New Age people say:
"What goes around, comes around."
For instance, if we try to manipulate others to our own selfish advantage, then at a future time, perhaps in a future life, we will be the victims of similar deception and manipulation. And when this happens, we start feeling and thinking to ourselves, "Hey. That isn't fair! No one should treat another person like that! I never would!" And we become a little less manipulative. The same process works for any selfish behavior whether it is for the more obvious ones like stealing, lying, & murder, or the more subtle ones like being domineering; sneakily tricking another person for our own advantage; being insulting, sarcastic or unkind; or any other selfish, self-destructive behavior. The only way that we can truly learn that selfishness is ultimately self-destructive and self-defeating, and that it is never right to take advantage of others, is for us to go through heart rending experiences where people take advantage of us. As we can now see, this realization is achieved very slowly, but effectively over many lifetimes by the law of karma.
The kind of karma we are going to experience in the future is determined by our past and present intentions. What are our intentions? Did we deliberately intend to hurt whoever got hurt? If we did, then we will have to go through pain and suffering similar to the the pain and suffering we've deliberately caused for others - but it will be more intense and longer lasting. This karmic suffering may occur in this present lifetime or in future lifetimes, in this physical realm or in other realms which exist at slightly different vibrations. It's important to realize that karmic suffering is never, ever, for the purpose of punishment. Punishment simply suppresses behavior - it doesn't change one's underlying intentions. So it doesn't really change the person's heart. Instead, the purpose of karmic suffering is to have experiences that help us to begin to feel in our hearts that no one should ever have to suffer in such a way and to help us to want to compassionately help others in the future who are suffering in similar ways. Thus, karmic lessons soften our hearts and bring about a wonderful change in our feeling world so that in the future we are less likely to want to cause someone to suffer in that way while awakening compassion in our hearts.
Another aspect of karma is as follows: If we hurt someone, but we hadn't intended to hurt them, then we are not required to go through similar karmic pain and suffering (karmic lessons). But we might be required to help the person until some of the negative consequences are erased. In other words, regardless of whether we intentionally or unintentionally caused someone pain, we might have to work to correct some of the negative effects that pain and suffering has caused on that person or persons. This can be done from the higher realms when we are out of our bodies during sleep or in-between lifetimes, or while we're down here in the physical realm and can take many, many lifetimes. If we are qualified to Ascend, then we can continue to help that person from the Ascended state.
By the way, the Old Testament teaching of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth" as a justification for revenge has been greatly misunderstood. The original teaching as originally given forth was a teaching about the Law of Karma. It stated that if we deliberately hurt someone, then later we will be hurt in a similar way, either in this lifetime or a future lifetime, so that we can learn that it's never right to deliberately hurt another person or take revenge. So the quote, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth" originally meant that if we intentionally blind someone in their eye, or knock their tooth out, then later in this lifetime or another lifetime, we too will lose an eye or a tooth, or be hurt in a similar way. So the tradition of using this quote as an excuse to wreck revenge on someone is based on tragic ignorance and has turned the whole teaching upside down.
We might ask ourselves when we are suffering in someway, if this always means it's a karmic lesson of some sort. And the answer is that even though we can learn and grow from all kinds of suffering, it doesn't necessarily mean that what we're going through is karmic. In fact, a significant percentage of human suffering is actually innocent people who don't need to be going through a karmic lesson of that kind. So it's important not to be judgmental towards ourselves or others who are suffering, because we don't know whether we or not it is karmic. And of course it's always important to have compassion for all people who are suffering, including ourselves, regardless of whether it might be karmic or not, and try to help them if that seems appropriate. So it's still crucial to follow Jesus' teaching, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7) It's also helpful to remember that even if we are innocent and suffering unjustly, suffering deepens our capacity for compassion and in the end makes us stronger and more courageous, even though we might not notice it in this lifetime.
Also, sometimes kind, compassionate, selfless souls will volunteer to come into lifetimes where they know they're going to be unfairly treated and suffer a lot of pain in order to help those they care deeply about. This might be to help individual family members or it might be on a larger scale such as helping an entire community or group of people or even the world. Many saintly people often volunteer for such lives in which they unfairly suffer greatly while they are helping others. Obviously Jesus' life was one of these on a Cosmic Scale.
We can't deliberately hurt or take advantage of someone else, without setting up the same kind of future painful karmic lesson for ourselves. But not all suffering is karmic – plenty of innocent people everywhere are suffering unjustly and we need to be compassionate towards all. And remember, being kind, fair, compassionate and selfless now, helps us to have a happier future in this life and future lives and ultimately leads to our blissful Ascension and becoming Eternal Ascended Masters of Loving kindness like Jesus, the Buddha, Guan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy), and so many others.
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