Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Process of Karma in Our Bodies: Part 2
Reincarnation is the cycle of birth and death. The preceding link is a far better study than anything I could ever write. Essentially, a soul returns to a body until it has satisfied karmic debt, then it can remain with God or choose to come back again. Some believe that certain humans are ascended masters who return to this world to help mankind. These enlightened souls help to bring self-awareness to humans along with an awakening to God and the entire cosmic process of creation, preservation and death. When we identify ourselves as our body, we live in a state of illusion or maya.. The body and mind serve as a vehicle for the soul to realize God and do his/her work. Anything less will cause us endless suffering; awareness is the antithesis of ignorance.
Pantanjali sees ignorance as the basis for all problems. As he writes: "the causes of man's suffering are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and the desire to cling to life. Ignorance creates all the other obstacles " (Sutra 2:3 and 4). We cling to life because we believe the illusion--that this life is all we have, and we forget our previous incarnations. We attach ourselves to the hopes and dreams of the material world instead of turning to spiritual nourishment. Pantanjali also thought that we unconsciously remembered our death in previous incarnations: a painful death from another lifetime can make the reincarnated soul cling to life. Death is liberation: the goat knows that he will be free from the animal state, so he can explore his spiritual destiny in a far higher form: humanity.
As I write this, I'm aware of how absurd this may sound. Think of the recession: how many people discovered that life itself was higher than personal gain? That is an honest question. I see this lousy economy as a test of our core beliefs against our fears. Which will win? Jesus said that we cannot worship God and money. If we understand money as material gain, then his words make sense. Our relationship to money may be the ultimate finger waggery in our karmic decisions. When we put our worldly progress over spiritual teachings, we are not worshiping God. We don't trust in the Divine; we trust man. We trust our ego. Jesus knew what was in man; the sins of the flesh are nothing more than identifying bliss with physical pleasure--from satisfying hunger to living in some mansion.
Karmic debt creates our hell: once we choose the material world over God, we live in darkness. We continue to incarnate until we can see light and identify ourselves as enlightened beings. This path can be easy or difficult: it depends on our level of attachment to what Yoda calls "this crude matter"--our physical form.