Project Paper: Edgar Cayce I
Dated 8th July 2013
Karma & Grace
Herbert Puryear in the Edgar Cayce Primer says that the concept of free will is “perhaps the most misused, misunderstood and most debated” (Puryear 98). This also serves well to describe the concept of Karma.
The opportunities that social networking platforms like Facebook have given towards the spread of ideas have allowed a sort of “revival” or “infiltration” of the concept of Karma among the masses. Unfortunately it seems to be a misunderstood concept that gives a sense of disappointment at it’s mildest through to retribution at it’s worst.
What is Karma? Karma is a Sanskrit word which means action. It is a Universal Law that is impartial as it is impersonal. It is the Universe ensuring a balance. It can be better understood in the expressions of “like begets like” or “each after its own kind”, and is frequently referred to as the law of cause and effect (Puryear 93).
How is Karma misunderstood? There are it seems two general misconceptions of Karma which stem from the general misunderstanding that Karma is rooted in retribution and punishment. The first is that Karma is a debt that we need to pay towards God, the Universe and man because of sins that we have committed. This then makes us live our life in fear of all that happens within it and of all our actions. It restricts us and forces us to view life in a fatalistic way. The other which is more damaging is the idea that Karma acts like our personal “retributionist”, riding in as a violent storm to wreck havoc on the people that have hurt us. This however, conveniently removes us from any responsibility in situations we have been a part of. It gives us this false sense of righteousness that we are being avenged, instead of acknowledging the lessons to learn from the situation. We play the victim. We become the victim.
So then, how should we understand the concept of Karma and its workings? Firstly we need to realize that Karma is a word to describe a Universal Law in motion. It is a law that is not moralistic or judgmental, it is just the way things work (Puryear 93). As for how the process works, it is based on the fact that as souls created from God, we as co creators are responsible for our creations. Our thoughts and the actions that we manifest are the creations that constantly shape our world. Because these forms are our creations, therefore they become a part of us. We carry the patterns of these experiences within us, for who we are would be the sum of our choices and experiences. The Universal Law states that like begets like, or as it is mentioned in the Bible, what we sow we shall then reap. Throughout the soul journey this Law allows us to meet with these patterns that we carry within, as Karma. However this law does not work in the way we expect it to, meaning the forms in which we meet these patterns may be different but the basic principle of that pattern remains. How it manifests for example, can be an action done to someone with the intent to hurt might manifest as a physical deformity in us, in this lifetime or another. Another aspect of this law is that based on another Universal Law of Timelessness, it does not mean that one action in this lifetime will be met in the same lifetime. Sometimes there may be centuries that pass before it is met – in a different lifetime, in a different personality, in a different situation. Regardless of when it is met, it is still we who are meeting ourselves. The package may be different but the content (ourselves) are the same.
Karma can affect us as a physical affliction, a mental trauma, in our daily experiences, in situations that we find ourselves in, in our talents and abundance we experience because Karma is not only the negative experiences, it is all experiences. The experiences that take us further away from our oneness with the Divine manifests as lessons that we would need to learn, while those that bring us closer is seen in our strengths and talents.
Some examples of how Karma works can be seen by studying how the physical manifestations of karma give rise to different forms. “Boomerang Karma” is called such when a harmful action directed to a person rebounds back to the perpetrator of the action (Cerminara 48). Organismic Karma, which involves the misuse of the organism in one life, results in the meeting of that misuse in another. An example given is of a man who had a digestive weakness that limited his food intake, and a life reading revealed that in a previous life in the court of Luis XIII of France, he had a weakness, that of gluttony (Cerminara 50). The third type of Karma, Symbolic Karma is best explained with an example. A life reading for a man suffering from a severe case of anemia revealed that in a previous life he was involved in a massive blood shedding of people, and therefore in this life it has symbolically manifested as anemia (Cerminara 51). In all the above forms of karma what we can learn is that the soul, through it various incarnations is striving for balance, reincarnating into a situation or physical body to help it rise above these patterns. Some may see it as a way to atone or to assuage guilt, however that would force Karma to be looked at as retributive, when we know that the law of the Universe is impartial and impersonal.
In a similar way there have been many Cayce life readings, which show “positive” patterns being carried with the soul. In an example cited, a 23 year old man who was left paralyzed in an accident seven years ago had a life reading that revealed he had two lifetimes of importance. One was that of an officer during the American Revolution where he exhibited virtues of courage, cheerfulness and making the best of bad situations. The second lifetime was as a Roman soldier during the Roman Empire where “the entity saw much suffering and made light of it. Hence the entity sees suffering in himself in the present, and must again make light of it – but for a different purpose. That some purposefulness that he mocked at then must arise within himself in order to meet what he has created.” (Cerminara 64) Here we see two very important aspects of a law that is just. The first is that this person has carried with him patterns to not only learn a lesson of a past experience in this lifetime, but he also brought with him patterns that could help him to meet these lessons. The second is that we only meet our karma when we are able to. In other words, the way we meet with Karma is best suited for the evolving soul, to serve its best interest. We are only given as much as we can handle. Nothing more, nothing less.
From this we now flow into something that may be troubling. How can we then move away from these lessons, or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes and fail the lessons that we as souls have chosen for ourselves? What about Jesus’ and the God of love and mercy?
“For the law of the Lord is perfect, and whatsoever an entity, an individual sows, that must he resp. That as law cannot be changed. As to whether one meets it in the letter of the law or in mercy, in grace becomes the choice of the entity… The law of the Lord is perfect. His grace sufficient, if they patience will be sufficient also. – 500-1
Thus… if ye live by law ye must judge by law. If ye live by faith, ye judge by faith. If ye live by grce, ye must practice grace – and be gracious. If ye would have friend, ye must show yourself friendly. If ye would have patience, ye must be patient first with self, and then with others. – 2981-1” (Puryear 95)
There are three key concepts that one must bear in mind when living life, as these are what turn our Karma into Grace; setting ideals, making choices in accord to these ideals, and applying said choices (Puryear 95). The thing is though God is full of grace and that Jesus died on the cross for our sins; this does not absolve us of the responsibilities of our choices. God’s grace comes from His gift of free will and the numerous opportunities to go back to Him. Each reincarnation is for us another chance to get our lessons right by making the choices that will bring us closer to Him, to our True Self. We do this by setting spiritual ideals that flow into mental attitudes and physical actions, which allow us to tap into the Divine pattern, set by Jesus becoming the Christ. We do this with every choice that we make, in all aspects of our lives, in our attitudes, in our actions and in what we say. Because of free will, the responsibility then lies with us to turn our karmic lessons into lessons learned with grace. It is in the spirit that we meet these lessons that changes karma to grace, our motivations that will give us an outcome of grace or of repeating the karmic cycle.
What does this mean then for our daily life? It means that we must always be mindful of our responsibility for our lives. Whatever we encounter in this lifetime is an opportunity to not be the victim, and to meet challenges with an attitude of grace. It is to be always aware of the intent and motivation behind our choices, to hold our choices to a spiritual ideal that attunes us with our True Self.
1. Puryear, Herbert B. The Edgar Cayce Primer, Discovering the Path to Self-transformation. New York: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.
2. Cerminara, Gina. Many Mansions, The Edgar Cayce Story of Reincarnation. 1967. New York: New American Library, 1978. Print.