Fate, karma, repeated lives on earth
Questions on fate
Depending on culture and religion, people believe or do not believe in repeated lives on earth and karma. It is obvious that people persist on believing in one life on earth only in times of prosperity, when they are not faced with problems. Under such favourable conditions it is even desirable (for them) to live forever!
With increasing difficult situations, in hard times, times of plight, diseases, and real trouble, we start getting aware of the injustice prevailing in our world. I have all the troubles and others seem to have all the luck. Where has justice gone to? If God is just, why does he allow for so much injustice in the world?
When we look out into the world and humankind in general, we see ourselves faced with infinite misery, with oppression, wars, etc. - Millions of people do not even have the bare essentials for their daily life, in many countries it is an everyday occurrence that people starve to death. Whereas, in other countries, considered more or less as "the rich ones", people enjoy all the advantages that life can offer. Although problems such as neglected children, homelessness, unemployment, etc. are increasing.
What I want to outline is, that on the one hand there are people living a pleasant, prosperous life, have had an optimum school education, have all the opportunities for personal development, live in a beautiful house, enjoy the best food, etc.
On the other
hand, we have on earth no end of misery, hunger, disease, often ending with
an early death.
Is this "just the way it is"? Are some people just lucky, and others are "born unlucky"? A matter of pure coincidence? Some people certainly answer this question with "yes", namely those who live on the sunny side of life.
The divine laws are absolutely just!
Wisdom, truth, and justice are not a theory, neither in the spiritual nor in the material word. They are divine practice. In the spiritual world, precision, harmony, and justice prevail down to the last detail. How else could this wonderful universe function?
If this is so, the question is justified why humankind has to suffer from so much disharmony and chaos.
Some people say that this is so because the human being is basically "bad". If this were so, and if there were only one life on earth, then such an understanding would mean that children dying early in life, were "just bad". And others, living in prosperity, are "the good ones". But this would of course not make sense. Every human being is of divine origin, Therefore, our most inner substance, originating from the "divine fire" cannot be but good!
We are now getting closer to the core of our question: if everyone of us originates from the same divine fire, which is love, and therefore brings along into this life the same preconditions, why are some of us well off, and others quite the contrary?
This is the point in time to start speaking about the issues fate, karma, repeated lives on earth.
in life, which we experience as pleasant or oppressing, reveal to us what
we have been making of the chances and tasks that were offered to us in previous
lives on earth.
Whether we have been able to cope with the challenges and tests, or whether we have failed. Have we been dealing with other people attentively and in a loving way, or have we hurt them, have we done something harmful to them.
Our present fate, the circumstances of life in this incarnation, are the result of our attitude and conduct in previous lives on earth.
Or, in other words:
the karma that we are living out during this incarnation is the sum of our experiences in previous incarnations.
The concept of karma is taken from the old wisdom of the cultures in Asia. Strangely enough, it is more or less unknown in the Christian tradition. However, also in the West we start becoming acquainted with it. So, in lack of a corresponding word in the English-speaking world, I will be using this term in the following contributions to the VITASOPHIE homepage.
One might translate karma with destiny, or fate. However, these two terms are used more or less in the sense of fatalism: this is just my fate! I have to accept it. No! - We absolutely do not have to accept things as they are! On the contrary: every demanding situation, when we have to do with other people, every problem is a challenge to cope with it, to exercise our presence of mind. We are required to ask ourselves the question: what can I learn form this situation, how do I have to react, or act, so that afterwards I can say: I have been successful! I feel much better now! (and the other person concerned also!).
Life with all its problems starts to make sense when we have the inner assurance that our present situation in life has to do with our attitudes and actions in previous lives on earth. Of course, it is also the result of what we have been doing in our present incarnation! Looking at it with our "eternal eye", the past, presence, and the future are one, they cannot be separated.
Karma having to do with balancing out and with compensation, I think that karma is a typical expression of divine justice!
Karma is deeply impressed in the human soul, and it is more than "the sum of the experiences of our past": it is a strong, dynamic, burning striving of the soul for regaining balance. It is the soul's yearning for reestablishing the harmony between Ego, soul, and body, as well as material and the spiritual world.
Good and bad karma
Our karma can be good or bad (actually it can be good only, as it means justice), it dominates and guides our present incarnation. In such cases where, in past lives, people have been dealing with other people and the environment (the world) in a wise, constructive, and loving way, they bring along into the present incarnation what we might call "good karma". The result is pleasant, positive circumstances and experiences in this life. It can also mean new, important tasks. Because, "good karma" does not imply "convenience" but "bigger tasks". But bigger tasks can be coped with when we have learned from previous experiences and have, this way, increased our "horizon". The wider the horizon, the greater the challenges! This is the way of evolution. Once, in the far future, we have learned all we can learn on our planet earth, there will be tasks for us waiting in the universe.
Rudolf Steiner says that every vision we have or try to create is already developing karma. This means that every vision, arising from our will, wants to become reality in the material world, as soon as possible. This shows how important it is to form the right visions!
One form of vision is when somebody continuously complains about bad he feels, with pains everywhere in his body. When something bad happens, this always happens to him! If somebody always has bad luck, then it's him! This is his vision. As every vision immediately sets off to become reality, it's no wonder that the person in question has to suffer, as per his visions.
However, to be realistic, we must see that disease and bad luck can be the result of negative thinking in the present life, but may also go back to negative thinking and doing in past lives. The point is that negative attitudes always lead to negative circumstances in life, whether in present or past lives. But if we aim our visions at the well-being of our fellow human beings and the world, and do things where we are sure that Christ can say yes to them, then we get all the help from the spiritual world.
A vision starts with having a mental character first, the stronger we concentrate on a vision, and maintain it for a while, the better. Next we must add to the mental vision, in form of distinct, clear images, warm and pleasant feelings. And finally we must fill the vision with all our will - and then: let go! This letting go is very important, because if we do not let the vision go, it stays with us and cannot become reality.
Example: the attacking football player must look forward, in the first place, when he is rushing towards the opponent team's goal, he must see the football already in the net! And he must experience in advance the feeling he is going to have when the football has hit the goal!
The pole-vaulter, when he starts off, sees and feels himself already over and behind the pole.
Can we place orders for luck and happiness in the cosmos?
All our positive thinking has limits, when for karmic reasons when we are not allowed to experience luck and happiness for some time. But with positive thinking, positive visions, and positive doing in our daily life, we can prepare a change of the situation, to happen some time in the future.
Egoistic, superficial visions will not function. When we live our life positive- and consciously, then one day luck and happiness will come anyway. The human being is destined to be loving, free, and happy by his origin. Freedom cannot be given to us as a gift, it has not even been existing in the universe until now, it is something completely new, and has to be worked for. This is the central meaning of our existence as human beings, our task on earth. This is the reason why the material world was created with all the hurdles that we have to clear. By clearing hurdles we get prudent, wise, and free. But it means doing efforts, making errors, trying again, learn from our experiences. All this is a long-lasting process. A process that takes many lives on earth. During our present life on earth we are still sorting out (living out) the experiences made in past lives. Once we have learned our lesson, the next lesson will not fail to come.
From goal to goal
One day, when every individual has reached the end of his long, stony paths of doubts, despair, misery, conflicts - internal and external ones, chaos, senselessness, etc., we will have arrived at our goal: mankind will be a community of free, independent humans, brothers and sisters, living consciously divine love and wisdom.
This goal is not reserved to a restricted number of people, let's say 144,000 for example. At the time being it is completely open who of us is going to reach the goal. There is a risk that not everyone will reach it. Whether or not depends on each individual's will and decision to either walk the long and stony path, or live a comfortable life, respectively resign when circumstances in life are becoming hopeless. In order to be able to make a decision, however, it is necessary to become informed in the first place about the possibilities that are being offered to us humans. This VITASOPHIE homepage is trying to outline the basic information available, as far as it is available to its author.
As mentioned before, the sense of our life on earth is not to suffer, but to keep trying. Suffering is the result of having tried and failed. But to try and fail means making experiences that help us making it better next time. Provided that we keep trying. This making it better and better each time means less suffering, in the long run, and more and more good success, and wisdom, and health, also more successful partnerships, etc. Which possibilities of trying do we have?
The following exercises correspond to the 8-fold way of practising, as taught by Buddha, and Rudolf Steiner, independently, but congruently. When you start practising them consciously, it will perhaps be easier to concentrate at one of them for a day, or a week. This is going to be a long process, anyway. Just as the development, the evolution of mankind and universe is a long process, though a bit longer than the proposed exercises.
In between a short story, maybe you heard it before: the question is sometimes asked: how long is eternity? Here one version of an answer:
There is a little bird, flying, once in 1,000 years to the top of the Himalayas (known to be quite high), rubbing its beak against the rock. And because it does that once in 1,000 years, one day the Himalayas will have disappeared. In eternity, one second has passed.
Back to our exercises.
They will not take that long, but do in fact require some patience and perseverance,
but they are worthwhile. Actually, we do not really have any alternative in
our everyday life:
Control of mind:
Or control of our thoughts, our thinking. While we are awake, during the day, normally, continuously all kinds of thoughts are passing through our head. The exercise consists in observing ourselves consciously as the thoughts are coming and going, and admitting such thoughts only that make sense. This exercise is extremely important, because :
our thinking results in deeds,
what we repeatedly do, results in habits,
our habits decide on our fate.
Therefore, if we want to change, or improve our fate, we have to start with controlling our thinking.
Control of our feelings:
Thinking, feeling, and doing are the three main qualities or traits of the human soul. And in this sequence we should apply them: first think over, what we are planning to do. Then listen into ourselves, to our soul, ask our feelings, our heart. Then, if what we are planning, makes sense, then do it. To listen to our heart, before doing something is not a matter of course, nowadays. Many things are being done, or decisions made, without listening to reason, wisdom of the heart, our feelings. But times are changing, the time has really come to start thinking with our heart! All the wisdom of the world is hidden but available in our heart, more or less consciously. It is our task, as human beings, to bring the "subconscious" wisdom into light. Let there be light! This is realised by thorough thinking, trying, experiencing. Wisdom is applied knowledge combined with experience.
Control of our deeds:
After having things thought over thoroughly, listened to our heart, and have then done it, it is recommendable to examine carefully the result. Possibly we can do it even better next time!
- emotional ups and downs must not keep us from continuing our efforts,
- calmness, composure: we must not allow external influences pulling us backwards and forwards.
A very demanding programme of exercises. Naturally, it requires much more effort if we think before we speak or do something, or just say and do "thoughtlessly" what our habits give us. But not only "what" we say, but also "how" we say it, makes often a big difference. "The sound makes the music". The same with our doing. Very often we spontaneously do something wrong, or even very wrong, if we do not consider quickly enough the consequences. Consider the consequences is one more exercise.
There is nothing as difficult as changing our habits. I think everyone agrees.
A long time ago, we left our paradise. We will create a new one, once we have "passed our course of exercises", after many incarnations on earth. This new paradise will be on a higher level, on the basis of a conscious, free will. In the paradise that we had to leave, long ago, we had no free will, no self-consciousness. Everything was granted, we did not have to think. We had to leave it for the purpose of freedom, which is the goal of all evolution.
We were not thrown out of paradise because we (as Adam and Eve) were bad, and had to be punished, but because our father, God, (and mother, the Goddess) wanted to have free sons and daughters, living God's love and the wisdom of the Goddess because they want to do it!!!
And not, that's the whole point, because they are told to do it.
What a difference this makes! Whether you are told, or ordered to do something, or do it by your own decision, because of your insight. Because you consciously love to do it. A slave can be told by his master to love him. As a slave he will pretend to do it. He has no choice. When I speak of slaves, I'm not only thinking of old Roman times, or the abuse of black people. Slaves can even be found in a modern partnership in our present days.
Living love the traditional way, in form more of a duty, is going to be a matter of the past. In the future, which has already begun, love will be lived consciously, on the basis of freedom and the own will of the individual human being.
But even this next step in evolution is not the final one yet. There will always be next steps to be made and next goals to reach. Each goal means a wider horizon, in every respect, more wisdom, a higher and higher ability to appreciate and live love.
The Danish writer Martinus speaks of evolution spirals. These are never-ending.
Now back to our karma, which is an issue of greatest importance, if we want to understand the conditions and circumstances of our life. Only when we understand that our present life is the result and sum of all our lives in a long past, are we ready and motivated to accept our per-sonal problems and start working on them and on ourselves.
A long time ago in history, in the times of the continent of Lemuris, which preceded Atlantis, individualised Selves (or Egos, Spirits, it's difficult to find the right name), all of divine origin, started their first incarnation on earth. Lemuris was located where nowadays we have the Pacific Ocean. It is not possible to express in terms of years how long ago all this happened, because at that time the planet earth, the sun, and the moon had not yet separated. Earth was a hot planet, there was no clear distinction yet between firm and aqueous. The human body was of a very fine substance, adapted to the heat, part of it, constantly changing its form. The Lemuris epoch ended in fire catastrophes, caused by the wild, uncontrolled powers of will of the human beings.
After Lemuris has vanished, the evolution of mankind continued on the continent of Atlantis. Atlantis was located between what we know today as North America in the West, Europe and North Africa in the East, or: in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean owes its name to the continent of Atlantis.
The previously more gaseous and fiery substance of the planet and the human beings had meanwhile become denser, harder, cooler. This allowed the human beings to develop slowly but surely self-consciousness, which is possible only thanks to the contrasts in our material world. If we were not faced with, or confronted by physical contrasts around us, contrasts that we can touch, feel, experience, we would not be able to develop self-consciousness, because we would not see and experience ourselves as something different from the things around us. Self-consciousness means: consciousness of one's (Higher) Self, the divine spirit in the human being.
The location of the Atlantic continent in the Northern Atlantic Ocean explains why we find pyramids nowadays not only in Egypt but also in Central America. The Atlantean culture was widespread all over the world in those times, there was even navigation and exchange with the surrounding cultures. Some languages in the world remind us of those days: e.g. the old Finnish language is similar to the Ketchuan of the Indios in Central America! There seems to have been a common language in old times, which the peoples brought along to other parts of the world when they fled from the drowning Atlantis. The Indios also speak of blond-haired and blue-eyed people living on a continent in the East, the Atlantic Ocean, before the "Great flood", which is, by the way the same flood that caused Noah to build his ship. In India tradition has it that the Indian culture was started approx. 10.000 years ago by people who came from the West (from Atlantis?). They were blond and blue-eyed, in Indian tradition known as the Brahmans.
A "great flood" is a main topic in the history of all the great cultures in the world, it is always the same event: Atlantis drowning.
Atlantis had to sink and disappear in floods of water, due to the abuse of the life forces by the Atlanteans. The use, and abuse, of life forces was the speciality of the great magicians of Atlantis. The forces in nature were intensively made use of, the great magicians were, as a matter of course, at the same time the great leaders of Atlantis. A question comes up: what are the new modern methods of the "Great Magicians" that are ruling our world today?
Lemuris vanished in fire, Atlantis in water - today we are faced with even greater fatal risks. We are, or should be, can be, aware of them. Let us learn from the previous catastrophes, so that they will not repeat a third time. Let us rather make this wonderful planet Earth a paradise, we have all the means, but they are - still - being abused. What must still happen, so that we learn and make it better?
Back to Atlantis: as inhabitants of Atlantis we still had a natural clairvoyance, whereas we could not count yet. Abstract thinking was not yet possible. Today we can count very well, but we have lost our natural clairvoyance. The Atlantean was not able to count the beans in his hand, but this was of no importance to him, he knew, in a natural way, how to make a good soup of them. This was sufficient to him.
The clairvoyance is now coming back, however. In future we will be able to combine clairvoyance with clear, abstract thinking. In other words: we will be able to be present and active at the same time in the spiritual and the material world. Rudolf Steiner says that our main present task is to bring spirituality in the cosmos and spirituality in the human being, and our planet Earth, together, to create a unified whole again.
The unicorn is a symbol of the loss of the former natural clairvoyance. The horn is a symbol the hard materialism of our time, which has made the soft, fine spiritual way of thinking disappear. The point, where clairvoyance takes place is the spot between our eye-brows, the "third eye". Our thinking has become hard like a horn. But the fairy tales about the unicorn let us hope again, that the unicorn will be saved - the spiritual way of thinking is coming back. The white horse, by the way, as it is for example described in the Apocalypses of St. John, is a symbol of spiritual thinking, and intelligence, the red horse represents wild emotions, the black horse materialism.
While Atlantis was disappearing from the surface of the Earth, which did not happen in the course of one night only, but took hundreds of years of catastrophes, the Atlantic populations migrated to other continents, so that evolution would continue. The first post-Atlantic culture was the Indian one, the 7 wise Rishis, said to be the founders of the Indian culture, were wise priests from old Atlantis. They continued the Atlantean culture, on a new basis, adapted to the slowly developing abstract thinking, but in the first place still continuing Atlantean spirituality.
Rests of Atlantean spirituality can nowadays still be found in China, which was already strongly populated when focus of the development of humankind was in Atlantis.
After India it was Persia (today Iran) to continue the development of the culture of mankind. According to Rudolf Steiner, each main cultural period lasts for approx. 2,160 years. During the Persian culture, wild animals were bred to become domestic animals, grass was cultivated to become cereals, etc.
During the following Egyptian Culture thinking became more and more abstract, discovered the material world, people lost more and more the direct contact with the Gods (the spiritual beings, angels etc.) around them. It was now up to "experts", namely initiated priests, to have and maintain the contact with the spiritual world. One could no longer experience the presence of spiritual beings in the cosmos, instead one had to build towers, observatories, to look out into the worlds of the stars. Astronomy and astrology started developing. Today they are reaching their heyday.
We must not forget that all of us have made this development through all the cultures, we were all incarnated on Atlantis, for example, many times. This is why the Atlantis topic is coming up time and again. How could we forget Atlantis, our home in many lives? Then we were incarnated in India, in Persia, Egypt, in the Roman Empire.
And where is the focus of culture today in the world? I cannot see any nation, or continent where the understanding of other cultures, consideration and love of the world are the main interests. One has rather the impression that culture is in decline everywhere. It rather seems that the future is being prepared by individual humans scattered right across the entire world, who are trying to save the world and change it for the better.
But why this development, as described above?
In order that we can become free, independent, self-conscious human beings, we had to be thrown out of paradise first, then forget all about our spiritual, divine origin, go through materialism and egoism, to become individualists, then make the experience that egoism and materialism must be transformed into a form of living life on the basis of conscious love and understanding.
Difficult? Yes, at a first glance. Important things in life do not come the easy way. Our present situation is that we undoubtedly have developed enough self-confidence that we can feel as individuals, more or less.
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The most beautiful thing in the whole world is a beaming face.
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It is sometimes difficult but possible to cope with one's problems. But the pleasures of life must be shared with someone.
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Enjoying life means to express one's gratitude and appreciation to life. To enjoy life is something like a declaration of love to life.
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What I want to
ask of God is:
In all the days that are coming
Let me have time
- for you,
- for me,
- and for all the others who are walking the same path.
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Love is God's path to the human beings, and our path to God.
Joh. v. Kastl
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Love is mercy, lack of love means death.
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Taking fills the hands, giving fills the heart.
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Time never stands still, a moment not used has not been lived.
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True insights lead to deep love.
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God can only be in a church, when people have carried him there in their heart.
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Must I serve? This is not the right way to ask this question.
May I serve? That's right!
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If you want to go up high, you have to get rid of ballast.
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Who is not carrying heaven in his heart will in vain look out for it in the entire universe.
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