Are you experiencing a situation in your life that is causing you stress and pain? Others around you appear to have escaped or don’t have it as bad as you. You are perplexed because there are no obvious reasons for your suffering. You feel as though you have been left with the short end of the stick and now have to suffer.
Are you questioning ‘Why me?”
An effect without a cause?
It’s easy to look impartially at someone else’s life and suffering; but when it comes to yourself, the scenario totally changes. It becomes a very delicate, emotionally-charged personal issue.
Suddenly, you lose all impartiality and focus. You become confused, cranky and resentful. You don’t want to hear any logical or well-meaning advice; you just want the pain to go away so you can stop suffering and be happy again.
When the initial shock of the situation dies down somewhat, you start looking for the cause of your suffering.
When you can’t find a reason for your suffering, you become dejected and sink into ‘victim-mode’.
Can there be an effect without a cause? Is suffering random?
To have a better understanding, let’s start with the bigger picture.
The big picture
The world is a cosmos, not a chaos – Swami Chinmayananda
The world that we live in is a humbling speck in the grand scheme of creation comprising an infinite number of ever-expanding universes. It is an ordered, intelligent system, way beyond what the human mind can ever comprehend.
Every movement in creation is perfectly orchestrated and governed by incontrovertible laws of nature. They are so reliable that scientists study them, make accurate calculations and formulate scientific laws based on them. Every science that has ever developed has grown out of this study.
The Law of Cause and Effect
The Law of Cause and Effect governs over all aspects of life. What this law states is that every thing, being and experience in the universe has a cause or a reason for its existence, nature, and characteristics.
There cannot be an effect without a cause. Think of rain falling without clouds, tides without the moon, night and day without the earth’s rotation, and sunlight without the sun. Impossible.
Now, while it may be easier to see the playing out of these laws in the world outside, you lose that objectivity and understanding in your personal life because firstly, you cannot always see the cause for it, and secondly, you view it through your emotions.
We are all motivated by self-love and an innate desire to be happy. These overpower and cloud our rational intellect. You see your suffering as unfair, unwarranted and out of the blue.
It is not.
It is the playing out of nature’s Law of Cause and Effect or in this case it is called, the Law of Karma.
The Law of Karma—the play of cause and effect in our lives
Beyond knowing that we reap what we sow, there are some salient facts about this law that are worth mentioning.
Every action produces a result.
An action does not end when the action is completed but when the reactions (results) set in motion by the action are experienced by the doer of the action.
Whatever you are experiencing at this time is a result of your previous actions – your life, body, environment, friends, family members, situation – all are determined by your previous actions. They are the results of your past actions coming to fruition in the present.
Some results come sooner, some later. All actions reap results according to natural laws. We only have the freedom to perform actions, not to decide or control the results of those actions or when they will occur.
Results always and only come to the doer of the actions. This is the most important fact to reflect on. You will never have to suffer or enjoy the fruits of someone else’s actions. You’ve done it, therefore , you are enjoying or suffering. It would be totally illogical to say that you are experiencing the results of actions that someone else did. Remember, Nature’s laws are immutable.
Now while these facts may be clear to you, it doesn’t make the pain go away. No one wants to be told that they are reaping the negative results of some unknown previous karma.
The truth is, unless we accept that we are spiritual beings on an unbroken evolutionary journey spanning many lives, nothing will make sense.
And since we can neither directly prove this fact, nor change our circumstances, all we can do, is to empower ourselves with learning the best way to meet our challenges today. This is totally in our hands.
How to do this is the focus of my next article, The best way to meet the challenges of your life.
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