I have read that to be emotionally reactive produces karma, negative karma I assume. Isn’t this saying that you have to be even minded all the time and accept everything that comes your way even severe trials and mistreatment from other people? It doesn’t make any sense to me as most people will react emotionally at being abused, mistreated, or anything severe? To accept everything and not react emotionally seems unreasonable and is expecting someone to be a saint, which is aspirational.
It is true that emotional reactivity causes karma because emotional reactivity is a function of the ego. The ego is the soul attached to the body. We need an ego to act in this world, to work out past karma, to make spiritual progress. What happens is the ego thinks it is in control and acts from its opinions, attachments, likes, and dislikes. Action that comes from the ego incurs karma whether it be good or bad karma.
In fact only at the human level is the ego fully developed. The ego is necessary for a person to make a decision to turn toward God, toward the Light, toward higher consciousness. As we progress spiritually the soul becomes dominant which is its God given role. The soul is an individualized expression of God. We finally evolve spiritually to a point where the ego is a servant of the soul and we seek to live for God alone. Then we are closer to liberation and that is where the saints are. The more we live from our soul awareness the less our actions result in karmic consequences, since only the ego can incur karma.
In the early days of Ananda there was a group of young men who had been drawn to live at Ananda and were deeply inspired to live their lives for God alone. They decided to call their little band of spiritual brothers ‘The Future Saints of America’. Ultimately our spiritual goal is to become a saint. We all are on the path to this spiritual liberation. Most people are not yet awake and aware of this God-given spiritual goal. It will take many incarnations before they yearn for something more than what the world can give them and start to look to God for the answers. Then once their longing for God is awakened there is learning how to attune personal will to God’s will and how to be a channel for God’s love into this world. As they grow closer to God there will be karma that was incurred in the past that must be balanced, including all those times when they acted from emotionality and ego-driven desires. Challenges will come to these future saints but increasingly they know that even if they fall into emotional reactivity God will be there to support them if they open their hearts. For God is not a passive force simply waiting for those souls to finally turn to Him. He is actively inviting them to come and is eager to help. For the individual it is a matter of which way are they facing as they move through life and the inevitable challenges. Are they turning toward the world, expecting satisfaction or are they turning toward God?
Each person has a God given role to play in the life and fulfilling this particular karma means serving in the highest, most selfless, most God attuned way that is within their capacity. It is not an error to put out energy in this world to fight evil. Evil is actually anything that is God denying- denying God dwelling within yourself or others.
What we can do is turn toward God and do our best in the moment with what we are given. God does not condemn us if we react emotionally to the harms that come in this world. Eventually we will be able to act without emotional reactivity but that we are not yet able to do this does not mean we have failed spiritually. It is not a requirement that we be perfect to live the spiritual life. In fact if we were ‘perfect’ we would not need to incarnate at all except to help others reach this goal. This is why the Guru incarnates. Yogananda said ‘A saint is a sinner who never gave up’. In your own life strive to live in the highest way you can imagine, a way that honors God dwelling within you and within others. This is what we can do.