Are thoughts and attitudes bound by karma, so that, no matter the consequence, mental or physical suffering, are we free to choose how we view the suffering. Or, is the attitude itself an effect of past actions that must obey the law.

—John Pish, United States


Dear Friend:

You have a sharp mind! In this case, as in so many, the razor’s edge results in a BOTH-AND response. Let’s say I have a long standing habit of reacting badly to having physical pain. (A friend recently confided that when it came to pain, he is a “wussie!”) So, even though, from the soul’s perspective, responding to physical pain with even-mindedness would be the way to best overcome it, the sub-conscious and ego-mind has an entrenched habit of responding with fear or anger.

Nonetheless: the soul IS FREE! And, to the extent, therefore, that we awaken to the power of the soul, which is, itself, the presence of God individualized, we can draw on divine grace to overcome the reactive habit and thus, eventually, sooner or later, become free from fear or anger as a predictable response to pain. To do so, however, requires conscious practice: first in small instances of discomfort and, by degrees, more significant ones.

Meditation is excellent for acquiring the power of the mind to distance itself from sensory stimuli. So also is devotion. But it takes practice and grace, both.

If we humans did not have faith in our power to overcome past, bad karma (and any form of obstacles or entrenched habits or environmental circumstances), life itself would not be worth living. The law of karma itself dictates that by our actions we can overcome the effects of past actions. This truism is filled with promise, the hope “of immortality!”

Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman