Karma and Dharma


If we are to believe that we choose our path in life before we are born. Then if we do things to help people are we interfering in their path. Maybe their path was to go through a difficult situation to learn something and if we help them to not have a difficult time with it, are we interfering with something that should be learned?

—Denise, Canada



The idea that we choose our path before we are born is one of those things one hears repeated but I know of no definitive statement from any master or avatar that specifically avers that proposition.

On the one hand, the soul, which is eternal and without stain of karma, DOES know all but the entire spiritual path is a journey to reestablish our relationship and identification with the soul. So when one says “we choose” who is the “we?”

In other words, even if that precept were true who among us remembers making that choice and/or what choice was made? So it is one of those untested concepts that are fun but unprovable!

Making predictions is a risky business. Like going to the marriage altar with confidence or with hesitation, either way, we cannot truly say how things are going to turn out. Who can say what “my path” is beyond today or the last so many years? Any true spiritual path is surely going to have its surprises and while that doesn’t have to include finding a new path or guru, can we really know that? We should be open to divine guidance at every moment even if we should also be loyal to the commitments we have made! A paradox, to be sure.

If we cannot be sure of our “chosen” path we certainly cannot pretend to know that of others. Our inspiration or opportunity to help others comes not with the duty to know what is right for others (we hardly know what is right for ourselves) but to do our best sincerely to tune into another person and to receive the guidance to reach out (or not). Even if we make what seems a mistake, we cannot really even know whether it IS a mistake.

For example, let’s say you are on the kriya path or at least a path of meditation. Someone you know, family, co-worker, neighbor, friend…….is struggling with life but has been in a traditional religion with little exposure to the teachings of the East and to the practice of meditation. What if you suggest to the person that meditation might help but the person overreacts judging you and condemning meditation as “of the devil.” Maybe you lose their friendship, or respect, or relationship. Was your counsel a MISTAKE? What if you had planted a seed? What if, two years later, that person downloads a meditation app for himself; tries it and begins to meditate but will never tell you (out of embarrassment etc)?

Now, mind you, as someone who counsels people or meets people in the public, I employ a few cautionary questions or inquiries before I recommend meditation when I don’t know someone. And, similarly, many of us in the early stages of our enthusiasm for our newly adopted path will try to convince everyone around us and find that it didn’t work and, indeed, it may have been a mistake. (The reason here would be that had nothing been said with such enthusiasm, a family member or friend might have eventually expressed in an interest in meditation after seeing how your life changes.)

Nonetheless, the points are clear that it is not easy to know that you have even made a mistake in seeking to help a person spiritually! (Giving unsolicited advice is rarely the way to go. I am speaking here, and assuming you are also, of suggestions and comfort.)

The yardstick of action is sincerity; intelligence; attunement (to spiritual consciousness and teachings); and, yes, common sense. When we develop spiritually to the degree that we seek to not just act out of inner guidance be to let God be the “Doer,” we find, increasingly, that making “mistakes” becomes less and less relevant a question.

You will find that by trying you’ll have some home runs and some strike outs. In both cases, however, you may very likely not really know the final score. Nonetheless, to you, one will seem a home run and the other a strike out. But by trying you will learn and will hone your intuition. Best to act sincerely rather than to not act out of fear of failure!

A long response to good question!

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA