We’ve just finished a wonderful Inner Renewal Week here at Ananda Village, with classes by Jyotish and Devi, Kriya Yoga initiations, renunciate vows, and long meditations, all designed to help us go deeper into God. We have this week every year, and one of the points from last year’s classes was untangling our karma, from one of Jyotish’s talks. I had an excellent opportunity to work on that just this past week.
Our karma, often invisible to us, is truly a mystery. How can we begin to understand why things happen to us? Often the things that seem like the worst possible situations are actually unseen blessings, like the story of when Babaji took a a flaming branch and scorched one of his disciples on the arm – horrible thought! Babji explained that it was the disciple’s karma to have been burned to death, and that the karma was now satisfied. Babaji then went on to heal the man’s arm.
And how many lifetimes do we cycle through karma that simply feels familiar – like when you have an unusually strong reaction to someone or something that doesn’t seem to be affecting anyone else. We carry countless karmic ties from lifetime to lifetime, and with wisdom, luck, and the grace of God, we have a great opportunity: to realize that perhaps we’d rather not add to the karma by choosing to react in such a way as to continue that karma, for who knows how many more lifetimes.
With St. Valentine’s Day approaching, my wife planned on making special treats for ourselves and friends, and ordered some specialty items. A few days ago we found that the costly goods we had ordered had been apparently stolen from our community mailroom, normally locked and monitored. Of course our immediate reaction was to find out who was to blame. We called the company – nope, they had confirmation that the package had been received. We tried our office – nope, the mailroom has been locked and monitored as best as possible. I called the credit card company through which we had placed the order, and they offered to take the money back from the company, but that just didn’t seem right.
I sat down to meditate, and realized that there was a freedom that could come from letting go of my attachment, like the bliss that came to Swami Kriyananda through calm acceptance when one of his first domes was destroyed. But could I let it go that easily? Was my detachment stronger than my desire to find who was to blame?
I could hear voices of certain people in my head (particularly the ones who are challenging to me!) saying “Master must not have wanted you to have those things,” which, as you can imagine, can bring on a certain amount of guilt. I shouldn’t have ordered them! Oh how foolish of me! Personally, I don’t choose to buy into that way of thinking (but I am certainly willing to accept that this situation has arisen from my past karma).
Suddenly Jyotish’s words from last year resonated within me. Was I interested in prolonging this karma, either by getting angry without any hope of resolution, or seeking to assign blame or wish retribution on the thief? And if so, was I willing to keep engaging in this dance, playing out this karma for who knows how many lifetimes? I could feel the pull of attraction towards anger and frustration, and realized that I needed help to get through this. I could see two paths through the rest of the day – one demanded a great deal of will to choose to stay in higher consciousness; the other was to succumb to the darkness of anger and frustration (ooh, so tempting!). My heart longed to choose the light and let it go, and so the moment by moment battle began.
How am I doing today? Much better, thankfully, or else I wouldn’t feel inspired to share this with you. And for me, at least, these challenges seem to come when I am feeling more and more secure on the path, for our meditations have been much more frequent and deep. How else is our newfound resolve to live more in God to be tested? Just sorry we can’t share any yummy treats with you this week…
I’ll leave you with a very appropriate quote from the affirmation prayer given at today’s Sunday Service:
I accept whatever comes, Lord,
as coming from Thy hands.
I know that it comes in blessing,
for I am Thine,
as Thou art ever mine.