This may be the most important period of our life. We are under pressure from multiple sources: a worldwide pandemic, a troubled economy, and now, a global call for sweeping social change. Tests provide opportunities. How we react to these challenges will determine our future karma, certainly for this lifetime, and perhaps for many incarnations to come.
Paramhansa Yogananda used this image: Imagine the brain as having an invisible scale that weighs in the balance all of our past good and evil actions. Our subconscious and superconscious minds are flooded by a continuous flow of influences, either positive or negative according to the way the scale tips. This karmic flow determines how we think, even how we perceive the world. The same power exerts its force also on the mass consciousness of nations and of the planet as a whole.
Does karma really determine what happens? It could seem as if it were a rather weak force: interesting philosophically, but not much of a factor in our day-to-day lives. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Karma is the primary cause of the way we think, feel, and act. One time Swami Kriyananda was asked if our daily decisions are determined by past karma. He replied, “It will determine even the color of the tie you wear today.”
The same is true for nations. Yogananda pointed out that decisions made by leaders such as Hitler and Churchill during World War II are determined by the karma of those nations. Germany’s negative karma clouded Hitler’s mind and made him decide to attack Russia at a time when he could easily have finished off England. Stated simply, karma on both an individual and mass level will determine the outcome of every situation. Karma rules because it is God’s way of teaching us the spiritual lessons we need. Being in harmony with God creates good karma and leads to good decisions, while bad karma strikes if we have acted against His will.
The other day, I was walking on a small road through the forest here at Ananda Village in Northern California. At one point I saw a banana slug in the middle of the road. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one, but in the world of slugs they are impressively large. This particular specimen, though at least six inches long, was still a slug and speed was not part of its makeup, which left it vulnerable were a car to have come along. So I stopped and gently moved it to the side of the road. I hadn’t really given it a second thought until just now as I write these words. It may seem like a trivial incident, but as we treat the least of God’s creatures, so we treat the greatest.
The world is being asked to make some decisions now: Will the powerful stoop down to help and protect the weak, or will they turn aside uncaringly or, even worse, use their dominance for personal benefit? Will the rich willingly give some of their resources to help the poor? Will we, as nations, continue to place short-term economic gain over the needs of the environment and the welfare of future generations?
What you do today, this very hour, will put a few “ounces” of karma on either the good side of the scale or the negative one. Choose wisely, friend. Follow, as your guide, the advice of the great masters through the ages. Be kind, be strong, be a source of light, and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Try this: Today, help someone who is more vulnerable than you. Have a conversation with a person who has felt the dark shadow of oppression. Listen, learn, and then root out any prejudice that might lurk in the hidden crannies of your own subconsciousness.
If we do these simple things now, while under pressure, we will create an invisible force field of good karma, which darkness cannot penetrate — a protective blessing for us as individuals, for our country, and for the world.
In divine friendship,