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Where do you draw the line...

dark rosaleen

Senior Registered
...between "Kharma made me do it," and "I'm accountable for my actions."?

A couple of threads have me thinking about this. I have issues with the concept of predestination.

One is the idea that some people are simply "born" bad, that nothing they can do, no choices they make, can prevent them from going through life as abusers who leave a path of destruction in their wake.

And if that's true, then others must be "born" victims. Again, nothing they do could prevent their being victimized--and they brought suffering on themselves anyway.

If none of the decisions and actions we untertake have any bearing on the outcome, doesn't free will get blown right out of the water? And if we don't have that, doesn't the lack of it trivialize our existence?
 

Littlemoon

Senior Registered
I believe in free will. I believe that we are accountable for our actions, 100%. That's just what I think, though.

But,.... Sometimes I wonder if we're born "bad." Like, in the Bible it talks about men being born "of sin," which I take to mean the sins of our last lives, since, no baby could have possibly sinned in the womb, right?
 

Susie

Dreamer-former moderator
Hi Dark Rosaleen:

My philiosophy is that karma never made/makes me do anything- I am totally and completely responsible for my thoughts, actions, reactions, whether they are conscious or unconscious. Nobody is born "bad" and "victim" is a choice of how we handle situations in our life. A person can be a "victim" of anything from coming into contact with the bad attitude of a store clerk to someone else's criminal activity. I'm sure we've all taken on the persona of victim at one time or another, which is often part of the healing process, which if often an unconscious choice.
 

KimD

Senior Registered
Okay, here's my take on it..for what it's worth...

I absolutely do not believe that some people are meant to be born "bad" or others are meant to be "victims." I don't believe people make this decision before birth "You be the murderer, I'll be the victim" and then things work out that way so both souls can "learn something." My feelings on this are that we simply are who we are--complicated beings who are all capable of doing good and bad things, which, once done, reverberate like small waves that affect the rest of the world and everyone in it. I DO believe many souls are born not having learned much of anything in a lifetime and if they have spent a lifetime (or two or three) doing negative things like murdering people, etc., then they might be born with a tendency towards doing more of the same--because that is what they are familiar with and it's what they do. I believe we are who we are from the very beginning. I, for example, loved drinking coffee from the time I was very, very small. I wrote stories in my head before I could read--I was born doing this. So I think we are born being who we are and part of that might be ugly. In other words, we are not predestined--we have free choice--but because we are comfortable, to an extent, being who we are--however ugly--change takes time.

For example, people tend to hang in circles that are familiar to them. I think people who have a certain negative outlook or energy (to use a new-agey term that probably isn't completely accurate) hang around others with the same, which can result in a circular pattern of negativity that I think, can affect the next life. I don't believe that we have any true knowledge when we die, I don't believe that we can see our lives mapped out and decide, "Oh, I need to work on X the next time around." I just don't see people as having the wisdom to do this. Maybe that's where God comes in, but I still think we tend to be drawn to those who support our familiar patterns. I mean, for those of us who believe in reincarnation, often times people can recognize mannerisms, stances, facial expressions of a PL persona--Stevensen notes this often in his work. Then it stands to reason the rest is similar too. If a person continues to like cream in his coffee and sits with the right leg crossed over the left, then the potential for violence might also remain.

I see Karma as doing small things (or larger things) that ripple in the world. Take littering, for example. When we toss a piece of trash on the ground, that trash doesn't leave ourli fe. Someone has to pick that up--probably someone very poor, whose life is not as easy as ours, who is tired, hot, worried about money and children and we really have to stop and think--wouldn't their life be just a little easier if they didn't have to pick up our trash? Or, if we litter, someone has to look at our 7-11 cup blowing around in the wind, all ugly. Near my house, there is an old Walmart bag stuck up in the trees and it's been there for about a year. It nags at me when I drive past it and the fact that it's up there changes the way I see the world, on however a minute scale, but still. And in a very small, tiny way, it reflects itself in the world. I think Karma is like this. When we do things that hurt other people--through being thoughtless, self-centered, rude, or even by doing downright evil things--the whole world feels this. And because we all share this world, we are all affected. We have to fix what we have done wrong to set things rolling the right way again. That's my take on Karma. When people act badly, it will affect their future lives (I think) not in some concrete, logical way (ie: "you have been a murderer, now, you wil be the one to be murdered"), but just through the way--whether we understand why or not--the first actions have caused a ripple in the world. I'm not very good at explaining it. But a person dealt a very hard hand--possibly through bad karma--can still grow in their next life if they make the right choices in THIS life. But I don't think it is easy to overcome.

That probably didn't make as much sense as it could, but that's my take on Karma and free choice. :)

Kim
 

Libellule

Iridescent Insect
I don't believe that we have any true knowledge when we die, I don't believe that we can see our lives mapped out and decide, "Oh, I need to work on X the next time around." I just don't see people as having the wisdom to do this.

But we're not people at that point, are we? I always think of a "person" as someone who has a body. Someone in physical existence, in other words. Of course, many people don't have much wisdom when they're in physical form. But I prefer to think we do when we're in spirit. Otherwise, everything seems pretty haphazard without planning... as if we're all just stumbling around, hoping we'll get things right. Doesn't seem very efficient.

Lib
 

Deborah

Director Emerita
Staff member
Super Moderator
dark rosaleen poses a good question in this thread. Any new members wish to comment? : angel
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Very good question dark rosaleen,

I believe that we are completely accountable for our actions.

All of humankind is subject to the law of karma. Karma simply means “action.” Every action has a reaction. But, in my opinion, karma is not a “punishment”, only a requirement that you experience all that you create.

When souls return to the earth they find themselves reincarnating with people and into situations that have similar energies because like energies attract like energies. If your energies are negative you will draw into your experience other negative energies, people, and situations.

Free will means that every soul is capable of making whatever choice it desires in any situation at any time. It has total freedom to exercise its creativity as it chooses.

Fear will cause a soul to deny its responsibility for its creation. For example, if you are always taking on the role of victim – that is how other people will see you, that is what you create for yourself in your present life – and you will continue to do so until you change your thoughts from victimization to understanding. When you are willing to take responsibility for your “creations” you will come to a greater understanding regarding the purpose of the experience.

Through exercising your free will, you can continue choosing to come from a negative place, or, you can choose to transcend your fears through creating with love and conscious intent.

Just my two cents,

Ailish
 

elese

Senior Registered
dark rosaleen said:
...between "Kharma made me do it," and "I'm accountable for my actions."?

A couple of threads have me thinking about this. I have issues with the concept of predestination.

One is the idea that some people are simply "born" bad, that nothing they can do, no choices they make, can prevent them from going through life as abusers who leave a path of destruction in their wake.

And if that's true, then others must be "born" victims. Again, nothing they do could prevent their being victimized--and they brought suffering on themselves anyway.

If none of the decisions and actions we untertake have any bearing on the outcome, doesn't free will get blown right out of the water? And if we don't have that, doesn't the lack of it trivialize our existence?

this is a good question. my personal belief is that you can control yourself, unless you are physically or mentally impaired. But then again, although you have free will, if you are used to a certain action, such as a cycle you keep repeating in your past, then it can be hard to break out of it. So really, you can be born into a 'bad' cycle, but you can ALWAYS break out of it, it just might not be easy. I hope this makes some sense.
 

tiltjlp

A Recycled Soul
I too believe that we have complete freedom of choice in our actions, as well as in our conscience thoughts. I however don't feel that every action has the exact same degree of cause and effect in the world, and that usually our actions impact fewer people than we might wish to believe. We tend to be important only to ourselves, although in a more spiritual and idealistic view we all are vastly important.

Also, we humans might be adaptable in the same way that nature seems to be. Possibly that would explain a person being predisposed to violence, or alcohol, or honesty. I don't think we change much unless we are shown the errors of our ways, or unless the consequences of our actions make us uncomfortable. Few of us will simply change for the sake of change, unless something has enlightened us in some way, so that we seek out new information. This forum is a good example of a "hub" where opinions and advice are offered. Our truths may adjust as we gain new insights. As humans we have little potential, our spirituality defines who we are at our best.

John
 

tiltjlp

A Recycled Soul
Raj, weighty topics can be difficult to fully comprehend, which I know first hand, since I'm always searching for better understanding. Two of your comments make me wonder if you understand karma as well as you think you do. The two comments are:

I like to believe in free will, but karma does limit free will to some extent.

As a conscious being, you will always have the power to make choices.

On one hand you're saying that karma limits our free will, but further on you say that we always have the power to make choices, which is free will.

40 years plus searching for answers have given me more questions than answers, which I think is a good thing. My personal opinion is that karma can and does influence our thoughts and actions, but that it isn't the only, or even major, influence in our lives. The messages I read here have an influence, based on how much I let them alter or broaden my values and beliefs.

John
 

kris0503

Senior Registered
I like to believe in free will, but karma does limit free will to some extent.
I think karma works just like gravity and laws of motion, or all natural laws for that matter, which is what karma is. Gravity denies us the freedom to fly, but we can devise ways to get air borne in spite of gravity and at the same time without violating the law of gravity.

Free will is a perception we like to wallow in. It gives us a sense of power and control over ourselves. It fills the gap between asmitA or "I-am-ness" and ahaMkAra or "I-do-ness". In effect, it enables us to be in charge, or feel so, without ever knowing what we are. Thus it is a perfect foil for our primal ignorance (avidyA).
 

kris0503

Senior Registered
Thank you for visiting my website. In Upanishads, it is stated that the One created because it became lonely. Alternately, we can say that boredom led to creation. This should not be a surprise. We all engage in sports and games (lilA) to relieve ourselves from boredom.

In the page on Universe at my website, I took the route of creating the Universe using all I have as raw material, myself (ABCD of figure 3 of Universe). Craftmanship of creation, or some might say the craftiness of the creator, consists in creating diversity without fragmenting the underlying unity that supports the creation. mAyA is thus craftsmanship or god's creative power, and craftiness or the illusion of separateness we see in the creation.

I, as X, see you, as Y, because I have lost sight of the base BC (Atman) on which I stand, which is also the base on which you stand. This is the primal ignorance or avidyA. The total personality complex of X, which I have shown as XBC in figure 4 of the webpage, Two Guys, is the result of guNas that constitute it. Identification with this personality complex gives rise to asmitA or I-am-ness. It separates X from what he perceives as not X (ABCD-XBC). Like avidyA, this too is an affliction (klesha) because it limits consciousness to XBC; moreover, a typical X does not really see himself even as XBC but mostly as XB'C' where B' and C' lie somewhere between XB and XC respectively. Shallowest Xs amongst us see themselves as little more than X, their physical body.

Next question is how much does X really control his actions. He thinks he has a free will which allows him to own actions that are performed by the personality complex XBC. In bhagavad gitA (3.27-28), kRSNa makes amply clear that all actions are perfomed by the guNas (guNA guNeSu vartanta or guNas act on guNas) and X's claim on the actions of XBC are merely result of asmitA or I-am-ness. This leads to ahaMkAra or I-do-ness. Illusion of asmitA rides on the illusion of free will to the illusion of ahaMkAra. guNas make up the prakRti which follows its own laws to perform all actions, i.e. karma.

Atman as the center of consciousness in figure 1 of webpage koshas does not make choices either for the sake of X or Y. Atman as brahman, BC (figure 4), makes choices for all Xs. As gItA puts it: ishvara sarva bhutAnAM hRddeSU arjuna tiSTHati, bhrAmayan sarva bhutAni yantrArUDHAni mAyayAH - god resides in the hearts of all beings and twirls them around like puppets mounted on machines.

When you do not have a body, i.e., after death, due to the kesha of abhiniveSa, you continue to identify with portion of personality that survives death (I have posted about this in your thread "How different are we in out next life".
 

Phoenix

Forgot to play nice
dark rosaleen said:
I have issues with the concept of predestination.


One is the idea that some people are simply "born" bad, that nothing they can do, no choices they make, can prevent them from going through life as abusers who leave a path of destruction in their wake.


And if that's true, then others must be "born" victims. Again, nothing they do could prevent their being victimized--and they brought suffering on themselves anyway.


If none of the decisions and actions we untertake have any bearing on the outcome, doesn't free will get blown right out of the water? And if we don't have that, doesn't the lack of it trivialize our existence?
A good question, revitalized :)


Indeed, if we don't have free will, why do we worry about whether karma or our own decision-making is to blame. Our decisions and our actions are controlled by whatever agency controls such things, and therefore the question is immaterial.


However, since (like Neo) I don't like to believe that I'm not in control of my own destiny, I believe that although what we've experienced in the past (in this life or others) will influence our decision making in the here and now, we are ultimately accountable for the decisions which we make.


And if that decision is to victimize someone, we are responsible for it. Not their karma. Otherwise, it devolves into 'blame the victim'. And then you have a victim feeling that what is happening to them is their fault, because they deserved it-due to their karma from having been 'bad' in a past life.


I've seen this happen in a case where the woman's sister-in-law was psychologically and financially abusing her, and she believed that she deserved the abuse because she was bad in a past life. If, she believed, she'd been good in a past life, she would not be experiencing the abuse she was aware she was on the receiving end of.


And that makes the victimizer's job real easy. He or she doesn't have to convince the victim that they deserve what is happening to them in order to get them to cooperate. Someone else has already done it for them.


Phoenix
 

Kapitan

Probationary
I had read an interesting article on BBC about the mind of a psychopath. They really do have a different brain so their physiology? is different. So - I don't believe in blaming that person (this doesn't mean I condone any wrong that they did) but if someone actually does have a provable medical condition - then I don't believe that it has anything to do with Karma (which I don't believe in to begin with) nor anything to do with possible PL 'issues'.


I really am against the whole 'blame the victim' mentality as well that has become pervasive in the New Age 'establishment' (mostly due to the whole 'Law of Attraction' being misconstrued). This whole thing about people 'manifesting' their abuse and stuff is just plain sick. I don't believe that people 'bring suffering on themselves' - again, to me that's the whole 'blame the victim' mentality.
 
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