Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

By Sri Harold Klemp

What do you suppose makes people unhappy?  A survey would probably list a hundred reasons, both real and imagined.

Now how many of those people do you think would like to hear the true reason for their unhappiness?  Just a guess—very few.

The choices you’ve made in the past are the direct cause of all your unhappiness today.

If this answer doesn’t suit you, don’t read another word.  You have better things to do.  But maybe you’re one of the few people who doesn’t absolutely reject the above explanation for your unhappiness.  Then keep reading.  Perhaps you’ll see how and why individuals make bad choices.

Most important, you may learn how to stop making them.

How We Get Here

Soul enters this world to pursue a series of tasks, for each is an exercise in spiritual purification.  Taken as a whole, these assignments make up one’s destiny.  To set the tone for Its mission, Soul enters a new lifetime with a body of strength or weakness, of great intellect or a simple mind, in a popular shade of skin or not, either as a male or a female, into wealth or poverty.

The idea of destiny as a concept is out of fashion in much of today’s Western society.  People want to be captains of their own lives.  They wish to run their own fate.  They will shape their own tomorrows.  Yet how can they do so without a knowledge of and an appreciation for the meticulous Law of Karma?

Or especially, of the Law of Love?

In spite of all fictions about who is the master of their own fate, they cannot even set the conditions of their birth.  So the rules of karma and reincarnation remain a mystery, and they find a great deal of sorrow and disappointment in the outcome of their plans.

How could the stiff rules of karma include them?

Many would like to think they don’t, sure of being above the common pool of humanity and thus exempt from these rules.

The Lords of Karma

By and large, though, the Lords of Karma—not the individual—select a family for each Soul.  They are responsible for the distribution of karma from the time each Soul first enters this world.

The Lord of Karma is like a minor’s guardian.  He administers a trust on behalf of a spiritual infant, arranging for him or her to join a family with the best prospect for that Soul’s unfoldment.  In selecting the time and place of reincarnation, the Lord of Karma is the sole judge.  He is the sole arbiter in the choice of a body, health, family, or future.  The Lord of Karma alone sets the conditions of most people’s fate.

Placement is a simple karmic detail.  The Law of Karma governs all such placements, and he is only its agent.

The primal seed for each incarnation exists under the umbrella of destiny, which we also call past-life karma.  On a practical level, genetic, cultural, and social elements combine to decide Soul’s place in this world.  For people on the lower end of the survival scale, the Lord of Karma alone chooses the time and place of rebirth.

Soul Follows the Script

Soul then follows the script of destiny and enters a physical body.

After birth, the name of the game is survival.  The survival scale, by definition, is a measure of one’s can-do instincts.

But karmic placement does set other standards for individuals on the high end of the spiritual scale.  Most of them enjoy a voice in the choice of a human body or place of birth.  They sense the need for spiritual freedom, a view gained from many past lives, and the self-responsibility that goes along with the package.  So these Souls demonstrate creative ideas and inventiveness in their incarnations.  For the most part they are cheerful, upbeat people.

Spiritual gains in past lives have given them a voice in choosing some of the conditions in their present incarnation.

They have earned the right.

Think of destiny as the equipment, talents, or gifts that one brings to this life.  They carry a divine mandate to use them for the good of all life.  It’s our responsibility to do so, with wisdom.

The idea of destiny, or fate, is poked fun at in many Western circles.  Yet it is an age-old principle of the spiritual life.

What is the basis for a cultural bias against fate?

People are in a state of confusion about it.  They wonder, How can fate and free will exist side by side?  Destiny controls the conditions at birth.  Much of what an individual does after birth is an open book, an exercise in free will.

To sum up, fate governs the conditions at birth; free will allows a choice as to how to move beyond them.

Free will can offset or even overcome the drawbacks of destiny, but only through the awakening of one’s consciousness.  One may thus reshape both his material and spiritual life.

—Excerpted from ECK Wisdom on Karma and Reincarnation


The Gift of Awareness

By Karen, California

When I was fourteen years old, my father arranged a family outing. My sister and I spent one Saturday cruising with him on a naval aircraft carrier. There were hundreds of other civilians like us on board, but the ship was so massive that no one felt crowded.

For a large portion of the day I wandered around the ship alone. I felt confident and wonderfully free. Being an awkward teenage girl, it surprised me to find that the order and precision (which is so much a part of military life) gave me a familiar sense of stability and security.

That entire day, I also felt unusually connected to my father, as if we were two sailors sharing a sacred moment. I wanted to stay forever.

Twenty years later, at the age of thirty-four, I found myself facing problems in my family life. I noticed myself getting unreasonably impatient with my children, who were eight and ten years old at the time, for small things like not cleaning their rooms in the exact way I’d insisted upon or not setting the table exactly right. If my husband didn’t put the newspaper away where it belonged just after reading it, I became irritated and let him know it.

It suddenly became obvious that life didn’t flow for me unless my family followed my demanding and inflexible rules.

What was this rigidity that I was trying to impose on my family? How much longer could they live with my need to control everything they did? Why did I have such an inner need to discipline life in every tiny detail? I knew I had to release myself from something, but I was afraid to face what that something was.

Whenever I encounter a spiritual stumbling block like this, I like to do one of the Spiritual Exercises of ECK. I sit quietly, close my eyes, and sing HU, an ancient name for God. This particular evening I asked Wah Z (the spiritual name of Sri Harold Klemp, the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master) for help and insight into my problem. Shortly after, I had a dream.

In the dream I was back on the deck of an aircraft carrier, with the brisk sea air caressing my face. I felt the same peace and contentment I had felt that wonderful day on the ship when I was fourteen.

Then I looked down at myself and discovered that I was a man. A Japanese man standing on the deck of a Japanese ship! I realized that in a previous lifetime, I had been a sailor in the Japanese navy.

I had the memory of loving that life. I loved the freedom, the travel, and my distinguished military career. In that lifetime, I felt successful and was content with myself. The love I experienced in that life explained why I had felt so strong, free, and connected on the aircraft carrier in this lifetime.

I also saw in the dream that I had carried some habits and attitudes from that incarnation into this one—characteristics that were not helpful now.

I was trying to impose the rules and regulations, which had made my past military life comfortable, on my present family. How could I expect my loved ones to live life on a military schedule or to make beds so tight a dime could bounce off them?

Somehow I had connected my memories of freedom and contentment with regimentation and discipline. I had been afraid to trust that I could be free and content without my inflexible rules.

We so often hold on to past-life habits and ideas no longer useful to us in our present state of consciousness. With the help of the Mahanta, I am learning to work with the rhythm of life. I am learning that letting go of old, worn-out ideas doesn’t mean losing other things, like security or happiness. I have everything I need right here and now.


Healing a Broken Trust

 

By Abraham, Nigeria

When I was a student, I was short on food and money to last through the semester. I asked my parents to help me out, and they agreed. A short time later, a family member was on the way to deliver everything I needed.

I was so happy. With my parents’ generous gift, not only would I have food for the rest of the semester, I would still have enough money left over to attend an upcoming Eckankar seminar.

The next morning, my family member left my hometown to bring me the food and money. Usually, the drive only takes a few hours. But the person didn’t show up until late in the evening.

When she finally arrived, I asked why she was so late. She said she’d been robbed and had only half the food and money left to give me.

I was upset and suspicious. What kind of robbers leave the victim with half the money and food? When I made further inquiries, I discovered that she had given away the other half of the food and money to a friend.

I was so angry. Why would she do this to me? Now I would have to go hungry for part of the semester. My plan to attend the ECK seminar also evaporated.

Then I heard the inner voice of the Mahanta.

“As an ECKist, you should know by now that everything that happens to you has a cause,” the Inner Master said.

I began to calm down as I realized the truth of the Mahanta’s words. Everything happens for a reason and is in its rightful place.

I reconsidered the circumstances and began to sing HU, an ancient name for God. Singing HU is a spiritual exercise that opens the heart to more love. It helped me release my anger so I could listen more carefully to the Holy Spirit’s insights. Then I went about my day, putting aside my disappointment with the situation.

Before going to bed that night, I did another spiritual exercise. Inwardly I told the Mahanta, the Inner Master, that I was not happy with what my family member did, especially since it affected my plan to attend the ECK seminar. I needed more help and guidance on why this happened to me. That night, I had a dream of a past life.

In the dream, my family member and I were brother and sister. She had several children but was having difficulty raising them. She asked me to help her by taking some of the children into my home. I agreed. But in my heart I knew I didn’t have the capacity to give them the care they needed.

One day a horse trader visited our village. I seized the opportunity to reduce my responsibility for the children by giving him one of my sister’s sons. This was a breach of trust, but it was something I felt I had to do. My sister was devastated.

Later on, war came to our village, and I was killed.

When I woke up, I was shaken by the dream. It took me some time, but gradually I saw the connection between my actions in that past life and my situation today. I had broken the trust with my family member first. In this life, the roles were reversed, and she had broken a trust with me.

Although I had forgotten my past misdeed, the ECK had not. This was a lesson for me in understanding the role of karma, or cause and effect.

Immediately, my attitude changed from anger to love. I forgave my family member completely and put the incident behind me. With my new understanding, we restored the harmony between us.

I now understand the entire situation was actually a gift of love from the ECK, the Holy Spirit. It was a chance to recognize and accept the value of this karmic lesson to gain a greater level of spiritual freedom for myself. For that, I am very grateful.


You’ve Lived Before, and You Will Live Again

By Sri Harold Klemp

The great benefit of the ECK teachings is that they offer spiritual freedom.

Each religion holds out some promise to its followers.  The word of Christianity to its people is the redemption of sins, a problem that stems from Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.  Yet for their error, all future generations should carry the blame.  A Christian, lost spiritually at birth, has the stigma of this original sin automatically fastened to him.  Original sin means inborn guilt.

By contrast, the ECK teachings speak not of guilt but of responsibility.  People are where they have put themselves.

How Karma and Reincarnation Lead to Spiritual Freedom

The theory of one lifetime per person is an example of an immature theology, for it does not account for the fact of reincarnation and karma.  These two parts of the ECK teachings put the responsibility of a person’s life directly where it belongs—upon the individual.

All people make their own world.

Where does spiritual freedom fit into the ECK teachings?  God had placed each Soul upon earth to gain the spiritual purity and experience It needs to become a Co-worker with God.  From the very beginning, many lifetimes ago, Soul made blunders.  It was like an infant first having to find out how to crawl, then walk, while learning its place in the family and society.

Growth and development are a natural part of the divine order.

The ECK teachings say that people create karma, a debt with Divine Spirit, by ignorance of divine law.  Time and experience will teach them better.  However, it usually takes lifetimes to work off primary, daily, and reserve karma, because people forget their divine nature.

This forgetfulness shows up in anger, vanity, greed, and other harmful traits.  The result is more karma.

For that reason, we speak of the wheel of karma and reincarnation.  More karma brings on more lifetimes.  However fast people run, they must go even faster to stay ahead of their deeds, which threaten to catch and swallow them.  Is there no end to this cycle?

Soul’s Wake-Up Call

There surely is.  After an individual has passed so many lives in one religion or another, been whipped this way and that by life, it eventually dawns on him there is no way to beat the game alone.  All running gets him is more running.

At this point, a change occurs, perhaps as spiritual doubt.  Or maybe it’s a vision…, a strong and unforgettable dream, or an out-of-body experience.  That experience is a wake-up call from the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master.

From that moment on, they become the seekers.

Yet they may spend the rest of this life in the church of their youth, too scared to leave it for a path like ECK, which gives them more satisfying answers.

They are still the seekers.  Perhaps in the next lifetime they will find the courage to say, “What am I doing here?  What is the meaning of life?”

Eckankar can show all people the most direct route home to God.  Yes, there is a quicker exit from the wheel of karma and reincarnation, but most people will settle for a longer, more difficult way home.

What about spiritual freedom?

It is Soul’s final release from the Law of Karma and reincarnation.  The ECK teachings say that to live a karmaless life, one must do everything in the name of God.

At first, the Dream Master is the teacher.  This teacher is the dream form of the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master.  God has given him the spiritual power to act as both the Inner and Outer Master for those who want a more direct way out of these lower worlds.  A guide and wayshower, he carries the key to the Light and Sound of God, two necessary parts of divine love.

The Path of Truth Starts in the Heart

Love is the force that returns Soul to God.  For the path of truth starts in the heart, and the journey home to God begins with meeting the Mahanta in either a dream or in person.  The Spiritual Exercises of ECK give strength and comfort, for these simple daily contemplations give one a stronger bond with the Divine Being.  We call the path of ECK the Easy Way.

So the main benefit of ECK is spiritual freedom.

The entire aim of life is to find that freedom.  Though the earth may shake and tremble, the person who loves God above all else will endure with peace of heart and mind.

—Excerpted from ECK Wisdom on Karma and Reincarnation

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