Thursday, December 23, 2010

Past Lives: Karma and Why I Believe It Doesn't Exist

The more I look into the reasons for our existence, the more I am convinced there is no such thing as Karma. Sounds positively blasphemous, doesn't it? Especially since I'm such a huge proponent of past-life investigation, you would think I'd be a believer in Karma and all its implications. But I'm not. Let me tell you why.

The concept of Karma goes back thousands of years, and in its simplest terms, means "deed" or "act." It is a universal law somewhat like cause and effect, or action and reaction. Karma is not a punishment, but a consequence; dropping a watermelon from a rooftop causes it to shatter on impact with the pavement below, and this is neither right nor wrong, but a consequence of gravity, much like being murdered in this life is a consequence of your murdering someone else in a previous life. To put it another way, you reap what you sow. You make choices, and the universe conspires to put you in a position to feel the consequences of your choices. If you spread love everywhere you go, at some point that love will come back to you. If you reap hatred, that hatred will catch up to you, if not in this life, then the next.

I have several problems with this "reap what you sow" scenario. The first is the concept of free will. Studies have been done which seem to suggest we do not consciously make decisions, but instead all decisions originate in the subconscious; then, to make us feel better, our conscious mind plays catch up and "decides," as if the choice was made deliberately when in fact it was not. Our subconscious is also, it seems, privy to information about what will happen five seconds into our future. At least two experiments have been performed in which subjects were shown a randomly selected photo, and the subjects' physical responses were measured in reaction to that photo. Most subjects had an emotional, physiological response five seconds before unpleasant photos were randomly selected and shown to the subjects.

Five seconds. That doesn't seem like much, but in fact, if most of us can see five seconds into the future, then why not five years? People like Christopher Robinson (a UK resident who has had several accurate premonitions) become much more believable when one considers the results of these experiments. And if we can see into the future, doesn't this imply that our choices have already been made? Or that the probabilities are so strong, we cannot deviate from the path laid out before us? In which case, what role would Karma play? And could we really be held accountable for choices originating within our subconscious?

The second issue I have with Karma is how it relates to the concept of linear time. If time is linear and constantly moving forward, an effect cannot occur before its cause. If precognition has been proven real, a reaction could occur before its corresponding action (e.g. a person dreams about the World Trade Center's collapse before the first terrorist boards an airplane), and this violates our understanding of time and causes a paradox.

According to Irish aeronautical engineer J.W. Dunne (1875-1949), time is an illusion. In reality, past, present and future are all occurring simultaneously, and consciousness somehow experiences this simultaneity in a linear fashion. A good analogy might be a paperback book. You know the entire book exists, all of it, with its many chapters and pages. Yet you are only physically capable of reading one word at a time. The rest of the book, while existing simultaneously with the words you are reading, is outside your consciousness. If it were possible to read the entire volume at once, then you’d be closer to an approximation of how time really operates. We are conscious of only one moment in time, while the past and future lie outside our awareness...or at least that’s how the theory goes.

If time does not really exist, then lives aren’t lived in succession, making the concept of reaping what you sow null and void. Karma doesn't make sense in a world without time.

The third issue I have with Karma is how this law relates to animals. Unless human souls only came to this earth recently and began attaching themselves to animals in order to feel, then all laws of physical existence must apply to all animals, in all eras of our earth's history. Karma must then apply to both dinosaurs and trilobites, slugs and human beings.

To say that animals progress upwards (by exhausting bad Karma) into human form is to say that people are better than animals, which we are not – just different. This seems to me to be some left-over Imperialist, Victorian, white-man’s view, only the Imperialism is lording over animals instead of Indians or Blacks – such people can only aspire to be like us. The reality is, we are all equal in the eyes of the universe. We are all just animals, some of us with more complex social systems than others.

Slugs do not make moral choices; therefore they cannot reap what they sow. A slug might make a choice to preserve its own life -- diverting its course away from a beer bottle, for instance -- but this could hardly be considered an action worthy of reaction, unless you count keeping the slug alive at that moment.

In a world where time does not really exist, where free will is an illusion, and any laws of cause and effect would have to apply to the lowest of creatures, Karma does not make sense. Our object on this earth is to feel. And that's it. There is no other reason to be here. Love, hate, fear, pleasure, anxiety, compassion...the list goes on. The more complicated the social life of the animal, the more capable it is to feel all the emotions.

Just what we do with these emotions is the million dollar question. They obviously benefit our own souls, but how? Is it specific, in that we feel, so we raise our vibration level and enlarge or strengthen our souls? Or is it simply that we long to pass eternity doing something other than sitting around in the exquisite beauty of the other side, surrounded by love, having no cares or worries in the world?

I welcome your comments.

And as always, if you are interested in learning how to regress yourself to a prior life (prior being a term I shouldn't use, as I don't believe in the concept of linear time), please visit my page about past-life self-hypnotism.

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