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..:: Transformation ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                                    

             Existence on the Physical Plane is characterized by all manner of transformations – personal, material, existential, conceptual, emotional. The primary caveat of life on Earth is that change is the only permanent condition.  The process of transformation appears to be at least significantly influenced by Karma on the many levels just noted. Transformation can only occur within the parameters permitted by Karma, whether personal, collective, local, global, or galactic. The universe that we perceive in the senses, intuitively conceive of on the Higher Planes, and believe in as the spiritual continuum through personal faith exists to serve Karma as its ultimate purpose. Karma is the Word made corporeal – the Voice of the Divine Light speaking to, and through, human beings in the manifest forms of their thoughts, words, and deeds. A human being is a vessel of Karma, pouring forth the vibration of personal consciousness into the collective consciousness of the universe. 

            To seriously affect the process of change under the terms noted above, one must confront personal Karma. Even the absence of such a confrontation occurring through ignorance is still confrontive – we are implicitly affirming our circumstances every time that we perform any mental or literal action. The fortunate ones among us who have encountered the concept of Karma, and learned to accept and work with it, have the enormous advantage of understanding the motive principle behind everything occurring on every Plane of Expression knowable. Now, accepting and working with Karma can initially be humiliating to the egoist who has felt comfortably in control of life, as this individual is forced to consider that even the perception of self-determination is a gift of the Logos that takes place under deterministic Karmic circumstances. In fact, the Living Light of Divine Consciousness determines the course of each life on this Plane, whether of a rock, plant, animal, person, or planet, through the Word expressed as Karma

            Once Karma has been introduced to the personal consciousness, one has the choice to begin practicing Dharma, or Adharma.  In many cases, fundamentally good, well-intended persons have already been unknowingly practicing Dharma through good works – manifesting positive, constructive  thoughts, words, and actions in their lives.  Dharma essentially means Holy Duty in Sanskrit, although there is no exact translation of this term into English. Any time we decide to acknowledge and practice spiritual truth in our lives, we are performing Dharma. The acceptance of Karma is Dharma. The acceptance of enlightened personal responsibility for life is also Dharma, because this acceptance includes the understanding that we are all expressions of the Divine Light existing in the transitory physical form that makes us carriers of either negative or positive outcomes, between which we can choose as the basis of our actions. This is the ultimate gift of discreet consciousness – the ability to choose right from wrong once this valence has been clarified for us by spiritual enlightenment.  The willingness and ability to provide such clarification, as I am doing here, is also Dharma of the highest kind. It is my joy and privilege to do so! Namaste! 

            Adharma is the inverse condition of Dharma. Adharma occurs when the individual, having been offered the explanation of Karma as the determining influence in human affairs, willfully decides to reject the validity of that principle, and carry on as before in what is now, however, suspect as the benevolent illusion of egoistic self-determination. All we can really decide on in this life is the choice between positivity and negativity in intention and action.  Adharma is essentially negative, because it serves ignorance and illusion through denial of the Truth. Many people will select Adharma as their response to the initial presentation of the concept of Karma, because that presentation threatens their pride, identity, and possessions. If I am not the determining factor in my achievements, what do they really mean? What indeed – not only am “I” not the determining factor in my achievements, as a conscious state of manifestation “I” barely even exist at all! Deepak Chopra was so correct in his observation that the ego – the limited personal sense of self – is only a social fiction, talked into manifestation by external cultural interpretations of internal sensory events. 

            Adharma is an isolationist perspective. Either the events of this life are ultimately determined by Divine Influence – that is, Karma – or by personal influence – the ego. If we embrace Adharma, then the ego is in control, and we are alone and doomed in a mechanistic universe that begins and ends in arbitrary causality.  This is an utterly unfree condition that only looks free as long as we make our superficial decisions from the selfish perspective of sensory gratification. Dharma opens up the prospectus of an Intelligent universe governed by a concerned Consciousness that is eternal in scope, and which we can participate in through personal good will and self sacrifice.  Adharma represents an absolute lack of freedom in life – no matter how well we do in the material sense, all is lost at death, and that is the ultimate meaning of things.  Dharma represents the absolute presence of freedom – through knowing the Logos, we know an immortal perception of Consciousness that is not dependent on limited sensory manifestation. The knowledge of the Divine Presence is the most empowering condition imaginable, and this knowledge is attained through Dharma, not Adharma.  

            Selfless action dedicated to the Logos is the core of Dharma. All such thoughts, words, and deeds will release Karma, and progressively absolve the Soul from the need to experience further incarnation on the Physical Plane.  This is the first key to affecting constructive transformation in life. Of course, anyone wishing to affect destructive transformation will find selfish opportunities abounding everywhere, but such transformations tend to refocus awareness on the positive alternatives eventually – the life devoted to destruction tends to be a short one when pursued to its final conclusion. This latter being said, one should focus as much attention as possible on recognizing and performing selfless thoughts, words, and deeds, and offer the outcomes of such things to the highest state of consciousness attainable in one’s personal awareness. This method of living can initially be very frustrating, as the focus of awareness is turned away from the superficial, but still compelling, motive of sensory gratification. It can take a long time to realize that the long term benefits of selfless living include shifting of life and lifestyle to a profound condition of internal and external peace. Many people think that material prosperity is the key to the attainment of peace, but this incorrect – the relentless quest for objects of sensory gratification yields no lasting peace at all, and really represents the comprehensive ongoing disturbance of consciousness on every level, as more and more such objects must be possessed to feed addiction to the senses. 

            The condition of lasting peace noted above is what we all knowingly or unknowingly seek as conscious beings. In addition to selfless thoughts, words, and deeds, the practices of Yoga and Meditation, mentioned so often in these articles, are very useful. Yoga will preserve the physical health and vitality of the organism, while rendering it suitable as a vehicle for selfless living. Meditation will remove the focus of consciousness – the Soul – from entanglement with the ego and the physical senses, and shift it to the Higher Planes of conscious manifestation, enhancing inner peace and spiritual freedom in the process. When the comprehensive Yoga lifestyle is practiced through adherence to the Yamas and Niyamas, Dharma becomes as present in one’s life as is possible for a given personal incarnation. 

            One can certainly seek material abundance as an adjunct to positive personal transformation, but but only in the context of enlightened self interest. The tendency of material acquisition to become addictive is very powerful. This is what Christ was referring to when He made the observation that “Easier it is for a camel to pass through the Eye of the Needle (a very low, constrictive gate in Jerusalem) than for one of wealth to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”.  Enlightened self interest involves understanding what conditions will best serve the condition of the total organism in the long run, and peace is foremost on the list. As has been noted here, coveting possessions does not equal peace. Nor does the blind coveting of existence – it is the quality of life that matters most, not the quantity, and that quality depends on grace of perception, not property. The attainment of enlightenment and inner peace are the single most important achievements that any of us can accomplish, ones that require a total investment of consciousness, and accompanying control of the senses and the ego to prevent the manifestation of any addictive conditions. One should have only minimal possessions, with preference given to those that support the process of Dharma. 

            It remains to be considered here what impact the manner of making one’s living has on positive transformation. Here in the hyper-materialistic Western world, generating positive income is the greatest challenge of them all! The implicit faith of the West in general, and of America in particular, is that money and property are the real Gods, and we are expected to slavishly devote our lives and minds to acquiring both without regard to the consequences to the environment, society, or individuals around us. Any other spiritual observances are considered secondary (tertiary?, quaternary?) to the worship of the great God of money, which we perform enthusiastically at every opportunity, as evidenced by our conspicuously opulent homes, furniture, vehicles, and bank accounts. Under such deluded circumstances, earning a morally correct, spiritually positive living becomes a most daunting achievement, both to attain and maintain. I personally have concluded that living in poverty and austerity are more spiritually correct practices than the pursuit of wealth and abundance attained through amoral methods. The wealthy are wealthy because that is their Karma – the genuinely fortunate ones among them have learned the value of Dharma, and give as much away to charities and the less fortunate as they are able. No amount of material prosperity is worth the horrendous Karma entrained  by wantonly harming others for profit.  A humble living honestly earned that causes harm to none is the highest spiritual achievement in the material condition. 

            Furthermore, one must avoid patronizing businesses or individuals that promote Adharma and blind materialism. This adds yet another dimension  to what is already a frustrating situation. This is the area that I currently have the most difficulty with, austere, disciplined lifestyle notwithstanding. Our entire society is so enmeshed in amoral materialism that it is all but impossible to sort out the few moral options for consumer behavior from the vast ocean of ignorant gluttony. I do at least continue to apply the rule of not consuming more than I need. I have come to the conclusion that monastic life is probably the best option for one who is genuinely determined to live a spiritually correct life – the conditions of mainstream society make moral compromise inevitable as the price of convenient consumption of goods and services. 

            Perhaps the best overall guideline for achieving positive transformation amid the negativity and turbulence of life is the application of the old Biblical advice “Do all things in moderation, and nothing in excess.”  Although this is not the guaranty of Dharma occurring in one’s life, it does tend to prevent the formation of addictive behavior and mindsets. For those of us who are not determined aesthetics enjoying the Karmic advantages of monastic life, this is maybe not so bad!

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2008, Alan Schneider)

 

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