Justice, Mercy, Kindness and Karma in the Days of Reckoning, Part II

From a Sermon given Autumn Equinox Worship Service  on September 27, 2020

Last time we met as a community for our quarterly worship service to honor the Creator-of-Us-All I was drawn to talking about Justice, a topic that has exploded onto our cultural scene.  Of course the subject of Justice is not a new one for folks. It’s pretty much been a central topic of discussion in human society from day one on Planet Earth.  The new element is the Universe has chimed in on the debate, telling we humans as the dominant species on Earth that if we don’t get on the right page now, another set of caretakers will be found.  In my last sermon I talked about it now being the days of reckoning, the days when people are often required to deal with very unpleasant situations that they have heretofore avoided, in order to settle old accounts.

Now, as Mother Nature moves from the season of harvesting what we have sown in the past. . .into the wintertime of rest and recreation, I want to do more of a deep dive into the topic of Justice.  I want us to rise above the petty squabbles of individuals and groups fighting with each other over dominance; attempting to force their energy on others.  I want us to take the next steps towards looking at life from a spiritual perspective, one that acknowledges thoughts and feelings; but does not stop there.

To do that, to find that place that brings all individuals and groups together in the incredibly beautiful, intricate field of unity that is our God-given heritage, what is required is for us to try to free our imaginations from the bounds of time and space. 

The people in this church know a lot about space. We’ve all been meditating, grounding, centering, learning what is us and what belongs to others, employing the basic techniques that help us operate from our own energy field rather than trying to control others, in many cases for several years. In this discussion today let’s focus more on transcending time.

As you know, spirit is eternal and operates outside of the time-space continuum.  Our physical bodies on the other hand, very much live in the world of time and space.  That is all they understand. 

As people develop spiritually, we learn the very tricky skill of walking the tightrope between knowing that on a soul level everything in the universe is happening simultaneously. . .but that our physical form requires us to divide our experience into segments that allows the ability to heal within the framework of matter. Tricky indeed. . .and if you do not yet “get this,” give yourself time! Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

This basic dichotomy, this difference in perspective between who you really are, and what your body wants and needs, is a source of tremendous tension for most people.  When an individual is not working from within their own unique physical space, they often will not take into consideration and indeed, may not even notice their body’s needs.  On a soul level, they will remain unfulfilled in a certain kind of way. This conflict, this disconnect, this lack of balancing between spirit and matter can lead to a great deal of suffering, disease, and outright warfare–an imbalance that then gets projected onto everything and everyone around us.

We all do this at least occasionally. To various degrees, at various junctures, we all get thrown off balance. We all are seeking to come into harmony with ourselves, to find and live in that sweet spot, that internal state of harmony between body and spirit, whether or not we are aware of it. We’re all here on Planet Earth to learn to create as spirit through physical matter and our physical body is where the action gets played out. 

Some of us are a little farther along in the learning process than others of us. That’s not a statement of inequality.  It’s only recognition of the fact that what you pay attention to becomes more of an issue in the unfolding of your life.  So if you have been paying more attention to working from within your own space, and taking the body’s orientation towards present time more under advisement, you will be doing more of that harmony thing, that living-from-a-place-of-balance thing.    

When we talk about reckoning of accounts, the old ledgers that require a balancing act right now are the things to which you have not been paying attention, if only because you have been paying attention to other areas.  Maybe some of those other areas are worthy pursuits. Maybe some have been distractions, detours, and a waste of precious time.  It does not matter to the universe. Contrary to our personal beliefs based on that incredibly HUGE amount of programming we have absorbed from our friends and relatives, schools and churches, neighborhoods and communities and countries, you are not being judged by the universe. What DOES matter at this juncture in our collective story, is that you pay your dues.  Some people have a LONG way to go before they will achieve an ongoing sense of internal balance.  Others have been working on themselves for longer, so the reckoning process for them right now is less treacherous.     

This is the time of the Great Balancing. Image from Dr. Seuss is used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

So let’s talk about karma. 

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Funny thing is that when I realized that Justice was the topic on our minds and that to pursue this topic, we would need to talk about karma, I was not a happy camper. Personally, I don’t like to talk about karma.  For one thing, an authentic discussion about karma requires people to accept the reality of reincarnation.  I know what I had to go through to release programming that had me rejecting the concept of reincarnation.  I’ve never particularly wanted to ask anyone else to make that difficult journey.  I’ve always opted to follow the lead of one of my early spiritual teachers. That individual found himself being cross-examined in a court of law regarding his belief in reincarnation, as a means of trying to discredit another part of his testimony.  With a great deal of patience, amusement and neutrality he said to the people in the courtroom something to the effect of “It doesn’t matter what you currently believe about reincarnation. You’ll find out about it when you pass.” 

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.  And I’m usually interested in leaving it at that.

Young ones are often aware that this is not their first time on the Planet, but are typically subjected to considerable pressure to see things in a more socially acceptable light. Cartoon by Dave Coverly used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

The other part of the problem with talking about karma is that the word itself has gotten corrupted by the need of human beings to judge themselves and each other.  Even in parts of the world like India where karma is a widely accepted idea, the meaning behind it has gotten distorted.

So let me say this really loudly for those in the back.  KARMA IS NOT ABOUT THE UNIVERSE GETTING BACK AT US for our transgressions, for our stupidities, if you will. Karma IS about a simple cause and effect movement to energy.  Like a boomerang, what you put out in the world inevitably comes back to you.    

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles

Nearly all spiritual traditions acknowledge this circular movement. In Western culture karma is often labeled the “Golden Rule.”  The title is no coincidence, given that gold is the color associated clairvoyantly with the divine.

In the Christian tradition Jesus of Nazareth talked about the path cause and effect energy takes with his usual simple, profound language.  Many have not been able to hear his real message through their own judgment of self/others.  They assume Jesus was talking about God giving us a commandment, then condemning us if we do not follow it.  What they do not understand is that he was talking about the essence of Justice and Wisdom; and simply advising us that if we do not choose to act wisely in accordance with the natural flow of energy, we will be worse for the wear, all Hell could break out, so to speak.

Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 12 of the Christian Bible:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Straightforward, that. What you get is what you sow.  Period.  End of story.  It’s not more complicated than that.

The only “complication” per se, is that from a spiritual perspective there is no set time frame to factor in.  I remind you that spirit is not defined by time. You can choose to act in a certain way, and the effect of that action can practically be simultaneous.  For example if a person in a heated encounter shoots a gun towards someone else who is also holding a weapon pointed at them, there is an obvious possible immediate cause-effect sequence. 

Then again, you can shoot a weapon and kill someone that no one witnesses and no one finds out about in this lifetime, other than the deceased person.  That encounter is magnetized and sent into the ethereal plane; and that person or someone who is similar in some key way to them, someone who is in possession what we call around here “matching pictures,” can kill you or harm you or impact you in some other related manner a hundred years or a century later. 

It’s not a matter of judgment.  It’s not a matter of who is right or wrong. . .or somebody being a bad person and other individual being a good person. It’s also not about being in the wrong place at a particular time, and it certainly is not an accident.  It’s not even about victimizer and victim despite the fact that in any isolated event, there is typically one or more of each. It just is.  What you put out into the universe with your God-given free will comes back to you. 

So. . .when you read in social media that some pastor who has rallied his parishioners against wearing face masks is now in the hospital deathly ill from Covid; or a senator in Oregon who left the state in order to block passage of a bill on climate change just had his home burned down by wildfires, you can label this karma if you want. You can even be thankful that those individuals are likely distracted enough by their personal suffering to not inflict further damage and suffering on their communities. But please refrain from the I-told-you-sos, or the snarky glee at someone else’s misery, regardless of how much misery others may have generated in your world to date. And for heaven’s sake, don’t choose to respond in a revengeful manner from a place of hatred.

Another way of looking at karma without using that “loaded” phrase is through the lens provided by Swiss depth psychologist Carl Jung. He discussed the unsuccessful balance of dichotomies within individuals that occurs when the individual rejects the parts of themselves of which they are not aware. Quoted in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

For your own well being, choose your reaction wisely. Acknowledge and be careful about how you are processing any emotional reactions. Live your life from the center of your head where you can be in neutral about all that you see within and around you, and thereby not project into the airwaves that which you do not yourself want to experience. Because you will. What I am giving you here is practical advice, not a moral reckoning.  

The funny thing about karma is it is correlated with intention.  You can feel whatever you feel including hatred and anger and other maladaptive emotions. Left unchecked they will certainly be corrosive to your body but they will not necessarily generate “bad karma” for you. You can hold whatever opinions you want, including prejudices and delusions. Again, these can be very harmful to your well being, your relationships and your inner and outer life, but they may not kick you in the teeth in a future incarnation. However the minute you combine negative emotion and maladaptive thinking into a desire for others to be hurt strong enough to become concrete, whether or not the other person seems to “deserve it,” eventually that harm will find its way to your doorstep. What counts here are words and actions based on your intent.

All human animals feel so-called “negative emotions” at times, although many have learned to heavily repress what they are experiencing. What matters is not what you feel. . .but what you choose to do with the feeling. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

I guarantee you that all of us have done far more selfish and stupid things in our learning process here on Planet Earth.You will not find it comfortable to have the universe have to strike you down with a deadly disease, take away your residence, or destroy some other aspect of your creativity in order to try to remind you of that fact.  

Right now, in the twenty-first century, we are balancing the books. We are reconciling all those unresolved karmic balance sheets, the ones with debits as well as the ones with assets.  Why? Because we need a clean sheet for a new world.  As a whole, human beings have made enough self-serving bad choices that Mother Earth itself is endangered.  That is not acceptable to the universe and it will not be allowed to continue.  Our brightest path forward involves the cultivation of mercy.

Angel of Mercy, Photo by Robin Hill. Used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Mercy is created when someone chooses compassion and/or forgiveness towards someone else who has wronged them, even when the person wronged has the power to do harm.  This breaks the cycle of karma. It is one of the highest uses of the gift of free will from our creator.

Mercy is a statement of profound strength.  Our society often tries to convince us it is a weakness but it is far from that.  Do you think that when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified he died because he was weak?  As the anointed one, the son of God, he could have leveled all around him, indeed all of Israel, with a single breath.  Rather he chose to not fight with the ugliness around him and in doing so, quite literally embodied mercy towards all of humanity. 

The crucification of The Christ may be one of the biggest mysteries and least understood events in human history. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Without mercy there is no freedom for human animals from continuing to experience ages old karmic cycles that lead nowhere useful.  Before The Christ, in the collective consciousness people only understood the Old Testament tribal thinking of an-eye-for-an-eye.  After Jesus, a new foundational energy as reflected in the gospels was given form for human animals: love for all, irrespective of our sins.  The Christ did not dismiss sin as nonconsequential. From a place of non judgment he eschewed it. Neither did he allow his crucifixion in order to do our work for us by having our transgressions go away magically based on belief in ideology.  He simply showed us under the most horrific possible circumstances that we can transcend the cycle of retribution by living fully in the energy of mercy.   

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

More than ever right now we need to choose the path laid before us by Jesus of Nazareth and other saints and spiritual leaders. We need to actively and consciously cultivate mercy.  Jesus showed us the way forward, but only we can take it. Without mercy there can be no real justice.  Any choices that answer wrongful actions with further wrongful actions are simply retribution. Revenge/retribution keeps us stuck on the unending carousel of karma which as I have mentioned is really not an option much longer. 

Many people are leaving the Planet right now because they don’t know how to bring mercy to the table they have set before themselves. Many, many more will be doing so before we get through our transition period.  In your world, allow the compassion of The Christ to infuse your life and your choices as fully as you can. 

Have compassion for African-Americans and other individuals from ethnic minority communities, indigenous cultures, etc that have suffered horrible systemic racism, including some of whom are temporarily lost to their wounding by going after those they consider to have harmed them. Do this even as you take all the tangible actions to end racism that you can imagine. Follow the lead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all time leading scorer and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom who recently remarked:  “What I want to see is not a rush to judgment but a rush to justice.”

Shine mercy upon both those that support and those who oppose the tyrants, dictators, lobbyists, corrupt politicians and other political figures around the world who are actively destroying the natural world in pursuit of money and power, even as you report, speak out, vote, organize counter measures and take any definitive steps to honor Mother Earth that you can. 

“The Throne Within,” poster by Ricardo Levins Morales with quote from Khalil Gibran used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Forgive the trespasses of individuals involved with civil unrest in our cities, whether they are protestors, agitators, vandals, law enforcement, or whomever else you see as contributing to the mess, at the same time you do whatever it is you can personally think to do to stop the violence and bring forth peaceful resolutions. 

Correct the horrible injustice of our economic system when it shows up in your environment and choose the righteous path of nonjudgmental action towards those at the top who would steal what belongs to those below them. For example, bear strong witness against the three multi-billionaires who for no particularly valid reason own more resources than one half of all other Americans but pray for their salvation. Educate others about inhumane financial injustices like the fact that in the last forty years, compensation for the heads of corporations in the United States has increased in many cases one thousand percent in comparison to the other people who are a part of those companies. Advocate and provide for those without adequate shelter or food and confront those who would exploit or abuse workers. Do what you morally can to confront this egregious inequality without adding further to the evil forces in play here.

Above all, be kind to yourself.  I’m not talking about self-indulgence. I’m certainly not talking about that weird set of rules that pass as making one a member of “polite society.”  I’m talking about real kindness.  Mercy towards yourself, so to speak.  To whatever extent you can, acknowledge your flaws, your ignorance, all those multiple times in this lifetime and others where you have actively hurt others as well as those times you have chosen unawareness because it was more comfortable or convenient than the truth. 

This statue of the Buddha contemplating a lotus blossom–the universal symbol of spirit in the Eastern part of the world–appears to reflect the peacefulness that can be achieved when one brings balance to life. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

See yourself as you really are, and choose to love yourself anyway.  Forgive yourself even if you are impatient and judgmental towards yourself and not yet good at forgiveness.  Maybe you don’t even yet know what I’m talking about when I talk of mercy towards yourself.  You don’t have to understand me with your mind, only with your heart. Embrace mercy towards yourself and others because that will pay some karmic debts and open the right doors for your salvation.

Julian of Norwich was an English mystic born in 1342 CE who understood that Justice is another name for God. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

As we are reminded in Isaiah, Verse 30, Chapter 18:    

The Lord longs to be gracious to you, and exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of Justice.

Blessed are those who wait for him.

Copyright 2020 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s