If you've ever watched a war movie or a western, to say nothing of cop shows ( I just watched 'Bad Boys For Life' ), although you gotta know much of the violence & carnage is Hollywoodized ( choreographed ) & blown out of proportion, it's not too hard to imagine that most of what you see on the silver screen is a fairly accurate portrayal of how the west was won & the sacrifices that have been made to make our fledgling nation what it is today. The point that maybe hits the hardest, though, is the amount of 'Evil' in the world & how tough it is to overcome that 'Evil' with 'Good'. It IS hard, however, to imagine a world where, in order to overcome 'Evil', we do not have to fight fire with fire; in other words, where we do not have to resort to the same tactics as the 'bad guys'. In the same vein, to further elaborate on 'What if?? 'What if', the objector might ask, 'a thief broke into your house, intent on stealing whatever valuable objects he or she could, no matter the cost, even if the occupant ( s ) of the house got in the way?' Worse yet, 'what if the same scenario happened, except it was a rapist with unthinkable intentions?' 'What if your wife or daughter was the focus of their intent?' Although these seem like pretty simple questions & most people would be quick to answer them with more violence, they are not as simple as they seem & we must ask ourselves, 'SHOULD we resort to violence to counter violence? Must we fight fire with fire?
'Karma is only a bitch if you are'! I'm pretty sure this phrase is not original to this blogger, although I believe it is fairly recent. 'Karma' is not necessarily a bad thing. Put simply 'Karma' is '( in Hinduism and Buddhism ) the sum of a persons actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.' Therefore, if ones choices are 'good', this will lead to 'good' karma & if their choices have been overwhelmingly 'bad'.....you guessed it; 'bad' karma. Another way to put it is, 'you reap what you sow'. In any one of the above scenarios, one might rightly say, 'well, if that or this person breaks into my home with evil intent, that person deserves to die' In the same vein, in a wartime scenario, with the prevalence of the notion of striking our enemies first before they can strike us ( or even simply striking back ( revenge? ), if we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this nation's or people's intent is to harm us, even kill us, are we justified in resorting to violence to make sure they don't? Are we THAT attached to this biology that we ourselves would do what most people agree is wrong ( evil? ) in order that they may not do it to us? 'IS self-defense wrong?!
'Karma' is a two-edged sword. Sure, the thief, rapist, or terrorist may be reaping what they've sown; maybe they DO deserve to die, but if/when we pass that sentence on them, while we might be acting as the hand of karma, or 'God', as some say, don't you see that we are creating our own karma? I mean, even Jesus said something like, 'if you live by the sword, you'll die by the sword'. This is not to say that one should not defend themselves, their loved ones, or even their country, but we should know that by resorting to the same tactics ( violence ), we are only creating our own negative karma & we too, will reap what we've sown. Violence only begets violence & as long as humanity continues the cycle, we will never have true & lasting peace!
So we come to the Peace Within. Even if one does not believe in 'Karma' ( but 'Karma' believes in YOU!'), or in reincarnation for that matter, it goes without saying that in most, if not all religious purviews, one can have that Peace Within, even in the midst of any conflict. Whether this Peace comes through a child-like trust in some almighty Being up in the sky, or in their own power to choose, it can so envelop us that outside influences have no effect on us; we can choose to allow it to affect us ( emotional response ), or to simply watch it occur, knowing that it can only truly affect this biology, not our Inmost Being. Our attachments are what bring us pain & suffering. Whether we are so attached to a certain type of food that we are not willing to give it up, even though we know it's harmful to our bodies, or people that we have become so attached to that we are willing to do whatever is necessary to keep them, even if it's wrong or otherwise harmful. Don't get me wrong; we, as spiritual beings having a physical experience, ARE on this Earth, not only to share our experience, but to share our experience in Love, but there comes a point where SOMEONE must end the cycle ( of violence ) & since these are only our biological vehicles; can we truly say that it is right ( justifiable ) to do wrong so that 'right' may win?!
Just like it was wrong, to use a biblical example, for King David to have Uriah placed in the front lines of the battle ( where he was killed ), so that David could have his wife ( although he'd already 'had' her ), so it would be wrong to kill a person just because you thought he or she wanted to kill you! Really, when you think about it; it IS a bit ostentatious to decide that we have more right to live than the other person, maybe even more than a bit selfish. Again, 'is self-defense wrong?' You must be the Judge in this matter, but remember that in order for one person to live in such a scenario, the other would necessarily have to die; right?! That would mean that you would be committing the same crime against humanity that he or she had intended. Here is where philosophy comes into play; as mentioned earlier, what are we really manifesting when we decide that one deserves to live but not the other? Are we being selfish when we think our loved ones should live rather than someone else's loved ones? What ABOUT 'justifiable homicide' or 'casualties of war'?
This may open up a can of worms, but then again, some cans need to be opened! If we can choose who lives & who dies in any given situation, then maybe Jesus was right when He said 'you are gods ( Gods )! 'As above, so below'; 'is it right to do wrong so that good may come?' Again, I will let my readers judge for themselves; just KNOW that by choosing to continue the cycle of violence, you ARE creating your own negative karma!
To truly be at Peace, One must first be comfortable with who & what they are. 'As above, so below'; when one is truly at Peace, that Peace Within will surely manifest in their personal experience. Don't get me wrong; I'm by no means saying their personal experience will be 'a bed of roses', for we cannot control the actions of those around us ( that's THEIR Karma ), but we can be assured that we have done what is right. In other words, if someone murders us or a loved one, that person will have their own negative karma to deal with, probably sooner rather than later. On the other hand, if we or a loved one seeks revenge against that person, we or they will end up, if not sharing the same fate, a similar one.
Getting back on track though; when One is at peace with who & what they are, everything flows uphill from there. 'As above, so below'; since we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, when we are not 'in touch' with our true nature, we will naturally look outside ourselves ( in our experience ) for the Peace that only exists Within. Sure, for a time, as in the case of a cease-fire or some other sort of armistice, a sort of peace may be experienced by both sides, but how long will it last? Does it necessarily signal an end to the violence? In some sense, this sort of peace may be likened to the 'morality' that some seem to think can be legislated!
Peace MUST come from Within! 'As above, so below'; if we allow the Peace Within to manifest in our physical experience, it will affect those around us, although, again, this is not to say that our Life will always be 'a bed of roses' ( 'Every rose has its thorns' ), for even those around us have their own choices to make. In other words, though we may affect their lives, even their choices, there is no guarantee that their choices will be 'right', or 'good' for us. On the other hand, whatever we choose, then, as 'good' & 'right' for us, may not always be acceptable to them & may in fact be perceived by them as 'harmful'.
'Karma', as we've seen, is therefore neither 'good' nor 'bad'. In the same vein, it is neither positive nor negative; it just is! The choices we make, as the 'God' of our own life, determine whether our Karma will be 'good' or 'bad', positive or negative. This can is already open, so here goes; some might be in opposition to this statement ( although, remember, Jesus said as much ), but our choices are our own: just as we cannot blame our 'bad' choices on some fallen spiritual being ( ? ) named 'Satan', neither must we rely on someone outside ourselves ( ? ) to choose well! We are the authors of our own destiny! ( speaking of 'a can of worms' )
It seems that, in this Life sometimes, there is no choice BUT to fight fire with fire. In fact, if memory serves me correctly; a fire may be squelched by using the fire from an explosion; apparently it temporarily removes the oxygen feeding the first fire. But even that is risky, there is no guarantee it will work at all, much less last. All in all, it is a dangerous proposition! There is ALWAYS a choice! Although our Ego, our Pride ( 'the pride of life'? ) may fight us tooth & nail, we must overcome both often, in order to do what is 'right' & 'good'. We may even find that we must forfeit our own physical existence in order to do what we know is 'right' or in order not to do what we KNOW is 'wrong'. As spiritual beings having a physical experience, though, we are More than this physical experience: WE go beyond this physical experience we 'Life'!
Sadly, because of our natural attachment issues, we, humanly speaking, tend to miss one another's physical presence once that presence departs, but spiritually speaking, WE are always present! 'As above, so below'; it is these attachment issues that necessarily bring pain & suffering. In this Life, one might note, pain & suffering are all but unavoidable, a necessary part of this human experience, some would say, for without darkness, there can be no light; without pain & suffering, no Love, but the fact of the matter is that even without darkness, the Light, like the Christian 'God', just Is, It's just easier to see in the darkness ( stars at night, for instance ). The Bible says 'God is Love', Jesus said that we, like Him, are Light. We, like the stars above, do not need the darkness to exist, but in order to be seen by the human eye, we must shine in the darkness!
Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank