Is Karma About Reward and Punishment?

We all have a past. But do we all have past lives? Some of you would question past lives entirely. Afterall what proof can we have that we reincarnate? For those of you who believe in past lives or reincarnation, the questions are different. Why do we reincarnate? Are we supposed to suffer the consequences of our past life mistakes in our present? Are we here to reap the rewards that were pending from our past life? Are we here to even our accounts with someone we related with? Or are we here to reunite with specific soulmates?

Fortunately regardless of whether we believe in past lives or reincarnation, we all can agree upon one thing. That we are here right now….Our present moment is all we can be sure about.

The purpose of life itself may not be known to science, but all of us can know from our own hearts, who we truly are from deep within. Our behavior, thought-process, our skills and talents, our fears and choices, our likes and dislikes…..all are changeable with time. Therefore even if we have had a past, or who knows how many past lives, right now, we are something much beyond it.

It follows therefore that our future is not limited by or defined by our past but something that is being generated by our present choices. All that we have chosen so far whether in past lives or in the past of our present lifetime, up-to right now…has led us to only one thing. Our present!

Karma is another word for ‘work’, i.e. what we do with our life. Karma is not a synonym for past life energy following our present lifetime. It can simply refer to our deeds even in this very lifetime or even – right now.

The main thing to understand however is that it is no matter what our past deeds might have been like, the present moment is totally a new opportunity that we have to choose how we think or act. In other words, our karma is our own choice made entirely through our free will in the present moment regardless of our past.

We all know that every action comes with certain consequences depending upon various laws of nature and our world. However all the consequences finally boil to the way we feel in the end. Having material success might give joy for a while to some of us, while spiritual peace might lead some others to tremendous bliss. Our consequences therefore are not entirely about the specific reward or punishment that comes from outside but our own feelings and inner state in this very moment.

Our past might be something that chases us time after time until we are even and all our accounts sorted by providing us lessons after lessons in the form of our actions and consequences. Yet, ultimately we are all learning who we are through the various lessons that life puts us through. We all are learning certain core values such as peacefulness, love and kindness that make us an evolved human. These deep lessons need not come from anything or anyone from outside, they can simply emerge from our true self through quiet contemplation and meditation.

We can be free of our past and at peace with all there is regardless of our past deeds or past situations.  Moksha or liberation from our karmic cycles of life and death is possible regardless of religion or belief. The solution to all our past life or present life issues might simply be this: Forgive, Let-Go and Be at Peace.

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Debunking Nine Common Myths about Vegetarianism

We have all heard strong arguments, not just from others but from ourselves in the past when we were thoroughly defensive of non-vegetarianism. We justified meat eating primarily because of old beliefs and habits carried through generations. Thankfully the right awareness can be spread for the benefit of all concerned so that we can be on a path which is peaceful while not falling for the same old traps again. Here is how:

MYTH 1: Vegetarians Kill Plants

It is true that plants have life like animals do and there is no saying that plant life is less valuable than animal life. The fact is that plants do not usually die when you consume their parts. The plant does not even die when you pick its fruits. Their life energy is still intact and not lost making fresh fruits a ‘sattvic’ or positive diet. In contrast eating an animal involves killing them. By taking away their life prematurely we were consuming dead or ‘tamasic’ energy. In contrast plants retain fresh life energy regardless of your harvesting them. In-fact there are perennials that keep growing and providing harvest year after year and annuals would have dried off anyways at the end of the season even if you did not consume them, though many of them reseed and grow again. zucchini-572542_960_720

MYTH 2: Plants Do Not Want to Be Eaten 

Plants automatically shed their ripe fruits without any struggle when the fruits are ready. These fruits, including most vegetables are meant to be consumed so that the left-over seeds can be spread around or replanted. Even if you consume some of their leaves and seeds, as compared to animals, plants can regenerate and heal. To avoid overcrowding and to help them grow better they require thinning out, spreading, harvesting and trimming. In-fact they grow better and healthier through right gardening. We can understand the needs of plants, knowing what sort of care they want and refrain from harvesting them too early. When the time is ripe they will be happy to be picked. aubergine

MYTH 3: Plants Hurt Like Animals When We Cut Them

Plants are so calm and silent from within and outside, that their thinking and therefore suffering is negligible as compared to animals. In strike contrast animals feel tremendous pain and suffering. Spend some time out in the garden trimming leaves and picking fruits. Then spend the same amount of time in a slaughterhouse. Feel the difference? Because meat eaters purchased meat over the counter they do not see the pain and forget the part they are playing in taking innocent lives. Yes, plants do have sensations. They can sense light and grow towards it. They can sense approaching pests and protect themselves. It is said they grow better when we sing to them, so they must hear us too. Some can respond to touch. But please do not imagine that they suffer like animals when being cut. fields

MYTH 4: Humans Were Designed to be Meat Eaters

Humans are most similar to the genus Pan consisting species of primates such as Bonobos and Chimpanzees that are primarily fruit eaters. Our teeth, our digestive system and our mind are well tailored for a plant based diet. Even if we once were omnivores and hunter-gatherers in ancient times for reasons of non-availability of adequate plant foods in certain regions of the world, today we have evolved highly. Today we can grow and trade varieties of plant food in almost all countries regardless of climate and weather. We are the only specie to have maximum choices in every aspect of life, unlike other animals who work with their natural limitations. We can now choose to eat plants and be less harmful to other species.bonobo-810549_960_720.jpg

MYTH 5: We Need Animal Foods for Our Health and Nutrition

Plant foods with minimal fortification provide all of the dietary nutrients we need, minus the disease causing properties of animal based food. Most allergies, ailments and cancers can be prevented with herbs and raw vegetables. Plants provide us fibers that help us eliminate toxins and keep our gut clean. Plant vitamins are essential for protecting ourselves from harmful germs while minerals help in our nourishment. They are also rich in proteins and calcium. Through higher spiritual awareness we can also learn to live without too much food and to be healthy from within. There is an inner power that creates everything in the world which meditation connects us with and our body receives energy directly from the inner spirit in increasingly higher proportions with spiritual growth.

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MYTH 6: Carnivorous Diet is Part of Ecological Balance, So Why Not Be Meat Eaters

It is true that Lions, Sharks and many species consume meat and nature designed them to be this way in order to keep earth in balance, just like herbivores kept plants from growing too thick. These species were not given a choice. Yet as Human beings we have been given choices and free-will by nature herself. Nature has allowed us to decide and choose whatever is least harmful for all concerned. The human mind is far more flexible and capable of directing our own evolution further into time. Unlike other animals, humans have a chance of approaching towards the spiritual goal of Moksha or liberation from cycles of karma. This can be achieved by learning to be as detached and harmless as possible. foodweb

MYTH 7: It Is Impossible to Never Harm, So Why not Eat Animals

Yes we may be unknowingly harming many small or invisible microbes and insects in our day to day life. This does not mean that it is alright to kill animals for food just because you have been killing various lifeforms inadvertently. When it is plain and obvious that they are being tremendously harmed for the sake of food, you can be kind and considerate enough to avoid eating them, thereby discouraging this age old yet unnecessary practice. Animals clearly feel emotion and have their own families. Killing animals for entertainment, religious sacrifice, medical testing, fashion or any other reason can be equally cruel just like killing them for food when it is very easily avoidable. chicks-1572370_960_720

MYTH 8: Organic Plants Are Expensive and Unavailable

It was animal based and artificially processed foods that were a reason for increase in health problems and associated costs. It is also well known that animal farming so far led to increase in carbon emissions, stressed our resources and hurt our planet. Cultivating plants is far less expensive and less polluting than raising animals for dairy or meat. For the sake of a healthier and prosperous planet we definitely need to go organic and vegan. While it is true that pesticide and chemical laden plants can be harmful for health, organic plants are not as expensive and hard to obtain as once thought. When their demand rises organic farming will become more widespread and affordable too. Most importantly think of all the medical costs savings and better economic productivity when with reduced animal farming and increased organic plant farming. animal-farms

MYTH 9: Meat Eating is Part of Being Natural 

Being natural and returning to our roots is not about going backwards to mid-way in evolution when we were cavemen or hunters. Being natural is about being in touch with our inner self or true nature as a spirit being which is our original self. When we meditate, we stop complicating our minds with all the consumerism inducing messages given through the centuries of false conditioning and artificial stress. We consumed a variety of harmful snacks, fast-food, meat based and processed products because we were busy in our outer or material world without being mindfully and peacefully present in the moment. To be in alignment with our inner nature helps us do what is truly right and meant for us. Our body, mind and spirit respond with well-being as a result. animals.jpg

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swatiprakash  Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash

Monday Magick: Seed to Fruit, Fruit to Seed

The turning of the wheel of the year is celebrated since ancient times in every culture and generation. On 1 August we celebrate Lammas or Lughnasad, a festival celebrating harvest in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere the diagonally opposite celebration of Imbolc of Candlemas with the anticipation of winter’s end and preparing for sowing season. From darkness to light and light to darkness, the annual cycle of earth is symbolic of our inner cycles of life, death and rebirth. As we align ourselves with nature, we know that life is to be celebrated, cherished and lived in gratitude. Its all about Karma – as we sow, so we reap!

Today wish upon a seed and sprout it to grow…taking good care as it becomes a plant. As the seed grows into a plant, flowers and bears fruit in future…you know your intentions have materialized similarly. Our every action is preceded with a thought. Think beautiful and nourish your thoughts with love for each one is a seed with potential to grow big, bear fruit and multiply further in the spiral dance of this fractal universe!

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‘Tis all about perspective…

Talk about perspective and you find quotes tossed around like confetti! Simply put, perspective matches one thing, situation or view against the other as end of the day, there are no absolutes in a universe so relative. I don’t pretend to know any more than the average person on the street, so I’ll refer to a quote practically everyone has heard, said and even felt one time or the other.

It is a well-worn cliche, the grass is always greener on the other side. At some point, we all have sighed and wished, if only we were a little taller, smarter, richer, better looking, we could have been this man or woman or say, if we were born in another place, had a different upbringing, exposed to an alternate lifestyle, received more chances, we could have done that! Although we can understand and appreciate the law of cause of effect, we often forget, in the true sense, there is no coincidence and that we consciously or unconsciously create every single circumstance in life….where we are or what we are today is not partly or entirely cause of genes, family or luck (that we have attracted as well) whether we choose to believe it or not.

It is interesting, on one hand Einstein said, ‘God does not play dice’ and on the other, ‘Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous!’ This may sound contradictory but I suppose, he meant though the natural law is mathematical, good fortune is also what we earn, cause of our sincerity irrespective of whether we succeed or fail in our eyes or in front of others. In either case, notice the subtle but perfect balance of energy.

Beg to differ? No worries. I’m too busy growing my own grass, to notice yours…

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Please feel free to share your perspective on thepositivemedia@gmail.com. You might be featured next!

Bhaskar Dutta is a self-help author and IT specialist based in London.

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