Karma is the Sanskrit word for action. It is equivalent to Newton’s law of ‘every action must have a reaction’. When we think, speak or act we initiate a force that will react accordingly.
This returning force maybe modified, changed or suspended, but most people will not be able eradicate it.
This law of cause and effect is not a punishment, but is wholly for the sake of education or learning.
A person may not escape the consequences of his actions, but he will suffer only if he himself has made the conditions ripe for his suffering. Ignorance of the law is no excuse whether the laws are man-made or universal.
To stop being afraid and to start being empowered in the worlds of karma and reincarnation, here is what you need to know about karmic laws.
1. THE GREAT LAW
– “As you sow, so shall you reap”. This is also known as the “Law of Cause and Effect”.
– Whatever we put out in the Universe is what comes back to us.
– If what we want is Happiness, Peace, Love, Friendship… Then we should BE Happy, Peaceful, Loving and a True Friend.
2. THE LAW OF CREATION
– Life doesn’t just HAPPEN, it requires our participation.
– We are one with the Universe, both inside and out. – Whatever surrounds us gives us clues to our inner state.
– BE yourself, and surround yourself with what you want to have present in your Life.
3. THE LAW OF HUMILITY
– What you refuse to accept, will continue for you.
– If what we see is an enemy, or someone with a character trait that we find to be negative, then we ourselves are not focused on a higher level of existence.
4. THE LAW OF GROWTH
– “Wherever you go, there you are”.
– For us to GROW in Spirit, it is we who must change – and not the people, places or things around us.
– The only given we have in our lives is OURSELVES and that is the only factor we have control over.
– When we change who and what we are within our heart our life follows suit and changes too. THE
5. LAW OF RESPONSIBILITY
– Whenever there is something wrong in my life, there is something wrong in me.
– We mirror what surrounds us – and what surrounds us mirrors us; this is a Universal Truth.
– We must take responsibility what is in our life.
6. THE LAW OF CONNECTION
– Even if something we do seems inconsequential, it is very important that it gets done as everything in the Universe is connected.
– Each step leads to the next step, and so forth and so on.
– Someone must do the initial work to get a job done.
– Neither the first step nor the last are of greater significance,
– As they were both needed to accomplish the task.
– Past-Present-Future they are all connected…
7. THE LAW OF FOCUS
– You can not think of two things at the same time.
– When our focus is on Spiritual Values, it is impossible for us to have lower thoughts such as greed or anger.
8. THE LAW OF GIVING AND HOSPITALITY
– If you believe something to be true,then sometime in your life you will be called upon to demonstrate that particular truth.
– Here is where we put what we CLAIM that we have learned, into actual PRACTICE.
9. THE LAW OF HERE AND NOW
– Looking backward to examine what was, prevents us from being totally in the HERE AND NOW.
– Old thoughts, old patterns of behavior, old dreams…
– Prevent us from having new ones.
10. THE LAW OF CHANGE
– History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path.
11. THE LAW OF PATIENCE AND REWARD
– All Rewards require initial toil.
– Rewards of lasting value require patient and persistent toil.
– True joy follows doing what we’re suppose to be doing, and waiting for the reward to come in on its own time.
12. THE LAW OF SIGNIFICANCE AND INSPIRATION
– You get back from something whatever YOU have put into it.
– The true value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it.
– Every personal contribution is also a contribution to the Whole.
– Lack luster contributions have no impact on the Whole, nor do they work to diminish it.
– Loving contributions bring life to, and inspire, the Whole.
The Ars Notoria is a rare ancient magical text that is said to perfect memory and master academia among other incredible things.
“…The Notory Art revealed by the Most High Creator to Solomon. In the Name of the Holy and undivided Trinity, beginneth this most Holy Art of Knowledge, revealed to Solomon, which the Most High Creator by his Holy Angels ministered to Solomon upon the Alter of the Temple; that thereby in short time he knew all Arts and Sciences, both Liberal and Mechanick, with all the Faculties and Properties thereof: He has suddenly infused into him, and also was filled with all wisdom, to utter the Sacred Mysteries of most Holy words…” – The Notory Art of Solomon.
The Ars Notoria – An Ancient Magical Book to Perfect Memory and Master Academia
Do you believe that there are ancient texts that help understand how humans function? Several sciences are known for avoiding many parts they cannot comprehend or explain, is it possible that this is one of them? Innumerable ancient books have been written in the past promising otherworldly powers to those who welcome its knowledge. People in the past firmly believed that ancient scripts offered magical powers and ways of altering the consciousness of those who read it.
But from where does this mysterious knowledge come from? In the distant past, not many people knew how to read, or interpret ancient (sacred) writings, which could have inherently, categorized some texts as mysterious and powerful.
“And know this; that if thou hast not the books in thy hands, or the faculty of looking into them is not given to thee; the effect of this work will not be the lesse therefore: but the Orations are twice then to be pronounced, where they were to be but once: And as to the knowledge of a vision, and the other virtues which these Holy Orations have; thou maist prove and try them, when and how thou wilt.” (source) –Ars Notoria The Notory Art of Solomon.
In the famous grimoire —a textbook of magic, with instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets and perform magical spells—called Lesser Key of Solomon, there is an ancient text called the Ars Notoria, or the Notory Art of Solomon. This ancient text can be traced back to the thirteenth century while some parts were written as early as the twelfth century.
While there were numerous ancient texts that promised otherworldly powers in the past, this one was different since it specifically focused on prayers, meditations and another oral exercise unlike other books, which focused exclusively on spells, potions, and rituals.
The oldest writings in the so-called Lesser Key of Solomon offer those who read and understand it, a silver tongue, perfect memory and unimaginable wisdom. However, since there has been numerous ‘unauthorized’ revision through the ages, its extremely difficult to evaluate its success and functionality.
The original texts were created in three different styles, including Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. It is said that King Solomon himself used the original writings of the Ars Notoria to become a wise, compassionate and talented rulers on Earth
Karma: that word that gets thrown around a lot.
People talk about “good” karma versus “bad” karma, or “your” karma versus “mine.”
But despite the term’s popularity, it seems like everybody has a different idea about what it actually means. If karma is truly one of the Buddha’s most important teachings, as he himself repeatedly emphasized, then to follow in his footsteps, we need to be clear about its definition.
The Problems with “Agricultural” Karma
Probably one of the most popular misunderstandings about Buddhist Karma is the idea that everything that happens to us is our karma. If we win the lottery or have an attractive partner, it’s because we performed good deeds in the past—we have “good” karma. If we get hit by a truck or our partner cheats on us, it’s because we misbehaved and have “bad” karma. And, of course, what we do now will determine our future results. Let’s just call this the agricultural view of karma: we reap what we sow.
So, what’s wrong with this idea? Well, whether we’re Buddhist or not, it creates lots of intellectual problems.
The first is that believing we reap what we sow simply seems to contradict a great deal of our experience. We act with kindness, maybe dropping a few coins into a homeless man’s can, only to have him call us a cheap yuppie. Or our chronically underperforming co-worker who spends most of the time surfing Facebook and pilfering office supplies gets a promotion.
In other words, the wicked very often seem to prosper, even thrive, while the good seem to get a goodly portion of crap.
Why, for example, do innocent infants die? They’ve barely had enough time to learn how to digest food properly, let alone perform some wicked deed. (Of course, we need to leave Stewie from Family Guy out of this equation, as well as the idea of the infant proposed by famous psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, who viewed it as a viscous and greedy succubus bent on completely draining the mother of her vital energy.)
I’m sure you’ve already come up with the answer: we must be dealing with more than one lifetime. In fact, the claim is that we have an infinite number of lives extending into the past. With this explanation, all the rewards and atrocities of life fit together like a skillful game of Tetris. We have an account for why infants die, or why we can be completely loving and faithful to our partner, only to end up alone; it’s just our karmic comeuppance from cheating in a previous life.
Sure, we still might feel unhappy because our partner is now dating a princess from Bhutan, but at least we can mourn with a sense of ease, knowing there is some order to events in the universe, and that these personal painful events are just the fruits of old, bad karma. We can also rest easy because in the future, we’ll also reap the rewards of our fidelity—it just might take time.
If we stop here, then all is well.
However, if we push a little further beyond this logical seal, then we confront what we call “the administrative nightmare.” How can all those good and bad deeds possibly be kept track of? And not just in one lifetime, but across infinite lifetimes? What conceivable cosmic ledger could account for all those transactions? It seems like an administrative impossibility to coordinate that vast amount of information and organize events so everything unfolds correctly, and justice gets served to the right people, at the right time, in just the right way. The organizational details are so complex that it leads people to say that karma is some infinitely subtle, ineffable cosmic order, inaccessible to even the most sophisticated minds.
An even bigger problem is that, with infinite lifetimes, absolutely everyone would have enough karma for nearly anything to happen to them. Put it this way: we all have everything coming.
The irony is that this view of karma ends up undermining its original purpose of explaining an individual’s unique, personal history.
Even if we manage to somehow dismiss these logical problems, we’re left with one that chafes at the heart of Buddhism. This view of karma presupposes an abiding self that’s responsible for these events, whereas the Buddha’s central message was the radical proposal that there is no self (anattā). The agricultural view of karma rests on there being some sort of enduring “you” (call it a self, soul, mind-stream, or whatever) who is responsible for what “you” did in the past, and a “you” who will benefit or be cursed in the future.
This view of karma contributes to acting in self-cherishing, ego-reinforcing ways. In other words, it supports the very self-illusion that the Buddha considered the root of our suffering.
Karma as Intention
What did the Buddha really mean by karma? The answer is simple: intention.
He said, “Intention, I tell you, is karma. Intending, one does karma by way of body, speech, and intellect.” Defining karma in this way, the Buddha departed radically from all previous thinking about karma.
In the traditional Brahmanical culture of India, karma generally referred to action. Do good deeds, and the universe will reward you in turn. But by redefining karma as the intentions behind one’s actions, the Buddha was pointing to a deeper truth: the kinds of intentions we habitually entertain—whether they’re generous and loving, or selfish and aversive—will determine the kind of mental space we inhabit. We can’t fully control whether our dog runs away, or whether our partner cheats on us, but we do have a say in what kind of person meets those events.
Karma as intention was the central message the Buddha emphasized over and over. The more any acts of body, speech, or mind are motivated by poisonous intentions such as greed and hatred, the more toxic we become, and the more we suffer, no matter what happens to us externally. The reverse is also true: intentions of compassion and wisdom shape us into beings with greater patience, who are less susceptible to suffering, no matter what happens to us externally.
To put it succinctly: Buddhist karma is not about what happens to you, but who it happens to.
Yes, the Wicked can Prosper
The Buddha’s focus on intention rather than actions and external circumstances allows us to fully acknowledge that the wicked can prosper, and that selfish behavior can bring a person great fortune and power. However, the mental state of such a person surrounded by luxury is a whole different matter. This also means that acting with compassionate intentions won’t magically prevent us from confronting the slings and arrows of life’s misfortune.
But acting out of wholesome intentions opens up the possibility of becoming a person who encounters these challenges with less grumpiness and greater ease. We have exemplars of this possibility in our great spiritual luminaries, such as the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn. The fruit of their karma was not the atrocities they were victims of, but the equanimity and active compassion they show in the face of such extreme oppression and violence.
So too, getting sick is not the result of one’s bad karma. People grow old, experience the pain of illness, and eventually die. The Buddha never said you could plant the right karmic seeds to avoid any of these. They’re simply not optional.
However, whether or not we suffer when confronted by them is entirely up to us.
Not Everything is your Karma
In a sense, it’s true that karma means we reap what we sow. The only difference is that we’re sowing in the furrows of the mind, and less so in actual fields in the physical world.
That’s not to say our actions don’t have consequences. If we go around smiling at people, we’ll likely be smiled at in return. If we go around slapping people, we’re sure to get slapped. Yet, the ultimate outcome of our behavior is somewhat unpredictable. We could smile at a stranger, only to have them beat us up in return.
This unpredictability happens because there are other levels of causality working in the universe.
Not everything is our karma.
The Buddha actually taught about these other levels of causality quite explicitly in what are called the five Niyāmas. It’s worth going through them briefly. Here, we give them a modern twist.
The first level of causality is called the Utu Niyāma, or the level of physics and chemistry.
The second level is known as Bīja Niyāma, or biological causality. This new level is necessary because living organisms are more complex than just their physical and chemical constituents.
Continuing up the ladder of emergent complexity, we see that some living organisms have nervous systems and minds, which can’t be fully understood by just looking at the previous two levels of Utu and Bija Niyāma. Therefore, the Buddha talked about the Citta Niyāma, or psychological causality.
Now, some minds have a more hard-wired relationship with the previous levels. Take a lizard, for example. It behaves fairly predictably, based on tight wiring between chemical signals and genetic codes. We will never train a lizard to fetch a newspaper. Other minds, such as those of dogs and horses, have greater flexibility. Yet, teaching a dog to fetch the newspaper depends on an outside stimulus—specifically, our persistent efforts. The behavior doesn’t come entirely from inside the dog’s mind. And in fact, there may be only one animal on this planet with “self-forming” minds: humans. For us, we have to identify another level of causality: karmic or intentional causality, known as the Kamma Niyāma.
Kamma Niyāma opens a space for reflexivity, self-organization, and changing ingrained habits of body, speech, and mind. The preciousness of human life rests in this potential. Karmic causality, in other words, is a whole new level of causality in the universe, allowing us the chance to awaken to the highest level, called Dhamma Niyāma, or Ultimate Reality.
Dhamma Niyāma describes the absolute, indivisible reality, the universe in its entirety. All divisions from these heights are products of a mind struggling to grasp the ultimate. We build conceptual models to try to understand this level, and some models are certainly better than others. If that weren’t the case, the Buddha wouldn’t have bothered teaching. But at this level, all models are equally empty.
To say that everything is our karma is to usurp this vast spectrum of causality into a singular, self-centered mind.
When we realize the complexity we’re dealing with, we no longer see events as a result of karma, but rather as the product of certain physical causes and conditions. We also no longer fall prey to magical thinking, believing, for example, that by giving away money and being nice, we will get money in return and be showered with niceness.
Instead, we realize that when we replace hatred with compassion, or greed with generosity, those intentions will shape the type of being we become, whether rich or poor.
Authors: Culadasa and Matthew Immergut
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Hartwig HKD/Flickr
Source: Elephant Journal
Did you know that just because you are a beautiful blonde size 2 today does not mean that you would be considered beautiful in times past? Much like fashion trends, the perception of beauty has consistently changed over the course of centuries, sometimes for the better, and unfortunately, sometimes for the worse. One thing, however, that will never change is the fact that we will all strive to fit in with what is considered attractive as this is part of human nature.
The art of fitting in has changed drastically from one decade to the next. Don’t believe us? Think back to a time when MC Hammer pants and mullets were all the rage. Trends change for a variety of reasons, most of which leave us looking back at our former selves with laughter. What exactly were we thinking with that floral pantsuit or sequined leotard?
Changes in beauty can be dramatic over time. How has the perception of beauty changed over the past 60 years? How has it changed over the past 600 years? Thanks to a lack of art to depict people’s fashion and features, there is little known about fashion prior to the Renaissance Era. However, we do know what has happened with trends ever since. Here’s a look at 10 ways our perception of beauty has changed over time starting with an era where plump was en vogue.
The Renaissance Era
The Renaissance Era lasted from the 1400′s well into the 1500′s and was a time in which people had a different view on beauty than most of the eras that followed it, especially in terms of the ideal body type. According to much of the artwork of the era, women that had extra fat and wider hips were considered to be the most beautiful. In most of these paintings from the era, fuller figured women were shown in settings where they were courted by dashing and handsome men.
Blonde hair also became a big trend during the Renaissance, as colors started to move away from darker hues, making lighter and brighter colors all the rage. Makeup during this era was extremely pale, but lips were meant to be bright red. Clothing was not very popular, at least according to the paintings of the time. Large dresses were trendy for those who did opt for fashionable clothes, and typically featured oversized shoulders and sleeves that looked like small puffy balloons.
#9 – The Victorian Era
The Victorian Era, between the mid 1800’s and the rest of the century, saw a complete reversal from the beauty standards of the Renaissance in terms of body types. In the Victorian Era, slim waists were all the rage, to the point where it became a danger. It was a contest to have the smallest waistline, with clothing that could help women reduce their waist down to 12 inches. The clothes were constricting to the point where breathing was a chore, causing some women to even break their ribs in the process.
In addition to small waists, women also wanted to make their behinds look larger than ever before, which was better accentuated by such small waists. Petticoats and bustles became popular, which made for an enhanced look in the rear. Colors were not as bright as they were in the Renaissance Era either, calling for bolder and darker colors. These trends in style went completely against the religious views at the time, which was said to be a work of evil.
#8 – The Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties came after the end of the First World War, and started a brand new trend in beauty that was a welcome change from the Victorian Era in terms of comfort. Women no longer had to have tiny waists and large posteriors to fit in anymore, as concealing womanly curves was more common. Short dresses in the flapper style were a lot more comfortable (and popular) than the long dresses from the Victorian Era.
Corsets were still popular, but were far from being as lethal as they were elastic with an extra give that was far from dangerous as it was used to conceal any bumps around the waist. The other big beauty trend was the bob hairstyle, which was combined with pale skin and thin eyebrows to achieve the perfect look at the time. Before the 1920’s, makeup styles were seen as low class, but everything changed during the Prohibition Era when everyone seemingly came together in stylized fashion to find illegal ways to drink together.
#7 – The Golden Age
The Golden Age was named as such for the fact that it was the Golden Age in Hollywood. This era spanned from the end of the Roaring Twenties to the end of the Second World War. The appearance of new celebrities on the screen made women more self-conscious than ever before with a strong desire to look like the stars they saw on the silver screen. Women took to the gym to work on their bodies, making muscles the new trend in body beauty.
Some of the most notable fashion designers of all time came to prominence in this era known for its padded bras to help enhance appearances for a starlet look. As long hair grew more popular, the bobs of the 20’s were grown out without preference to a single color of hair, as there were redhead, brunette and blonde stars. Makeup also became more feminine and didn’t have many layers, as natural beauty was more celebrated in this time.
#6 – Mid-Century
The 1950’s marked the middle of the century, a time where the World Wars were finally over and beauty changed yet again. The ideal body type was no longer a muscular one, but instead one with curves and feminine appeal. A lot of this had to do with the emergence of Marilyn Monroe; who would become the symbol of beauty in the era. Marilyn was the epitome of the hourglass figure which you can still see is popular today.
The ideals of the time were very conservative, so women dressed the part. It was a common belief in society that women should not leave the house without looking perfect from head to toe. Some of the fashion trends included button down sweaters and other long dresses that showed very little flesh. Short hair was back in style, but curly styles were trendier than the bob of the 20’s. The quest for perfect skin made makeup a must-have in the 1950’s.
#5 – The Hippie Era
Perhaps there was no bigger contrast between two consecutive eras than the one that happened between the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Modeling started to become almost as popular as acting in films. Because of the growing popularity, many of the models that we saw at the time were very thin. This thin body type was a popular one for non-hippies who, at the time, preferred to wear knee high boots, short skirts and tunics. For the hippie types, however, things were completely different.
For those who attended Woodstock, the look was completely natural. There was no ‘ideal body type’ for the culture, and makeup was completely ignored. Women did not feel forced to fit into beauty trends of the time, and uniqueness was widely accepted. Sunglasses, headbands, tie-dye shirts and bell bottom jeans were all the rage. As you can see and perhaps experienced firsthand, these were two completely different looks at the time, which is a rare occurrence on the list.
#4 – The Disco Era
For the last 100 years or so, music has had a lot of influence on what the ideal type of beauty is in society. Instead of the hard rocking late 1960’s, popular music shifted over into the Disco scene (albeit for a very brief period). Thin body types were still trendy during the Disco Era, but it was taken to an even farther extreme than we saw in the Hippie Era. Body types in the Disco Era were pronounced with high waist jeans for an even slimmer look and tight wrap dresses.
Perhaps the biggest trend we saw in the 1970’s that is still talked about today is the hairstyle, which was made popular by a poster featuring Farrah Fawcett. Long and blonde was how it started, but feathering was the vital addition that people needed in terms of hairstyles to fit in. One more trend that started in the 1970’s that we still see today is the addition of tanning beds for a look that is much easier than spending hours in the Sun.
#3 – The 80’s
One era that we will always look back on and wonder, “What were we thinking?” is the 1980’s. The 80’s saw the rise in VHS tapes that taught aerobic fitness as it made its way into the living rooms of millions. The body type of the instructors in the videos were ideal at the time. And, even worse, the instructor’s notorious spandex suits somehow became an acceptable outfit to wear in public. Maybe even worse than those outfits were the shoulder pads that made women look like NFL linebackers.
Hairstyles in the 80’s quickly ditched the feathered look and went straight to the hairspray department as bigger hair was an arms race, which is something we are forever glad is well documented in films and pictures. Makeup was also enlarged, as the more colors there were, the better it looked. Big blue eyeliner and bright lipstick made for a weird contrast, but it was ‘in’ at the time. Models also popularized thicker eyebrows, which was a big contrast to previous eras.
#2 – The 90’s
Flashy over the top looks had gone by the wayside by the end of the 1980’s only to be traded in for something that was beyond somber as the grunge era made its way into style. Flannel, lumberjack type looks were popular in parts of the country, while others wanted to look like models of the time. Heroin chic kicked off in the 1990’s, and looking thin hit critical (lack of) mass as looking as though you have been addicted to drugs for years became a trend.
The late 1990’s thankfully saw a shift towards normalcy, as shows like “Friends” helped to introduce new trends that were more conventional and even started the biggest hair trend of the decade, known as the ‘Rachel.’ Even guys became interested in hair trends in the late 1990’s thanks to Eminem and his bleach blonde hair, which other singers adopted to make it even more popular. Now, we can all look back at our yearbook photos from the era and have a nice laugh at ourselves.
#1 – The New Millennium
We can say that the trends of today are completely normal but, to be honest, we are already laughing about what we thought was trendy in the 1990’s and that seems like it was just yesterday. The pressure to look thin is still around and people continue to take it to dangerous measures as plastic surgery has become more common than ever. It still hasn’t been perfected, though, so the results can look terrible if done in the wrong way.
But what is the biggest trend in fashion today? It’s hard to say as everyone has taken a very unique approach to their fashion. Thanks to social media and a way of showing what we dress like, there is no universal way to look or dress. No matter what you want to do to yourself, there is a tutorial you can find online. This means that we are slowly starting to see the death of ‘fashion trends.’ We’ll see what the next decade looks like, but we’re sure it will be different.