Spiritual Awakening, Growth, and Enlightenment/query on karma

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Question
Good day
what are the different ways to prove karma is how the universe operates?

if karma is how the universe works, why is it that the universe is structured in such a way that human beings suffer (pay retribution) or (enjoy prosperous / blessed periods) without understanding or having knowledge of past events as being cause of current. What i mean is that why does't the universe operate in a way in which cause and effect is evident between lifetimes so that the human can understand cause and effect and learn from his or her past actions.

why does the universe operate on the principle of karma? why must there be karma and why does nature work like this?

Thanks!

Answer
Hi Sam. I wish I could give you an exact answer to your question, but you have hit on one of the great mysteries of our existence. First of all, you are presuming that karma and reincarnation are facts. While many people live out their lives assuming karma is the ruling principle of our lives, there of course are others who hold completely different beliefs, i.e. original sin, salvation, heaven and hell. Who is to say which ones are correct?

I prefer to hold that each different belief system (religion or spiritual expression) is just the way one particular culture developed to deal with their most basic existential questions, such as the ones you express in your question. So religious/spiritual/existential beliefs are culturally determined, and while people may assign great importance to them, no one culture's set of beliefs can be said to be more valid than any other's. No one set of beliefs can provide THE answer to our existence, how we got here, what determines the facts of our lives, and what happens after death.

In the study of spiritual development, we come to recognize several things. 1) that beliefs are culturally determined, as described in the paragraph above. 2) that learning to live in the questions, as opposed to grasping at firm answers our culture has tried to impose on us, is a major task in spiritual development. Where the less evolved person needs absolute answers, and will tend to accept whatever religious/spiritual/existential beliefs his culture has offered him, the more evolved person will question them openly, as you are doing by posing this question to me. When he or she recognizes that existential questions are universal, common to all cultures down through the ages, and in all different parts of the world, they come to see that it is the quest itself that is universal, while the answers different cultures develop vary greatly. Then it becomes a matter of welcoming the mystery that these most basic answers have never been solved in a way that respects all cultures. The person learns to live and appreciate living in the questions, instead of accepting firm answers that are always necessarily incomplete. He or she learns to see beauty in the mystery, comes to love dwelling in the questions, continually searching while not exactly expecting an answer.

We will never exactly know whether the universe operates on the principle of karma, and surely we will never know why. However, if you  want to explore this principle further, you may want to look at the work of Dr. Michael Newton, who claims to be able to regress people through hypnotherapy to the spaces between lives (assuming reincarnation is a fact) He describes a whole hierarchy of guides and whatnot who meet with the person between lives and helps them determine what they learned and what they need to work on next, etc. I find his work interesting, but do not necessarily ascribe absolute validity to it. http://newtoninstitute.org/

I wish you satisfaction in your quest.  

Spiritual Awakening, Growth, and Enlightenment

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Margaret Placentra Johnston

Expertise

I am particularly interested in answering questions about the stages of spiritual growth, faith development, religious stages. The term spiritual growth or spiritual development can have many different interpretations. In some cases, it refers to the ability to have para-normal or mystical experiences. Others use it to describe the ability to communicate with beings that are not present here on earth with us at this time, such as dead people or our own prior lifetimes. This is not where my knowledge and expertise lie. The type of spiritual growth questions I can address concern here and now issues about religious belief versus non-belief, the stages of religious development and spiritual development where spirituality is defined as living deeper than the surface things of life, knowing there is more to life than the latest new car, questioning the deeper meanings of our existence.

Experience

For at least the past twenty years I have been a serious student of the various spiritual development theorists. The concept of spiritual growth occurring in stages throughout our lifetime is a vitally important factor that, if more widely known, could help decrease a lot of the religious intolerance and societal tensions we are putting up with today. My book of stories about real people growing beyond the need for traditional religion was published by Quest Books in October, 2012: Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.

Organizations
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation(and many others unrelated to this topic.)

Publications
www.mpjauthor.com Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.(Quest Books, October, 2012.) http://www.exploring-spiritual-development.com http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-placentra-johnston/

Education/Credentials
Four college degrees, including an undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of America where required theology and philosophy courses formed the equivalent of a college minor.

Awards and Honors
GOLD WINNER of the 2013 Nautilus Book Award in Religion/Spirituality.

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