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January 30

Illness – Past, Present and Future

When, in our search for insights to support us in the challenge of living with a chronic health condition, we consider possible spiritual views, we soon encounter the concept of karma.

Now, karma is a multi-layered and complex cosmic dynamic, and in our current state of consciousness we can only hope to get superficial and very limited glimpses into its workings. The idea of cause and effect is one example of such a limited understanding, which says more about the nature of our consciousness than it says about karma.

Workings from a ‘past’

In that context, it is sometimes implied that a current disposition, affliction, illness or disability would be the result of, or even a punishment for actions, behavior and choices of previous life or lives.

Apart from the danger of adding yet more shame and guilt to the illness experience, and therefore being counterproductive to healing, it would be erroneous to think that the Law of Karma is about punishment. Karma will look for renewal, evolution and balance. In this wisdom, a physical or mental illness in this earthly life would allow the individuality to eliminate that which otherwise would hold him back in the whole of his development.

But there are other dynamics at play also.

A deed of love

It is possible, for example, that in preparation of one’s earthly life, one may have offered to take on some part of the karmic debt of another person, or even to take on something of the karma of the world. To take on karma that is not one’s own, is a profound deed of love.

Future potential

Next, in considering possible karmic dynamics at work in the case of a chronic health condition, one aspect remains as yet unattended; one that would deserve more attention than it is currently awarded. This is the development of the future potential within the individual’s deepest essence as a result of living with and inwardly overcoming a chronic affliction.

When confronted with circumstances and deprivations that cannot be changed, you are asked to change yourself. In this, there is a reciprocal relationship between the severity of your restraints and limitations and the caliber of strengths, insights and wisdom that can be developed as a matter of inner transformation .

Right here, it might be helpful to distinguish between karma and destiny. Whereas the karma with which you enter this world is a given, your destiny is not. You create your destiny by what you do with your karma.

In conclusion, I just want to refer back to what was presented as possible karmic dynamics.

Illness does not always have a karmic foundation. Sometimes prolonged damaging behaviours manifest eventually as a physical dis-ease. Sometimes traumatic (childhood) experiences move ‘underground’, so to speak, to later re- emerge symptomatically. And sometimes ‘a sore foot is just a sore foot’: we live in complex organic bodies that get exhausted, get sick, become frail and old. Just so that we don’t get too attached to this precious, yet transcending cloak.

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Arjan Bogaers
May 31, 2021

Thank you Kris, yes, I know what you mean. Often, when we cannot explain events, the karma perspective is proposed. This could be appropriate, but how can we know ? The cosmic dynamic of karma is so much more complex that a simple cause-and-effect system. Maybe, suggesting 'karma' as a reason for a person's traumatic or bad life experiences, can be just as cruel and judgmental as saying: ' It's all you fault'. So we have to be careful. Best wishes

Kris Osum
May 30, 2021

When something bad happens to a person, we say "it`s karma", but this is more like a joke. What if it's really true?

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