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Suffering and Karma: A Yogi’s Perspective

suffering karma statue

Q: May I ask, when it comes to suffering, particularly of the chronic physical type, is this all a result of inflicting such pain on others in a past life?

Karma works very exactly. Karma is extremely complex because exactly what we did must come back to us. It does not get bundled up with various types of causes and result in an unspecific form.

For example, if you inflict pain on someone, then someone will inflict pain on you. Physical illness or suffering can be caused by having neglected or or even done deliberate harm to our body in anger or some other negative emotion, including self-loathing. Unsuccessful attempts at suicide can be a cause of present pain.

Or is it a combination of that and obstacles set in place (by a higher self) to help us grow and develop?

No. Neither our higher self or God ever decide that we need “a good kicking around” for our own “good.” We do not get karmically spanked for “being bad.” The reaping of negative karma is not retribution.

It comes for our learning. So suffering can be a help to our inner growth, but it all happens under the aegis of our own Self. Again, karma is the exact reaction produced by an identical action on our part.

I’m asking because I have had a series of chronic physical problems from a young age, that just seem to be multiplying as I get older. I’m wondering how do I get through it in a way that atones for the past life transgressions or brings me closer to God, when I don’t understand the reason for it? I try very hard to follow God and love others, but it is hard not to get caught up in the physicality of the problems.

There are two things, one physical and one metaphysical, which are major aids in dealing with karma: a vegetarian diet and meditation.

Much illness can come from simply ignoring good health practices, and diet is a prime factor in health.

Meditation not only helps us to rise above physical suffering, it neutralizes karma through inner awakening so that reaping karma will no longer be necessary. Karma that is not completely eliminated by meditation sometimes is greatly mitigated.

For example, instead of breaking a leg we may only sprain an ankle. Or an illness that would usually have lasted months or years may only last days or weeks. Plus meditation is the cure for the disease of rebirth in this material, confused and painful world.

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