No, Grace v. Karma is not the name of a new spiritually oriented courtroom dram-edy on TV about two angels incarnated as attorneys navigating the touchy issue of Grace and forgiveness vs. Karma and punishment (though it would make a great new show and I think I’ll start writing a pilot right away).
I saw this very interesting video recently about the fall of the Angel Lucifer because he didn’t agree with God about the new plan of Grace through the Christ Consciousness. I was planning on showing the clip here but interestingly, I can no longer find the video anywhere – which is good, because it was really only the main concept that interests me, so I will simply recap.
In the video they talk about these things very matter-of-factly, as if they are simply giving a history lesson of what happened in the Angelic realms in times primordial. I don’t really know if all these things can be considered historically accurate. I think when we are talking about multi-dimensional Divine history it is entirely possible that more than one thing was happening at once and to say something might be true doesn’t mean another account is untrue. Add to that the fact that our own perceptions and understandings of these things can be somewhat limited and our verbal expressions are even more limited. All this to say that I’m not 100% convinced that the account they gave went down exactly as it was spoken, like characters with lines in a most epic movie, but I do believe there were some very interesting concepts worth contemplating.
Basically, what they explained was that when the worlds and the universe was formed and Lucifer was still one of the “good guys,” he was given dominion over the earth and humanity. The plan for humanity’s evolution on earth was more along the lines of karma – learning your lessons by cause and effect, so if you kill 8 people in one lifetime you have to come back and get killed 8 times to balance that out before you can progress. But pretty soon (whatever that means in Eternal time?), God figured out that this was going to take forever (again, quite funny given that God exists outside of time!), and so he decided to change the plan from karma to GRACE. So, God sent the Christ Consciousness (in the form of Christ, Krishna, Buddha etc) to earth to remind all us silly souls running around taking an eye for an eye that karma was not such a great idea. Apparently, Lucifer didn’t like this so he rebelled and well, the rest is what they call “history” if you can call mythic biblical angelic/demonic events history.
So – God overrode the law of karma with the law of Grace! The Christ Consciousness was sent here to free us from karma, from sin, from error and ignorance.
Yet I know that much of religion still has a lot to do with the tension between Karma and Grace. On the one hand is Sin, struggle, guilt, redemption, repentance and doing the right religious rituals to somehow earn our salvation. On the other hand is GRACE – the complete and absolute love from God that says, there are NO rules, there is NO sin, you don’t need to do anything except receive the Grace of God!
I sometimes think, ok, if you really believe that Christ died for our sins, then BE forgiven! Stop feeling bad or guilty and receive the Grace (of course, in all humility, this is easier said than done). To quote from my Valentine, Richard Rohr, “People get trapped in chains of guilt and low self-esteem, what they judge to be poor performance and less than perfect attendance. As if the goal of religion is “attendance” at an occasional ritual instead of constant participation in an Eternal Mystery!”
So – one could say that Grace is part of the Eternal Mystery. It is hard to understand that God’s Grace is available to anyone at all times for no reason whatsoever. But that is the definition of Grace, isn’t it?
At one point, I was told repeatedly that my Grace had “run out.” That somehow my bad karma had caused my grace to dry up, I couldn’t have any more because I had, in her opinion, been a bad girl. At the time I kind of accepted that and tried to improve myself and “earn” more grace again – but now I realize that statement was not only not true in my case, it is NEVER true in any case – it is FUNDAMENTALLY false. It is completely contrary to the very definition of Grace!
If I feel bad about myself, if I believe someone else telling me I am not worthy, if I deprive myself of the experience of Grace that is available to me at all times, then that is my own doing. Likewise, if a person is angry and hateful and destructive, they probably won’t experience a lot of Grace, but that has nothing to do with their deservability – it has to do with their focus.
Grace has nothing to do with karma or sin. That’s the whole point! Grace transcends karma. Grace overrides and overrules karma. Grace trumps karma. Grace extinguishes karma. Grace kicks karma’s butt. To quote Richard Rohr again: “Divine Love is stronger than hell, death, or sin. In the end, grace wins!”
Grace is so beyond karma that there isn’t really any “versus” – Grace doesn’t even struggle with karma at all – it just shines its glorious light of infinite love and radiance endlessly through the whole universe as if karma doesn’t even exist.
One night, many years ago, as I was walking up from the temple after an evening gathering of chanting and meditation, I stopped to look up at the stars. What I “saw” with my inner eye was God’s Grace showering down upon the whole earth – like a warm golden light of luminous love, peace and absolute good that was just part of the fabric of the universe, constantly showering down upon us, radiating through our very lives even if we don’t notice. And now I somehow know that this wasn’t just a moment of Grace I happened to witness – it is ALWAYS happening. Grace is inside us all and inside all of life, the entire universe! All we have to do is realize it.
And I guess that is the tricky part – realizing it. That is where the illusion of karma comes in, the illusion of our stories, our guilt or lack of self-worth, what falsehoods we believe about ourselves or about God. I guess that is where the repentance, the prayer, the ritual and the spiritual practice comes in. That is where it’s important to be able to discern – wait, my Grace has not run out – that is impossible!
It also has to do with our judgment of others, our use of karma to blame and justify the suffering of others and to withhold the compassion that would flow naturally from our hearts if we were filled with Grace. We can’t really take the goodies of the Grace for ourselves without sharing them with everyone. Grace doesn’t work that way. So, I guess in order to live in Grace we must 1) realize that we deserve to receive God’s Grace for no reason at all and 2) realize that is true for all of us. Except that there are no “musts” when it comes to Grace. Grace is a Mystery. So, forget about everything I just said and just experience the Grace.
God’s Grace is here, it’s free, it’s radiant and embedded in the very fabric of the universe for us to simply BE.