On Karma and Christianity

In my view, the problem with Karma is that people take it as a concept, and think on it by deduction and logic, using it as a formula, which in reality explains nothing. Speaking very personally, the IDEA of Karma is pretty useless to me, spiritually speaking.

The "karma" explanations people use are often no more than rationalization, and this is a trap that blocks our ability to make direct contact with the spirit in the world. The challenge when working with karma in thinking, and with any other of the "facts" of anthroposophy, is to talk of them in a way that is not mere intellectuality, to transform our brain so that we can "hear" the wisdom through inspiration, not reason on it. We must learn to talk in a different way.

My feeling is that as long as we think of Karma as a "principle", a "law", etc. in the abstract, we won't reach a Christian understanding of it. I find meaning in seeing how the spiritual past, or a past incarnation, has left its mark in the present one, or how spiritual qualities in a future life are being prepared, with the person's spirit in the middle either "trapped" or "blessed" because of it, striving to transform or to stand up in the middle as the conscious co-creator of his life.

I see this understanding or this "clear-seeing" as a part of life, as a part of the river of time in endless transformation, carrying its birth in the mountains and its ending in the ocean always with it.

But it is not important. Other  values like love, faith, grace, compassion, dignity, healing, peace, and above all, LIFE, LIVING! (and all their denials), are more important, more present. Because of this, without denying that MAYBE "karma" is fundamental for a spiritual understanding of life, I have never been able to feel it that way.

I take accidents as if they were dreams, and --the same as with sickness-- interpret them as one interprets a dream, or a person's facial features. Mabel Collins says in "Light On The Path": "Listen to the song of life". This is what I do. And I hear the music, the meaning, and I don't have to bring speculations about karma in the equation, unless of course karma is part of the song itself.

This little book of Mabel Collins never says anything about "Christ", but if you read it, especially the commentaries to the rules, you will see how it overflows with Christian virtue and power. In my opinion one doesn't have to know anything of Christ to be a Christian. All one needs is let oneself be struck by the spear, let one's heart be pierced by the sword, and then, as the Gospel says (Luke 2:35) "the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed".

Talking of karma is not compatible with "consciousness soul" or "Christian" feelings. This does not mean that it doesn't exist, it means that if we don't learn to think in a very different way about it, it is useles. "Karma", as concept, is not Christianized yet. I suggested that "karma" and "destiny" disappear, and in their place stands a very personal and intimate relationship with LIFE. This, to me, is what belongs to the "I".

It may be that in a Christian or consciousness-soul world, we don't talk of abstract entities or objects of thought, like in theology or in philosophy, but of relationships with living and personal entities. I relate to life as if Life were a person, or to Death, or to Love as a visitation that comes. If there is an "I", everything else becomes "thou", and this "thou" with whom my soul talks and through which I discover myself, is MY life, and my death, and the light in my path, which is Love.

So conscious living is a dialogue, and "karma" is no longer a "principle" or a law in the abstract, but part of the manifestation of Life, the presence of the past and of the future transformed and made eloquent in the present. I no longer say "my karma", but say instead "my life", and it is something I "receive". I don't try to explain things out of philosophical formulas or elaborated ideas, because even if they are very elaborate or "infallible" --which they will never be--, they would be no explanations at all to me. They wouldn't add to "meaning".

"Meaning" and "explanation" are very relative things, historically and culturally. The importance of clear thinking is not the construction of a philosophical system to explain the world out and become a dogma like marxism or theology or "science", or "The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity". To me thinking is a movement without end, an intense and infinite dialogue with "reality" or Life, something through which I produce myself constantly, something to which I give birth, shape, and form, in return for the "things" giving themselves to me: what I do with my thinking is "say them", transform them in the oven of my "I" and utter them, spiritualizing and communicating them.

How grateful I am that the "things" of the world give themselves to me! And how grateful they are that I am able to utter them to the world! What a glorious reciprocity! It is a never-ending creation and transformation, always giving birth to myself and to the world in mutual and loving acknowledgement. How do I love giving voice to You! I would be nothing if it were not You...

When I become conscious of how I create my own destiny, and assume responsibility for it as something that I have chosen, or as something that I accept, then the idea of "destiny" and of "karma" begins to fade away, and instead of that appears a relationship.

What happens to me, then, is not because of destiny or of karma, and it no longer "happens" to me. It is something that I encounter, something that comes, or that I have come to, but it is not "it" or a thing, it is not an object, it is not an abstraction; it is Life, with which I relate in a certain manner, as when I meet a person, and which is also a mystery, because this other which I have encountered is also me.

"Acceptance" is a key to understand this; like faith and like love, it is not a concept, nor a sentiment, but a choice and an act of will. It is something which involves my whole being... it is a presence, it is my "I", it is me.

Then I am ready to OBEY. I listen to the Voice, and I obey. And the more I obey, the freer I am.

So much for my little philosophy of freedom. It is not based on any doctrine and it may be lousy philosophy, but it is mine, and I live by it.

Juan Antonio Revilla
San Josť, Costa Rica, September 4, 1999.

Return to index page