Understanding Karma and Dharma
The Cause and Purpose of our Destiny
When individuals are facing challenging situations in their lives, nothing is less helpful than to try to rationalize with them the cause of their pain based on possible events that may have their roots anchored in a former life situation. This type of introspection, far from bringing relief and healing, may cause the adverse aspects of resentment, anger, and denial, and can easily intensify the amount of pain of their life.
The Karma and Dharma, at the same time the Cause and the Purpose of events in our lives, must be studied with care, and always with a stable state of mind when the ability to analyze and understand is not impaired by pain and lower emotions. They are powerful concepts that may bring light into situations and how they weave themselves into the fabric of our lives.
One of the best influences from the eastern wisdom to our western minds is the notion of Karma as a chain of past events, people, and circumstances that are still present in our lives as challenges to be faced and overcome.
The word Karma is now a vernacular word incorporated in every single language and culture of our Western civilization, even for those that do not necessarily accept the concept as a philosophical reality of the Eastern thought process.
This one-dimensional outlook accepts the concept as a simplified game of mathematical proportions, when in fact is much more than simple addition and subtraction: it is a complicated integral with a cluster of causes that interact with each other holographically, generating an effect.
The complete understanding of this concept is difficult because of how it is currently disseminated as a stand-alone concept. When it was originally taught, Karma was explained in context with other important concepts, such as its counterparts Dharma and Samskara.
For the beginning student, Dharma can easily turn out to be a much more complex concept than Karma. Its original meaning can be assumed to be something such as correct conduct, purpose, evolution, teaching, moral rectitude, spirituality and divine purpose. But still after all these definitions; the concept of Dharma is not easily definable because all the translations are incomplete and partial in their meaningful descriptions.
As a complementary principle to the notion of Karma, Dharma could be well defined as a tendency or line of conduct we have to incorporate into our lives as a result of alignment with our Karma; the direction, or pathway we must trail during this lifetime.
In fact, our Karma is compounded by many different conflictions, diverse procedures and circumstances resultant of some harmonic and some dis-harmonic actions of our re-incarnational path. The tangent resulting of these multiple actions points towards a determined direction or course that is aligned with the Universal Divine Order and our lives. This is Dharma.
Christianity regards Dharma as the “divine plan of our lives”. Nevertheless, in order to achieve the Dharma in our lives, we need to first navigate the tormentous waters of the Karma until there is no longer dissonance and our internal world is aligned with our exterior world. When this alignment is achieved, there is no longer a difference between our Karma and our Dharma. The more we work towards a transmutation of the Karma, the more we manifest our Dharmic purpose in life. When the complete strength of the Soul becomes awakened in the physical form, Karma and Dharma balance and they become the same.
Even in the most painful moments of our lives, we are simultaneously working our Karma and Dharma, because ultimately our Dharma is the entire purpose we came to unfold in this lifetime.
The comprehension of these two complementary concepts is the keystone for the building of a strong foundation of knowledge, which will facilitate the enduring of difficult situations in our existences. Both of these aggregate unknown and unseen casual forces that tend to shape our destinies, changing action by action, choice by choice, the overview of our lives through both nice and less than nice experiences. Pain and suffering seem to manifest a Dharmic purpose as well as the Karmic system of rewarding cause and effect.
Through human suffering lie the hard lessons or re-directive guidance that sows the seeds of tolerance, compassion, empathy, and patience.