Karma is a term in that comprises the entire cycle of cause and effect.
Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done and is currently doing. The effects of those deeds actively create present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life (see also Creating Your Own Reality). In religions that incorporate reincarnation, karma extends through one's present life and all past and future lives as well.
The law of Karma is central in Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.
Reincarnation And Religion
Incidentally, reincarnation was an accepted ideology in the early Christian church. In fact when Jesus first began his ministry, many people thought he was the prophet Elijah reincarnated.
There is widespread argument about whether the early Christian Church edited out the reincarnation concept from the bible to give it more power over the people. Wikipedia elaborates more on this topic.
The early gospels of hristian Gnostics taught the doctrine of reincarnation. In 1945, their sacred writings, the Nag Hammadi text, were discovered in upper Egypt, a location where many Christians fled during the Roman invasion of Jerusalem.
Gnosis means 'knowledge'. Gnostics differed from Christians in their relation to their sacred texts, because they attached importance to the esoteric, and not the historical. The writings include the Gospel of Thomas and pre-date the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These texts propose interpretations and Christian rituals different from the Nicene Creed which was officialised in 325 AC at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, called by Emperor Constantine, which proclaimed these texts as as heretical at the time. This led to them being gathered together, concealed and hidden. These Christian Gnostics were ultimately destroyed by the orthodox Church for being heretics.
It is my belief that reincarnation is a fact. Everything in life occurs in cycles, so too, I believe does the soul's evolution.
I was a member of the church for 25 years. I did not just attend for 'hatches, matches and dispatches!' I was a regular weekly attendee. However, I just could not accept certain things that did not 'ring true' to me. Always an independent thinker, I will never be prepared to swallow anything just to 'fit in'. Gradually, I found myself falling away from attending. Listen to the voice of the (Native American) Elders:
"Our religion seems foolish to you, but so does yours to me.
The Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians and the Catholics
all have a different God.
Why cannot we have one of our own?"
~ Sitting Bull - Hunkpapa Lakota ~
Heaven and Hell?
The Creator gave each culture a path to God. To the Indian people, he revealed that the Creator is in everything. Everything is alive with the Spirit of God. The water is alive. The trees are alive. The woods are alive. The mountains are alive. The wind is alive. The Great Spirit's breath is in everything and that's why it's alive. All of nature is our church, we eat with our families in church, we go to sleep in church.
I am not Indian, but I know Truth when I read it.
Sadly, I am now considered by certain members of my family to have "fallen by the wayside". Well, that's too bad. I could no longer believe in the concept that only Christians went to Heaven and the rest were consigned to Hell. It just did not speak to me of a loving Creator. Jesus said "My Father's house has many mansions" I believe Him. I believe IN Him. I have also witnessed the terrible control the Catholic Church (and other religious faiths) holds over its millions of followers by terror of eternal damnation.
My children were all brought up in the church to give them a strong foundation. They are all believers but are encouraged also to be free thinkers. I am at peace with my position with my Creator. He sees the INTENTIONS of my heart.
Back to Karma...
I have always believed that we can never find lasting happiness at the expense of someone else's misery. Call it the Law of Karma; cause and effect; casting your bread upon the waters; ... it really does not matter what you call it. Universal Laws and Universal Truths are eternal and true. We cannot escape them. I know this to be true! I have seen this law operate in my circle of friends with a ferocity that is frightening!
"As you sow, so shall you reap!"
~ Galatians V1 ~
Believe me, when someone does you a bad turn, when someone betrays a trust, we should in actual fact, pray for them. The old Testament taught us 'Vengeance is mine sayeth The Lord!' Therefore, no matter how betrayed, angry and bitter we may feel, be assured that universal punishment (cause and effect) shall be applied. I also believe that if you love that person, no matter how badly they have treated you, you should always forgive them. In fact we should pray especially for those who we do not like.
We often do not like them because we see a part of ourselves we do not want to own in them. (They are our mirrors) Give thanks for all of the people who cross your path. Many of them have been sent to you by a higher power to teach you a lesson.
Prayer is powerful, awesome and real. We all need it in our lives. We experience the effect of whatever we put out to the universe (whether in thought or in deed). It comes back to us. I try to live my life harming nobody and am ever mindful that for every action there is a consequence. I believe treating others as I would like to be treated.
I have felt the angry fire of hatred in my soul on several occasions in the past. It has been so powerful it has stirred up things that are attracted to that same vibrational energy (like attracts like)! I no longer allow myself to hate anyone. If I feel it, I try to meditate on the damage that this power does to its keeper.
"Act is the blossom of thought,
and joy and suffering are its fruits."
~ James Allen (from As A Man Thinketh) (1864 -1912) ~
"Morality is a human creation.
The Universe does not judge."
~ Gary Zukov ~ Author of 'Seat Of The Soul'
The emotions of hatred eats away at us and on a spiritual level it attracts low-level entities like moths to a flame!
I have tried to bring my children up with this awareness and it seems to be working, because if I should ever be very vehement about something or someone who has done me a grave disservice, they remind ME what I have taught THEM!
I have also told them to avoid anyone who claims to have 'all the answers'. I truly believe nobody has all the answers while inhabiting the earth plane. As human beings we are limited in our knowing.
I only know that we are all connected.
All God's family, all 'Jock Tamson's Bairns' as they say in Scotland.
As such, what affects YOU affects ME.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should
~ Desiderata ~