Does each person have certain lessons to learn or goals to achieve in life?
We each have a mission: to finish karmas, to learn lessons, but this differs for each one and in each life. Normally we are dropped into a certain pattern for each life with our mission, accomplishments or lessons to learn. But with a little bit more will power or grace of God or a Master, our karmas can be changed. An adept astrologer can predict these indications whereby you can change your destiny.
If this were not possible, life would be morose. You would lose all joy. The scope of spontaneity and ever-new creativity is always there. But when you get stuck with a certain person, place or thing, then you are tied up with that karma. Any moment you can still purify your mind and be a new person. If you do not, then you are subject to your karma. Each one does not have to go through the same experiences in the evolution of the soul. You only need to experience that in which you are deficient.
How did we become deficient to begin with?
Through over-indulgence, recklessness, carelessness, thoughtlessness, greediness, negligence, et cetera. Deficiencies are weaknesses. You have to correct these weaknesses in your nature so that you become fresh and full. We have to go through this school of life to learn these lessons, the subjects in which we are weak. The subjects in which we are okay do not reappear in our exams.
Is it by habits or tendencies that we bring these weaknesses on ourselves?
This is true, but the habit or tendency itself is a weakness. A creative force has no habits or tendencies; it is spontaneous. A tendency or habit happens when, out of weakness, you make something into a rut. There are good and bad habits. But any habit, which in Sanskrit is called a samskar - an impression, modification or imposition of the mind - makes you weaker and ties up your mind. You like something so you want to repeat it. You make it a habit. And the sum total of your habits creates your character. As long as you are forming habits for things that you like, you are doing the same for things that you dislike. That means you are creating a relativity or dualism within which you become entrapped. If you could be balanced, disciplined, dispassionate or detached, you would not be affected by likes and dislikes. Because you are involved in this way, you are not transcending.
This is our whole mission on earth - how to get rid of clinging. There are several ways to do this: face it and be defeated; leave that person, place or thing; or renounce it. If you face it and are defeated by it, you will learn the lesson, though you may be in despair, disappointment, sadness or sorrow. If you go away from that person, place or thing, the samskar will become diluted or diminished, though it may not totally disappear. “Time is a great healer” and this is true in a yogic sense too. As time passes, your mind loses its grip on whatever habit was there. In the meantime, nature is so changing that you also come across new things such that the old habit is loosened.
The third way of dealing with cravings is to renounce them. When you do this the desire that you carry begins to reduce its potency because you are not acting on it. In renunciation you are recovering your strength, though the karma remains in seed form. Our normal fear is that by renouncing things we are missing or losing them. But if your eye is upon balancing, you will achieve freedom from clinging one day. Sometimes there are complex situations that you cannot avoid. So you have to face the situation or be defeated to pay back your karmas and be free.
Start working first upon a few weaknesses: one, two or three. Day by day, as you go on being victorious over these tendencies, you will retain more power. When it is out of your reach or beyond your capacity, leave that situation for some time. Then as you become aware of your motives, you go deeper into the cause or root motive. Let’s say you are searching for the cause of your negativities or selfishness. Selfishness itself is not a habit; it is a basic tendency like greed, attachment or lust. These basic tendencies create habits. So if you touch the selfish root cause, you are overcoming that habit slowly.
An intellectual solution is not a solution. That is just another way of avoiding. So go on pounding and harping upon that habit or tendency. Employ praying, austerities and invoking the grace of Guru until one day you shake your conscience. These methods - prayer, meditation, self-reflection or self-analysis - take time. Once your conscience is pricked or shaken, you begin to be a new person. Just be after that, day and night. Pray to God: “Release me.” Getting rid of basic tendencies is not a joyful event. You have to be ready for suffering, but ultimately the results will be joyful.
I was just reflecting on how we desire compassion but how difficult it is to stand in the light of compassion.
To stand in the light of compassion there is one condition: if you are humble you will be able to stand in the light of compassion. If you are proud or arrogant you cannot do it. Normally we equate power with a more aggressive way. Very few know the subtlest possible energy, which is also the most powerful. It comes from being non-assuming. Soft things like compassion and humility are great energy. In other words, you cannot be compassionate unless you are really strong. A weak person cannot be compassionate - only very high souls who have this kind of energy can be compassionate. It is a sign of greatness.
© 2013 by Truth Consciousness. Excerpted from the Satsangs: On Karmic Life Missions (F-3) and Sweet Resignation (M-81). For further information on the audio Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti please see page 52 or online at truthconsciousness.org.