Karma: Pre-destiny or Free Will?

We have finished our talks on karma with the question “Is there free will or are we pre-destined based on our karma?” Here is a summary of the discussion and some little notes of my own:

Karma teaches us to evolve. We reap the fruits of our actions with precision but there is still room for Divine grace. Grace cannot be earned or gained, it is God, it is devotion, it is absolute freedom. All spiritual traditions claim that God is love. Grace is purely God’s love, we know that we don’t deserve it but it loosens the bonds of karma. Grace manifests through opportunities for us to grow, not as a result. Evolution has no short cuts so we must grow through experiences. 

Today as I was running I was praying to God to help me lose weight, to give me perseverance, determination, and keep me injury free. In that same moment the wind changed and started pushing against me making the run even harder. Then, some huge waves came and I was treading through water. I started laughing, I was really hoping more for fat to melt off me in the middle of the night not for my run to become more challenging! It is a silly example but we learn and grow through experiences, not miracles. We have to put in self effort. A farmer does not know if it will rain but he plows the fields and plants the seeds anyways. Rain is like the grace of God, without it there is no fruit. But, if the farmer does not put in the self effort of planting the seeds then he will definitely not get any fruit, he will just get mud!

The fruits of past actions must be experienced but there is still room for us to change how we react to these experiences. We can work with the laws of nature to remove suffering. It may be your karma to experience disease and you end up with the flu but you have the choice to suffer through it or take medicine to ease the suffering. Fighting karma is an impossible battle but you can learn to react in positive and neutral ways to prevent planting more negative seeds. The say each second there are sixty karmic seeds planted, you better make sure they are good ones! Our karma that plays out in this lifetime is like inheriting a piece of land. The size, location, and climate are pre-determined but through self effort we can make the land into a beautiful garden or a filthy dump. Destiny is your own creation through your thoughts and actions. Make an effort to plant positive seeds!

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