Authors: Gary Zukav
There are personalities that are selfish and hostile and negative, but even in these cases we cannot fully know the reasons why. These are hidden from view. That does not mean that we cannot recognize negativity when we see it, but we cannot judge it: That is not our place. If we intervene in an argument, or break up a fight, it is not appropriate that we judge the participants. Of one thing we can be certain: a person that is engaging in violence is hurting deeply, because a healthy and balanced soul is incapable of harming another.
When we judge, we create negative karma. Judgment is a function of the personality. When we say of another \ soul, “She is worthy,” or, “He is not worthy,” we create
negative karma. When we say of an action, “This is right,” or, “That is wrong,” we create negative karma. This does not mean that we should not act appropriately to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
If our car is hit by another car, for example, and the driver of the other car is drunk, it is appropriate that the other driver be held responsible, through the courts, for the repair of our car. It is appropriate that he or she be prohibited from driving while intoxicated. It is not appropriate that we allow our actions to be motivated by feelings of indignation, righteousness or victimization. These feelings are the result of judgments that we make about ourselves and the other person, assessments through which we see ourselves as superior to another being.
If we act upon these feelings, not only do we increase the karmic obligations of our soul, but we also are not able to enter into these feelings and learn from them. Feelings, as we shall see, are the means through which we can discern the parts of itself that the soul seeks to heal, and through which we come to see the action of the soul in physical matter. The road to your soul is through your heart.
If we are to engage the viewpoint of the soul, we must cease from judging, even those events that appear to be unfathomable, such as the cruelty of an inquisition or a holocaust, the death of an infant, the prolonged agony of a death by cancer, or a life confined to a bed. We do not know what is being healed in these sufferings, or the details of the energetic circumstance that is coming into balance. It is appropriate that we allow ourselves to feel the compassion that such circumstances call forth in us and to act upon it, but if we allow ourselves to judge these events and those who participate in them, we create negative karma that must be balanced, and we, ourselves, will be among those souls that choose to participate in circumstances that are necessary to that balancing.
If we do not judge, how can there be justice?
Gandhi was beaten several times during his life. Although on two occasions he nearly died, he refused to prosecute his attackers because he saw that they were doing “what they thought was right.” This position of non judgmental acceptance was central in Gandhi’s life. The Christ did not judge even those who spit in His face, and who subjected Him without mercy to His pain and humiliation. He asked forgiveness, not vengeance, for those who tortured Him. Did neither the Christ nor Gandhi know the meaning of justice?
They knew nonjudgmental justice.
What is non judgmental justice?
Non judgmental justice is a perception that allows you to see everything in life, but does not engage your negative emotions. Non judgmental justice relieves you of the self-appointed job of judge and jury because you know that everything is being seen-nothing escapes the law of karma-and this brings forth understanding and compassion. Non judgmental justice is the freedom of seeing what you see and experiencing what you experience without responding negatively. It allows you to experience directly the unobstructed flow of the intelligence, radiance and love of the Universe of which our physical reality is a part. Non judgmental justice flows naturally from understanding the soul and how it evolves.
This, then, is the framework of our evolutionary process: the continual incarnation and reincarnation of the energy of the soul into physical reality for the purposes of healing and balancing its energy in accordance with the law of karma. Within this framework we evolve, as individuals and as a species, through the cycle of being unempowered to becoming empowered, yet the experiences that we encounter in this process need not be the kind that we have encountered to now.
The framework of karma and reincarnation in which we evolve is neutral. Actions and reactions in the physical arena set energy into motion, forming our experiences and revealing in the process the lessons that the soul has yet to learn. When our, actions create discord in another person, we, ourselves, in this lifetime or in another, will feel that discord. Likewise, if our actions create harmony and empowerment in another, we also will come to feel that harmony and empowerment. This allows us to experience the effects of what we have created, and thereby to learn to create responsibly.
The framework of karma and reincarnation is impersonal, and provides for each soul, in response to the actions of its personalities, the experiences that it requires in order to evolve. Therefore, the orientation, or the attitude, with which a personality approaches the evolutionary process determines the nature of the experiences that will be required for the evolution of its soul. An angry personality, for example, will respond to the difficulties of its life with anger, and thereby bring into being the necessity of experiencing the results of anger; a sorrowful personality will respond sorrowfully and bring into being the necessity of experiencing the results of sorrow, and so on.
A person who is angry, and yet reveres Life, however, will respond very differently to the difficulties of his or her life than a person who is angry and has no reverence for Life. The person who has no reverence for Life will not hesitate to strike out against Life. The violence that is released in killing another person, or another living creature, is much greater than the violence that is released in speaking angry words. The karmic obligation-the energy imbalance-that is created by killing can be balanced only by the experience of a commensurate brutality. Thus, a person who is reverent will automatically be spared the severe karmic consequences of one who is not.
Even if all of our species were reverent, that would riot end the need for us to move through our own evolution. It would just change the quality of the learning within the process of evolution. In other words, if we became reverent this day, we would not be exempt from the demands of our evolution, but the quality of the experiences that we would encounter would be different. We would not harm Life. We would still learn the same thing, but in the process of learning, we would not seek to harm or to destroy. Our journey from powerlessness to authentic empowerment would continue, but the nature of that experience would change. We would not encounter the types of experiences that result from a perception of the world that lacks reverence.
We see Life as cheap. This perception pervades all of our perceptions. When we look at the animal kingdom, for example, we see the activities within this kingdom as verification of our evaluation of Life. We see animals kill and feed upon other animals, and we conclude that weaker forms of Life exist only to nourish the stronger. We justify our exploitation of Life upon what we perceive to be the design of Nature. We maim and kill. We create situations in which millions of people starve while we store grain in silos and pour milk down drains. We look upon each other as prey to satisfy our emotional and physical needs. We say, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world,” and that to survive in it we must take advantage of others before they take advantage of us. We look upon Life as a contest that produces winners and losers, and we feel no restraints upon us when the needs of other people or other groups threaten us.
Our behavior and values are so much shaped by perceptions that lack reverence that we do not know what it is like to be reverent. When we curse a competitor or strive to disempower another person, we absent ourselves from reverence. When we work to take instead of to give, we labor without reverence. When we strive for safety at the expense of another person’s safety, we deprive ourselves of the protection of reverence. When we judge one person as superior and another as inferior we depart from reverence. When we judge ourselves, we do the same thing. Business, politics, education, sex, raising families and personal interactions without reverence all produce the same result: human beings using other human beings.
Our species has become arrogant. We behave as though the Earth were ours to do with as we please. We pollute its land, oceans and atmosphere to satisfy our needs without thinking of the needs of the other life forms that live upon the Earth, or of the needs of the Earth. We believe that we are conscious and that the Universe is not. We think and act as though our existence as living forces in the Universe will end with this lifetime, and that we are responsible neither to others nor to the Universe.
It is not possible for a reverent person to exploit his or her friends, coworkers, city, nation, or planet. It is not possible for a reverent species to create caste systems, child labor, nerve gas or nuclear weapons. Therefore, it is not possible for a reverent person, or a reverent species, to accumulate the type of karma that such activities create.
Why is this? What is reverence?
Reverence is engaging in a form and a depth of contact with Life that is well beyond the shell of form and into essence. Reverence is contact with the essence of each thing and person and plant and bird and animal. It is contact with the interior of its beingness. Even if you cannot sense the interior, it is enough to know that the form, the shell, is merely an outer layer, and that underneath it the true power and essence of who a person is, or what a thing is, is present. That is what is honored in reverence.
Process is honored in reverence. The unfolding of Life, the maturation process, the process of growing through and coming into your own empowerment, is a process that needs to be approached with reverence.
The cycles of Life need to be approached with reverence. They have been in place for billions of years. They are the reflection of the natural breathing of the soul of Gala itself, the Earth consciousness, as it moves its force fields and guides the cycles of Life. If these are revered, how could we look at something as exquisite as our Earth’s ecology and do one thing that would risk the balance of this system?
Reverence is an attitude of honoring Life. You do not have to be authentically empowered to be gentle with Life or to love Life. There are many people who are not authentically empowered but who are quite reverent. They would harm nothing. Often it is the case that they are the most compassionate and the most loving people because they have suffered so much.
Whether a person is reverent depends essentially upon whether he or she accepts the principle of the sacredness of Life, any way that he or she defines sacred.
Reverence is also simply the experience of accepting that all Life is, in and of itself, of value.
Reverence is not respect. Respect is a judgment. It is a response to the perception of qualities that we ourselves admire, or have been taught to admire. Qualities that. are admired by the people of one culture may not be admired by the people of another culture, or by the people of a subculture, or by another generation of the same culture. Therefore, what is respected by some people may not be respected by others. It is possible to respect one person and not respect another, but it is not possible to revere one person without revering every person.
Reverence is a perception, but it is a holy perception. The perception of holiness is not one that we use continually. It is one that we apply to religion, but not to the process of evolution or the learning process of the human Life, and so we do not approach the need to learn and all of the learning experiences of our lives with regard for their purpose against the background of spiritual development. Perceiving in this way is true reverence, because it allows you to look at what you are going through and to see it within the framework of the evolution and the maturation of your own spirit. It is true reverence, because it enables you to look at all the evolutions that are taking place simultaneously with your own, in all of the kingdoms of Life, and fully appreciate, or at least see very differently, how they unfold.
Only when we see through eyes that lack reverence, for example, does the feeding of one animal upon another appear to be a cruel system instead of one where species learn to give to each other, where there is a natural give and take and sharing of the energies between kingdoms. This is ecology: the natural redistribution of energy between kingdoms. It is only our kingdom, the human kingdom, that wants to warehouse energy, to use much more than it needs and to store what it does not, so that the balance of the cycle is disturbed so dramatically. If each of us took only what he or she needed for that day, it would be perfect. Animals do not warehouse like us, except in the case of animals that need to for winter.
The perception of reverence allows us to see the interdependency of different species from ‘a more comprehensive and compassionate perspective. It allows us to see the significance of each living creature, and its experiences, to the compassionate unfolding of the Universe. This perspective is much less likely to create violent or destructive responses within us as we grow through our lives because it reveals in each moment the value of all Life.
Approaching and regarding Life with an attitude of reverence permits the experience of being unempowered but not cruel. As you work toward becoming reverent, your tendencies toward harming others and other forms of Life diminish. As you acquire a sense of reverence, you develop a capacity to think more deeply about the value of Life before you commit your energy to action. When you are fully reverent, you cannot harm Life, even though you are unempowered. Without reverence the experience of being unempowered can become a very cruel one because a disempowered person is a frightened person, and if a frightened person has no sense of reverence, he or she will harm or kill indiscriminately.