INQUISITIVENESS IS A valuable faculty. Properly used it leads to the acquisition of much knowledge. To want to know, and to insist upon knowing, is carrying into effect the law “Seek, and ye shall find.” Inquisitiveness is always decried by self-satisfied people who have reached the period when they lock the brakes on their thinking machinery for fear that a new thought might enter, and they skid along on old ideas. But it has been a real moving force in all advancement, in spite of all opposition. He who is satisfied that things are, without caring to know the whys and the hows, never gets anywhere. But the child who wants to know what makes the wheels go round is on the road to a liberal education and a deep understanding of things. Such a one will progress and discover wonders where others see nothing remarkable.
It was this spirit that led me to take up scientific work. Your true scientist is imbued with inquisitiveness. He always wants to know why, how, and what next. A real scientist is an active seeker after the truth of things. He cares not how he gets it nor how long it takes him. That is why we have made such great advances in the last few years. My own following of this method of thought opened the way to much useful knowledge; best of all, it gave me an understanding of the omnipresence of God that I could never have got otherwise. My inquisitiveness opened up a trail that led straight to God as all there is. Scientifically, we see that the presence of intelligence everywhere is the only possible explanation of the universe. There is nothing remarkable in this conclusion; I merely followed a certain definite, fundamental law to its logical conclusion, while working back to the beginning of things.
The first fact impressed deeply on us as students was that nothing ever happens without a cause, and that a certain cause will always produce a certain result. This is the law of cause and effect, which is fixed and unchangeable. Many human ideas that are pure superstitions would be avoided if this principle could be definitely borne in mind at all times. The laws of the Medes and Persians were supposed to be absolute and unalterable, but they have disappeared from among us, while the law of cause and effect is still in force, just as it always has been and always will be. It is a law of God, of Principle, while the others were man-made.
When we were students, we found by observation and experiment, both of which are methods of getting answers to questions, that this law is absolute and dependable. The old saw “There is no smoke without fire” is a popular way of expressing this truth. All scientific work is based upon recognition of the immutability of this law. We learned to seek the cause of every action, then to start causes working in order to get certain results.
If by chance the latter did not come out exactly as we expected, the problem then was to find the cause of the variation; for we knew that since the law never fails, there must be one.
Later we learned, also through observation, that our understanding of this law required an addition. The effect of one cause may of itself be the cause of another effect. This again may start something else, and so on indefinitely. The law of cause and effect works out as an endless chain of events, each being at once the result of that which preceded it and the cause of results to come. The old rhyme of the lost horseshoe nail expresses this chainlike working of the law in a forcible manner. While we began working with this law in the material realm, we discovered that it applies in the mental field with the same force. For everything that happens begins in the mind.
Many years after leaving college I became interested in metaphysics, and I soon saw that every-thing that exists is formed first in the realm of Spirit, and then comes forth into the material form. This being so, the law of cause and effect is just as active in that kingdom as in the lower. In fact, if it were not a universal law of creation in the invisible, it could not be an absolute law. In following this lead logically, we go straight back to God as the one cause of all things, for there must be a first cause. We also discover that He works through this law.
Now, I know that you are asking how all this can possibly concern your life. It has everything to do with the conditions in which you now find yourself. The law, being absolute, works on every plane of your being. You have been using it all the time, but you have not used it wisely, so you may not be pleased with the results of what you started. If you put a cause in operation in the mental realm it will work out in the material. That is really the only way we ever accomplish anything in the so-called material world. We start it in the mental realm, and the law does the rest. “As he [man] thinketh within himself, so is he” is an ancient expression of this fact. Thought is a definite cause. The more firmly we concentrate on it, the more powerfully it acts. The character of the result that comes from this process will depend entirely on the kind of thought held and will correspond to it. An idea of imperfection will bring forth trouble in the body or affairs. A thought of good brings forth good just as surely as lighting a lamp dispels the darkness.
About the time that I reached these conclusions I came across an Oriental package, wrapped in mystery and tied up with the string of secrecy. It was labeled “karma,” and it was supposed to be some strange law, unknown to us Westerners, that wields a terrible power over man in spite of all that he can do. My inquisitiveness being still active, I boldly ripped the bundle open, and found, under the strange name, our old friend the law of cause and effect working in our life.
That was all that the package contained, and that is the law of karma that seems to frighten so many people. The only difference is that the Oriental philosophers gave deeds, acts, as the beginning of karma. Now, we know that every act is first a thought, so we must go further back than they did right into the realm of ideas. Then we see that the law is true.
Having discovered this law that rules us and having found that it is absolute, those ancient sages concluded that man is bound by it, with no chance of escape. Consequently he can expect no change in conditions, because the law must work itself out to the very finish. That is, a line of thought, once started, must continue to the end, whether it raises man to sublime heights or destroys him. It is true that most people accept it in this way, and if things do not suit them, they claim that it is their karma working and that they can do nothing about it. If this were true, man would be a very helpless being. But we know that it is not so, although the law is unchangeable. Every law is subject to modification if it cannot be broken, and a law may be applied in more than one way.
Now let us study the working of this law, and we shall see how we can bring about changes with-out attempting to break it. At some time in your life you concentrated on a thought, which produced its effect. This was the first link in the chain. Your reaction to this effect caused you to hold the same thought or one like it. This produced a similar effect, but a more powerful one! This was the second link. The process continued, the chain becoming heavier and stronger all the time as you established this line of thinking. Now it is working out in your life for good or bad, according to the character of the original thought. This may extend very far back. The chain now holding you may have originated during childhood. If reincarnation is a fact, it may have been started in some previous existence, and it is still working because you have continued to add similar links. This idea is very far from being impossible.
Some people say that the idea of karma is not Christian, but Paul called attention to this law in no uncertain terms when he said, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” It is true. If you sow thoughts of thistles you will reap thistles, which will tear your fingers and cause you real sorrow. But if you sow thoughts of sweet peas, you will reap beauty and fragrance in your affairs, which will give you pleasure.
When Jesus advised us to do unto others as we would have them do to us, He was pointing out an application of this law. If you send a thought of love or of dislike to another, or if you express the thought in some act toward him, you have put in operation a cause that will bring back to you just what you gave out. It may not come from this person directly, but it will come in some way; for Jesus affirmed that the law is sure and unchangeable, and every investigation bears this out. The law of cause and effect, karma, is absolute.
Now here is the situation. You are living and working under this unchangeable law. It is a very important factor in your search for happiness. If things don’t suit you, what are you going to do about it? There are two ways open to you. If the fact that the law cannot be broken frightens you, you will undoubtedly follow the lead of the Eastern fatalists and do nothing but bemoan your lot, thinking that it cannot be changed. You will have many companions to share your misery; for this idea is not confined to the Orient by any means, it is quite widespread among our people. This is far from being the best way, however, and the time will come when you will be obliged to take the other road. Why not do it now?
If you choose to take the best way, begin by giving thanks that the law is absolute. If it were uncertain in its action, you could not depend on getting definite results. Being unalterable, you can rely on it, and you must do this; for you are going to use the law instead of letting it use you. Don’t think that this is impossible. Just consider. You are adding links to the chain every day, every instant, in fact; but no person or power can compel you continually to add the same variety. You have the power of choosing the kind of thoughts you build into your mental structure, and since the law is absolute, you may know in advance what kind of results you will get. If you have been forging around your neck an iron chain of sickness, sorrow, and hard luck, stop it. Change your materials. Forge golden links of love, health, happiness, and success. Use these instead of the old ones, and you will create for yourself a nice new karma that will bring you the joy that the old one kept away from you. Freedom is better than fetters.
Cease being the slave of karma. Be the master craftsman, making the law produce the definite, good results that you desire. You may doubt your ability or your right to do this. God created the law, and He uses it as a method of work. You are a child of God and you have in you the power of using His laws. It only requires that you know your sonship. Until you do know this, you are under the law, a slave to it. But the minute you know yourself as His child you become free, and this freedom gives you the power to make use of the law. From this time, if you remain subservient to it, it is your own fault.
There is another law that helps to bring freedom. This is the law of grace or free forgiveness, as Jesus announced it. Forgive yourself all the mistakes of the past, then you will be free to take right hold of your karma and make it what it should be. The law of forgiveness will release you from bondage to the chain of the past, it is true; but you must immediately begin to construct the new chain you de-sire, or the old one will come right back. “Sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee.” If you repeat the old thoughts, you will recreate the old karma and it will be heavier, because it will contain all the old links as well as the new. But if you forgive these old thoughts and let them go while you create the good, you will find that everything will work out as you desire. You see, the law of grace does not annul the law of karma. It modifies it, wiping out the errors and giving you a chance to make a new start. Now is the time to do this.
Here is where care is necessary. To think a golden thought in the morning and then follow it with iron, brass, and lead throughout the day will not be productive of good results. Your lone golden link will be outweighed and the day’s chain will resemble the duller, heavier links. Continual watch-fulness is the word. You must pick every thought with care. Should a negative idea creep in, nullify it at once by a strong affirmation of the good. Get in the habit of doing this if you wish to keep your freedom and have a good karma.
You have a strong ally in this work. Christ in you is the lord of karma. Turn to Him and claim His power. Claim your true identity in His name as I AM, and assert it. In the consciousness of I AM there is freedom and power. Here you can, with His help, throw off instantly the old rusty iron links that have been holding you, and begin to create the golden chain of All-Good to which you are entitled. And still the law will not be broken. Christ does not break the law, although He is its master. He does not come to you to destroy it, but to use it. He fills it so full of good that only good can result from its action. And that is what you really desire. But you must ask Him to take charge. Ask Him to keep you steadfast in the right way. Then you will have no trouble with this law; for it is a perfect servant when you are master, because it is absolute.
No, the law can never be broken, but it can be made productive of good. God never fails, consequently the law through which He works cannot fail. This point cannot be made too strong. I have heard people say that the law does not work for them. Their expressed doubt is what is holding them in bondage to the infallible law. It is pre-venting them from demonstrating their mastery of it. When you say, “I cannot fail because Christ in me cannot fail,” you have made a start in the right direction. You have begun the golden chain of success, which must work out as you hold to the law. What would you have? All good? It is all yours now if you become master of the law of cause and effect and work with it, using it as a magnificent tool. But the law must be followed consistently and continually, or you will sink back into the old conditions and be obliged to start all over again. Choose to be master, claim your unity with God, and let your Christ consciousness keep the law working for your good. This is what you should do with your karma.
In Christ I am free from bondage. I am not a slave to the law, I am its master, and I use the law to make my life perfect.”
“For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.”