this is a public service message; SEVEN KARMIC ACTIONS TO CULTIVATE A sense of ethics Personal ethics is the foundation of good personal Karma. Collectively applied among people, it is the foundation of a peaceful world evolution. It is the individual personal ethics of people-- honesty, integrity, etc.--which constitute the real spiritual core of a civilization. All rational progress is in direct relationship to the degree that people make their spiritual ethics live in their life's actions. Thus Living Ethics is the key to the realization of the ideal of Brotherhood. A sense of ethics is essential if anyone is to develop character. Whether your ethics are based upon the Ten Commandments, Jesus' revision of same, the aphorisms of Confucius, Buddha's noble eight-fold path or a simple humanistic approach to living together in peace, it is important for you to: 1) be aware of ethics and, 2) formulate some kind of moral code. If you just go along with life and never sit down and think about your personal ethics, you will find your ethics--such as they are--being formed by the movies, TV, the government and pop music. Not a good thing. In the final analysis, your life is a reflection of your ethics. Without ethics, you invite chaos into your personal life through Karmic retribution. With a sense of ethics, you are able to intuit that there is such a thing as improvement in character and this will lead ultimately to the recognition of spiritual perfection. Not a bad thing! The Ancient Wisdom says, "Think constantly of your ethics and keep them on a high plane and others will think highly of you." A sense of duty The Mahatmas (High Souls) call duty the "cement of the universe." They value it higher than even love. They say that without a clear sense of duty, Their Brotherhood would have collapsed into atoms eons ago. Thus doing one's duty is a primal Karmic lever, i.e., it's an action which can have a pan-Karmic effect in clearing up one's total Karma. Duty essentially means that we meet and fulfill all our obligations. An unfulfilled obligation makes Karma for us and we will have to fulfill it in every way before we can neutralize that Karma. And, if we do not fulfill our duty in our present life, it will be that much harder to fulfill in the next life. Karma is action, so act we must. If we put things off, we only compound our Karma. There can also be a sense of heroism about doing one's duty. One can easily imagine oneself standing in the breech when everyone else has deserted and run. This is not a fantasy, but a metaphor for those situations where the fulfillment of duty is most highly valued--when it is over and above the normal call of duty. The great number of books and movies that make use of this theme attest to its value. We never know when we might be called upon to act in a similar situation, but if we always fulfill our duties and all accepted obligations, when it does come, we will do our duty. The Ancient Wisdom says, "Think as a hero and you will always do your duty." A sense of gratitude One wonders where and how insights into the metaphysics of life--the unseen forces which affect one's daily life and all of one's relationships--are acquired. The answer is gratitude. This is a difficult word because it doesn't fully explain the inner feeling one experiences when a crack of light has illuminated us. True, we earn all the light we receive, but when we are grateful for it, we set up a Karmic channel whereby we will receive more. If we are not grateful, Karma will cut off that channel. Thus gratitude works on the principle of supply and demand. If we demand insights into the light, we must supply the forces of light with gratitude for sending them. This doesn't mean we jump up and down and fill the air with hosannas of praise. It is more a feeling of the heart. This feeling is unmistakable because the heart will feel as if it has wings. And there is much truth in that because that thought of gratitude will fly as straight as an arrow into the heart of the universe; that cosmic heart upon which we all depend for our daily nurture and sustenance. The Ancient Wisdom says, "Be grateful in spirit and your spirit will sprout wings." A sense of tolerance Tolerance is the opposite of condemnation. If we are not tolerant, we condemn--directly or indirectly. Tolerance is acceptance--of people, cultural styles, etc. There are those who would say we should be intolerant of such things as bullies, crime, wars, etc.; that too much tolerance can lead to chaos and anarchy. A case can be made for that in the earthly sense, which is why we have man-made laws and hire people to enforce them. But in the larger, Karmic sense we must realize: 1) that everyone on earth is here by cosmic right, and 2) we have all been murderers and spectators to murder ourselves. Thus if we are attacked by a bully, become a victim of crime, or are drafted into a war, etc., it is because it is our Karma and we have set that up in a past life. This is a hard truth to accept at first. We all want to think that because we have arrived at a certain station in life that we are better than common bullies and criminals. Well, we are, but we have also been bullies and criminals in our past lives. Tolerance is simply acceptance of that fact, not that we have to embrace the fact ourselves. Criminals must still be incarcerated and crime punished, but when we pronounce sentence, we should not do so from a tower of egoism--that we are better than the rabble--but from an aspect of the evolution of consciousness; that "There, but for the grace of God (Karma) go I." Because, in fact, we were once as bad as the worst person we will ever run across in our present life. The Ancient Wisdom says, "Our consciousness is measured by our tolerance." A sense of service Service to others is one of the keys to enlightenment. Since we live in a world of Spirit and Matter, we must also master that duality in Spirit and Matter. In the realm of Spirit, we achieve our mastership through study and meditation. In the realm of Matter, we achieve our mastership through service to others. Both are important. Through study and meditation, we gain knowledge of the Oneness of all life. Through service to others, we increase our capacity to know. Thus knowledge and service are two Karmic levers which, working harmoniously together, bring us illumination. Just as meditation forms a link to the outer spaces and the supermundane worlds, so does service to others form a link to all humanity. Thus we are able to pass on to others what we pull in from the invisible worlds. Service to others has the effect of "grounding" us after our flights of spirit and keeping us in spiritual equilibrium. If we do not practice service to others, we run the risk of becoming spiritual fanatics. Thus service to others can help us keep our balance in our spiritual practices. The Ancient Wisdom says, "Human beings are but different modes of a Universal Higher Consciousness. Thus as we serve others, we also serve that Higher Consciousness." A sense of joy We may find temporary happiness in a new car, a Hawaiian vacation or a raise in pay, but real joy is another matter. Christ said that joy is a "special wisdom"--that which comes from a sense of the Oneness of all life, a sense of Brotherhood on this planet and a knowledge of the existence of Higher Consciousness. Thus joy is not something we find outside of us, but inside of us. This knowledge opens us up to the truth of life and there is nothing more powerful and joyful than knowing this truth. It puts everything in life in its proper perspective. If doubt, irritation and self-pity enclose us in a cloud of darkness, joy opens up our spirit to the light. It's as if we shoot a ray of light directly from our heart to the Cosmic Heart. When this happens we receive insights into not only physical life, but also the life of the spirit. We are lifted up to new and higher levels of perception and thus able to contact and retain the higher wisdom that is there. Nothing will serve one better on the spiritual path than a sense of joy. The Ancient Wisdom says, "Preserve joy." A sense of compassion Compassion is the highest form of love. Compassion is such a high concept that the Ancient Wisdom says it will be the keynote of the next spiritual age--the Age of Maitreya--the next World Teacher. A sense of compassion is an attainment gained through applying all the other forms of positive action in one's life. Compassion comes from the full realization that everyone on earth is striving toward the light knowingly or unknowingly. It is full knowledge of the contradictory forces opposing each other daily within the human psyche--the crucifixion of the Spirit on the cross of Matter; the clash of Higher Truth with the desires of the human ego. This is a battle which will eventually be won by the Higher Truth, yet not without a great deal of pain and suffering. Its exactly as Aeschylus said: "and even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God."