When we encounter suffering in our lives, we sometimes incorrectly view it as punishment. For some of us, this comes from our childhood sense of a punishing God. We are suffering because God is punishing us for being bad. This is not a Buddhist view. When we suffer it is due to our karma: the actions we have taken in the past determine what happens to us in the present and the future. But suffering now means we are clearing past negative actions we won’t have to endure in the future. It does not mean we are bad and deserve to suffer.
Karma is an impersonal and objective force like gravity. If we throw a ball or a baby out of a window, they fall at the same rate of speed. Gravity doesn’t have preferences. Karma works the same way. Suffering comes from past negative actions, of which we all have innumerable. There is no punishment for acting badly; rather, we have to live with bad consequences. When we hurt others, we in fact hurt ourselves.
There aren’t any rules on our behavior, there are only guidelines that point out how we can act in our own highest interest. Helping others benefits us. When we truly act selflessly, generosity flows, and our hearts feel full in the act of giving. We feel connected with the stream of life, vast and whole.
There is no God to impress, there is no God to fail. We are completely surrounded by love, the practice is simply allowing that love to flow through us unimpeded.
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