| As long as we fail to trace the causes of our actions back to
their origin, as long as we are unable to see the chain of time, we will create our own suffering. Some of these causes may come from previous lives and be lost in the
dark night of time but we can be sure they are there.
The law of karma does not mean simply that we will be rewarded or
punished in the future for the effect of actions done today. Its main
effect is immediate. The law of karma states that the condition of our
consciousness and inner happiness is based upon how we act in the present. The main
punishment for an evil man is that he has to reside in the consciousness of evil, which cuts
himself off from his true soul and source of life.
The reward of true
virtue is that it puts us in contact with the eternal and with a sense of
well-being transcending outer circumstances. In this regard, evil is
its own punishment and virtue its own reward. By this immediate effect any
action causes us to abide in the state of consciousness which produced
it. Evil actions cause us to remain in a state of evil or petty mindedness. Good actions
give us added energy to remain in a state of peace.
Yet true good, we must remember, is always unpremeditated. We should
follow the good for its own sake, not to get the reward of good karma.
Those who seek rewards remain trapped in the surface of life and give
emphasis to outer over inner values. Action done with the intent to gain is already evil, though
it may be seeking the goal of enlightenment.