Using spirituality and psychology as a defence

1) Someone asking me to become a lecturer on an event asked me about karma:

I hear people saying, about someone else, that their ill health or poverty is ‘bad karma’. Tell that to the starving child in Africa.

She was right of course.

2) I heard a longtime Krishnamurti student saying:

Your whole work is a sign of your conditioning.

Which is not the nicest thing to say.

3) Someone I disagreed with gave me a bucket load of psychoanalysis as an explanation for our disagreement. Thankfully we were able, on practical grounds, to resolve our differences.

These three examples have one thing in common: Knowledge is used as a defense. That is: in order to not have to feel compassion for that child in Africa, their trouble is karma. In order to not have to appreciate someone working on totally different lines than her own, the Krishnamurti inspired spiritual teacher puts their whole work down to ‘conditioning’. The third is perhaps the most common today:

Instead of using psychology to fix ourselves, we take the easy way out and use it to put down those we don’t know how to deal with.

All this doesn’t mean, of course, that the knowledge in question is false. It’s just misapplied.

Karma gave us in the West a lot of wealth (though at present on bond). Wealth is responsibility, and when we collectively give to good causes we implicitly recognize that responsibility. Though we’ll pay the price for collectively living on debt. As for that poor child in Africa – perhaps death (and rebirth) is preferable to living with Aids. Perhaps. These are heartbreaking issues. Let’s not use karma as an excuse to avoid feeling them.

Conditioning is a problem we all have to deal with. I think that teacher has perhaps become conditioned to looking at people through ‘Krishnamurti’-glasses. Despite the words, that’s still conditioning. And like that person I got into a disagreement with, she’s started using his words as a defense, instead of applying them to herself. Which of course is far harder.

There’s nothing wrong with either psychology, Jiddu Krishnamurti or the law of karma as such. But there IS something wrong with us when we misapply them.

11 thoughts on “Using spirituality and psychology as a defence”

  1. I love this post! All of our knowledge is a gift when we use it to understand each other, not when it’s a way to escape responsibility or growth opportunities.

  2. “Karma gave us in the West a lot of wealth ”

    I am sorry, I have to disagree. The West literally looted the wealth of all its colonies, centuries before.

    1. I don’t think that the former colonies can be said to be the source of our Western wealth now. I tend to think a culture of hard and efficient work, saving and investing, combined with research is what gave us our wealth. And now that the Chinese and Indians actually work as hard and invest the same if not more in education and research – it stands to reason we’re about to loose it all. Slowly or quickly.

      In the meantime we live – collectively – on debt and that’s catching up with us. Now that’s karma: the catching up part.

  3. Seems to me that karma has something to do with awareness and responsibility. Is that seemly?

  4. This was a good post!

    It may be true that the poor, the sick and otherwise suffering are simply experiencing their karma–but the compassion that allows us to reach out to them anyway is the thing that stops karma from simply “bouncing” back and forth perpetually.

    It is how we break the cycle.

  5. Karma, perhaps it is due to a past life.Perhaps they chose this life in order to teach us compassion, maybe both or neither.Can we see the prostitute or drunkard on the street with as much compassion?Are the least on earth the greatest in Heaven?Do all that we can to help but not to enable.I believe it is all about evolution.Have you made a connection yet & had mystical experiences?I’ve had several, would like to hear yours.

  6. The vagaries of life are inexplicable no matter how much we try our level best to explain it. We can’t compartmentalise it. Our definitions fail most of the time as others have had their own set of experiences which will be at odds with ours. Hence, we just have to understand that we are just atoms in the great cosmos of ‘The Great Being’. In this way, we can avoid hurting other people’s feelings and belittling their spiritual experiences.

  7. Hi!
    i feel people tend to view karma only in a very simplistic sense however its mechanisms are greatly more extensive, complex and intricate than perhaps most people perceive (conceptualise).

    It surely is one’s karma to sit in a lounge room in a world of the planets most acquisitive societies watching TV that depicts to the imminent death of impoverished children around the world. The enormous karmic test (and consequence) is, what does the overweight “western” person who “apparently” has everything do about seeing destitute children? On one parameter of karma it is about giving and receiving. It is on many levels: The level of the personal, the individual, and the level of nations, What does a nation do about it toward another nation?. The great long test. If there was not the destitute there would be no point in others made wealthy by karma to be tested in what they do.

    The outcome of the test is severe if one does not take it up and meet it appropriately! For who? For the child who dies? No! The karmic consequence is most sever for the fat western person who does not get up out of their seat in response to a desperate child !!!!

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