2. ON THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PAIN OF THE
WORLD AND LARGE-SCALE KARMA
2.1. So again I had to face the question how to deal with the
pain of the world. Again asking myself if indeed it could be
that my renewed joy of our immortal soul – the miracle
of our invulnerable atman – was not that solid. Nevertheless,
there had to be other reasons why my feelings of failure did
not disappear. And there were. I realised: the pain of the world
was too large for me. Of course, like so many others I had said
so often: “the pain of the world is too large for me to
handle” … “too heavy for my little human heart”.
At times I excused myself, wanting to escape in general terms,
like: “the pain of the world goes beyond human scale”.
Now, as in a flash, it became clear to me what these expressions
did refer to: the pain of the world had to do with karma (6). More
in particular with what is called “collective karma” resp. “cosmic
karma”. More then ever before in history are we nowadays
confronted with the outcome of these forms of supra-individual
karma. So, I concluded: it is for enduring the consequences of
supra-individual karma, for dealing with them constructively,
compassionately, that we are not yet sufficiently equipped.
2.2. Although for others this might be not a surprising insight,
I felt that this brought me near an important entry for better
understanding. Afraid for undue conclusions, I preferred to spend
more time right there. With the kind of karma that goes far beyond
individual karma. I realised that the concept of karma has negative
connotations to some of us. Too often it reminds of passiveness,
resignation, fatalism. As if we should, by helping or intervening,
disturb other people’s karma. I mean: as if depriving somebody
else or yourself of the possibility “to work through” or “to
fulfil” that karma, as is said sometimes. How much more
would this negative sound become valid for collective karma?
Even racism and genocide were linked to it, justified by it.
Not once but continuously ... To avoid such incorrect and cruel
associations I decided to replace the adjective “collective” by “large-scale”.
2.3. Moreover the term “large-scale karma” has
the advantage of referring, more obviously than “collective
karma”, to the large scale on which the pain of the world
occurs. It refers more obviously to the prominent role of the
media in broadcasting the suffering and injustice all over the
world as it happens wherever. Speaking in terms of large-scale
karma also makes more clear that the pain-side of our being witnesses,
is almost too heavy for us to bear as individuals. Equipped as
we are with, so to say, average human hearts. Understanding ones
own individual karma already takes much effort, pain and time,
with large-scale karma that is even more so. Especially as it
concerns large-scale karma whose origin comes from long ago,
counting a developing history of many ages, even millennia. Besides
that, linear “one-cause-effect-relations” don’t
exist. Everything, no matter what it is, no matter what is happening,
is the result of a complex cluster of interferent causes.
2.4. Although we, as I said, hardly understand large-scale
karma, yet we are, so to say, part of it. Related to it. Influenced by. As inhabitants
of the little village the world is nowadays, more than ever.
Not only are we subject to the consequences, by our acts, our
reactions, or by non-acting where acting is needed we also participate
in their causes. That means: we are continuously creating large-scale
karma. As in an endless flow. Either in ever-new directions or
towards points of saturation. That applies to how we treat the
earth and our environment. Even if the effects of our interactions
seem hardly perceptible. It also applies, more visibly, to how
we deal with each other. Not only on micro and meso scale. But
also, or even especially, on macro scale. Within the international
community which we, as assembled countries, constitute.
2.5. Concluding: large-scale karma includes all of us as participants
in creating her causes as well as undergoing her consequences.
Whether we choose it or not. Whether we enjoy her positive consequences
or suffer the negative ones. Thus, related as
we are to place, time and culture, large-scale karma is part
of our individual karma (7). Including - as I did make clear now I hope - our “present-day
being a witness” to the pain of the world. Almost simultaneously
with the moment this pain occurs. Not only in our neighbourhood,
but all over the world. It is this almost simultaneousness, the
omnipresence, the large scale, the horrible detail and so on,
that turns our witnessing the pain of the world different from
the past. This distinction requires an enlargement of our hearts.
A new equipment.