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Interfaith Voices: Karma and spiritual freedom

Interfaith Voices: Karma and spiritual freedom


Karma is not some mysterious and unknowable concept from the far east. It is simply the law of cause and effect. Every action or thought we initiate is a cause which sets a new cycle in motion. Karma is the inevitable effect. If we buy a new game on our credit card, the bill eventually comes due. Whether good karma or bad, the results will—in due time—accrue to us.

“This seems illogical if we view only one life at a time. In a single life we suffer or are blessed for no apparent reason. God seems arbitrary and random. The ECK principle of spiritual responsibility makes more sense as we accept the principles of karma and reincarnation. Reincarnation teaches that we are born again and again until we learn the spiritual lessons of life. The Law of Karma ensures that we link our behavior with its inevitable results. We reap in one life what we have sown in another.”*

Using insights gleaned from dreams and the Spiritual Exercises of ECK, we can begin to unravel these connections. “Problems become opportunities for spiritual growth.” *The current Living ECK Master, Harold Klemp, teaches and provides guidance to assist us.

One summer a friend and I spent the day at a gorgeous, broad stretch of remote ocean shore, buffered from civilization by a wide salt-water bay and acres of grassy dunes. Public access relies on an unmarked dike road that crosses the bay and a long hike across the dunes. We loved our “secret beach.”

After hours in the sun we fell asleep reading and awoke groggy and sunburned. Rather than retrace our path, we followed a nudge to hike cross-country along a meandering quarter-mile path through a bramble maze.

On reaching the road we sighed in relief and turned towards the parking lot. To our surprise, a party of four was nearly upon us. One called out, “This is the spot!” They welcomed us into their circle like old friends. Puzzled, we introduced ourselves while paper cups were passed around—one filled with ashes, another with champagne.

Our new companions were the wife and grown children of a man who had died on that spot exactly one year before. Some forty years earlier, he was the engineer who had designed and built this dike road. We helped spread his ashes across one of his finer achievements.

Later I reflected on spirit’s elegant timing and direction. It had allowed us to join in the celebration of a man who brought beauty into our lives by making this remote beach accessible. Our deep gratitude created good karma and brought us this special opportunity.

Good karma accumulates over our many lifetimes. The freedom this affords us is an aspect of God’s grace. Eventually, as our karmic ledger is balanced, we have the opportunity to escape the seemingly endless cycles of life, death and rebirth and move on to become conscious co-workers with God.

When things happen in my life, I contemplate on them to see what I can learn. If I connect an experience with the original cause, I can be conscious and act more out of divine love in the future. Insights from spirit help me understand and dissolve the tendency to repeat the same cycle over and over, so I can move on in my spiritual unfoldment.

“Eckankar teaches us to be responsible. On a spiritual level, this means we earn our own state of consciousness.” As we resolve our karmic debts the load becomes lighter, and our spiritual vision gradually clears. “It’s all about spiritual liberation.”

Alan Coffman is a long-time student of the ECK teachings and a member of the ECK Clergy. In daily life he is an aspiring writer, health coach, and workshop leader. The current spiritual leader of Eckankar is the Living ECK Master Harold Klemp, author of many books on leading a spiritual life. To learn more about Eckankar, you might enjoy the brief guide “Eckankar: Ancient Wisdom for Today,” go to, or call 1-800-LOVEGOD.


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