The recent explosions in Brussels killing about 20 people and leaving around 230 wounded, raises the question again “Why do bad things happen?” More importantly, Why do bad things happen to good people? Conversely, it can also be asked “Why do good things happen to bad people?”
If you are a believer in faith with a belief in a supreme divine, irrespective of religious affiliation, the question becomes even deeper – “how can there be an unjust supreme divine being?” The word divine becomes a misnomer. Isn’t it?
There is no dearth of horrific incidents – shootings, earthquakes, car crashes, fire accidents and the list goes on. Many of these are on the extreme side of calamity. But, then you have the incidents which create a living hell – a downsizing at workplace, an unfavorable medical report, or an injury that leaves people disabled. When any of these personally impact us, the daily life becomes miserable.
Over the years, I have researched this topic spiritually, scientifically, and have applied it to my own experiences. Probably like most of you, I can relate to it very much.
I have come to a conclusion – There are 5 underlying principles which can explain why bad and good things happen. At a deeper level, there are quantum forces which govern these principles, we can look at them in a subsequent discussion.
Definition of good and bad – Fundamental to realize is there is no such thing as good or bad. It is an outcome based on our values, beliefs, and perspective. The Brussels bombing was horrific to us, for those bombers though, they derived some despicable pleasure. Same is the case with success or failure. A success for you as a job seeker may imply failure to another individual who did not get the same job.
Freewill – The divine manifested this universe, this world, this nature. A fundamental principle in this manifestation was the provisioning of freewill. When freewill gets abused, bad things happen. A parent feeds a child so that the kid can grow up to be strong and put his strength to good use. When the same kid, goes to school and uses his strength to bully others, then who is to be blamed? The Parent? The school has guidelines against bullying. In spite, the child defies the guidelines. Is the school to be blamed? The child’s freewill is in action.
Abuse of freewill causes bad things to happen.
Laws of nature – This universe, this earth are governed by spectacular laws. These laws are constant. They are mathematically precise, extremely orderly. The speed of light is the same measured by anyone – 186,000 miles a second. We know precisely the number of hours in a year. These laws govern the universe.
The divine manifestation with such mathematical and scientific precision was not a random event or by accident.
Now, there are activities which occur within this universe which for most part are orderly but can have ebbs and lows – e.g. a heavy rain turning into a hurricane causing destruction. As science advances, we are able to say “when” and “how” these blips occur. There could be a multitude of reasons on “why” they occur – e.g. deforesting creates an ecological imbalance disrupting natural weather patterns and can change climate models.
When these lows and ebbs occur, bad things can happen.
Cause and Effect – Spencer Johnson in his book Peaks and Valleys writes – The errors you make in today’s good times create tomorrow’s bad times. And, the wise things you do in today’s bad times create tomorrow’s good times.
A beautiful interstate highway is laid. The lanes are clearly marked, speed limits are posted. A person under the influence of alcohol is driving at speeds higher than the limit. Under the influence of the drug his driving is erratic. He hits another car. The drunk driver dies on the spot, while the driver of the other car suffers major injuries.
Cause and Effect for the drunk driver seems logical. He was drunk, erratic, uncontrollable and paid the penalty. Why did the other car driver have to endure the agony? The only plausible explanation can be given when you look at life as a continuum.
If you believe in reincarnation that continuum can extend multiple lives.
If you believe in other non-reincarnation theistic philosophies that continuum is between this life and the heaven or hell that waits on the other side, decided on the day of judgement.
In that continuum, there were actions by the other car driver for which he is experiencing the effects – a car accident. The cause and effect in this continuum is not always instantaneous. This cause and effect called Karma is cyclical. Same reason why a child is born with all the comforts of a home, whereas another child is born without even the basic amenities.
Karma sustains, is applicable across eastern and western faiths.
Karma causes good and bad things to occur.
What about the good things which happen – When a good thing happens, we feel entitled. When you are in good health, do you say “why do I have this good health?” When you get a raise, do you say “why me, why does this good thing happen?” We feel the universe and the divine owe us good things. And, there is nothing wrong with it. Along with these good things bad things also do happen. That is the nature of duality of this universe. Spiritual (pure and good) energy is accompanied by material (good and bad) energy. The chances of material energy getting contaminated are higher. Society, environment, our actions and our own freewill contaminate material energy. When the contamination happens with the bad, bad things occur. If you try to stay pure, good things occur.
I read a beautiful quote this morning – “the body is filled with water, when hurt though, blood comes out.” The world and this universe is filled with goodness far more exceeding the misery, when hurt though misery and calamity comes out. This is the nature of duality.
Pause. Stop and Think. Reflect back on your life. How would you characterize your life? Do you see more good things happening than bad?