Deliberately considered, The Law of Karma appears far more elaborate and complex than our conventional snapshots of her outermost gestures manage to describe. In identifying outward effects with inward causes, we habitually neglect to observe certain nuances which, ultimately, carry the burden of meaning.
For instance, a small and singular act, for good or ill, can be the eventual result of a massive and unsuspected tangle of intentions. A moral loss can still signify a victory; for there are some soul battles which it is an honor even to have fought at all. And how many more curious vicissitudes like these may be brought to mind?
A pure action, we know, can later, -- and many times over, -- be put to impure use. In fact, there are few, if any, temptations which compare to the temptation of having, at one time or another, exhibited exceptionally virtuous or masterful behavior; to remember our past goodness at a time when our intentions may not be quite so good. "The chains that bind us most closely are the ones we have broken." (~Antonio Porchia)
Every action arises, and divests itself, from a virtually unconscious tangle of contradictory and complimentary impulses, and every action contains within itself the seeds of all relevant possibilities. But we like to think that there are simple good and bad actions, and that once an action which is entirely, essentially, or predominantly good or bad has been committed, it can never be raised or lowered from its place. Keats wrote: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," and this is true. Yet, even the most eternally enchanting objects, actions, and ideas may be viewed through a dirty or distorted lens.
While we may speak of cancelling out or transcending our karma, or the karma of others, it seems more likely that this occurs, if it occurs at all, on a level utterly removed from ourselves. The Grace of God, or that which apparently dissolves rigid karmic patterns, does not seem to wait on our command, or even our invitation. Rather, it enters into our lives, thoughts, and actions, much to our surprise. It is always a reminder. Not something called to mind, but something which interrupts the normal, or usual, continuity of thought. A gentle nudge that partly rouses one from the deepest, most insensible slumber.
There appears to be no impulse within us capable of remembering God, or willing ourselves into wakefulness. On the contrary, it seems as though it is precisely this self-conscious will of ours which inhibits and prevents our full consciousness of the presence and will of God. Nothing we know, and no impressions we have kept, however cherished, however consecrated by rites or holy names, -- nothing at all that we have seen or been seems capable of putting us in mind of God; for the breath and life of God appears to be something quicker than the eye, more dynamic than the mind, and expressing infinitely more dimensions than the flesh. Doesn't it come over us, and startle our spirit, so that we can only remark, "What?! -- What was that?!!" And isn't it only in the aftermath that we reflect to ourselves, "What else could it have been, but the hand of God,"?
Only when the memory of that divine touch has been thoroughly killed and catalogued and sapped of the last of whatever spiritual juice it contained, do we think, "That was me. My free will is responsible for that. Let me proclaim it as a testament to my goodness." (Though hardly any of us would articulate it in this way.) The truth, it seems, is that we have never been so far from The Grace of God as when we endeavored to take credit for His works.