Fate, Karma and Love

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Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
Let’s begin this issue’s interview by quoting a mail from one of our readers. This reader writes, “I’ve read many of the articles and interviews by Cem Şen. I think he’s a little bit rigid, and love seems to be lacking. It’s all about programs, methods, and teachings, which is fine, but what are they all for?” So, from this point of view, I would like to ask you a question: Where does love stand in the teachings that you convey, or are these teachings formed of rigid methods?

Cem Şen:
No, they are not formed of rigid methods. Life would be easy if they were, or if they stemmed only from love, but the objective is to blend these two in a proper way. The Taoists associate this with fire and water. Fire is like lust and worldly actions, just like the methodical approach. On the other hand, water is similar to feelings, love, and tenderness. The main thing is to achieve the right combination of fire and water. If one of them is stronger, there is a problem of imbalance. We often face this in spiritual practices. Some people only talk about love, while others only discuss techniques. Unfortunately, this is not the point. While the universe is spinning with love, can we reduce everything to methods? Remember how I told you that being on the path means being in love. However, I should add one thing: People use various words and concepts without knowing their real meanings; they do not even think about them. Love is one such thing. During the first steps of the spiritual journey, you should give up your vicious cycles and begin thinking on a linear basis, which is a thinking method that proceeds on a straight line. These concepts will then be well understood.

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
Well, in fact I share these opinions with you. Love is oversimplified and eroded somehow. The same is true for other concepts. For example, the phrase “listen to your inner voice” has become so eroded that no one can see the real message in it. People don’t even listen to these messages, turning these secrets of the universe into posters for their wardrobes or making fun of them in comics. However, we really need this knowledge and wisdom.

Cem Şen:
Yes, you’re right. There are many phrases along the lines of “our inner voice, go where your heart takes you, we are already there…” People sometimes ask me, “What is the shortcut to this path?” There is no shortcut. I wish there was, but there isn’t. The development of human energy and the growth of a pine tree take the same amount of time: seven years. You cannot reduce this period even if you exercise for two hours or 15 hours a day. The energy ripens in seven years, and there is no way to accelerate it. The concepts are crucial because they help us build our reality, so we should think about the concepts and succeed in reaching the emptiness behind them. An important prerequisite of spiritual exercises is to relax or, in other words, dissolve. This is because these concepts come from the creative emptiness. In Chinese philosophy, this is described with the concept of song, which means dissolving or melting into the original source. For example, we all make an effort to be song when we relax our bodies. One of the famous Tai Chi trainers always told his students to be song. He would utter sentences like “be song” or “if you are not even a little bit song, you are not song at all.” Then he had a dream one day, and in this dream, he saw that he did not have arms. He then told others, “Now I know what song is.” When we apply song to our body, we dissolve it. An outer relaxation is not sufficient. After a while, we reach the source at the bottom, the emptiness where we found the energy. It is called kong jing, which is the energy of emptiness. It is incredibly strong, and you can do anything with this energy if you know how to channel it correctly. This is also true for the various concepts. We do not imagine anything, and we do not dream up a beautiful scene when we meditate. We just follow the concepts; we dissolve them and then reach the emptiness behind them. This emptiness also educates us about the real nature of these concepts. I see many people meditating today, but when I ask what they are doing, they tell me that they are imagining. However, meditating means being in a meditative state, which involves being in the middle of life and death, the past and future, and existence and nonexistence. Is it possible to do this through imagination?

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
What about these seven years? How can we understand when this seven-year period starts? Could we be starting the process when we begin reading spiritual books?

Cem Şen:
Actually, anyone who is called toward spiritual development is a candidate for proceeding on this path, so I believe anyone who makes any step toward spiritual enlightenment is on the path, even if their methods are flawed. I love people like this, but I’m also angry with some of them. This is not the sort of anger you feel toward an enemy; it’s more like something you feel toward your student or child because there is tenderness in it. I feel sad when I see people walking an incorrect road, and I get angry with those who show these roads to others. It’s not wise to judge a candidate’s achievement by only evaluating his methods. There are many who claim they are on a spiritual journey, but they are on the wrong road. Of course, they are still candidates for spiritual enlightenment. If they use the wrong methods, it’s our duty to do our best to show them the right path with loving hearts. There may of course be times when we become angry, feel sad, and choose to be isolated, and there may be times when we are misunderstood. This is nothing to worry about. We will always tell the truth, and we will never interfere with free will, which God also respects. A person can make mistakes of his own free will, but he will gain experience through them. Now, let me return to the seven-year period. Not everyone who claims to be on a spiritual journey will eventually start the process. The energy begins to develop over seven years only if a person starts using the right method. Remember when I mentioned the four basic rules of spiritual development in our previous interviews? The first rule was “finding the right method and the right master.”

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
So, how can we know when we are using the wrong method?

Cem Şen:
Once, when I mispronounced a word of French origin, one of my elders told me, “Son, don’t use words you don’t know; use the ones you know instead.” I replied, “You’re right, but I didn’t know I’d spoken that word incorrectly,” and he accepted my excuse. I think this is also the case on the path of spiritual development. To be honest, all shortcuts are flawed, because there is no shortcut to spiritual development. You cannot awaken your kundalini, clean your karma, and awaken your energetic body in one day. If you ask me why I’m so sure of this, it’s because I know people who can do all these. I know what they can do, and I know how much effort they made to reach that state. If anyone claims they are more talented than these people, I just think they are like those who go jogging every morning, while the real masters are the athletes who break records at the Olympics. Some people can oppose me with claims like “time is running more quickly now,” “we are in the photon belt now,” “within this new alpha-beta reality, we can reach the quantum field from our subconscious” and so on. I am sorry to witness these things, but as we cannot interfere with free will, I can only watch them make mistakes and live through their experiences. Spiritual development shows itself with some clear indicators. For example, if you claim you can merge the yin and yang in your body, you should show me that you can also move objects without touching them or light fires with your hands. There are other similar tests to prove it. There are some indications of awakened kundalini and enlightenment that show the individual karma has been cleaned. Our readers may find these in many Taoist books. Well, finding the right method and the right master is down to fate.

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
What is fate then? Is it fixed and absolute?
Or is it variable? What is the role of the individual in determining his own life? 

Cem Şen:
Hasan, I must thank you for this question. However, the answer is a long one, so I need to divide it up a little. Let me try to explain what I learned from my masters and other trusted sources by combining them with my own experiences. First, we should subdivide fate into two main categories: individual fate or karma and celestial fate. In addition to concepts of fate and karma, there is another one: duty. These three combine and create what we call fate. Now, let’s paint a picture to explain it. While sailing, you have start and finish points, and there is a route between the two. The finish point is our celestial destiny. Our duty also serves this finish point. While traveling from start to finish, we cannot influence the direction and strength of the wind. The only thing we can do is to find an accord with the wind so we can follow the route. If we are talented sailors, we can reach the target quickly, but otherwise we take a longer route and reach the target anyway. How we use our ships depends on our free will, the fate or karma coming from our ancestors, and the talents we develop. Remember, these talents only develop because of our correct actions and purified hearts. We can think of the wind as the individual karma, so our duty is to use our free will, the right methods, and the power of our hearts against the winds of karma, enabling us to reach our final destination, even if it takes a while. Fate can be roughly defined like this.

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
What do you mean by karma? It’s a widely used concept, but I don’t think we know the real meaning.

Cem Şen:
We can discuss karma under two headings. One of them is the individual karma, and the other is the celestial one. Celestial fate is known as Ming in Taoism. Karma is the integrity of actions and reactions that develop because of our actions during many lives. These actions and reactions directly influence our emotional reactions. As you can see, there is a direct relationship between our emotional reactions and our karma. Similarly, our individual karma is related with the energy close to our kidneys and third vertebra (near T-11 and L-1). This center is known as “the gate of life.” When we combine yin and yang energies in the Tan Tien region below our belly and break the bonds that hold tan tien, freeing it, then individual karma also ends. We are then bound to the celestial karma Ming, which is more important than our duty. Soon, karma becomes more than just a mental concept that we cannot perceive and has no physical existence. It now has a projection on the body. It reflects the physiological structure of our bodies as well as our emotions. So, we can talk about its place in the body and its shape. Of course, we could say we are paying our existing debts when we describe karma, but this oversimplifies it. I mean, approaching karma in a way like “I killed someone in my previous life, and that person is my child now” is too simple. Of course, this may be true, but where there is an interaction, there is a new karma, because karma is a mechanism of action and reaction. You can create new debts while still paying the existing ones, so you need to reach a neutral point or a point where the contrasts meet. That’s why Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Yoga discipline always emphasize the importance of the body, because the body reserves many things, including karma. Moreover, the “duty” concept also has a certain relationship with our bodies. As the Taoists say, “our bodies are our temples.” We need to make them magnificent places where God can come and sit in. 

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
So, should we practice one of these “isms”? Can anyone who is unaware of these concepts still succeed in his duties? For example, what about people with a Western lifestyle?

Cem Şen:
This is not the case of course. As I mentioned before, spiritual development is not monopolized by either the West or the East. It does not belong to any teaching or religious order. All roads lead to God, but some roads are shorter and more reliable. Of course, our soul decides which path to take. For example, although I like Shamanism, Buddhism, and Sufism, I was always more interested in Chinese teachings. They felt closer to me. I did not choose this path with the help of my mind. Some people even reach the state without following any particular path. For example, the great Ata Chang—first master of the Lung Men Pai school, which I hoped to attend—was looking for a master himself when he decided to help people at the riverbank. He did not find a master, but he saw how many people found it difficult to cross the river, with some even drowning. He stayed there for 15 years, and he died many times and returned to life again. At last, he managed to build a bridge for the people. Finally, because of his many deaths and rebirths, he reached the 72nd level and immortality. He then went to Europe with Chinggis Khan.

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
Sorry, I didn’t quite get something. You said he died and was reborn over and over?

Cem Şen:
Yes, it’s just like when people die for a few minutes during operations before being resuscitated. These are “small” deaths. The great Ata Chang experienced many small deaths, and I am not entirely sure, but I think he has also experienced five big deaths so far. By this, I mean he died for a long time before coming to life again. During these deaths, he learned many things about the universe and the spiritual path. As a result, he set up the school of Lung Men Pai, one of the biggest schools of Taoism. The school was so powerful that Chinggis Khan did not ban it when he banned everything else. He even supported it and traveled with the great Ata Chang. As you see, the great Ata Chang found the path of spiritual development without being attached to any particular teaching. However, what we are doing is just following the great masters’ paths and passing through the same developmental steps that they did. Of course, we can try to find our own paths, and if this is our fate, why not?

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
I have another question: Is it good to find cures for diseases or not? Many people die because of cancer, and we are sorry to hear such news, especially for those who lose their loved ones to this illness. On the other hand, the world’s population is balanced by the deaths. If the number of deaths decreases, other problems will prevail. So, I think all diseases are necessary. However, the problem is an emotional one. Of course no one wants to lose a loved one, but the world’s population has grown enormously.  From another point of view, we witness in third-world countries, as well as in the eastern region of Turkey, how each family has eight or more children, but to balance the world’s population, my relatives here might also die, which is not fair.

Cem Şen:
First, we will probably never be able to live in a world free from disease. As long as we live on the karmic level, we will never achieve this, so we could easily wish a long life for the families with many children. The secret is in being caring and empathic. You could be one of those people, or these could be your children. We suffer because we have this heart and this body. A person who suffers in a third-world country suffers the same as we do. That’s why we are brothers to him. I hope to end his suffering as much as I do for my loved ones and myself, because we are the same. We are the same because of our pains and emotions. We are not independent or separate from each other. Even now, I feel great love and mercy for these people and all of humanity. Power and knowledge bring a great responsibility, so we have this great responsibility, Hasan, because we know and understand life’s meaning. We need to help people and make an effort to ease their pain. Am I clear? However, the way to do this is not to simply talk about love. Where is love? We cannot solve anything with superficial approaches, claiming that there is no love in some teachings. I provided training in martial arts before. Often, my students would tell me these techniques could hurt others. They would ask me if the spirit of martial arts was not to attack but love. I would tell them, “You cannot talk about love without fear. If you do, you look like a cat without claws. Don’t try to hide your fear behind love. First be aware of your claws and then talk about love.” Do you know what would happen then? Those who continuously talked about love would transform into the cruelest ones once they seized the power.

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
What about disease?

Cem Şen:
Disease will never end, Hasan. It will exist in both the past and future. As long as we are on the level of karma, disease will always be with us. We need to be on a higher level, and then disease may disappear. Until then, we will all experience diseases. One of my friends was a well-known yoga teacher in America. Her name was Bilge, and she really was a magnificent teacher. She died from a brain tumor. This happens whether you meditate or not. It’s just like in Nasreddin Hodja’s anecdotes. One day he lost his key in the dark, but he looked for it anyway. Similarly, we are looking for the answer in the wrong places. Our approach to diseases is just wrong. First, there are a few reasons for diseases. One is that our immune system weakens. Another is incorrect beliefs in our consciousness, and another is a warning that we are far from a natural life. The last reason is that all diseases stem from the world of spirits. So, if we can reach the maturity that helps us eliminate all these reasons, then we will rid ourselves of diseases. As a result, we will become enlightened beings.

Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş:
Thank you for this interview, Cem.

Cem Şen:
Thank you, Hasan. As always, it was a pleasure to talk with you.



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