The current topic of study in our A Search for God study group is "Grace and Karma." The question kept arising about grace—with the law of karma operating, where does grace come in? For example, in a letter to Mr. Cayce, a 42-year-old schoolteacher commented on her life:
I was interested in your statement to the effect that mine is an unusual reading. The reading was also most interesting. I was especially glad of the assurance that I have not piled up a lot of negative karma to be cancelled. As to the reconciliation of the law of karma and the law of grace, I can't seem to get it straight. As I understand the law of grace, one can by trusting in Christ avoid the consequences of a sin, or in other words not have to suffer according to karmic law. If Jesus came, not to take away the Law how was it replaced by the Law of grace? I am not so sure I know what the law of grace is.
--Edgar Cayce reading 3282-1
Mr. Cayce’s readings regarding this subject tell us the following:
Yet, it is a fact that a life experience is a manifestation of divinity. And the mind of an entity is the builder. Then as the entity sets itself to do or to accomplish that which is of a creative influence or force, it comes under the interpretation of the law between karma and grace. No longer is the entity then under the law of cause and effect, or karma, but rather in grace it may go on to the higher calling as set in Him.
--Edgar Cayce reading 2800-2
... Just as that influence termed by some students as karma. This is the natural law, yes. But there is the law of grace, of mercy. And this is just as applicable as the law of karma, dependent upon the stress or the emphasis put upon varied things.
--Edgar Cayce reading 2727-1
Prior to retiring one night, I asked for the answer. This is the dream I had:
There was a jailer. He took a prisoner and put him in a cell that was made of concrete walls three feet thick. The prisoner, who was a holy man, immediately went to the only window. There were sturdy iron bars on the window, but the holy man was able to take his hand and make the bars move apart with ease. He had the choice, he knew, to be free of his cell at any moment that he chose. The jailer who put him in the cell immediately came over to inspect the bars on the window, but for him they did not move and were impenetrable. In the second part of the dream, the holy man moved the bars of his cell and stepped just outside of his cell. He didn’t run from his cell.
My interpretation was that the dream was an illustration of the law of karma and the reality of grace. The jail cell is the law of karma. It is concrete, and to the untrained physical eye, it is reality. And to the jailer, who can only perceive it as that, it is his reality. On the other hand, the holy man knows this cell for what it really is. The cell is only an opportunity to learn the lessons that he has come to learn. And he knows he chose to come and be in this place, at this time, for his own benefit. He therefore is free of this situation, because he chose the situation willingly, and can leave at the time of his choosing. That is the grace. Grace is the absolute spiritual reality. Grace is the knowing that we chose this and we can exit if we want to. Hence when the holy man stepped just outside of his cell, but chose to stay and not run, he was accepting his karma. He was at peace because he was able to see it from a different perspective. The ability to see from a different perspective is also a result of grace. Karma is the physical law. Grace is the spiritual reality! Grace then, is the absolute reality!
I wrote a note to myself: So then we must ask ourselves, what is reality? Is reality the physical karma that we deal with day to day, or is reality the ability to see our situations as stepping stones on the path to enlightenment? Think then on this—perception is everything. If we meet a situation with positive thoughts, looking to God, it frees us from doubt, fear, and worry. That freedom is a direct result of being in a state of grace. Hence grace frees us. That freedom brings us peace so we are able to be truly at rest even while working out our karmic debt.