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An Eternal Career, by Frank and Lydia Hammer, [1947], at

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"I depart from life as from an inn, not
 as from a home

Eventually there comes a time when we are faced with mysteries so profound that we are constrained to ask WHY? WHY did this happen to me? WHY am I in this condition? WHY am I compelled to do things not to my liking? WHY is my life cast among people for whom I have no affinity? WHY the frustration, disappointment, loss, separation and death of loved ones?

In order to understand some of these conditions it is frequently necessary to go far back into our life; for many of our current perplexities and calamities are traceable to the past. Either early in life, or even before this life, many of the conditions now plaguing and puzzling us were set into motion. Not all of us come "trailing clouds of glory," but bring instead quantities of unfinished business much of it not to our liking.

Upon its arrival here, the stage is all set for the immortal actor. He has been attracted to the

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parents, environments and circumstances best suited for the manifestation of his inherent tendencies. He has drawn to himself a body consonant to his degree of development. He has created the limitations and advantages he will have to live and work with while here.

Since only the body is new at birth and the spirit and mind are ancient with an infinite history behind them, infants seldom are as innocent or ignorant as their parents think they are, but usually have a past replete with every manner of experience and adventure. Some are old in guile and full of experience, and have a wise and knowing look which belies their supposed state of innocence and lack of experience. Some are wise as sages, or are gifted geniuses and early show unmistakable signs of precocity and talent. Others give evidence that they are not entirely unacquainted with perversity and evil. And yet when parents find a genius or a black-sheep in their flock they exclaim: "I can't understand it!"

The theory of heredity is true so far as it goes, but it doesn't go nearly far enough, for what we receive from our ancestors is only a fraction of what we are, and what we will become. So far as mental, moral and spiritual acquirements are concerned we inherit ourselves.

Every soul is an integral center from which he operates and exercises selection and choice, and is not at the mercy of his predecessors. Children derive from their parents a physical organism sound

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or unsound, their environment favorable or unfavorable, and that is about all. Physical resemblance does not indicate spiritual relationship as frequently parents and their children are actually strangers, and meet for the first time on the earth-plane. However, when one life touches another it is always for a definite purpose, or for the working out of karma.

Souls are not always permitted to choose their earthly setting, but are given one best suited for their progression and the unfoldment of their innate possibilities. Birth is never accidental, but is in conformity with the law of destiny which arises from deeds of body and mind.

Often there is little affinity for blood relatives, and when this is the case one should realize that no one is isolated, no one can live unto himself alone, for all are members of one large human family. Sometimes when souls are cast into uncongenial surroundings, there may be no great benefit to the alien one, but he benefits those whose lives he has contacted. Some people come into our life for only a brief period; and then, like ships that pass in the night, hail each other in passing, and disappear again into the darkness.

Not all karma is of ancient origin, for it may be immediate, as in case of bodily injury when effect quickly follows cause. Karma may be postponed, as the follies and excesses of youth do not always

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overtake one until maturity or old age. But eventually every infraction of law exacts its penalty; we reap as we have sown, and oftimes have a harvest we fain would destroy.

Not many people expect to transgress physical laws with impunity, but legion are those who believe it possible to circumvent the moral laws. Indeed many doubt the existence of such laws. Many guilty people elude all tribunals and justice, and often the worst crimes go undetected or unpunished, through the miscarriage of earthly laws. Some rich people imagine that because they were able to buy earthly justice that they will be able to buy God if they leave enough money to charity or for prayers. But the rich no more than the poor can escape the consequences of sin.

Evasion is only postponement, and "beating the law" is a prolific source of future unfinished business. All around us we see widespread misery and suffering; we see children born crippled, deformed, blind and diseased. We look for the reason for this apparent cruelty and injustice, but we do not see the causes underlying all effects. Those who in this life are violating laws will find themselves in the next expression of life in analogous conditions as the consequences of their unethical conduct. Not only here but elsewhere are there people with deformed, crippled and hideous bodies, compelled to live in circumstances and environments anything but pleasant.

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Every effect is connected to its cause in an endless succession which finally culminates in visible events. Many who are now undergoing bitter experiences and severe ordeals are transacting former unfinished business or misconduct, the effects of which they thought to have escaped. Their present suffering is payment of debts perhaps long overdue, and instead of blaming others for their plight they had better search their conscience for a correct understanding of their difficulties and for a means of future prevention.

Fortunate are those who discharge their liabilities on earth; it is so much easier and far less painful when still in the flesh. For while in the body one is covered by a mist of ignorance which is instantly dispelled on passing to spirit, and this sudden revelation is almost too much for the guilty one who sees himself as he actually is. Far better to pay all debts here than to have unfinished business awaiting us Over There.

It is on the moral plane where "the mills of the gods grind slowly but exceedingly small," centuries sometimes elapsing between a crime and its punishment or a cause and its effect. Moral violators seldom show any grasp of the relationship between cause and effect and when overtaken by retribution lament: "I don't know why this should happen to me!" And invariably they blame everything and everyone except themselves for their predicament, even suspecting the Deity of injustice.

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Volumes of unfinished business accrue from ignorance and violation of the mental laws, for as yet the importance of right thinking has hardly penetrated the minds of men. Few people exercise any thought control but are at the mercy of any thoughts which come their way. Fewer yet have any idea that they are accountable for their thoughts no less than for their words and deeds.

For example, a man who planned to commit murder is just as guilty as if he had accomplished it. For morally the act of murder is the intent to kill; while legally the act involves the striking of the fatal blow. If men knew that they do not, by death, escape the consequences of their thoughts and acts, they would be disposed to avoid culpable deeds.

Staggering to contemplate is the unfinished business which springs from wholesale murder or war, and not many men would wish for their souls the responsibility of this. "Over There" the responsibility is fixed on the real and not the apparent criminals, who are known to God, if not to man. The real criminals are those who plot and intrigue to bring on war; those who incite the people, inflame their passions, promulgate untruths, foment strife, and indoctrinate men with hate for their brothers.

No man lives unto himself alone, for all lives are inextricably interwoven; and nations, races, families, as well as the individual, are used for the

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settlement of unfinished business. Settling scores does naught but set up a new crop of unfinished business for future generations. While one cannot but help have the utmost compassion for the victims of war, they would do well to consider how they got in such a tragic plight. What were they doing when they were maimed, blinded and crippled for life? Furthermore, peace is only an armistice until the masses come to their senses and realize that anyone who murders and destroys another's property is not a hero, but a fool.

Just as unfinished business was carried over from the past life, so we will take with us into the next life whatever remains undone. There is no greater superstition than that death liquidates sins and liabilities. Destruction of the physical body in no way affects the individual; his morality, obligations and acquirements.

We are powerless to undo the past, but the future is ours to make by present thought and conduct. While bound by the past, we can at every moment exercise a certain amount of free will and choice and make the future what we will. The surest way to make this pleasant and profitable is to live each day to the highest of our knowledge, to the best of our ability, and to avoid doing the things which will handicap us in the future life. In other words, set no vibration into motion that will result in painful unfinished business.

Next: XI. Supply and Demand