It is not to be thought, however, that all suffering in this world denotes the existence of a
determined shortcoming. Many times it is simply an ordeal requested by the Spirit, which will help
it towards purification and active progress. So atonement is always a test,
but a test is not always an atonement.
but a test is not always an atonement.
(A. Kardec, "The Gospel According to Spiritism", Chap. 5,
"Blessed are the afflicted", Paragraph 9, see ref. 1)
A crisis always reveals the consequence of something not properly done in the past or an action erroneously undertaken. We suffer the effect of the past living in us because we are its product. We are informed by the spirits that our actions today have two goals: to solve life's problems and to act upon current events resulting in either moral gains or losses, just as to influence the future when we will sistematically reap gains or losses again.
As a result, if we fail to act today towards the future, we will hardly harvest or gain anything. A condition for a crisis then emerges. Modern spiritualist literature adopted the word "karma" to denote the conjunction of past action giving rise to present day negative conditions. However, the word used by Kardec was "expiation". Their meaning are somewhat equivalent, keeping in mind the changes in the original term in Sanskrit.
A broadened undestanding of life portrays our existence as a "continuum" of two major streams: on the material side, a flow of events rooted in our actions and, on the spiritual side, a corresponding flow of consequences for our future life. Since we are immersed in both realities, any material action imparts the spirit side just as any spiritual influence acts upon the material side. It is however unfortunate that the vast majority of incarnated people, for a variety of reasons, remain illiterate on regard to the interplay between these two life aspects and thus go through crises. People at most feel the flow of time before them but are incapable of inferring any conclusion about the phenomenon. But the most extraordinary fact about such higher law of life is that its existence may be somewhat ignored: regulation is attained through the dynamics of crises.
The spirit Emmanuel in the book "Study and live" (Ed. FEB) defines the condition for the emergence of a "painless crisis" characterized by the onset of a situation not necessarily linked to heath impairment or disease:
We suffer however regrettable painless crises that are hidden beneath superficial safeness:
Every time we accommodate ourselves on the excuse of excessive work.
When we demand others to become our support by playing the game of usury and ambition.
At any time when we demand to become allegedly superior to others.At any time when we regard ourselves infallible while enjoying the most elevated positions among men.Every time we supposedly believe to be so wise and virtuous that we are dispensed of any warnings or corrections at the position we may occupy.
In such cases, therefore, the onset of a crisis is almost exclusively related to a moral issue. Such situations greatly characterize what was left behind poorly done. Our attachments and illusions give rise to obstacles binding us to the past and prevent renewal. But renewal relentlessly comes and becomes manifest today as a crisis from which we try to escape. During the crises, negative balances in the spiritual side are settled since new prospects are generated for the future. True life is all about the spiritual flow hence nothing lost in matter will cause a loss in the spiritual side. This knowledge should satisfy those endowed with superior understanding of life. However, physical reality is too strong and affect us in such way that, many times, we neglect the higher teachings.
We should regard crises as answers of the situation, of the "Universe" or of the environment where we live. Many could argue we unfairly suffer in life without doing anything. However, "do anything" is also a kind of action and of a negative type. Whoever longs for not suffering by not acting will almost surely be hurt. The higher laws wait for our right actions, the ones given rise to the right harvest. Consequently, those who waste money and fortune will lack money; those who excessively save money will be compelled to face situations rarely solved by using wages; those defying health will face disease and those who do nothing will muddle through to survive. But it is not always the case a past action can be found when we suffer. The Universe pushes us forward every time we face a new situation either as a result of the past or not. Past actions instead engender specific situations that are deeply rooted in the way we used to be. On account of past obligations new lessons are accumulated. Therefore we must always fight.
1 - Original title ‘L’Évangile Selon le Spiritisme’ first published in France, 1864. 1st Edition of this translation 1987 Translated by J. A. Duncan, 1987. ISBN 947823 09 3. Freely available at http://www.ssbaltimore.org/PDF/Gospel.pdf