Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Ep 25-Don’t Break Divine Law

Master Steenrod examines fine points of Taoist karma, the pac (perception, awareness and choice), and the penalties of divine law.
Don’t Break Divine Law: Know the Rules of Karma
byMikel Steenrod

In this episode, Taoist Master Mikel Steenrod reminds us that we are creatures of choice and it’s up to you to replace social mind with tao mind, but also to keep your eyes open for divine mandates! 

Welcome to Living the Tao, a Spiritual Podcast that explores how ancient wisdom, a practical perspective, and deep truth can empower you to live your best life.

If you enjoyed this episode, please take a moment to leave a review/rating. It would be much appreciated, and a big help in growing the podcast.

Taoist Topics Covered

  • Taoist Karma

  • Human Relationship to Choice

  • Mystical Perception of Choice

  • Taoist Karmic Nursery

  • Taoist Enlightenment

  • Perception, Awareness, Choice

  • Taoist Divine Law

Episode 25,

Don’t Break Divine Law: Know the Rules of Karma.

Welcome to Living the Tao, a
spiritual podcast that explores

how ancient wisdom, a practical

and deep truth can empower you to
live your best life.

In this episode, Taoist Master
Mikel Steenrod

reminds us that we are creatures
of choice, and it’s up to you

to replace social mind with tao

But also to keep your eyes open

for divine mandates.


Karma is really about the

of a net of choices.

So you have your choices here.

This person has this net of
choices here.

If you are

in general,

in general,

if you destroy this net,

this other individual,

regardless of whether it is good
for them,

you experience a karmic negative.

It’s really this destruction of
choice capacity, or of choice direction,

that has a negative impact.

It can also be


a line of choice that ultimately

By ultimately, I don’t mean long

Ultimately, I mean short distance
ultimately causes.

This person’s net to be destroyed.

That’s why this starts to get

Really, to get past, like this
first platform of karma, you have

to be able to see the choice

That’s not as difficult or as strange as
it sounds, humans can naturally

see choice structures.

The one advantage that humans
have within the spectrum of

creatures is that one, we are
capable of

change, dramatic change.

Most creatures are not capable of
dramatic change.

Even demons are always the demon
that they are.

They do not change from that


are capable of change.

They’re just highly unlikely to

And that’s because of the social
mind, the condition mind.

What this really means is that
humans are creatures of choice.

You have an inherent capacity

to see and be sensitive to the
choice structure.

All you have to do is get to a
point where you can actually

use that skill.

It’s kind of like having an
inherent ability to walk.

And it’s just, you’ve been
sitting in the chair,

except for little stand ups every
once in a while.

And then that surprises.

You ask, hey, I’m suddenly
taller, and now I’m shorter. Now I’m


It’s like, you’re standing up,
that’s why you’re taller.

Now there comes a point where you
start walking around.

Everybody else regards that as

but you is having incredible

But the reality is, you’re just
using your legs to walk

from one spot to another.

It’s not a hard thing.

And so choice,

humans have an inherent
relationship with that.

That’s why, to a certain extent,

certainly, we all want to be
fascinated with this.

And I mean that because that’s
part of our understanding of

choice emerging.

But ultimately it boils down to,
you need to interact with the

choice and perceive it.

When you can perceive the choice,
you’ll also perceive the outcome.

Now, like any

person doing a new thing,

you’re going to have a high rate
of error initially.

And that’s why you kind of want
to avoid

doing the huge things when you’re
still really prone to doing

stupid things.

It’s kind of like

if you’re into martial arts,

you don’t spend a day jabbing and
then go pro and it’s like, well,

I got beaten.

Yeah, that’s because you spent
thirty minutes learning how to

jab, and then you went pro.

So you don’t jump into the big
stuff right off the bat.

Now, for the most part, there’s a
lot of safety involved in here,

because humans are in what we’ve
come to call the nursery,

which is where your choices are

The Tao doesn’t really have any
special regard for you.

And by that, I mean

it’s like being in a nursery.

If one kid throws a stuffed
animal at another kid, that kid

is bad,

but nobody sticks them in prison.

Now if we take the kid out of the
nursery and they chuck a brick as

an adult, and another kid,
somebody’s going to jail.

It’s because now their choices
have impacts. It has

consequences, and the world looks
at him and says, hey, you can’t

do that.


you start in this position,

the karmic nursery,


if you want to leave the nursery,
you can leave the nursery.

If you don’t want to leave the
nursery, you don’t have to leave

the nursery.

It’s just that you have to be ok
with your choices having no power

and the Tao never regarding you

And if you’re ok with that,

then you can stay there.

As soon as you set out to get out
of the nursery, you can generally

get out of the nursery within
just a couple months of practice.

So you start getting consistent.

Yeah, there is a little position
of forward movement, like you’re in

this little transitional time,


you’re the nursery kid that’s
sitting there reading

“War and Peace,” or something like
that, and everybody looks at you

like, “Hey, what are you doing?

Shouldn’t you be playing? “

No, I want to finish this book up.

And so you’re already regarded as
being different at that time.

And as you start being regarded
as different,

other people treat you differently.

That’s just the way it goes, and
that’s going to have some

positives and some negatives to


during the entire course of your
life, yes, you can keep yourself at

a non-karmic position,

and that’s where most people stay.

So the vast majority of the
population has no significant karma.

And by the way, the violation for

destroying a choice line that is
highly karmic is much greater

than destroying a choice line
that is not highly karmic. Unless

you’re evil

and then of course, you would
want to. People that have

significant karma are generally


all I can say, not because it’s a
secret, but because there aren’t

any words for that.


the really big bus drivers are
all known by everybody.

And bus drivers is another term
that we’ve been using. Basically,

what happens is that, so you’re
on a bus,

if you don’t have a lot of karma

what you do is you generally hop
onto other people’s karma and

ride it around as if you were
taking a bus.

If you have a lot of karma, you
drive your own bus, and other

people will hop onto it.

The advantages, you get to go
where you want.

Kids have to go where they’re

Is what it boils down to, yeah, they
don’t have enough to drive the

bus themselves.

So you can, in theory, create
complete separation, so nobody

can hop onto your karmic line.

But to do that, you have to be a

And you also have to

have very particular interaction
with the surrounding world.

You can effectively erase or
conceal yourself if you want to,

but that’s a whole different

The problem is, there are a lot
of variables that are in that.

What a renunciate really does is
they don’t have much direct

interaction with the social mind.

They can’t really, because the
social mind is in direct contrast

to the tao mind,

which boils down to the
enlightenment model.

Basically, you’re enlightened
after your mind directly approximates

reality to a certain degree.

At that point that’s the
crossover position into


And what happens initially is
that people start off, they’re

given a mind.

This is the way it’s described.

You are given a mind, the first
mind, or the first world.

That first world is the social
mind, and is one that is passed

on from each person, or the
people around you, to you shortly

after birth.

And that is used to shape the way
you interact with all things, how

you perceive your possibilities,
what choices are available to you,

in part, but is far more
pervasive than that.

And the process of enlightenment
is the process of removing that

social mind in replacing it with
a mind that more directly

approximates reality.

And reality for a human involves
three major areas,



and choice, something we often
call the pack, because it’s

easier than saying perception,
awareness and choice.

These three things interact.


perception is the

range of sense data.

Usually, awareness is where your
mind is capable of perceiving

within this range,

and choice is how you respond to
that information.

The reality is, you have to see
the actual difference between the


Initially, these are exactly the
same thing.

Later on they’ll be significantly
different, like you’ll sit back

and you’ll realize, “Oh, my

is not that I haven’t
perceived it, it’s that I am

unaware of that particular thing,
or I can’t be aware of it at that


Perception has more to do with
your actual interaction with the


And awareness is more where you
place your mind.

But they do influence each other.

Like choice repositions

what awareness is, what
perception is capable of

absorbing at any given time.

But for the most part, we can
just boil this down into treating

these as a single term
perception, awareness and then

choice, and deal with that
interaction first.

And then, as

you become proficient in these
things, perception and awareness

will start to separate,

but they don’t separate until
it’s necessary for them to


And by that, I mean just
understanding choice–

one single part is going to be
difficult enough.

Then understanding that choice
moves around what you choose to

see and not see the possibilities
that are available to you, that’s

where you start becoming aware of

or knowledgeable of


that’s important.

Then when you reach the point of
where you realize those two

interacting together is
critically important,

then perception and awareness
separate out, and you begin

seeing that all while this is a
whole separate series of

interactions that are occurring.


Is that confusing enough?

Let’s make it all much simpler
now, and we will work with something

that’s more doable.

So if you’re interested in
leaving the karmic nursery, you

just need to be consistent.

But you need to plug into that
certain behaviors as you go along

that allow you to actually

what consistent behavior is


where they’re accumulating.

And I mean that quite seriously,

when you’re having trouble

with accumulating in the three

Generally, the underlying problem
is that you can’t tell the difference

between the three,

because you’re so

conditioned to not see the
difference between the three.

You can’t tell when your behavior
is moving towards the negative.

You can’t tell when your behavior
is moving towards the positive,

and you can’t tell when your
behavior is on the neutral.

And that, more than anything,
leads to


to staying within

the karmic nursery.


starting off with the thought of,
well, that’s significant

first is the first real step,
because it makes you

actually pay attention to it,.

Where you’re sitting back and
going, oh, there’s a difference

between these two things.

Sitting on a chair is different
than sitting on a floor, for some reason,.

Initially you’ll sit back and
you’ll go, well, sitting is sitting.

But it’s only when you begin to
explore this

that you begin to see, well,
there are different

aspects to this thing.

It has a different outcome.

It has a different series of

consequences that go with it.

And again,

you know, initially from

your conditioned position, we sit
back, and we think that, “Oh, I

would definitely avoid evil,

or I would definitely pursue
this, or I would definitely

pursue that.”

But then as you start going on,
you might suddenly realize, “Hold, it

that’s a viable choice.”

That’s a strange part in your
karmic development.

When you sit back and you
actually understand what’s meant

by the karmic negative.

And it becomes a tempting choice
to you, because you realize what

it can do, and what the impact
is, and the fact that there is no

real penalty for it, other than
i’ll kill you.

But that’s a whole different
issue in general.

One of the few times that Taoists
align is to destroy people that

are accumulating

significant negative karma.

And again, it’s because of the
ultimate decision of, well, this

would be hugely bad for humanity.


it’s better just to destroy it.


so initially

we reach a point where all these

are dropped

and you’re up at this platform
going, well, what I need to do is

now do this.

Fortunately, this platform isn’t
too high, so if you’ve been

building in the wrong area, you
can drop all of this and just

start building in another area.

But now, if you’re off at this
platform, up here going, and I

need to go blah blah blah.

That’s a whole different type of

You’re losing quite a bit to go
from here down to here.

And then, of course, there are
things which violate divine law,

which is a different karmic
issue, and it’ll be the last part

that we deal with.


If you violate divine law, it
doesn’t matter what karmic pole

you’re in, you lose your karma.

You experience a direct karmic

So if you try to do something

that is outside the boundaries of
the box, so humans have a box.

Inside of that box of humans is
the nursery, which is a much

smaller box.

You can step out of the nursery,
and then you’re in the bigger box.

If you want to look at stepping
outside of the human box.

Well, now you’re starting to deal
with major consequences.

So you know, if you’re,

if you suddenly decide, well, I’m
going to go do this, or I’m going

to go do that, then you realize,
‘Well, I guess I’m not going to do

that, because now I have lost all
karma and everything is cursed!”


We hope you’re enjoying this
episode of Living the Tao:

A Spiritual Podcast.

This podcast is sponsored by the
fine folks at Water Mountain.

Please take a look at some of the
great 4 Ascendant Sphere


Your purchase helps keep everyone
gainfully employed.

Please go to

and visit the shop.

Now back to the programme.


You can step outside of the human
world if you really want to.

That is, in fact, one of the
fundamental definitions of the enlightened,

and has been for a long period of

Originally, daoism was a
shamanistic training system that

has since evolved

since its original


A shaman functions by serving as
a bridge between the two worlds,

the world of true reality

and the human world,

which is the box.

The human world is partly the
social mind, and partly the limit of


this perception awareness thing.

If the shaman has any skill, what
they are is they’re kind of the

arbitrator between these two

They have the ability to step

Anybody that accomplishes any
sort of significant enlightenment

can do the same thing.

One of the advantages of having
real karma is that you get to

interact directly with the Tao,


has pluses and minuses to it.

And because it’s like, well, you
know, the advantage of being in

the nursery, and this is always
the advantage of childhood, is

that nothing that you do really

The disadvantage of being out of
the nursery is that everything

you do matters.

And that has

a certain amount of

stress to it.

To put it into more specific

So now, suddenly

everybody else can do this.

You can’t do that


you’re in this spot here.

If you make a maneuver off of
this position, you go down to


But you don’t actually want to do

You don’t want to lose the karmic
power that you’ve accumulated.

Well, other choices open.

You can’t go back to the

Or if you do go back to the
beginning, the basic thing is, as

well, you can only be in the
beginning with this amount of power.

And it’s not, at times when
you’re establishing your direct

relationship with the Tao and you
screw up, it will seem as if it’s

a very personal


and cruel punishment.

But it’s not really.

It’s a simple system of energy and


that’s what it boils down to.

It’s just that you can’t be at
certain spots with certain choice structures.

When you want the choice
structures that come over here,

then you need to be in a
different spot.

It’s only attachment back to this
human world that will ever

really restrict your ability to

It’s not that the choices run out.

Choices within the first
position, within the first world,

are actually relatively

You don’t really have the ability
to choose a lot of different things.

So kids can make up a lot of
things, but at the end of the

day, they can’t really choose a
lot of things.

And that’s really the position of
the nursery.

You can make up anything you

Boba Fet can beat

Darth Vader if you want.

It has nothing to do with the

Nobody cares,

but you can’t go out and set the
dog on fire.

It’s just not allowed.


And so as you go on, farther
different steps, or different

interactions with reality are
presented to you.

Whereas my teacher put it to me,

you know, the actual process of
moving towards to enlightenment

is relatively simple and
straightforward when you

understand it.

Part of the process of
understanding is really just

getting rid of the gunk of

And by that, I mean, we have a
huge amount of things that we

shovel onto the process and
think, oh, it must be,

and that’s just hundreds of years
of accumulated crud.

But when you actually strip it
down to what’s involved, what’s

always been intended by the

And you look at it, one it’s
entirely doable.

Enlightenment is the natural
state of the human.

It’s what everybody is supposed
to be,

that’s why it functions so easily.

When you actually understand the
parts that are involved,

it works.

The real problem is that it works.

It works well, it works quickly,
and it works so powerfully that

it frightens people.

And that’s because

that’s what you’re supposed to be.

When you come to the point where
you realize you have legs, and

you can actually walk around,

and you’ve always had the belief
that you didn’t have legs and

such things didn’t exist.

Or perhaps one in every 10000

have legs.

It’s like, everybody has legs,
just use them.

And so as you start going through
the process, it starts

becoming, “Wh don’t you just do

Well, you have this huge burden
you’re carrying around.

And it’s true, you are carrying
around a huge burden that says,

“Well, it’s not doable.

The attainment of spiritual goals
is actually not really possible.”

“It’s something to think about,
it’s something to be involved

with, kind of like playing a
video game.

But it’s not real.

You can’t actually set out to
accomplish it.”

And that’s why I tell most
people, you should be able to hit

mind of clarity within two years

of practice, if you’re setting
out to actually do it.

And mind of clarity in some
systems is, in fact, enlightenment.

It’s not within the Taoist system
and not within the 4 Ascendant,



just clear perception, basically,
and clear action.

You still have to accumulate
karma and set up your interaction

with the Tao and

shift your mind.

But you have the tools necessary
at that time to fully build the

enlightenment process. There are
certain basic things that violate

divine law.

One is cruelty,

or what we regard as cruelty.

So even an evil person cannot be

So if you’re accumulating
negative karma and you’re cruel,

you just lose karma.


again, you could simply

add up your very small negatives
and achieve this huge

position of power.

So that’s again an area where we
have to, at a certain point, we

have to stop thinking of the
negative pole as being evil.

And what our traditional cast of
evil is.

It’s just in the beginning when
you’re first dealing with it in

your brain, and you’re having
trouble juggling the concept:

good, neutral, evil.

Later on,

plus, neutral, negative.

And that becomes much more
proficient as you go through.

Cruelty is separate.

It’s a violation of divine law.

Well, think of cruelty as
tormenting, or of torture,

eliciting pain, just for simply
the sake of pain.

And that would fall into the
realm of what cruelty is considered.

Destruction is perfectly

Destruction is a portion of the

It’s the nature of things.

It is a competitive and predatory

Things that eat things, things
bite off their legs.

Things, do all sorts of things
like that.

There is no negative karma for


there could be negative karma.

There is no penalty for that,

let’s say. The other issue

and I mention, this is a side
issue simply because it helps to

recast people’s thinking is that
there is no penalty for killing.

Killing is simply the cessation
of life.

Otherwise, every time you ate

you would incur negative karma.

Or every predator that walks
around eating a gazelle would be evil.

It’s not. It just eats things.


destruction and creation are both
equal components of the Tao.

Now, you can ask yourself, well,
what is a human more suited for?

Or what would be better in the
human box?

That’s an entirely different

That’s a question of human law,
and is not a question of divine law.

Now, if the

lion were to

make fun of the gazelle,

poke it with a stick,

drag it on for days, or something
like that, yeah, it could

accumulate some karmic penalty
from that process.

After a certain point, you have
to explore

the choice structures and also
set out to perceive it.

And some of it comes from simply
sitting back and realizing that….

Well, in our current human
culture, for example,

western culture, we have the
thought that,

well, as long as you don’t hit
somebody, you can do anything you

want to them.

But and it’s the hitting of them
that’s the huge violation.

Guess what?

There’s virtually no penalty for
hitting somebody.

There is a penalty for all the
stuff that comes before hitting

the person that’s an entirely
different issue.

You create that type of
situation, and that has a karmic

penalty to it.

And by that, I don’t mean a
karmic negative.

I mean it just dings karma.

It just drops the force.

And so if you’re dealing with
true evil, it’s just an

overwhelming crushing force

that destroys the ability to


routes those choice decisions in
a way that perfectly suits one

thing, that’s the true nature of
negative karma.

So some of the things we think of
as having these huge divine law

impacts, in fact have no divine
law impact.

Human life should have value
simply because humans choose for

human life to have value.

And that comes down to whether or
not you need somebody to tell you

to not kill people,

or if you can just go,

perhaps we shouldn’t kill people,

and then you stop it.

That’s the difference between the
human and divine law as it comes


So that’s one major aspect of

a ding.

The other thing, interestingly
enough, is, for example,

death can be mandated.

And I provide this example
because people ask me about it as

you go through.

So a death can be mandated by the
course of events.

If you set out to alter the
course of events

and preserve life that is
supposed to end, what are you doing?

You’re destroying a choice

But you’re doing more than that,
you’re destroying the course of

intended events.

Any time you intervene in
intended events, it is an

automatic karmic penalty.

It’s not negative karma.

It is a karmic penalty.

And that’s the thing to keep in

There are times where when you
accumulate power, if you intrude

in an event for either positive
or negative or neutral,

you will experience a massive

And usually you know it the
second you’ve done it and realize, “Uhh, crap.”

And you sit there going, I just
lost years of work.

And from that day on, you will
find out that you have lost years

of work,

and it’s because you intruded
into the course of events.

So some things in the course of
events are supposed to occur.

That is rare.

But these are things which,
strangely enough, are mandated,

and you can sit back and go, “This
is mandated.

I may not interfere.” One big


like a lot of people talk about
attachment as if it were

arrogance, and that’s not true.

One of the few spots where
arrogance will interfere

is that you have a model in your
head of the way you think things

should be,

and you try to assert that model
into the course of events.

When you do that,

the consequences are basically
you saying, you can’t have karma

and it’s taken away from you,

and it’s taken severely away from

And this is an example I give to

Healers, at a sophisticated
level, can actually intervene

and attempt to make…

save somebody who’s going to die.

They’ll end up dying anyways.

But when they reach the point
where their death is mandated,

and you sit back and go, this
person is going to die.

And you know it, you know it the
moment you’re working with them.

If you continue to pursue that,
you will lose karmic power.


that’s really where you’ll see,
it’s like just a law that you may

not interfere.

And it’s almost to the point of
where it’ll almost shout at you,

“Don’t do anything more here

or else you’re screwed.”

Because one, you’re going to lose

And two, it is the intended
course of events.

You may not interfere.

Or, as Master Soooon would put it to me,
“Be careful and do not interfere

in the course of men.”

And he absolutely meant it.

You may not interfere in the
mortal world.

Once you pass into adept practice,

you may not interfere in the
course of events.

You may not try to alter the
overall choice structures.

You can act for yourself, but you
cannot alter the course.

If you do that, you will
experience karmic penalties.

And you do, you experience
massive karmic penalty.

And even in those situations,
there will be times, for some

stupid, internal reason that you
will choose to interfere.

And that can be a matter of
that’s simply how you’re structured.

And as Soon put it to me,

‘That is the choice to fight

a battle that you know you’re
going to lose anyways.”

It’s an imposition of the mind
upon the universe but at times,

it’s done simply because
something within the person

drives them to do it.

As the person becomes more
advanced spiritually,

they will not do those things.

But in the beginning, it’s
necessary because of the way the

person is structured in their

And it may sound like

some people say, I can instantly
bend to fit this or that.

Well, until you come up against
an actual belief structure where

you’re sitting there going, well,
you know, this is a losing battle.

The penalties will be massive,
and there will be no positive

outcome for it.

I’m going to fight it anyways.


even as I say that, it sounds
what it sounds noble

From the Taoist

perspective, it’s stupid.

It’s a battle that can’t be won
that the Tao itself says cannot

be won.

And all you gain by doing it

is the power from being able to
make a deliberate choice.

And so you gain more strength in
your choice, but you’d better be

willing to pay the penalty,

which could be everything.

Actually controlling

the choice matrix, the collection
of choices, requires a certain

level of skill.

And that’s really what I mean by

I mean skill. It’s like having the
skill to drive a really fast race

car, but not having a fast race

So it’s like

we’re pulling your license,
taking away your car and giving

you a tricycle.

Go to it, Buddy.

I can really make that tricycle

And you just sit there, pedaling
along as fast as you can make

your legs move.

But that’s all you got.

They took away everything else.

It affects all three basic
functions of a human.

Humans do three things during the
course of their day or the course

of their life.

And one is

manage resources, manage

And the last one is self

And you really don’t ever do
anything else.

You do different things within
those fields, but that’s pretty

much human activity.

Karma impacts your ability to
have or achieve anything in those

areas, right?

And if your karma is weak, then
you want to focus it into a

particular area and exclude other

So if you’re really getting,

you know, if you’re out for
something that’s going to require

a massive choice structure to be

other things are going to have to
be sacrificed, or else you’re

going to need massive karma to
pull it off.



Leave a Reply

Explore more about Taoism

Get News on New Videos, and Sales

Don’t miss out on the latest info.