July 30, 2022

 The recovery of the memories from another past life continues. I have to say that I don’t get these people you read about who ‘remember’ being a Persian princess or a sultan or a harem dancing girl in a past life. So far, I haven’t uncovered anything glamorous or even particularly appealing.


This past life, like the other one (the one I call Lucas), was difficult. I don’t get the impression that I lived very long. This one seems to have taken place somewhere in what is now Nepal of China or Tibet. Somewhere Buddhist, I think, because I remember being a student in a monastery. Based on the visions of an arid mountain plateau with hazy blue skies and vultures sailing overhead, it feels like it could be Nepal or Tibet. It was an unforgiving landscape, one that I don’t find appealing. It had an austere beauty, I suppose, but it was harsh.


Life in the monastery was harsh, unforgiving…much like the landscape. The monks were not kind and I wasn’t treated very well. I get the sense that I wasn’t a very apt pupil and was considered barely average. I don’t remember any horrendous abuse (yet) but do remember neglect. It seems like enlightenment through asceticism was the principal form of education and the boys at the monastery were put through all manner of harsh practices. Kindness was rare as was gentleness and love.


I think I must have been a younger son in a family, otherwise I probably would not have been sent to study at a monastery. My family was most likely poor. I have no memories yet of a mother or father. I do think that the man I mentioned in my previous journal entry–the one who the Goddess of Doorways and Crossroads encouraged to cross the threshold out of the underworld and into the realm of Being–was probably an older brother. He seems to have been in the military. I think he felt guilty for abandoning me. I got the sense that he was perhaps the only person in this past life who actually cared about me, although even he had his limits and fell short.


I don’t need to go into a lot of detail about the memories because, while interesting, they’re not really what is relevant here. What is relevant is the fact that past lives are like additional egos. I developed an ego in each past life, an ego that is different from my current one because egos develop according to the ‘ecosystem’ in which we grow up and live. Every past life is different and therefore the ego associated with it is different. The interesting thing is that the egos seem to nest inside each other. So, even if it’s true that our current ego structure develops based on the conditions of our current life, it also carries within it the impressions (and limitations and baggage) of the previous lives. Simply put: Egos accrete.


I had a private session over Zoom with my Diamond Approach teacher yesterday and he said that one way to look at karma is that it is a residue. That certainly seems true. I carry within me the residue of not only my present life but also past ones. It makes sense that, as the soul develops, it needs to work through the residue–all of the residue–that limits its potential expression. These past lives are definitely a limitation because I carry the trauma (from Lucas’ life) and accumulated neglect (from the Buddhist one) inside of me and it limits my soul.


There is another angle here: Karma is collective. This is obvious when working with the ego of the current lifetime because, at some point, you become aware of how you inherited the baggage from your ancestors. If you ever want to overcome it, you have to work through it. The same is true of past lives. Even if they bear no ancestral tie to your current life, the karma still lingers and it affects many more souls than just your own. Another way of saying this is that when we work through our past life karma, we open the possibility of liberation to the others whose karma is tied up in our own. By severing the ties that bind us to the past (through forgiveness), we offer the possibility for others to become liberated from their own ties.


I am aware of the other souls whose karma is tied up with my own. I sense their desire for freedom, their remorse. I sense that as things are now, they don’t have the ability to free themselves and that my working through the karma may enable them to be free.


The problem, if there is one, is that you can’t just snap your fingers and forgive those who may have harmed you in a past life. You have to relive that life through the impressions stored in your soul, revisiting the difficulty and pain and limitation, and allow it to become fully present inside you. Only then is it possible for the balm of forgiveness to dissolve the accumulated pain and difficulty. It is much the same process as working through ego structures, although I suppose it’s a bit easier because by this point my soul has realized a certain amount of freedom and isn’t as tightly identified with its past.


So, this ‘new’ past life. I really absorbed this belief of being inept and insignificant. I had basically no confidence and lived on the margins, trying my best not to attract attention. I thought I was stupid, that I didn’t have what it takes to become realized, that I was a terrible student. That I didn’t deserve to be loved or cherished. That I needed to be invisible to be safe.


It’s a painful set of memories but it speaks volumes about the limitations I face in my current life. Not everything can be explained by the way I was raised in 1970’s rural northern Michigan. It’s life I was born into this present life with limitations baked in from the previous ones. Oh, there were some benefits as well. For instance, I am very grateful for Lucas’ proclivity for journeying into different realms. And the Buddhist practices drilled into me from this ‘new’ past life were also helpful. This bent toward spirituality that I inherited from both lives has served me well in this life. Without them, I would not be who I am today. I never would have developed Pearl (essential identity) or even started on my spiritual path. Thanks to them and their sacrifices, I am who I am.


Still, the baggage from my past lives has made life difficult for me and has limited my growth and expression. It’s not the end of the world, of course. I mean, I’m here now, aren’t I? I have the experience and skills and capabilities to investigate and stay with them, allowing transformation to occur. That doesn't mean that it’s not painful or confusing or difficult, though. I feel both wonder and consternation. Wonder that I somehow made it this far and consternation that it’s been such a difficult journey. 


Being alive, being a soul is a stunningly precious and miraculous gift. And it’s also painful and difficult and trying. It literally takes lifetimes of slogging through, of suffering, of working ceaselessly. The wear and tear are both exhausting and also what leads us to become a shining beacon of the Divine, a manifestation of the Absolute come to earth.


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