He’s only 10 years old. His emaciated little body covered with vermin and festering sores, he huddles in the moldy straw of a 14th century castle dungeon. Sensing in the thick darkness the hulking presence of the abuser who has repeatedly violated him, he cries out for help. When there is no response, he summons his remaining strength. Painfully, he struggles to his feet. Then, defiantly raising his tiny fist, he screams: “I will hate you forever!” And he falls lifeless.
My client returns from past life regression, and I wait quietly for the emotions that soon appear. “I have hated them for centuries … those people who abandoned me … that monster who violated me!” She is weeping. “I was just a little boy! What kind of animals would do that to a child?”I remain silent.
She’s a seductive, beautiful young woman. Clad in velvets and pearls, she’s a spoiled darling basking in the opulence of the Medici court. And she toys with the men who daily seek her favors, and dowry. (She despises all of them.) Then there comes a man who truly loves her. She plays her games. When he realizes that she’s coldly indifferent, he goes away grieving and ends his own life. She feels a momentary sadness. Then she shrugs and laughs.“I wasn’t very nice, was I?” The client is troubled. “What I was doing was vengeful, wasn’t it? … It was really hateful, but partly I couldn’t help it, could I? … That was my karma wasn’t it?”I wait.
He’s wily and tough, a homeless street urchin in Victorian London. Now in his late adolescence, he fiercely rules (and protects) a ragged little gang of waifs, who fear and respect him. A tiny girl/woman, his constant companion, stays close beside him. They roam the dirty streets together, stealing their food and other sustenance, finding shelter in hidden places and running away from anyone who could detain (or help) them. His short life ends with disease.“Well, I seem to have been more caring that time, wasn’t I? But I could sense that young man’s deep distrust and angry determination. I was a survivor, wasn’t I? And there was my karma following me right along.” She awaits the reply.
She’s a bent old woman; a yellow Star of David sewn to her dress. She waits alone in the Warsaw ghetto. Soldiers burst into the room and drag her away. Then, she’s standing in a long line in a concentration camp. She sees the people ahead of her stepping over the doorsill of a low cement block building. She senses her approaching death and feels sad. There will be no one to say the Kaddish for her. A soldier prods her with his rifle butt. Stumbling, she feels a flash of anger. Then she begins to whisper: “May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified throughout the world,” and she steps over the doorsill.
“Wow! From dungeon to gas chamber in six centuries! That poor little boy, that poor old woman! Did they—did I—deserve that much punishment?” My client is deeply distressed and confused. “Is that what karma’s all about?” “No,” I reply. “Karma is not about punishment deserved or otherwise. Karma is about our choices and how they impact upon our lives and the lives of others. We are a huge creative energy. How we use it, in the past and present, shapes us into who we are and what we do in this life and in those to come.”
She ponders for a few moments and then her face brightens. “Do you know what keeps running through my head? …The Lord’s Prayer, where it says ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. Is that what I have to do, forgive?”
“No,” is my quiet response.”
There is no “have to” with the Spirit. When Jesus taught that Great Prayer, he was aware of why the cosmic laws had to be obeyed. And I’m sure that healing our karma was something he would endorse. In his prayer, he addresses the “Cosmic Birther” and, after he affirms the Great Covenant between us and that androgynous Father-Mother, he has us request the three Great Gifts that he knows we can receive: the gifts of sustenance, forgiveness and protection.
In the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, the word for forgiveness, “washboqlin,” means letting go of the cords of the mistakes that bind us.
As I see it, God’s forgiveness of our mistakes means that we have released our anger and pain over the hurtful actions of others against us. And Jesus knew that for this to happen there had to be love: love for the Father-Mother, for others and for ourselves. That Great Commandment is the key—a surrendering into love. It’s love that forgives, and forgiveness heals. It can heal the karma of that long-ago abused boy and his enemies, that medieval seductress and her rejected suitor, that nineteenth-century street urchin and his charges, that old woman and her murderers. Are you ready for that?”
With brimming eyes she smiles: “So that’s why I’ve been coming here all these months, to learn how to forgive! That’s why I came here today, isn’t it?” She takes a deep breath. “Well, I’m ready; I’m ready to begin. I have learned the ways of love. And this is my choice.”She blinks back the tears. “Now I know how old Scrooge felt on that first morning, after he had learned his lessons.”She stood and moved toward the door. Then she turned back and gave me a hug. “Thank you, dear one and Happy Holidays.”“Peace and blessings,” I smile in response.
Berenice Andrews, now in her 80th year, continues to follow her bliss as a shamanic teacher/healer. To learn more about her teachings and to become her student, consult her book, Rebirthing Into Androgyny: Your Quest for Wholeness, And Afterward and visit thestonecircleclassroom.com. Author’s note: To learn more about past life regression, go to the materials published by Dr. Brian L. Weiss. For more information about karma, start with the description by Huston Smith in The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions. To gain more insights into the Lord’s Prayer, read Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations On the Aramaic Words of Jesus, by Neil Douglas-Klotz.