Life has a funny way of giving a person opportunities to practice what we have learned on the spiritual journey. Often when you don’t expect it.
My darling daughter has an interesting and problematic relationship with her former husband. They truly are in love with each other, and drive each other nuts a good part of the time. Their first marriage ended in a maelstrom of psychological and emotional abuse, and virtual paralysis for her. The two children were so young when all that was going on. There were harmful words and actions, and I thought we would never see him again. So much for assumptions.
The pull between them is magnetic and powerful. A lot has improved over the years for this man, he has worked hard to overcome addictions and behaviors, has founded a strong work ethic and has seemed committed to trying it again. This all took a great deal of courage, especially trying to re-establish a relationship with these two young girls who view him with an understandable skepticism and fear of abandonment, mixed with a heart-rending hope that things might be different this time.
It seemed to go well for a while, but with time some old mindsets and behaviors for both of them have reappeared. From the mother perspective, for him truth is not a priority, and the best defense is a hard, loud offense. “I didn’t do that, and by the way you’re crazy.” puts it in a nutshell. He is intelligent and charming. He tells his version of the tale to his family and of course they believe him, further isolating her. It’s a masterful artwork of betrayal, falsehood, and attack. As I watch my only child start to vibrate with that dark tide, the mother-rage starts to ignite in my center. For a moment all the spiritual practices, blessings, wisdom, wholesome mental state, vanish. Mother-rage is as old as mankind, and a powerful and visceral response. Alrighty then! What will we do.
The first thing that comes to mind, is that this is of course…karma. My spiritual teacher, Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha teaches,
“All success and all failure in life is due to karma.”
Believe in karma or don’t believe, it’s still the law. If you cannot bring yourself to believe that there are many, even countless lives for each of us, and our actions have created karma both good and negative, then there’s no reason to read further.
“I did see, Leo. I did. From the beginning of time, from the first life that burst its light on this planet, or any planet, there has been the law of the soul. Every thought, every single action, recreate themselves in some way. Good actions create more good action. Negative thoughts create negative outcomes. It’s the law Leo. It is exact and perfect. It is Divine balance, here in your yin-yang world.”
God, in King Leo
The problem comes not in belief, but in perspective. When karma activates, and we are attacked on all sides, the common reaction is, “why is this happening to me? I am hurt. I am victim. Why can’t you just be nice? Why does it happen over and over? Why do I attract abusive mates, over and over? What is the purpose for me even being alive?” and so on. A more productive perspective says, “Aha! I see that in this lifetime or some past experience I have caused that harm to someone. I have betrayed, lied to, abused someone mentally and emotionally. I will do forgiveness practice.” Easy to say, when the fires are lit, and one is fully involved in all the storms of emotion and harmful action.
I have experienced a version of this “Aha” myself. I am in process
of creating a healing business, bringing my energetic and spiritual gifts together to serve others, and make a living at the same time. All is in place, and yet I seem to stand in a great empty hall, echoing with no one showing up. A high level teacher in Master Sha’s organization and a friend did a brief reading for me, and she said, so gently…”There was betrayal.” Aha. There was a great resonating gong. A flood of images came of teaching others wrongly, abandoning people, blocking their soul-journeys, interfering with their service lives. Destroying their livelihoods, their finances. Turning to the dark side. Showing indifference to suffering. In other words, I was a pretty bad monkey in probably many lives. I am working now to repair that damage as I can, through forgiveness and service, to prove that I have learned my lessons, and that I can be trusted now.
If that were not enough, there’s ancestral karma. That old “visiting the sins of the fathers on the heads of the children” biblical thing. There’s a lot on karma in the Bible, actually. I don’t have the wisdom myself to teach on that one, but I know it’s there, good and not so good. If your ancestors committed a lot of heinous action, it trickles on down to you. It would seem provident to invite one’s ancestors to join you in forgiveness practice.
“When the ancestors plant a tree, the children enjoy the shade.” Chinese proverb.
Fortunately the converse is also true, I am here, now, in this place because my forebears did what they did. Any great great great grandperson that chose right over wrong, kindness over cruelty. The brave mothers and fathers who came in the covered wagons, those who crossed the dangerous sea in ships, did so to save their own lives, and for their children. They took those steps off the cliff of possibility, in faith.
Back to my beloved child, who is not a child anymore but a full-grown woman with children of her own. I am very proud of her, her courage, her strength, her ability to survive the most daunting experiences. I think now we will embark together on a deep and sincere plan of forgiveness practice as is possible for her, to see her significant other for what he is, a being asking to be acknowledged, that his own suffering be observed and hopefully released. That his essential self be loved and forgiven also. I believe it is possible. It’s time for me to walk the walk that I talk, do I believe what I say and what I teach? Yes. I do. I will write a follow-up with whatever the outcome may be.
Mother Tiger is back in the den. I will be vigilant.