Past Lives and Karma: The Courage To Do What Is Right

A client came to me, very upset with her life choices:

I want to get out of a mediocre life, but have constant fear of failure, always feel low as well as unhappy. I was raised by my grandparents. I wanted to be a doctor but they told me I wasn’t good enough, that I was to be an engineer. Over and over I really feel that there is some higher power that is stopping my progress. Someone is taking revenge or I am living a curse or may be paying back for my own deeds in my past lives relating to my karma. I fall into depression mode and revert back; I am not sure what my passion is? What should I pursue so that I rise above my mediocre life?

The core difficulty was between my client and her grandparents. I did have to tell her that she came in with so many traits to be a stellar physician, that had she pursued that role she would have had a very different life — much more fulfilling, much more in line with her soul’s chosen life path. This is why her desire to be a doctor was felt at an early age —she was clear at that point on her Karmic path.

There are different ways in which she can fulfill her Life Path now, which will be discussed at the end.

Karmic challenges that she came in with (as opposed to life path) are independence, self-actualization, and authenticity. Had she successfully said “no” to her grandparents, many of her difficulties would have been mitigated. However, because she allowed herself to be turned from her true path, she feels that nothing in her life is anything but shadow.

Her grandparents have been with her in other lives. She encountered them in Russia, Denmark, Nepal, and Japan. [For brevity on Medium, I’ll only share two of these lives.]

DENMARK, 17th century: In this life female, and an only child. Very intelligent and well-to-do, more learned than most females of the day, my client spoke seven languages (Danish, Norse, English, Latin, Greek, French and Italian) and read voraciously. She modeled herself on Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was a scholar as well as a Queen. She wanted to learn about the stars and planets, as Tycho Brahe had been a frequent visitor to her parents’ home, and actually listened to her questions and answered them, even though he was condescending.

My client’s current grandparents were friends of her then-parents, who had a son they wanted her to marry. The son was under the thumb of his parents, and my client knew it.

She was much closer to her father than her mother. He respected my client wanting to study astronomy, though her mother was concerned it was “so unwomanly that no man will take her up to wife” (direct quote). When the friends would press their son upon him as his daughter’s suitor, he would continue to put off the decision. He knew that her dowry was what they were after, not really his daughter. My client’s father did seek other matches for her, but there were not many (as his wife suspected) who would accept such an intellectual for a daughter in law. As her mother kept scolding her father, “This is Denmark, not Italy, and certainly not France!” (Intellectual women were much more accepted in both those countries.)

When my client’s father died, she was 14; her mother had to marry her to someone quickly, or her father’s entire inheritance would go to a distant cousin and mother and daughter would be penniless. My client was forced to marry a boy she despised. Once in that household, my client’s books were taken away, she was not permitted to read anything except the Bible, and the boy’s parents were literally her rulers. Her mother had to move in with other relations, and my client’s birth house was sold so that the mother would not be destitute.

My client raised four children, three girls and one boy, and did her best to keep them from being cowed by their grandparents. The girls were deliberately kept uneducated save for what was expected of a wife and mother, “so they would not have unreasonable expectations,” but my client did her best to secretly teach them critical thinking and to be unafraid of their husbands. Her son was both spoiled and strictly brought up to think of women as inferior, men as superior, and the grandparents as infallible. All four children married as they were told to do, but the girls actually had happier marriages than the boy. Once my client’s eldest daughter was secure in her marriage and had produced twin boys, my client simply left her in-laws’ house and moved in with the daughter, never speaking to them again. She spent her last ten years caring for her grandchildren, reading as many books as she could find, and still picking up what she could about astronomy, all with the blessing of both her son in law and daughter.

JAPAN, 20th century: My client was male in this life [therefore will be referred to as “he”], and very “modern,” as the parents wished. He had gone to school in the United States and come back to Tokyo to work in a banking firm (Mitsubishi Bank, which also had branches in the United States). His parents had given up everything to make sure he had every opportunity, and he was a very grateful and dutiful son. He was a good worker and rising in the ranks at his company. The only difficulty he found was that the two bank owners (again, my client’s current grandparents) were very prejudiced against the Koreans who worked in the city. Japan had taken over Korea in the very early 20th century, and there were hundreds of Korean immigrants in Tokyo. In accordance with my client’s “modern” views, he believed that a man is proven by his deeds, not just by his family tree. He frequented several shops that were run by Korean immigrants and was known to them as someone who would deal with them fairly.

When the great Earthquake struck in 1923, my client immediately rushed to aid those who were caught in the fires and collapsed buildings. He did not care who he saved — men, women or children — Japanese, European or Korean. He carried people to safety, he helped bandage wounds. He ran into his two bank owners, who grabbed him and said that his duty was to guard the bank — there were Korean thieves who would be sure to loot it if they were not stopped!

My client looked at them aghast — there were people dying in the streets! As a matter of fact, the child he was carrying was clearly Korean. One of the bank owners saw that and grabbed the child out of his arms, throwing it to the ground and injuring it severely. The other one grabbed my client by the lapels and told him that if he didn’t go to the bank RIGHT THAT MINUTE, he was fired and would never work in the banking field again.

My client was so angry, he punched the bank owner in the nose, who reeled back as my client dashed off to help the other wounded.

He spoke to his parents a few days later (they were in a place unhurt by the earthquake) and told them what happened. After a few moments, his father told him that “in my mind, son, you have done the honorable thing, and you have not lost face.”

My client went back to the United States, eventually applied for and received American citizenship and worked there until World War Two, when unfortunately he was one of the Japanese-Americans who were rounded up and sent to one of the American internment camps. He died of dysentery there in 1944.

What was important for my client to note was that in each of these lives she did what she felt was right, even when initially stopped or harmed by those who were her grandparents this time. And while it may be too late for her to become the physician she sought to become in earlier years, there are still ways for her to heal, to care, and to minister to those who need her kind touch and wise words.

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