Soul Contracts and Forgiveness

This article is Part 2 in a series prompted by my second Saturn return and reflections on a painful turning point in my life. In Part 1: Defining Moments, or “How I Lost God and Found My Way” I tell the story of leaving behind the religion of my family lineage to set forth on a solo quest for Truth.

To recap: I was 12 years old when I broke the news to my mother that I didn’t believe in Judaism. At that age, I didn’t have the inner resources to deal with the conflict that followed. I was too afraid to stand up to my mother’s authority when she told me, “You’re too young to know what you think”. This statement hurt me deeply, and in an unconscious attempt to protect myself, I shut down. I held on to my hurt and anger for a very long time, and I saw myself as a victim in this scenario. Now I’m taking a new look at my old story.

Part 2: Soul Contracts and Forgivenesssaturn_1509887c

The first glimmering of forgiveness toward my mother came when I began studying astrology. One day, I read about Saturn in Sagittarius (which is where Saturn is in my birth chart). The astrology book said, “People with Saturn in Sagittarius are often born into a family with a dogmatic religious orientation. They need to learn to find their own spiritual path.” I suddenly saw my rejection of Judaism and my conflict with my mother from a cosmic perspective. I saw that it had all been perfectly designed by a higher intelligence for the benefit of my spiritual evolution.

From this perspective, my painful experience was not my mother’s fault. It wasn’t Judaism’s fault. It wasn’t my fault. In fact, it wasn’t a “fault” or a mistake or even a problem. As Byron Katie says, “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.”

Astrology taught me that my deeply personal story (being born into a conservative religious family, longing to be close to God, becoming disillusioned, and setting off to find my way, alone) was also the archetypal story of Saturn in Sagittarius’ quest for Truth. I knew intuitively that having Saturn in Sag. was no coincidence. I saw that my soul chose to come into this religious family for a reason. My religious upbringing gave me something to push against, Saturn wall quotewhich gave me the impetus to start searching for another way…a way that would truly feed my spiritual hunger…a way better designed to wake me up…a way that I would need to forge, myself, without an outer authority telling me what to believe or how to express my spirituality.

When I realized that my painful experience had a higher purpose and that on some level I had chosen this experience, it became clear to me that my parents were simply playing the roles assigned to them. They were not against me, they were actually FOR my spiritual evolution (although they weren’t aware of this, consciously). We were all in cahoots in creating and enacting this drama. It was a soul contract between us, and we’d played our parts perfectly. How could there be any blame?

opening door w sunNow there was a huge crack in the solidified and entrenched belief that I was a victim. Through that crack, the light of forgiveness began to filter into my mind. I wish I could tell you that this first light of forgiveness completely dissolved my long-held anger and resentment. Over the years, I’ve worked with forgiveness lessons from A Course in Miracles and The Way of Mastery, I’ve taught others about forgiveness (we teach what we’re learning), and I’ve worked on this with The Work of Byron Katie. I’ve been in psychotherapy and even did a mother-daughter workshop with my Mom, many years ago. All of these things have been helpful, and I still have some forgiving yet to do. For me, forgiveness is many-layered, and I’m still in process.

Understanding that things don’t just happen to us, randomly, and that we have soul contracts with the major players in our lives, helps me accept and value my challenging relationships. I’m curious how this notion of “soul contracts” sits with you. Does it ring true for you, at an intuitive level? Does it affect your ability to forgive? Please leave a comment, below.

Writing this series of articles has prompted me to go deeply within and continue working with my forgiveness process. Click here for Part 3: Four Dimensions of Forgiveness

Click here for Part 4: How I Came Back to God


Would you rather be right or happy?

When under the influence of the Sagittarius Moon, you may fall into the trap of wanting to be “right” about everything.  If you’re politically minded, you may try to convince everyone that your political opinion is the right one. You could find yourself standing on a soap box, yakking away, with no one listening.  If you’re a spiritual seeker, maybe you think you’ve got the correct spiritual philosophy.  It’s amazing how quickly our minds can shift from being open and accepting to being fiercely dogmatic when someone challenges our beliefs.Smith_Wigglesworth_preaching  If you’re a smarty pants, you want to be right about facts and figures.  You  try to prove that your point of view is the right way to see things.  You’ve probably had Google races with friends and family, to see who is first to get the “right” answer when a question comes up in the midst of casual conversation.

When you win the Google race, or when your friends admit that you were right all along, there can be a feeling of victory.  “I’m right!” But after your little  happy dance is over, what are you left with?  Being right can get in the way of being truly happy, because being “right” assumes that someone else is wrong.  Being right sets up an opposition, which can lead to arguments, judgments, and grievances. Not only does the need to be right create separation between people, it also causes inner tension. What if I’m NOT right?  Then what?

The bottom line is that being self-righteous doesn’t really feel good. Being right is a precarious position. You can be knocked off the top of the hill at any moment, because you actually could be wrong.  Being right calls for constant vigilance and defense of your position. It’s also lonely up there, because it pushes people away. In our rush to be right, we sometimes stumble past the reality of what’s actually true.  You can argue with reality, but reality wins every time.  Being in conflict with reality is very stressful.

What if you don’t know all there is to know?  What if you’re not right about the things that make you miserable?  What if your opinion is just one way of seeing things, and some other perspectives are just as valid?  Being willing to be wrong makes your mind open and supple. It makes room for God’s thoughts.  It makes room for the reality of “What is”, and that’s where peace resides.

Harris_Hawk_in_flight_3_(6022357849)True happiness lies in the mind that knows that it doesn’t know. Happiness is an open mind that is willing to see different points of view, because no one point of view grasps the whole picture.  Only God sees it all, knows it all.  With our limited human perceptions, we can’t absolutley know what should or shouldn’t be happening.  So how can we judge anyone or anything?  It’s not that we shouldn’t judge, it’s that we can’t judge.  And that’s good news!

At this full Moon, the Gemini Sun illuminates the pitfalls of  Sagittarius’ need to be right, and reminds us of  Sag’s desire to be free…free to fly high, and see more and more dimensions of “What is”.  Forget about being right.  Let’s be happy, instead.


Seeking and Finding

NM rainbow

The ego’s prime dictate is, “Seek, but do not find.”  What a perfect recipe for eternal frustration!  While the ego, or  “false self”,  looks through false eyes, it cannot see what’s right in front of it’s face and behind it’s own eyes.  What the ego is after is always right around the corner.  It leads us on the proverbial quest to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and leaves us empty handed.

As a spiritual seeker, how can you find the Truth and Liberation you seek?  First, stop identifying as a “spiritual seeker” and choose to be a “finder”.  Accept the idea that you can and will find what your heart and soul are longing to experience.

Next, fire that darn ego as your guide.  It will only lead to one dead end after another.

Who or what, then, shall be the guide?  The guides to Truth and Liberation are many.  Spiritual teachers, both living and dead, spirit guides, angels, ascended masters, the Holy Spirit, God, intuition, Mother Nature, animal and plant spirits, the Still Small Voice, within…any and all of these guides can be very helpful.  Yet, they do not really take you anywhere, for your Being is always, already fully present, right where you are.  moon over sunset cloudsThese teachers and guides, with their fingers pointing at the moon, can’t give you the moon nor fly you there.  No one can give you what you already are.  True guides are more like really good friends who can clearly see who you are…as well as who you aren’t…and always remind you of your True Nature…our shared True Nature.

True guides are also able to give you tools or practices that help thin the veil that the false self is wrapped up in.  One of the most powerful tools is inquiry, which simply means “questioning”.  Remember those bumper stickers that say, “Question Authority”?  Well, question the authority of those voices in your head.  When thoughts arise that make you feel guilty or worthless or afraid, look straight at them and ask, “Is it true?”  Byron Katie has developed a simple, elegant tool for inquiry called “The Four Questions”.

Another effective form of inquiry is to deeply consider, “Who am I?” or “What am I?”  Although at first glance, those may seem like ridiculous questions, the process can take you to the very truth of your Being.  Contemporary teacher, Adyashanti, clearly describes how to engage in “Authentic Inquiry”.  Through this process, the veil can dissolve, and your radiant Self shines forth.   Fortunately, inquiry doesn’t require that you subscribe to any religious beliefs, perform rituals, or sit for long periods of meditation.  It does require a fierce determination to sincerely investigate  the thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and habitual perspectives that are limiting your awareness of “What Is”.

One more ingredient to the recipe for “finding” is to be as compassionate and accepting of yourself as you can be.  Using the inner sledgehammer to beat yourself up for not being spiritual enough, not being awake enough, not loving enough, or not being able to see clearly enough, is a sure-fire way to NOT liberate yourself.  Of course it’s nice to be compassionate and accepting of others, but it’s also important to practice on yourself.  You’re always there to practice on!  Softening into self-compassion will hasten clarity of vision.

Do you need to go to India to find Truth?  Do you need to meditate for 30 years?  Do you need to follow Jesus?  Do you need to understand complicated spiritual philosophies?

Maybe…if that is part of your journey…if that is part of what draws you back to what is always, already here.
taos mtn in clouds 1Yet, truly, there is nowhere to go.  You’ve been found.  Your Being could never lose you, nor could your Being ever be lost.  It was simply overlooked, masked by a veil that seemed impenetrable.  You’ve been looking through the false eyes of the false self and seeing what’s not there.  The mountain, obscured by the clouds, still stands secure in it’s nature.  You are that amazing, beautiful, everlasting mountain.  Your True Self stands secure, changeless, and limitless…and it’s actually in plain sight…for those with eyes to see.  I trust you.  You can see it!