Past Lives, Current Choices – Mark’s story
It is a challenging task to give a full representation of how the past affects our present lives. In order to give an adequate description of it so much has to be taken into account and on so many levels and all of it simultaneously, while the language, be it spoken or written, is very linear by its very nature. Within the limits it imposes is the notion of a clear beginning and an end. It misleads us into a perception of reality where there is a definite line between the past, the present and the future.
The truth is however that it all blends in, that who we are today is not only a summary of everything we have ever been in the past, but also of who we are in our present realities and our future lives as well. A concept hard to grasp, when looking at it from a linear point of view.
I get asked a lot about the power the past has over our present day, how exactly our past lives affect our current choices and experiences, if at all.
Below is a story of a man called Mark and the journey him and his loved ones have been on throughout the past few centuries.
It is not possible to give here the full account of the totality of Mark’s experiences, as it would have to fill a good few volumes of a book, not an article, but even from the extracts here provided the reader should be able to gain sufficient understanding of the principles of the connections between the past and the present.
We will start by drawing a picture of Mark the way he is today. We will then move on to his childhood, finally then we will focus on the crucial past lives that relate directly to one particular area of his life. Out of that a clear theme running though his many lives will emerge.
To someone who does not know him well Mark is a shy introvert. His communication skills are not great. Words, verbal expression of any deeper emotional nature are a foreign territory to him. He has many gifts and talents, but letting the world know what’s on his mind is just not one of them. Extremely intelligent, but not able to communicate or show that, Mark really struggles with awkwardness when it comes to self-expression.
To say that Mark is devoted to his family would be an understatement. He does not really have friends of his own and it does not seem to bother him the least that the circle of people his life revolves around includes only his wife and his son. This family of three is what gives his life meaning.
The love he has for them is deep and profound. It is heart-warming to watch Mark losing track of time while building yet another Lego castle or simply chasing toy cars around the playroom floor with his ten year old son. He is a very involved father. He is there at every match, every school play, every small and big event of his life. He might not be great at ‘I love you’s’, but being a hands-on dad and husband is his way of showing love.
Conforming to rules is not his strongest side. He detests anything to do with laws and regulations. It’s almost like he has an inbuilt mechanism to rebel against them.
There are many aspects of Mark’s live that we could zoom in on. We could talk about his wonderful and refreshing attitude towards money, as he is one of the few who simply genuinely do not have money worries, an ability that so many others could do with immediately. We could talk about how he has found his life’s passion and gained so much joy from that. We could go on and on talking about those areas of his life where he is already accomplished. The biggest learning however is going to come from painting a picture of the areas where he still struggles a lot. These represent the lessons he has brought into this life to transform.
Mark has big issues with anger. He can get angry very quickly and for no apparent reason. By now his wife can sense the anger coming about the minute he comes back home from work. At times she is able to help disperse and diffuse it, at times there simply is nothing that can be done and Mark ends up exploding like a volcano. Those outbursts are often accompanied or preceded by periods of feeling low. It is not a depression though, he does not feel overwhelmed by life, does not struggle with any existential issues, he simply withdraws to a place in his mind that feels cold and angry. The anger blinds him completely so as to make him unable to see that the turmoil he is in is self-administered. The theme of the anger is always the same – the wife or the son is to blame. It is not hard to see that beyond the anger is a whole lot of pain, but it is difficult to understand where exactly this pain is coming from.
On the surface Mark has achieved exactly everything he has ever wanted, he has a family he would give his life for, a beautiful house, really good job and a life style that a few can only dream about. Where does the anger come from then? Where do all of those feelings of inadequacy or incompleteness are coming from as well?
There is no way to reason with him, in fact there is no way to communicate with him when he is in that anger zone. Logical reasoning is pointless as he instantly puts up a wall between him and the rest of the world. No one is allowed in, everyone is wrong.
At times it feels like he is afraid of verbal confrontation as he perceives his wife as being so much better at making sense of things, explaining herself and making her point. It is true, she’s really good with words, while he avoids them at all costs, hence it seems to him that there is no point in even trying to talk.
The outbursts of anger affect his son and wife very deeply. They affect their relationship with him and undermine the way the two of them see him. They bring fear into the equation. And fear once brought in causes havoc in human lives.
On numerous occasions Mark’s wife had her suitcases ready by the door in a desperate attempt to save herself and their son from the damaging effect of his Mark’s anger. She would plead for him to understand that there is an issue there, that the anger is something he needs to address. But with all the stubbornness available to him Mark would refuse even the possibility of considering such an eventuality.
It seems that admitting to be wrong seemed much worse than realising that he could have an issue. The interesting thing was that no-one ever accuses him of being wrong, he is just asked to take ownership of his anger.
Throughout all their marriage Mark’s wife has always had a strong feeling that as much as she seemed to be the focal point of his anger, she is also somehow the key to her husband’s recovery, that if he was ever to get better, she would have to be a part of that process.
It is a knowing coming from the depths of her heart.
In order to understand how the past lives blend in with the present I must explain here that the major unresolved issues that we bring into our current life are always reintroduced or reinforced with an event or a series of events that act as an anchor into the current life. If Mark’s unresolved lesson from the past is anger and inability to express himself, while shutting himself off from the world, something would have to happen in his current life to anchor those lessons in.
Below is an account of his childhood. Read it closely and start looking for connections between the visible traits in his adult life and his childhood.
Mark comes from a family where emotions were always buried under the carpet of appearances, everything that was done or said was done to create a certain perception for the external world. The love he received from his mother would have always been very restricted, measured and conditional, as she herself has struggled with deep insecurities and very negative self-image. She was a very cold woman, whose mood could easily change to fury when something did not go her way. Those moments were only reserved for Mark though, never for her husband whom she feared and definitely not for the external world, where she would work very hard to be perceived as someone different.
To make up for all her insecurities, Mark’s mother created a house that never felt like a home but rather an army base – strict, filled with rules and regulations, instead of love and emotion. Mark was praised for behaving and severely punished for not conforming to the rules. And there were so many rules to follow, too many for a child who just wanted ‘to be’, hence he would end up breaking them quite often, unintentionally. This was probably the strictest of houses you could possibly imagine, so strict in fact that Mark’s relatives would often take him with them on holidays or trips, as they found it hard to watch the effect his despotic mother would have on him.
How many times does a child need to hear that he did something wrong, that he was wrong, until he begins to believe it, until it becomes so ingrained in his psyche that he no longer remembers that it is a belief that came from somebody else, not him? A few years of such conditioning will do.
His mother has worked very hard to suppress her own feelings all her life, partially because she sensed they would be a cause of huge pain was she ever to open up to them, partially because closeness, empathy, being a feeling person were in her eyes perceived as a personal weakness. Mark grew up not knowing that it is possible to release built up emotions in a constructive way through a conversation with another human being. He dealt with them the only way he knew how – he waited until the frustrations would build up within him to the boiling point and then the release would come. Anger was always involved in the process.
It got worse, as Mark started associating any form of communicating emotions with being challenged and threatened.
At the age of twelve Mark’s father changed his job and the family were forced to move to a different town. He has left his best and only friend behind. New house, new school – it all seemed like too much for a boy who has always found it exceptionally difficult to make friends. As a result, another block sets in, Mark becomes even more introverted.
He has never made a new friend since.
Let’s now look at the two particular past lives that relate to the unresolved issues Mark has brought into this life. The first life is the one where the pattern originated, the second one is the one where the pattern has been reinforced.
This seems to be the status quo for most of us. We might have a lot of lives where we are working on a particular issue, some of them will however be of greater importance than others. For most of us it is important to find and resolve the one where the patter has originated and the one where it got reinforced.
Please be warned that the lives presented below are in no way glorious and pretty. They are however real. The unlearned lessons in our lives rarely come from being rescued by a prince on a white horse. They come from real lives of real people and that means that there will always be an element of pain and despair involved.
Again, as you are reading, start looking for the underlying connections.
The first past life begins at the Knights Templar. These are very violent times, the knights have a license to kill, all in the name of God, their time divided between crusades and theological discourses. When you mix a lot of testosterone with politics or religion (the crusades were for them the equivalent of both), you end up with a very ‘rough’ environment, where only the strongest and fittest survive.
The scene begins with three male friends (Mark, his wife and son from current life, now all as men in that particular past life) are involved in a heated discussion about the true nature of God. Mark and his other friend (his current wife) are especially self-righteous.
Over the years Mark’s feelings towards his friend (current wife) begin to change. More and more often he finds himself being torn between how much he really cares about him and how he begins to feel more and more threatened by the friend’s intellect, the way he could reason and explain concepts and ideas.
Slowly the anger and frustration build up more and more inside Mark and they begin to replace the closeness and love he has for his friend. In the depths of his mind Mark begins to feel more and more overshadowed by him.
One day when a day raw breaks up, he can no longer control his anger and a heated argument begins between him and the friend (current wife). Totally consumed by it, while in a state close to madness, Mark ends up stubbing his best friend. The friend dies instantly.
It is important here to understand that a friendship was the closest those men could get to having a family, to having someone who cared about them, to feeling loved. It was the friendship that gave meaning to their lives. Hence they valued and treasured it more than anything else. They have saved each other’s lives in the many battels they fought; they had each other’s back over the many years they have spent together. At a time when human life meant so little, it was that friendship that has kept them alive.
Having now killed his best friend Mark is not able to cope with the pain. The guilt is consuming him. He has done something that went against his own beliefs, the beliefs he fought for all his life. He has killed what was most precious to him. The weight of the pain is too overwhelming. This is not only the end of a friendship, the end of his friend’s life, but this is also the moment that marks the end of Mark’s life as he knew it.
Over time Mark starts to withdraw from life into a self-made reality, tormented by his actions begins to lose the control of his mind, falls into deep depression and loses the ability to communicate with the external world completely.
Finally, in the deepest moment of despair, he ends up taking his own life.
The other friend (Mark’s current son) is deeply affected by it all. He is now after losing two of his friends in the most tragic circumstances.
This life where the pattern of anger, withdrawal and inability to communicate sets in, all set around the theme of Mark’s current wife.
(Interestingly his current wife has always felt uneasy around knives. She would never pass near a kitchen knife without making sure that it was safely put away.)
The three souls then, all three belonging to the same Soul Group by the way, continue to have various lives where they meet in different roles. Naturally, they do not meet in every life, however since we are narrowing down our focus to this particular trio, we will selectively focus on those they have spent together.
We do not repeat the same unlearned lessons in every life, hence some of the lives they have together are truly beautiful and uplifting, as they work on other themes.
We will not focus on those here, as those are not the ones that need acknowledgement and healing.
The second past life that directly relates to Mark’s anger takes place two hundred years ago in Italy, where the three meet again in a scenario very similar to the current one – Mark is the father and the husband to his son and wife from the current life.
This time Mark is a very well off medical student, incredibly gifted and talented, extremely intelligent with a potential to become an outstanding doctor. He adores his wife and son, they are his world. They share many beautiful moments together. Medicine is Mark’s life’s passion and he immerses himself in study, hoping to discover one day a breakthrough that would help to solve the world.
At one stage, out of medical curiosity Mark begins to experiment with opium. As a result, over a period of time he begins to develop obsessive thoughts and behaviours. Life becomes unbearable for the family. At one stage Mark’s mind is so possessed by the drug that he becomes convinced that his wife is cheating on him and that his son is not his child at all.
Anger, frustration and periods of withdrawal become a part of who he is now. Pleading and reasoning does not make any difference. The Mark that his wife knew seems no longer there.
Desperate to save his son from her husband’s outbursts of madness, Mark’s wife makes the very difficult decision to leave him.
For Mark this marks the moment where he no longer has a reason to live. Unable to study, living in a world where nothing makes sense any more, he feels that everything starts to fall apart. He blames his wife for destroying his life, unable to see that it was him who has destroyed that, what gave meaning to his very existence.
As a result Mark shuts down, cuts himself off from the world, over time ends up losing his senses and again in the moment of deepest despair, he takes his own life.
This is the life where the anger and withdrawal pattern becomes reinforced.
Are you beginning to see the connections already – being around anger as the means of expression from early childhood, having so many rules and regulations to follow so that now as an adult he rebels against any rule. He has habituated retreating into his own internal world in order to survive, even the slightest hint that he might be wrong about something now awakens a sleeping giant of anger within him, bringing up all the suppression of his childhood and so with mighty stubbornness he will defend his actions even when he is evidently in the wrong.
The inability to communicate stems from both past lives and has been anchored in his current life by having grown up in an environment where emotions and feelings have always been suppressed.
The theme of guilt and self-blame brought from both past lives is clearly anchored in the current life by being told as a child that he is wrong or that what he has done is wrong. Hence the smallest hint that he might be wrong now triggers a massive self-preservation attack.
Being torn between expressing love and giving into anger clearly continue into the present life.
The theme of his life being focused on the other two souls solely continues right into current life. He does not have friends, he does not have a social life. He continues to keep the rest of the world at a distance.
Having lost the connection and use of his mind as a result of his loss, coupled with anger at himself and the world, in the current life results in him withdrawing to the same, painfully familiar place, when anger takes over.
Anger is what not only destroyed his happiness but also resulted in his life ending. This current life is therefore very important, as he came here to break the vicious circle and set himself free of the old patterns. To do that however Mark needs to finally come to the realization that he is capable of responding to the world in a different manner. He has to open up his eyes to the truth that he has a choice in how he reacts. The habituated responses need to turn into conscious choices.
With each new outburst of anger in his current life he is facing that choice – transform it or be consumed by it.
As obvious as the choice looks on paper, it is not always easy to execute.
I hope that you have gained some insights into how the past is interwoven into the present and that this knowledge helps you to live better, fuller lives.