Karma is simply action. Our thoughts words and actions coming back to us from this or former lives.
Dr (Pundit) Roshan Singh
Perhaps you have someone in your life who is difficult, abusive, controlling or selfish and no matter what you have done, nothing changes. From a karmic point of view, if it is a friend, we can simply avoid them. We don’t need to keep such people in our lives. However if they are family members, it becomes more problematic, as we are born into family systems. From a karmic perspective this is no accident, as such connections are part of our journey. How we behave and react to such people becomes an indicator of our personal growth and maturity. They force us to question ourselves and evaluate whether it is us or them who are crazy. We are challenged to stop accepting their behavior as an evaluation of our worthiness and eroding our self-esteem.
How do we stop being emotionally defensive?
Is it possible to see the soul of the person locked inside unreasonable behavior and realize they are much like us. Wanting love and connection, but somehow stuck inside a cycle of rigid beliefs and emotional turmoil.
I believe it is a mistake to perceive these karmic relationships as punishment, because they provide the biggest opportunities for growth. Many psychotherapeutic and New Age healers recommend cutting such people off. While this may feel liberating, it is often not the highest solution, because at a soul level we know that to cut off a family connection in itself does not resolve the karma and unresolved, it may continue to future generations. However, ‘Cutting the bonds that tie’, may be a possible first step in creating healthier boundaries and the resilience to say a healthy ‘No’ to unreasonable behavior. We are in this situation for a reason. Perhaps in a past life we didn’t deal with such people well and so we are presented with another opportunity.
As someone once said to me, “the bigger the shit, the bigger the growth.”
Such people force us to struggle beyond our normal capacities, so that our insecurities, triggers and knee-jerk reactions rise to the surface to be resolved or not. How else could we become aware of what is below our surface without such interactions to trigger us?
“Somewhere beyond right and wrong there is a garden, I will meet you there,” Rumi.“
This is a philosophy that we may aspire to. The challenge is ultimately to develop discrimination in our choices and let go of OUR need to be right or wrong, or blame. In this we don’t have to take on what the other is projecting. This requires a very high level of maturity. Perhaps from here we may be able to see the suffering that the person is creating for themselves, in terms of their karma. What goes around comes around, if not in this life, then in the next.
What to do?
If it is a parent or grandparent, accepting what they DID provide us is a first step in gratitude. You gained your life through them, whether you were an ‘accident of birth’ or not. In accepting this reality rather than focusing on what was missing, you will grow significantly. After all, life itself is the biggest gift. There is no doubt that if nothing more was available, such as support or care, you will have been challenged to become independent and resilient. This is the path of growth and who you are now may not have been possible if you had been born to a more generous, mature, loving, easy parent or an easier life. (I do not include violence, sexual abuse and extreme neglect here.)
In this understanding is the jewel.
There is no doubt that we are each free to find our own perspectives on life. We can find ones that allow growth and hope, or remain resentful, angry or depressed. Take charge of our feelings and beliefs or remain a victim. We have a choice. The beliefs we adopt are what we project into our world and how we create our karma and reality, so it is in our best interests to find a perspective that allows us to create our reality positively.
“A man is made by his beliefs, as he believes, so he is” Bhagavad-Gita”
In short take responsibility for your part in any situation and leave their part with them. Don’t accept blame or emotional baggage from anyone if it is not yours. Come to peace with the person from your side only, even if they remain unreasonable. It may be possible to remain in connection with them, but if the level of their abuse or behavior is such that it is harmful or dangerous, then you may have to look after your own best interests in protecting yourself first and maintain a respectful distance. Each of us have a right to pursue our own life free from control and abuse and take responsibility for ourselves and any children we bring into the world.
So to resolve karmic patterns, it is important for your soul’s journey and personal growth to come to a good place within yourself over any connections with difficult family members, as this is very much part of the challenges you have been dealt in this life, for personal and spiritual growth.
Pundit Roshan Singh is a personal development and relationship expert. He provides consultations and Family Constellations and tailored programs to resolve blocks to success and wellbeing. He is the author of Vivah a Journey of a Lifetime, The sixteen sanskaars in the life of a Hindu and How to name your child correctly.