Escalating karmic lessons are real and can become horrific for the friends and clients I’ve known. I attempt to end my own karma quickly AND I know that I am still blind to much of my personal karma. Journaling each evening does help to manage repeat lessons.
When we refuse to look at our karma, understand it and overcome it, it just gets bigger and (better) more challenging. From childhood to my early 30’s I had a repeat lesson with whining women. When I learned to stop my whining and be direct, the lesson stopped. My life became filled with stronger fulfilled women.
Following is the best/worse example of repeat karma from my years doing psycho-spiritual therapy: this female student indulged a repeat lesson until it became a-you-can’t-avoid-looking-at-this-lesson/disaster now.
On the first day in the garden before a 30 day retreat started, I witnessed an attractive young women holding court with a circle of women around her at the picnic table. She was the focus of attention. As I stood in the shade, I overheard her tell her new classmates she came to stop a relationship problem: all the men in her life mistreated her. She started with: “My father didn’t understand mother and me”.
I later realized that she and her mother formed a line of defense against her father because he wasn’t strong enough or handsome enough or didn’t dance well enough. Her parents were ballroom dancers and often won competitions. She and her mother were pitted against Dad with their pitiful stories on how he didn’t understand them. This was a pattern established by age 5. Interestingly enough Mom and Dad seemed to be satisfactorily married for 35 years at the time of her retreat.
She continued by sharing boyfriend woes in what seemed to be a practiced order:
Her first boyfriend broke up with her cowardly by letter. Shame, shame on him. How abused she was. She expected and got pity from the group.
Her next boyfriend slapped her once in a while. Shame, shame on him. How abused she was. She expected and got pity from the group.
Her next boyfriend, repeatedly gave her black eyes, called her a whore for no apparent reasons and demeaned her in front of others. He literally kicked her out she went to the hospital with bruises. Shame, shame on him. How abused she was. With this story, she expected and received masses of sympathy from the group.
After that tragedy, she reported that she decided to avoid relationships and joined a spiritual movement. She was inspired because the male guru was admired, famous and spoke such beautiful truths. Of course, she knew she would be safe in this commune. Soon she learned that the guru slept with female students for “tantric reasons” to improve their spiritual development. She was jealous. Finally he slept with her. He told her how beautiful and loving she was and how their tantric activities would benefit her spiritual growth.
She fell in love thinking she was more special than the other women. This attentive relationship lasted all of two weeks. Then he wanted her to become involved with group sex. When she declined, he ignored her except as a student in the group. She left the ashram. Shame, shame on him. How abused she was and the other women were. Now, the group really laid even more masses of sympathy on her.
All of the stories were told at the table. During the second week of the retreat, she decided she would bring the stories up in class. I had heard her repeating and repeating the stories on breaks during those first two weeks. It was great drama.
At the end of her sharing and a session with the 9 Steps of Emotional Management, I said, “You know you are addicted to finding bigger and more horrid situations so that you can get sympathy from other women, repeating your relationship with your mother. It appears you are addicted to sympathy.”
She denied it and agreed to think about it.
The group asked her to stop the “Shame, shame on him.” routine and to look at each incident to decide the point when she could have intervened to change her karma. They told her she would no longer get pity from them.
Two days later, her lunchtime kitchen karma cleaning team deserted her. One went to the bathroom and one disappeared into the garden. She was left with scrubbing the pots and pans and floor mopping. When I walked by she whined at me expecting sympathy. I said, “What are you going to do?”
She stopped leaning over the pan she was washing, laughed and in lisping baby talk said, “I ‘sink I want some sympasy!” Laughing louder, she threw her shoulders back and said: “I’m going to find them and drag them back. I’m holding them responsible. We will finish this task together.”
We never heard another pity story from her again.