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Soul Life - Past Lives
Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.)

  SOUL LIFE
  Past Lives & Present Relationships

  by John Van Auken

We are like rivers. On the surface we are all shiny and clear, shimmering with freshness and life, but deep within us run powerful unseen currents of soul-memories and desires. These deep currents are the cumulative effects of ages of soul-life and many incarnations in the Earth. They cause us to love one person and despise another; to feel wonderful vibrations with a particular individual in one aspect of our lives only to feel awkward and uncomfortable with that same person in another aspect of our lives. Patterns and habits have formed deep within our inner-consciousness and shape the way we interact with people around us.

Everyone involved in our present lives was very likely involved in our past lives. Actually, it is likely they have been involved in many of our past lives. Our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses, children, friends, colleagues, bosses and employees, and even our enemies began sharing life with us long before the present lifetime.

 
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    Lives of Leila: One Soul's Journey
 

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The effects of these many past-life experiences are reflected in the circumstances that now surround our present relationships. The soul's memories of past-life activities with others shape our innate reactions to them. Of course, their memories of our past-life actions influence how they react to us. Through the same eyes that the personality sees life, the soul sees it, but the soul looks with a memory covering centuries of passion and adventure, caring and love, hatred and revenge, doubt and fear. When we feel a seemingly unfounded fondness for another person, it is very likely due to soul memory of the positive role he or she played in our past lives. On the other hand, when we react with what seems to be an unfounded revulsion or hatred towards another person, you can be pretty sure it is because the soul recalls their past actions against us or our loved ones.

However, the influences of past-life actions are rarely so clear cut. Often those with whom we have had many good lives and relationships are the same people with whom we have had many problems and disagreements, a mix of "good" and "bad karma," so to speak. In fact, it's rare that a past-life relationship has every aspect of life in good, clear focus. Those positive, well-developed aspects from our past lives will give us much pleasure and support in the present. Conversely, those aspects which we did not have in proper focus will give us opportunities for pain and growth in present relationships. Avoiding these influences is simply not possible. Whether we like it or not, the Universal Law of Karma constantly brings before each of us the meeting of our past use of free will and consciousness. Thus, what we have done to other souls and they have done to us is reflected in the circumstances surrounding our present relationships and the basic, innate urges, attitudes and emotions we feel toward each other.

SOUL GROUPS

These basic ideas of past relationships and their present influences are not only true of individual relationships but also of group relationships. From the beginning our souls have tended to travel together in groups, and the very act of traveling together for such long periods creates forces of attraction that help to maintain and build on these group relationships. Nearly all souls on the planet today were together in past ages of human history. As a result, the relationships among the peoples of the world today are a reflection of their past activities with each other.

The souls who came in to this planetary system and entered the realms of consciousness associated with this region of the cosmos comprise our largest soul group. This group can then be divided into the subgroups we call "the generations," containing souls who move through the natural cycles of Earth life together, which can be further divided into the various nations, cultures, races, religions, etc., that have formed during ages of interaction together. Within these groups are the subgroups of souls who share similar philosophies, ideas, purposes, aspirations and attitudes. From here the soul groups further divide into the many smaller groups of personal relationships: communities, families, businesses, teams, schools and so on.

Soul groups create an affinity among their members by not only the cumulative experiences they share, but also through their collective memory of how life has been for them and what they have come to mutually desire out of it. In a manner of speaking, such groups form a distinct collective consciousness and spirit, much like the souls who gave us "the spirit of '76," reflecting that soul group's mutual hopes, attitudes, purposes and memories.

Soul groups are neither rigid nor static. Any individual soul can use its free will to seek an experience in another group. There are many cases of souls changing political allegiance, race, or religion from one lifetime to another. Neither do the generations incarnate in strict, rigid patterns. A member of one generation may enter again with another generation. For example, two members of a family group who were father and son in one life may change positions and become son and father in another, or grandfather and grandson. They may even choose to be in the same generation in an incarnation as brothers, for example. However, they may choose not to be in the same family again.

Although soul groups are fairly well established and have significant pull on the individuals within them, they do not have greater influence than an individual soul's will to change.

Generally, however, soul groups cycle in and out of the Earth together and, therefore, at approximately the same time. (I am speaking in eras and ages, not days or years.) This is particularly evident in the past-life readings, as they are called, of Edgar Cayce. Many of them were for souls who fell into one of two major soul groups and naturally followed their cycles of incarnation. Notice in the following listing that the two groups mentioned were sometimes in the Earth at the same periods, but in different locations, not surprisingly. Edgar Cayce and those who worked closely with him also traveled with one of these two groups.

THE INCARNATIONS OF TWO MAJOR SOUL GROUPS FOUND IN THE EDGAR CAYCE READINGS

Group l:

Early Atlantis

Early Ancient Egypt

Persia (during the time of Croseus I,II)

Palestine (during the time of Christ)

The Crusades

Colonial America

Group 2:

Late Atlantis

Late Ancient Egypt

Early Greece

Rome (during the time of Christ)

France (during the time of Louis XIV, XV, XVI)

The American Civil War

Of course, these are only the most significant incarnations for these souls; they would most probably have incarnated many more times than the list indicates. There were also other incarnation-sequences given, but the majority of the readings were for souls who typically cycled with one of these two major groups. We should also take a look at.some significant exceptions to this pattern. Some souls did not always incarnate with their group, choosing instead to skip a cycle or enter with another group, though they usually rejoined their original group eventually. Others, though cycling into the Earth-plane with their group, did not actually incarnate, i.e., did not enter into a body; rather they stayed in the spirit and helped from a higher vantage point while the others incarnated. One example of this comes from an Edgar Cayce reading for a woman who wanted to know why she hadn't been given an incarnation during the Palestine era in which her present son and husband had incarnated. She was told that she was there, but not in the flesh. She was, as some of us would term it today, a "guardian angel" for her present son while he lived and worked in that period.

A group of souls may find themselves together again and yet not one of them desired it to be so. In these cases, it is often the forces of the Universal Law that cause them to come together. For better or for worse they now have to meet the effects of their past actions with each other. The Universal intention is that the confrontation will lead to a resolution of their karma or at least a recognition of how their past actions with each other have caused the present predicament, and they will resolve not to act that way again.

Both in individual and group relationships, the karmic effects of past actions with others can create some very difficult, even terrible situations. The meeting can result in murder, rape, torture and other atrocities. Even in lesser cases karmic effect can result in back-biting, back-stabbing, bickering, fighting and other turmoils. Imagine what might happen if the universal forces of cause and effect brought together the souls of the Roman Coliseum and the souls they fed to the lions, or the Conquistadors and the Incas and Aztecs, or the Nazis and Jews.

The same cause-and-effect forces play a part in individual lives, too. Imagine if the Law brought together a victim killed in a family quarrel and his or her murderer. What about a soul who betrayed another's trust or love? What would be the reaction toward one another in this present Life? When lives are heavily burdened by the negative effects of their past actions, their present experience is often tragic, and occasionally their lives may appear to be wasted senselessly. However, from the soul's perspective a single incarnation is a learning-experience and an opportunity to resolve past actions that are now holding the soul back from a fuller life. One physical life is not the ultimate living experience for the soul. It is an opportunity to resolve the burdens past actions have placed upon our souls and to clear away the many ideas that continue to confuse and limit us. So even though the seventy or eighty years that comprise the average lifetime seem so very singular and final, it is only a temporary sojourn, a brief experience along an infinite path of soul-life.

Of course, all the good that has been experienced among the various souls and soul groups has just as strong an effect on present situations as does evil, and when we focus on this "good karma" we often find better ways to resolve the negative influences.

SOUL MATES

A "soul mate" is really nothing more than a soul or souls (and there may be several of them) with whom we have closely shared so many lifetimes that we now resonate to the same pitch, so to speak. We understand each other like no one else could hope to understand us. This acquired understanding gives soul mates the capacity to help each other in ways that would be difficult without the deep bonding that has occurred through the ages.

Soul mates often help each other reach their highest potential, and though this is not automatic and each will still have to apply themselves to making the present relationship the best it can be, their deep inner-knowing of each other gives them a distinct advantage. However, being soul mates doesn't automatically mean that they see eye-to-eye on everything. In fact, they are usually more like complements one to another than duplicates of each other, each one bringing to the relationship something the other is missing, thereby rounding-out the relationship and giving each of them more than they would have separately.

When soul mates are together, they form a dynamic bond and provide a source of strength for one another that is very hard to find in our world. They may presently be in either sex and interact with each other in any number of relationships. There is a strong tendency to think of soul mates only in the sense of lovers and marriage mates, but they can also be partners, parents, siblings, teammates, friends, etc. Having been lovers and mates in many past lives, it would be very hard for them to avoid at least a romantic interlude in the present life - there would simply be too much magnetism for them to easily ignore each other and the physical attraction. If, on the other hand, they had been close friends or family members throughout their incarnations, they would be inclined toward a similar relationship in the present. The point is, a soul mate is not always a sexual mate.

Another important point about soul mates is that the true mate of every soul is its Original Companion, the Creator, who gave each soul life for the very purpose of being eternal companions with Him. As far as the sexual dynamics of soul mating, it's important to keep in mind that in the heavenly home we (our souls) "neither marry nor are given in marriage." As souls, we are actually siblings in the Universal Family. Therefore, even though soul mates may give each other the support that is needed and deserved in this difficult world - which may include healthy, intimate, sexual companionship - they are ultimately brothers and sisters in the spiritual realms.

TWIN SOULS

This brings us to one of the strangest concepts concerning soul relationships, that of "Twin Souls." As we have already seen, a soul possesses both the male and female forces within itself prior to entering the duality of the Earth. As the soul enters the world it usually selects one of its two sexual natures and projects the unique characteristics of this sex while incarnate. As difficult as it may be to understand, the unmanifested sexual part of our soul can actually incarnate at the same time we do. In other words, our soul, which is much more complex than we have imagined, is capable of separating its dual sexual nature into two separate and distinct entities, one male and the other female, and each of these two entities can incarnate into the Earth at the same time in separate bodies that usually complement the present sex. That is to say that somewhere out there in the physical world is literally our other half - the other sexual aspect of our soul!

Fortunately, there are some examples of this in the Cayce readings. One of the more notable is a group of four souls who, in their present incarnation, were husband, wife, eldest son and a female business associate who was also a very close friend of the family. The husband was told through Cayce readings that his present wife was his soul-mate and that his life would never have reached its fullest potential without her. However, it went on to say that the female business associate and close friend of the family was his "twin soul"; in other words, she was the other sexual half of his complete soul. Furthermore, his wife's twin soul was their eldest son! I realize how bizarre all of this sounds, but the dynamics and dimensions of life are simply far greater than we imagine.

Of course, not all examples are as closely knit as this example from the Cayce readings. Generally, the twin soul relationship is presently found among spouses, friends, occasionally as parent and child, and sometimes the twin soul isn't even incarnate at the same time. However, there does seem to be a pattern that most twin soul relationships follow. In their early incarnations together they tend to be mates or at least seek a lover's relationship with each other, while in later incarnations with each other they tend to seek less sexually involved relationships and more work-related activities together, especially when the work has a soul purpose. This could be due to the involution/evolution process where, in the early periods of the descent into materiality they tended to continue their self-seeking, self-satisfying pursuits; but on the ascent toward a return to spirituality they tended to seek more holistic purposes and relationships. That is not to say that all present sexual relationships are self-seeking. From the Cayce material we find healthy support for marriage and home, and all the natural sexual aspects that are a part of the union of two in love and mutual caring.

PARENTS & CHILDREN

As difficult as it may be for us to believe, each soul actually chooses its parents - with one exception. If a soul has abused its gift of free will, then it comes under the strong influence of the Universal Law and is carried along on the force of its past actions into present relationships that it simply must face up to. Of course, no soul is given more than it can handle, not that it won't suffer, but it won't be totally lost or destroyed by the burdens of its karma. Generally, however, a soul chooses its parents prior to entering the Earth.

As we would expect, souls who have had experiences together in past lives will have a stronger attraction for each other than souls who have had no past experiences together. Even if souls aren't particularly fond of each other they still tend to be drawn together by the force of their past interaction. Furthermore, if the soul has a specific purpose for incarnating, and most of us do, then it will be seeking others who are a part of fulfilling its purpose or those who can at least contribute to it. Again, this doesn't mean that the childhood family life will be all hugs and kisses. In every relationship one can find advantages and disadvantages, and in order to enjoy the advantages one must accept the disadvantages. In fact, in many cases, the disadvantages lead to or create the opportunities for the advantages. When a soul is trying to decide which channels (parents) would be best for it to enter this world, it has to accept the limitations of this particular family as well as the opportunities.

From the spiritual realm Earth-life appears much like a river when viewed from high above, a bird's eye view. The soul who is deciding which channels to enter through sees the river in all its vastness, with many tributaries and branches, and it sees where the parents' boat is on this river of life. In this way it has an overview of what life will be like with these parents. However, because the river of life has many side-routes, the incoming soul can only see the strongest current in the parents' lives. It can't be sure that one of the free-willed parents won't change its mind and begin pursuing a different course, or that the currents themselves won't change course and thereby change the family's future. It can't even be certain that it won't change its own mind once it gets into the boat.

Destiny and fate do exist, and they exist side by side with free will. The effects of our past actions have an inertia that carries over into the present life and shapes it, thereby creating our destiny. However, nothing surpasses the power of the soul's divinely-given free will. At any time we can use our will to change directions, change attitudes, change purposes, change anything! In this way, our lives are both fatalistically foreshadowed by the cause-and-effect forces of our past use of free will, and yet amenable to change by our present use of free will. Therefore, the incoming soul can see only the general course of the family's riverboat; it can't be sure the family will stay the course.

The incarnate parents also have significant influence as to which soul enters through them. Their daily thoughts, desires and purposes create a beacon for souls who respond to these energies. This is particularly true of the mother. Her daily activities and inner thoughts during the gestation period create a field much like a magnet would, attracting souls to the field of opportunity life as her child would offer. As you would expect, more than one soul may be attracted to the same mother-to-be. In such cases, the forces of cause and effect, the will power and desire of the mother and the souls wanting to incarnate combine to make the selection. The souls who were not chosen for the present entry may well come in through a later pregnancy if the opportunity is presented. Thereby becoming siblings of the souls who entered first; or they may go on to other families with whom friendships or other blood relationships would naturally form and be maintained with the original channel family.

The soul generally enters the baby body at or near the time of birth. In one unusual case in the Cayce readings, the soul did not enter for two days after the birth of the baby. When asked about the delay, Cayce responded that the soul was all too aware how very difficult life would be should it choose to enter, and it wasn't at all sure it wanted to go through with it! Cayce was then asked what kept the baby's body alive for two days while the soul wrestled with its decision, and he responded, "the spirit." For Cayce, the soul was the entity, with all its personal memories and aspirations, and the spirit was the life force.

According to the metaphysical work of Rudolf Steiner, the soul actually incarnates in four stages. 1) A first level of consciousness enters at or near the time of birth. 2) A second and greater level of consciousness enters around the time the child cuts it first teeth. 3) A third level enters during puberty. And, 4) The final and complete entry of the soul occurs close to the age of twenty-one.

Most sources agree that the first couple of years of life are primarily devoted to developing the physical body and that the years from two to seven shape much of the child's sense of self and its view of the world. In addition to the well-known physical and emotional changes that occur during the course of puberty, Cayce and other metaphysical sources add that this is the time when karmic influences begin to take hold, coinciding with the release of hormones. This perspective sheds so much light on the otherwise baffling or incomprehensible changes in personality and behavior that sometimes accompany this stage of physical development. Around the age of 21 the individual begins to assume its major course through life. Then, life progresses through a series of experiences and decision crossroads. These occur in natural and identifiable cycles, the most influential being the Seven Year Cycle: 1-7, 8-14, 15-21, 22-28, and so on. Notice how these cycles coincide with the general metaphysical cycles of: Birth; seven years of age; puberty (though puberty usually occurs before age 14, it is fulfilled at or near this age); and twenty-one years of age.

Furthermore, each soul experiences life in two primary arenas 1) The inner world of self, which includes one's mental and emotional being and physical body. 2) The outer arena of life's unique circumstances, including the social, economic, racial, national and religious environment, all of which are generally set at birth and the outer world has pre-structured in specific ways.

EXAMPLES

In order for us to really understand how all of this occurs in life and relates to our own lives, let's look at some real-life examples.

Like most young girls, Linda Mills wanted to fall in love with a wonderful man, have a family and live a rich, full life. When she met her future husband, she was genuinely attracted to him, though she knew he wasn't everything she had dreamed about. She especially didn't like his tendency to make decisions for her. Nevertheless, their love for each other was strong and they felt a deep mutual attraction. An added joy was that they were quite comfortable with each other around their friends and family.

They married and had two daughters. For Linda, the first daughter was a joy. Throughout the pregnancy and after the birth she and her new baby were very comfortable and happy with each other. They spent many wonderful hours together nursing and rocking while Linda softly hummed lullabies. But life with her second daughter was quite a different story. The pregnancy was uncomfortable, filled with sickness and stress, and after the birth she and the baby just never seemed to get into sync with each other. The baby didn't seem to enjoy being held or rocked like the first child and breastfeeding was a battle. In fact, the baby developed an allergy from the breast milk, and formula had to be substituted. Only the father's touch was comforting to this little one, and as she grew up her preference for him became even more evident. She was clearly "Daddy's little girl," while the first child was certainly Mommy's.

When this family received a past-life reading from Edgar Cayce, the cause of many of their present feelings and actions quickly surfaced. Apparently, Linda and her husband had been husband and wife before, but in the incarnation just prior to this one, they had been father and daughter, respectively. His tendency to make decisions for her and control her life was a carry over from being the father. In that past life Linda had been a rather wild and rebellious child. This was due in part to her resentment that the man who had been her equal in many lifetimes was now her father. It was a difficult life for him, too. Raising her was very hard, especially after the death of his wife in that lifetime. Naturally, all of these feelings carried over into their present life and marriage.

As for the children, the first daughter had been Linda's close friend through many lifetimes, bringing this love and friendship into the present life. In their most recent past life, the first daughter had helped Linda deal with the problems Linda had had with her father (Linda's present husband), and now as their daughter she would do so again. Now the second daughter had been the father's lover in many past lives, so you can just imagine the mutual enmity this created between the mother and daughter in the present. Linda's milk wasn't all the baby was allergic to! Neither did she want Linda's love and comfort as much as she did her father's. The father and his second daughter would have to learn to love each other in a much different way or break one of the strictest taboos, incest. All of these feelings were occurring subconsciously, of course, subtly affecting the conscious life.

As we can see, the deep currents of past experiences were playing a significant role in their present relationships. According to the Cayce readings, their goal now, from their souls' point of view, was to live together again and make an effort to accentuate the love and virtues, and minimize the resentments and bad habits they carried with them as a result of their past.

In another case, despite all his efforts to ignore or resist it, Michael Parks was afraid of the dark. His fear of the dark was not like most children's; he was deathly afraid, to the point of suffocating if left in the dark too long. As far as he and his parents could recall, his childhood was rather normal and nothing had occurred that might have caused this fear. Yet, during all of his childhood life in his parents' home, anyone in charge of him had to be aware of his fear and take precautions to insure that he was never inadvertently left alone in a dark room or house. His parents were very tolerant of his fear, caring for him in every way and were unusually understanding and sympathetic. And later, when he married and started a home and family of his own, his wife assumed the burden of his fear. She too proved to be very patient with him. Together they worked out an elaborate scheme whereby he could go to bed with the lights on and she would come to bed after he had fallen asleep. Only then would she turn the lights off so she could fall asleep. Even so, if he awoke during the night, he would become extremely anxious and uncomfortable. He would have to fight to keep himself from panicking before turning on his bedside light. But once the light was on, the only way he could get back to sleep was to go into the living room, turn on all the lights and sleep on the couch, knowing the lights would be on while he slept.

One night Michael awoke from a terrifying dream, a dream that was to be the beginning of his conquering the fear. He dreamt he was in a dark dungeon surrounded by wet stone walls that went up so high he couldn't see where they ended. There was absolutely no way out and no one was coming to help him. As he stood there he began to cry. He cried so long and hard that the cell began to fill with his tears. When he noticed the tear-water was up to his chest, he tried to stop crying but couldn't get hold of himself - it all seemed too horribly fixed, so unchangeable that he felt completely trapped without hope of ever seeing light or life again. Eventually, the pool of tears reached his nose and he had to stand on his tiptoes to breathe, yet he continued to cry. Slowly he allowed himself to ease under the water, drifting into a sorrowful, lonely dream of letting go, surrendering his will to the reality of his predicament. At this point he awoke from the dream. The sheets were soaked and his body was covered with chilly sweat. When he told his wife and parents the dream they cried and were very upset by it. However, underneath, Michael was beginning to feel pretty good. In fact, he noticed his fear of the dark had actually diminished since the dream. It was as though something in that dream had healed and changed him.

About a year later Michael happened to take part in a series of exercises for recalling past-life experiences. From the information he received during these exercises and several more dreams over the next two years, he began to understand why he was afraid of the dark.

In a previous incarnation he had been a renegade from the courts and causes of Louis XIV. So violent and disruptive were his counter-attacks against the king that he became one of the most wanted men in France. His raids destroyed many of the king's storehouses, and his ability to elude capture created a great deal of hatred among the king's soldiers charged with capturing him. One day they did capture him and in retaliation for his actions and also as a result of their frustration with trying to stop him, they threw him into the bottom of a well-like dungeon, covered it and left him there to die a slow death. In this terrible place of complete darkness, he managed to survive for several days. In the beginning he was sure his friends and his wife would come to his rescue. But as time went by he realized that no one was coming and he lost hope and died. In the latter days of his ordeal he lost all sense of time and his mind began to fall apart. He could no longer be sure of what was real and what was illusion. But the worst part was the unrelenting darkness and confinement. This was what his soul remembered and most feared.

Just as we might expect, his current parents and wife, who helped him deal with his fear in the present life, had been the very people he had counted on to rescue him from the dungeon. His father and his wife had been his close friends and colleagues-in-arms, while his present mother had been his wife in the French incarnation. They didn't go to his rescue because he had become so notorious that it would have been too risky to attempt to save him without being captured and thrown into the dungeon with him. To a great degree, his own actions had brought him to this end, yet his parents and wife regretted that they had not at least tried to rescue him. His present-life dream was too much for his parents and wife to hear without deeply reacting to his ordeal. However, Michael's reliving the experience in his dream somehow released him from his life-long fear of the dark.

In yet another less dramatic case, a man who had fallen in love with a divorcee found himself struggling with his feelings. He eventually married her and tried to be the best stepfather to her child he possibly could, but when he discovered that he could not father children himself, he felt cheated and fought feelings of resentment toward the special relationship between his wife and her child. When he received a past-life reading from Edgar Cayce, he was told that in a previous incarnation in ancient Greece he had been married to the same woman. In that life she was the one unable to conceive a child. Though aware of her sadness and heightened sensitivity because of the added implications of being barren in those days, he chose a second wife to bear him a child. He further shamed and humiliated her by bringing the second wife and child to live in the same house, forcing her to witness the open joy and affection expressed in the little family. In his present-life circumstances, according to Cayce, he was merely meeting himself: though he deeply desired his own offspring, he was impotent; and though living in his own home, he felt like an outsider to the love shared within it.

Taking advantage of the present situation and making life as miserable as possible for her husband would simply be setting herself up for a future destiny of sadness. The law of karma is very impersonal: What one does, one experiences, without exception. If this woman now chose to help her husband meet his fate as best she could, she would heal many wounds and free herself at the same time.

In still another case, a beautiful woman from the modern cosmopolitan life of a big city came to Cayce and described her tragic predicament, asking for a remedy. Her present husband was impotent and she was a beautiful woman in the prime of her life. Why? Why was she in such a tragic situation? she lamented. She went on to say that there was another man she knew at work, and she wondered if she could have an affair with him yet remain with her husband...because she did love her husband; she simply wanted to fulfill all of her womanhood. Cayce responded by showing her why she was faced with such a dilemma.

In a past incarnation during the Crusades, she and her present husband were also married to each other. He was then one of the greatest of the Crusaders, often going off to war. However, every time he left, he saw to it that she wore a chastity belt, literally putting her under lock and key! Then and there she swore deep in her heart she would get even with him, and now, Cayce said, she had him right where she'd always wanted him - in a position where she could make him pay dearly.

What a triangle! I wouldn't be surprised if the other man had also been hanging around the castle while the rest of the men were off to war. At any rate, here they were again, set up perfectly to play out resolution or revenge for past actions with each other. The husband had used his free will to squash his wife's, forcing her to submit to his sexual restraints without any choice on her part. Now he found himself sexually restricted and frustrated, and completely subject to her will and her choices. She now had the power to make him pay.

But this was a loving as well as lovely woman. She found herself torn by her marriage vow and her desire to simply enjoy her physical beauty and youth. Paradoxically, she also found herself wanting to make a success of her marriage and her home, and despite his past wrong, she loved her husband and he returned that love in so many ways. If only he were able to sexually fulfill her. What a tangled web. The choice was completely hers; nothing was standing in her way.

Cayce advised her to do whatever she would want done to her if she were in her husband's shoes, and she did. She withdrew from the other man's affections and built a loving home with her husband. We might well feel that she suffered twice in the relationship, but if she had only not wanted revenge on him, she wouldn't have had to be with him again. The true karma was within him. She got involved again by her desire to get even with him. No doubt she will eventually incarnate into a life filled with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual happiness and the rest of the world will probably look at her and think she is lucky rather than deserving.

One example of how past lives can affect non-family relationships is that of a businessman who happened to receive many readings from Edgar Cayce. In fact, these readings are just phenomenal in what they reveal "behind the scenes," so to speak, in illustrating what profound effects past-life experiences and emotions have on present relationships, and a "typical" business meeting, in this case.

When Walter Morrison walked into a board meeting, he was walking into a history that reached far beyond his present life. Amid the members of this board were souls who had been his conquerors, his servants, his concubines, his cohorts and his bitter enemies! Imagine what the underlying motivations were when Walter made a proposal which the group had to vote on, or when Walter had to cast his vote concerning a proposal by one of the other members of this band of souls. Who among the group would tend to support him? Who would tend to thwart his efforts and ideas? And who would he tend to support and resist? Many of these answers are predictable based on their past-life experiences with each other, experiences that they would innately respond to on a soul level because of their past affinities and antipathies for one another.

Walter himself was curiously amazed at how well the past-life readings predicted his present feelings for various members of the board. Only in a few cases did he find he really didn't have any particular innate reaction to a member. And in most cases, the members that consistently rubbed him the wrong way were those who had been on his bad side in past lives, and those that seemed to agree and support him consistently were those who had done so in the past.

When relationships are viewed with a past-life perspective, the dynamics of the behavior, including the attitudes and emotions in a relationship, become more than just current moodiness or general personality traits. There are undercurrents of memory that simply cannot easily be ignored. Before we look into how we can discover our past lives, let's look in the next chapter at another example from the Cayce material, an example that gives us an overview of soul-life and soul-history over many lifetimes.

-END
also see Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation Past Lives

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