Excerpt from “Understanding Karmic Complexes : Evolutionary Astrology and Regression Therapy" The Wessex Astrologer, UK 2009, Patricia L. Walsh
Available on Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Karmic-Complexes-Patricia-Walsh/dp/1902405439
Patricia Walsh’s website : https://www.healthepast.com
Past life issues that carry into the current life are often thought of as being the result of karma. The Western notion of karma can sometimes be simplistic in this regard, implying that if something bad happens to you it is because you did the same thing to someone else in the past. This idea of karma as a sort of Old Testament ‘eye for an eye’ justice is not the whole picture. The wounds and unhealed traumas that we have experienced in past lives contribute greatly to our current life experience and constitute a large part of our karma. To understand how past life wounds impact us in the present, we need to look at how trauma affects the psyche in the current life.
A traumatic event is any overwhelming experience (physical, emotional, mental or spiritual) that has caused an inability in the psyche to integrate it fully and continue in the same manner as before the traumatic event was experienced. Thus trauma leaves a lasting and damaging impression that manifests as a combination of symptoms, including but not limited to chronic dissociation, anxiety, phobias, fears, hyper vigilance, inhibitions, paranoia, neurosis, avoidance, armoring or rigidity, suppression of emotions, emotional or physical numbness, mental confusion and compulsions. In psychological language combinations of these symptoms are classified as post traumatic stress disorder/syndrome (PTSD or PTSS). Dr Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, explains that PTSD symptoms are caused by a ‘frozen residue of energy’ that was not discharged or resolved when the person was threatened.
The natural “fight or flight” response is activated when an individual is faced with a threat. If the person is overwhelmed or defeated (they can’t fight or escape) the natural response becomes a frozen impulse — an action that was never completed. The potential to develop PTSD varies from person to person, but when it does take hold the physiology changes as does the psychological state. People with PTSD cannot integrate the memory of the trauma properly. Psychologically unable to integrate the trauma in conscious terms, a part of the psyche becomes ‘split-off’ and stays, in essence, frozen in time. This is what shamans have described for ages as ‘soul loss’ or ‘soul fragmentation.’ This part of the psyche separates from the ego structure and remains that way. When these soul fragments are encountered in past or present life regression or through inner journeying, they seem to have a life of their own. The fragments appear to be the same age they were when they split off. Often they don’t have an awareness that life has moved on, or if they are aware of the present day personality, they are reluctant to be a part of it. The difference between conscious and subconscious memories is a matter of the perception of chronological time. The conscious mind perceives time as changing, moving from the past through the present, to the future. To the subconscious mind, memories (especially traumatic ones) retained there, are happening in the now.
An example of this comes from a client who was abused repeatedly as a young child. Her first soul fragment to emerge was a four-year-old self. This soul fragment (the part of her that dissociated) was found to be hiding in a corner of Grandma’s old kitchen. This was where that piece of her went away (into a happy, warm and safe space) when her father started abusing her at four years old. This little girl self was unaware that there was an adult self now. All she was aware of was how nice and safe Grandma’s kitchen was. Because she was too young and small to fight off, or escape her father, the inability to complete the “fight or flight” response caused her to fragment. After some work the child fragment did reintegrate with the present day adult self of the client. When that fragment came back, she brought with her the ability to remember safety and to experience nurturing, thus returning new potential energy to be used in the present.
Sometimes when the soul fragments, the conscious memory of the traumatic event goes away with it or becomes buried with the split-off part. This inability to remember a trauma is commonly called a repressed/suppressed memory. Split-off parts of the psyche do not always leave the energy field of the person to ‘go off’ somewhere. They also can be buried deep in the interior world of the psyche, making them inaccessible to the conscious mind.
In essence a trauma is a scar that won’t seem to heal. This scar then becomes a weak or vulnerable spot in the psyche, seeming to attract to it similar experiences over and over. Traumatized people find themselves reenacting the whole trauma or aspects of it without conscious awareness that they are doing so. This often happens on anniversaries of events or can be a chronic recreation, such as an abused woman who continually, subconsciously, chooses abusive partners. This is what Freud described as ‘Repetition Compulsion’. Freud initially theorized that this is the psyche’s attempt to heal. By recreating the event, symbolically or in actuality, the psyche is attempting to gain mastery and completion. This idea of ‘Repetition Compulsion’ that applies to a trauma experienced during a single lifetime also makes sense in a longer timeline — over the many lives of the soul. It would seem that the soul over the course of many lifetimes attempts to heal by recreating in essence or in actuality, traumas experienced in its past. This also needs to be understood in the context of karma.
Eastern traditions that have reincarnation and karma central to their belief system teach about an aspect of karma called Samskara. Karma literally means actions, and many of those actions come from the deep impressions of habit that are called samskaras. Samskara then is intrinsically tied into the laws of karma that govern the cycle of rebirth. Keeping in mind the nature of traumatic imprints and how they cause continual recreation of the original traumatic event, one can also look at samskaras as trauma imprints re-manifested from life to life. It is the essence of karma to bring forth the actions of the past to the present. The inability to complete even the simple action of ‘fight or flight’ as a result of trauma in past lives is also carried into the present as the soul continues to create from its own wounded place in an ongoing effort to heal. Because of this, the reality is that most of us are born already with some degree of PTSD. Sri Swami Chidananda states that “Each Samskara has inherent in it the capacity to once again recreate that very experience which originally caused it.” Our past life physical, emotional and mental bodies are not wiped clean in-between lives, but continue to recreate themselves in each incarnation through the subtle bodies. This transmission of past physical, emotional and mental wounds constitute a large part of what we are meant to heal in our present lives.
Beside the repetitive nature of trauma, the thoughts, feelings and attitudes we have formed, also dictate how our future is created from the present and past. It would seem that the circumstances of past lives are less important to the soul than the attitudes we have formed because of them. These are the imprints we carry, that are in need of change and healing. What is true for the individual is also true for the collective. Thus the adage, History repeats itself! In fact, look back at history and look at the present. Most of the recorded history of humanity has been one of dominance and war, violence, suppression and exploitation of the weak — you were either the victim or the perpetrator or both! Man’s inhumanity to man has known no bounds, especially in the last few thousand years. If we take reincarnation literally, then by just looking at history we know that each of us carries these imprints as unresolved traumas. It is a part of our collective and individual psychic inheritance that we are here to heal.