Everyone believes that we choose our friends but that family, is the deck of cards that destiny handed down, often as a cruel joke that saddled us with plenty of disadvantages, and sometimes with a few advantages as well.
I would like to challenge this commonly held belief, and to present you with the idea that you actually chose your parents in order to provide yourself with a road map, with qualities that you need to emulate or to change, in order to progress toward higher realizations.
Even for people who are completely devoted to the spiritual path, the concept that we chose our family prior to incarnating on earth, is a hard one to swallow.
I once heard a lecture by Dr Brian Weiss about reincarnation and about how before we come to each life, we make a careful selection of our parents, to make sure that we have the best opportunity for progress in each life, progressing not towards earthly riches and success, but towards enlightenment.
Brian Weiss, M.D., graduated Columbia University and Yale Medical School, and is the former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami.
Dr. Weiss did some amazing hypnotherapy work with patients riddled with anxieties who very unexpectedly recalled their past lives and from that point of recall, proceeded to heal.
In his bestselling books, “Many Lives, Many Masters” and “Life After Life,” Dr. Weiss wrote about his cases and his amazing realization that death is not the end of life, nor is birth the beginning of life.
Life is eternal, and we move from one life-story to another, usually with the same friends and family members, coworkers, neighbors and lovers that we encountered in this life.
We mend broken relationships and progress toward the realization of our oneness and our Divine God Nature.
All of his patients remembered the circumstances of their deaths, and recognized their siblings, lovers, parents and friends as people who had played major roles in their lives tens of thousands of years ago, in their previous lives.
There is a saying in spiritual circles, “Each relationship in our life, is an assignment.”
That means that each person in our lives is there for a specific reason and that this reason is usually to help us along the way toward softening our hard edges, so we can move toward becoming fully realized beings.
In Dr. Weiss’ lecture, an elderly Jewish woman from the audience turned to her daughter and said: “You see? You are always complaining about me, but you CHOSE me to be your mother.”
“Well…” said the daughter unconvinced, “I must have been in a hurry and needed to make a quick selection…..”
I can tell you with all my heart that I now understand that EVERYTHING that ever happened in my life was designed for my highest good.
I do believe that every friend, every lover, my family members, neighbors and all of my acquaintances, my one night stands and every situation in my life have occurred in order to help me to get to the realizations and convictions that I hold today.
There was a time, when I was a kid, when I believed that life was random and that I was born to the very worst family in the world.
As a child, I ran away from home as often as I could.
My parents fought often and were unhappy with each other and my sister and I were very traumatized.
I grew up full of fears, experiencing night sweats and many times, nightmares.
My grades in school dropped, because I never wanted to be home to do my homework.
I wanted my parents to finally get divorced so the fighting would end, but I also wanted them to love one another and to get along.
It did not work.
They divorced, and a few years after, my dad developed a brain tumor and passed on.
If you told me back in those days that I had chosen my parents BEFORE birth for a GOOD reason, I would have laughed it off and dismissed you as a crazy person.
Years later when I heard of this concept, I thought that I must have chose my mother so I can have a near-by reminder of how NOT to behave.
But many years have passed since then, and with new eyes and spiritual clarity, I can see that without any doubt I chose my parents for GOOD reasons.
With practicing forgiveness when my mind was finally free to make new and more enlightened connections, I realized that my parents were in my life for GOOD reasons, in order to imbue my path in life with strength and with spiritual truths.
I chose my mother for her creative nature and artistic tendencies.
She loves creating and has been skilled in making art and crafts all her life.
She also loved sewing and was very capable at it, which demonstrated to me both creativity and self reliance.
She showed me that one does not need to depend on the taste of Dior or Chanel in order to wear stylish clothing, or hand over huge amounts of money in order to wear any designer brand.
She also instilled in me great love and respect for nature.
She loved going out on nature hikes, taking my sister and me bathing in rivers and lakes in Israel, pointing out the colorful birds, the flowers I needed to smell and all the beautiful trees that I must not miss.
In her garden she grew fragrant roses and fruit trees, and created a very impressive cactus rock garden with night blooming cacti and tall palm trees.
She took us camping on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in Tiberius along with her childhood girlfriend and her three boys, and we played all day long, ate good food and had a fabulous, memorable time.
My mother was always very attracted to the metaphysical.
In her youth, she participated in many self improvement workshops, studied and practiced meditation, and developed her psychic insights.
My mother also taught me that the human body is natural and beautiful and that we need not be ashamed of it nor of our nakedness.
She taught me that the tradition in Judaism which urges the women to cover up their hair and bodies, was laughable and if anything, we should see nothing but beauty in the naked human form.
Later in my life, my mother also suggested to me that we attend together an American Indian Sweat Lodge which turned out to be extremely beneficial for me, but I will write about it at another time.
My father was a strong man with a powerful spirit, but with little awareness of his true spiritual nature.
He was badly wounded in Israel’s Six Day War, suffering severe injuries.
He underwent dozens of serious operations, some of which had never been performed before on a human being.
For example, his leg was so badly injured above the ankle, that they cut off his foot and removed a few inches of the his badly wounded ankle bone, and then reconnected his foot to the leg.
It was an experimental procedure which was successful, and he was able to walk with no cane and almost no limp, despite the fact that one of his legs was much shorter than the other.
He was proud to tell me that if he were fully dressed, new people he met had no idea that he had ever been wounded.
Without clothes, his body was full of scars.
But he healed himself, or I should say that he stepped out of the way and allowed the intelligence inherited within his body to restore itself to balance, by his determination to be whole again.
He regained his eyesight even after one of his eyes completely fell out of its socket when he was injured.
My father embodied the absolute concepts of persistence and perseverance for me.
He was determined to overcome all the difficulties in his life.
When the war started, he was a university student studying mathematics, with the intention of becoming a math teacher or an accountant.
He was drafted into the army, but he was able to make an arrangement with the university so that he could study the textbooks by himself, and attend only for the exams.
At nights in his army tent, when most soldiers sang and talked and tried to cheer up their fearful spirits, he studied his books to the dim light of his torch.
He passed all of his tests and received his degree.
Being a great chess player, he also demonstrated to me the power and potential of the human mind.
He was able to visualize in his mind’s eye endless possible game scenarios that his opponents might play.
I remember accompanying him to some of his chess matches.
Often he would play against five people at the same time, winning all the games.
He would move from board to board, giving each board a quick glance, while his brilliant mind quickly presented him with all the possible moves that led to different game outcomes.
He would make his move, click the timer and move on, giving each chess player only a few moments of his time.
His opponents would often sit and think for a very long time before making their next moves, but regardless of how much they thought, my dad always won.
Because I knew him so well, I could see the satisfaction that he felt after winning so fast, and I sensed that his joy was mixed with a little arrogance, but he never showed it to the other players.
If they asked, he kindly offered his advice and explained what they could have done differently.
He seemed truly happy to mentor some of the young players who admired him.
Both of my parents loved traveling and always prioritized money for it.
They seemed to be truly enriched by their travels which taught me very early in life, that the world is full of interesting places and people, from which I could learn, grow and expand my horizons.
They also loved people and were very social.
They truly loved spending time with others.
No human being is without human faults.
Every one of us make loads of mistakes and have many character faults that we need to examine and to correct.
When I think of my parents, I realize that despite the errors that they made in their youth, I must see the many, many blessings that they bestowed upon me.
They have bestowed on me MANY more blessings than I have recounted here in this short post.
The qualities that both my mother and father helped instill in me were the positive building blocks on which I built my foundations for life.
All my own pain, the tears I shed and the fears that I carried from my youth, were garbage that I needed to examine and to overcome in this life.
Otherwise, I would have needed to carry it over from one life to the next, shedding a little bit of my misperceptions and delusions at a time, in each lifetime.
It was my own inner work that I needed to attend to in this life, in order to progress towards Self Realization and Soul Liberation.
I wish I could tell all this to the little frightened girl that I once was.
And then I think to myself, why not?
Why not go back to visit her across time and space, and reassure her?…
In my mind’s eye, I go back to visit that little girl that I used to be many years ago, and I reassure her that all her tears would one day be completely forgotten…. Gone… And that she will see a new dawn of possibilities on the horizon, full of Light and untold beauty….spiritual beauty… Heavenly Light….
I reassure her that her life will be glorious…. She will ski down white mountains, dive in deep blue oceans, hike in ancient forests to meditation retreats in sacred mountains….
I whisper to her that she will meet amazing people and eat fabulous food…. Visit remote parts of the earth….She will know deep love and one day she will find the love of her life…. She will be so happy, so joyful,….. Enjoy so much health….. Be rich… and that her mind will one day become her best friend, full of light-filled thoughts that she could have never dreamt existed….
I reassured her that she had chosen her lovely parents for MANY GOOD reasons….
That even the fact that they believed in no religion and prayed to no God in hard times, and were against all creed and dogma, was all good for her…. She would one day learn to examine EVERYTHING before she believes in ANYTHING….
That those parents whom she saw cry and fight one another were actually her angels, teaching her qualities that she would take forward into her life, so she could create an amazing life…… A life in which one does not fight to defend her opinions, but understands that her husband is her dearest ally and that opinions tend to change as we grow and see things differently….
I reassure her that she will live a beautiful and brilliant life….the life that I am living today…..a blessed life….
I love my life now and I would not change it for any other life.
I feel enormously grateful and tremendously blessed right now…
I will end with a poem by Sharon Olds.
I have only included the last half of this beautiful poem, in which she sees her parents before they got married, before their fighting began and before all the pain that they inflicted on their children and on one another.
It is called,
“I Go Back to May, 1937”
“….I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
Under the ochre sandstone arch,
The red tiles glinting like bent plates of blood behind his head
I see my mother with a few light books at her hip
Standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
The wrought-iron gate still open behind her,
Its sword-tips aglow in the May air.
They are about to graduate,
They are about to get married,
They are kids,
They are dumb,
All they know is they are innocent,
They would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say- Stop!
Don’t do it!
She’s the wrong woman,
He’s the wrong man.
You are going to do things
You cannot imagine you would ever do,
You are going to do bad things to children,
You are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
You are going to want to die.
I want to go up to them
There in the late May sunlight and say it,
Her hungry pretty face turning to me,
Her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
His arrogant handsome face turning to me,
His pitiful beautiful untouched body.
But I don’t do it.
I want to LIVE.
I take them up like the male and female paper dolls
And bang them together at the hips,
Like chips of flint,
As if to strike sparks from them,
Do what you are going to do,
And I will tell about it….”
(Poem BY SHARON OLDS)
Before I wish you a great week, I urge you to look to your own life and try, just try to imagine why you chose your own parents before you were born and what lessons and blessings you have laid out for yourself to receive in this lifetime.