(This is a continuation of a discussion that began with Soul Intentions, Part I – A Reflection on Soul Purpose. Part I can be found in the November archives.)
Soul history and how history and intentions create soul trajectory
At the simplest level, soul history refers to what you have been up to in each of your incarnations. At a more complex level, soul history also includes your role within the groups your soul has associated with over its many incarnations. These groups, or communities, are formed around intentions for a specific vision that require everyone’s cooperation. Soul groups themselves create trajectories, and over time you will move easily between several groups, learning from the primary focus of each one. Some groups focus on breaking down what no longer serves; others have agreed to protect and preserve the culture, and still others build bridges that connect cultures to each other. These are just some of the foci that groups can rally behind; there are more. Over time, soul group intentions (or their failed expressions) make their mark in history, and where they have failed, much work and attention is required to repair, reinvigorate, or even create new forms that will support the original intentions. These experiences inform and define your own trajectory.
A trajectory is the arc described by the progress of your soul as it creates, with each incarnation, its unique history across time and space. Your trajectory is characterized by how you have lived your life. If we were to assign a thick ribbon of light to a life well lived and a thinner ribbon to a life handled less well, a soul trajectory could show increasingly thick ribbons connected to thinner ribbons and then again to thicker ribbons, as it etches its record through time. Or, we could graph a trajectory using a 100-point system with the highest points given to lives well lived and fewer points for lives handled less well. The graphed trajectory for a life that went back and forth could show some dramatic rises and dips. We can do well in some lives and then find ourselves taking the proverbial two steps back in subsequent lives.
Of course, one could reasonably argue that if one does well in a life, overcoming obstacles of desire for revenge, for example, and generally rising above fear, the trajectory should improve, arcing higher with each life. In lives where the heart expanded with unconditional love and a person’s actions were informed by that expansion, the graph would spike. Or, using the ribbon of light analogy, the ribbons would increase markedly in thickness. It is true that some life circumstances will be far more challenging and require more “light” to manage, but over time your soul’s trajectory will reveal its unique pattern.
A trajectory is not created randomly. It is created by the soul’s intentions. These intentions are the only reason to take on incarnate form. As we stated in Part I of this discussion, soul intentions are created for the purpose of fulfilling your agreements to your self and to others. Their agenda is driven by what your soul desires to experience, and also what the erring personality may need to release or delete, most often from a former life. This introduces another factor which influences trajectory. We do not always live out our soul intentions; there are many lives in which we become decoupled, in whole or in part, from our original intentions for incarnating. When we lose connection to our soul’s vision, we disconnect from higher guidance and our purpose for being here. We are eventually tasked with the responsibility of addressing the karmas that were created when we separated from our intentions, while also striving to live our dharma – that which we came to be, to express, and to contribute.
One soul’s history and how that history demonstrates how a soul might seek to express its intentions
Now we will look at the trajectory of a young woman, Emily, who sought to understand the origin of the pain in her heart. Emily is seated before her Council of Elders. She is deep inside Spirit territory, in a regression process that has already taken her through a past life in which she died by her own hand. Emily tells the Council she is experiencing pain in her heart. She believes this pain is from her attachment to a man she loves. This man, Brian, is much older than she is, and he is also married. The Council is gathered in what appears to be a bright open meadow. Emily is feeling optimistic. She knows that she is going to get the answers she seeks.
Emily asks how she can let go of the powerful attachment she has to Brian, and how she can fulfill her highest purpose. The Council tells Emily that Brian is connected to her purpose, but she has to be patient. There are things yet to unfold. She asks again about the pain and wants to know – what did she agree to do with this life? First, the Council begins with a review of her past life connections to this man.
A Council Elder speaks: This soul is not a member of your core soul group. He is, however, part of a neighboring soul group. You first met approximately 4,000 years ago. This took place in the desert; it looks like Saudi Arabia. You were a member of a nomadic tribe that lived in the desert, moving from time to time when the water sources dried up. The tribe had sheep and goats. You were a small girl when a group of marauders traveling on horseback raided the camp dwellings. Their way of life was to plunder and destroy, to take what they wanted of supplies, food, and women. The man you are currently involved with was a young teen then, and his heart did not truly embrace the violence of this way of life. Nevertheless, it provided him with survival, skills, and companions. The young teen intervened on your behalf, saving your life and henceforth, he cared for you. This was the beginning of the love that grew between you, although it was not an easy love. This young man did the best he could to raise you, but it was a hard life for a woman, and you died at an early age, still filled with grief. This is the originating source of the pain in your heart.
The next life where Emily and Brian meet is in Oregon, in the late 1700’s. They were siblings. She and her brother were very young. They were playing by a creek when they were shot with arrows by an Indian who was angry about the white “invaders” who were settling in Oregon in greater numbers. As the souls of Brian and Emily departed, they promised to be there for each other the next time they incarnated together.
Emily and Brian meet again in rural England, in the early 1800’s. Retaining the same gender as before, they marry and live out their lives on a small farm. They have two children – a boy and a girl. They live a happy, though hard life, caring for each other and their children, and they die in their 50’s. They had a strong and loyal connection, and supported each other in every way. The heart bond between them increases with each successive life they share.
The Elder shows Emily one more life where she and Brian again find each other, this time in London. Brian is well-off and entitled. Emily is poor, and lives outside the city. They occasionally see each other when Emily goes to the city to purchase supplies. When they first see each other on the streets, they experience a sense of familiarity and are drawn to each other, but do not act on this. Their interaction consists solely of glances. Emily, ten years younger, would love to approach Brian, but she cannot do this outside of an appropriate social context. And given that she is not his equal, the meeting will never happen. Not having much to do, Brian hangs out in the saloons, drinking and gambling. To Emily’s sorrow, Brian eventually marries someone of his social standing. He later dies in a saloon brawl, shot through the chest. Emily sees him in his last moments, as he lies dying in the streets. This life where each was forced to keep their distance, not able to explore their real connection, added to the pain in Emily’s heart.
Emily’s and Brian’s heart connections to each other were initially forged from circumstances that were deeply painful for her, while at the same time Brian experienced an opening to compassion despite his warrior-marauder perspective. The plight of the small girl whose parents were murdered offered him the opportunity to rise above the lawless, insensitive ways of his band. As the Elder revealed, Emily’s heart-pain around Brian had its origins in that life. After that life, the souls of Emily and Brian saw a spiritual opportunity to apply the lessons of the open heart and so made the decision to explore these through incarnating together. As we can see, the pain in Emily’s heart is complex. It began with great anger towards him for 1) what he did to her desert tribe so long ago, and is also complicated by her appreciation of his efforts at saving her life. In summary, Emily’s heart bonds to Brian further include: 2) her love for her little brother, 3) her love for her husband, 4) the unrequited love from the London life and 5) the current situation in which Brian is not available to live his life with her.
In this trajectory, successive incarnations between Emily and Brian do not necessarily create increasingly better connections – at least as we understand these from the level of personality and what most of us would like to see happen. There is a difficult beginning through forced contact where Emily learns to love her enemy and then a series of lives where there is familial bonding. However, in their most recent lives they are prevented from sharing the profound affection they genuinely have for each other. Personality would much prefer a story where the lovers are happily and permanently reunited each time, but the soul – like the heart – has its own logic and more importantly, its own higher purposes.
Now the Council is ready to answer Emily’s question about why she chose the current incarnation. Don’t you remember? You came here to be a peacemaker. We have formerly told you the best way to bring peace to this world is to help individuals find it inside themselves. You are going through this struggle with Brian so that you can learn peace in the midst of personal turmoil and uncertainty. The best thing you can do at this time is to stay connected to spirit, to trust the process, and to be joyful.
Emily is also told that each of their souls is working to manifest their individual purpose. She is told that the path of joy and love is the one that she needs to commit to. If she can do this, her attachment to Brian will diminish as her focus turns more and more to accomplishing her unique soul intentions. She is encouraged to pursue her studies in psychology and meditation. They tell her: Yours is a peace-making soul; it is also an illuminator for love. Healing vibrations for others emanate from your heart when it is open, and you are following your path. These soul gifts are able to be expressed through the venues you seek to study and work in. When Emily asks again about the possibility of a future with Brian, she is again reminded that it is the path of love and joy that she must pursue. It is best to understand that this is the highest approach to living your life. The path of heart is the path of wisdom. The future cannot be foretold; you make your destiny by the choices you make in each moment. The more your choices are informed by your soul’s intentions, the more joy and fulfillment you will have.
Through her incarnations, Emily’s soul was specializing in the path of the open heart. A heart that is open will be broken, but the power of a broken heart that is navigated well is its ability to create an expansiveness that can hold space for the brokenness of others. It also teaches by example that the gifts of an open heart lead to wisdom and compassion. The cumulative influence of her incarnations created a gentle, approachable personality that others find safe and welcoming, and her successful passage through some difficult experiences gave her the insights and tools for showing others how they can do the same for themselves.
Understand the ways in which we can recognize our soul intentions
Emily’s need to understand the purpose of her current life is indicative of her desire to align with her original soul intentions. Emily’s natural interests in meditation, psychology, reincarnation and harmonious connections with others have been persistent and strong this life. She received validation from her Council that these are areas where she could fruitfully focus her professional efforts, but they also observed that while these approaches to fulfilling her purpose are appropriate, there are other ways she could express her soul gifts, and suggested that she might want to further explore this. In other words, Emily should follow the general warp and weft of what she seeks to accomplish because this will allow her to discover additional ways her objectives can be satisfied. She will be surprised and delighted to find that the spiritual path she is committed to is richer than she realizes.
“What is it I need to do in order to fulfill the requirements of my intentions, and what is my next step to getting there?”
Pay attention to experiences with which you especially resonate as this will assist you to identify and remember what you agreed to show up for. Pay attention to your emotions as these will guide you. Letting go of the paths not taken and the roads not fully traveled, begin here: live each day as if it were your calling. Without excessive attention to detail and over-thinking, choose those activities that seem the most right or important. And instead of demanding immediate results, revel in the quietly unfolding intrigue of each moment. Take small steps, one at a time. There is no need to offer up arguments or resistance; simply do each step, improvising as you go. You do not need to know the next step or the next action – by responding to the choices that call to you, to those impulses that seek expression – your life plan and purpose will reveal itself.
As you faithfully listen to the call of your intuitive knowing, you will become more adept at discerning the next right action. You do not need to wait for inspiration. Simply take actions that reflect best what you know to be true for yourself, and you will steadily regain footing on your course as you remember your passions, which will re-connect you to your soul intentions.
For a session on finding your purpose, see Life Purpose
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Italicized segments this last section courtesy of Shepherd Hoodwin