Metaphysically speaking, karma is an unfinished lesson. It is not something we have to “pay back”, or some horrible thing that others can put over us – it is simply a lesson that we created but were not able to learn during the lifetime – it gets carried over into the next lifetime, becoming karma.
For example, you created a situation where there was an emotional pain, betrayal, but throughout that life you focused on the projection of that pain onto the person who triggered it (who betrayed you) instead of seeing it as your own creation, or forgiving that person, or letting it go. As the time went by, perhaps you went for revenge, or maybe fell apart and never trusted anyone again. Either way, the lesson was set up, but the learning did not happen. Then you died, still wanting revenge, or wallowing in self-pity. The unfinished lesson was reviewed by your Soul on the Other Side of life, and properly integrated into your next incarnation’s Soul Contract. I.e. when you are born in the next lifetime, that pain of betrayal and your reaction to it becomes your karma – something that you need to really look at, deal with, and complete.
When we complete the lesson, we clear our karma – i.e. we transmute it into Wisdom. If, on the other hand, we avoid facing it and processing the pain inside of it, we carry it over into the next life, and so on.
What are the karma hand-me-downs? That is the karma that we take on from other people because of our own issues. People, we have more than enough of our own lessons to deal with – let’s not take on the ones from others!
Here is an example of karma hand-me-downs: mother’s behavior with her children.
Let’s imagine that a woman, let’s call her Anna, did not have the perfect mother… Her mother was self-centered and dramatic, acting in a self-sacrificial way in public to get attention and “look good” socially. The mother had her own emotional pain to deal with, and lessons in individuality and self-love. But she chose to ignore these lessons, following her own karmic pattern instead. She had two daughters, Anna and Melanie. What did she teach her children? Exactly – same karmic pattern!
Imagine that one of these girls, Melanie, grew up just like her mom, dramatic and socially self-sacrificial, while very much selfish. Her mother showered her with attention and dotted on her. Melanie had two children. Because she refused to deal with her own issues, activated by her mother, she ended up fully taking on her mother’s karmic pattern, making it her own. She then projected it onto her children.
The other girl, Anna, grew up with an intuitive feeling that this is not the way. Anna felt that one has the right to be unique individual, and one must be self-responsible, instead of demanding others to take care of one. And so Anna said “Enough of this!” and began to live differently, take responsibility for her actions. But Anna were the “black sheep” of the family, because she did not fit into the family tribe’s way of thinking/feeling/behaving. When Anna had children, she taught them to be responsible and independent adults.
In this example, the original mother had started the karmic hand-me-downs – she refused to work on her lesson, and projected it onto her children. One of the daughters, Melanie, took that karma on, and because of it was subconsciously catered to by her mother. As her life went on, Melanie had refused to deal with her mother’s karma and her own as well, and gave it further down the line to her own kids.
The other daughter, Anna, noticed that something was not harmonious in her mother’s behavior, and learned from it – she refused to take the karma from her mother. Where did that karma go – back to the mother, since it was her mother’s lesson in the first place. Because of this her mother subconsciously rejected her. But because of Anna’s conscious behavior, she was able to become wiser by being in that family, and to teach her own children more wisdom.
What are the signs of karma hand-me-downs?
- Having a mental agonizing debates with your parents in your mind;
- Feeling like you do not belong in your family of origin;
- Feeling pressure from the family to conform, or else risk rejection;
- Conditional love from parents, or absence of love all together;
- Emotional manipulation by the parent (through drama, anger, or worry);
- Your own feelings of guilt that you just cannot be what your parents want you to be;
- Noticing that your reactions to life mirror these of your parents;
- Your own embarrassment for the behavior of your parents;
- Your own rebellious behavior as an exaggerated opposition to your parents’ behavior.
If you notice these signs, you are involved in the karmic hand-me-down pattern. This means, you need to seriously evaluate what is yours and what is not. Look at what you disagree with, rebel against, or get embarrassed about in your parents’ behavior or their view on life. This will help you see which are truly your patterns, and which ones are not. Face these issues and take responsibility for your part of it, but give the rest of it back to your parents.
We give the karma back by taking responsibility for our own pain, and by refusing to be an enabler of the karmic behavior in others.