Sowing and harvest – Birth and fate
A child’s characteristics originate neither from the genes nor from the spirit of the parents. Every human being is a separate personality. From where then do the abilities and distinctive characteristics, the strengths and weaknesses of a personality really originate?
Personality formation in the Law of Reciprocal Action
The formation of a person’s spiritual individuality is subject to the Law of Reciprocal Action. This natural Law entails a repercussion for every action and a cause for every phenomenon. “There is no smoke without fire” – is an apt popular saying to express the working of this Law.
Every child is thus, for very definite reasons, exactly the personality that it is. But what is responsible? Who has formed this personality?
The Law of Reciprocal Action is described in the Bible thus: “What a man sows, that will he also reap!” And there already is the answer: The recipient of the “harvest” is the same person who spread the “seed”. The child’s spirit has thus shaped its own personality! It is the harvest of its own seed, thus of former decisions and actions.
The underlying principle, figuratively speaking, is that someone who sows wheat will also harvest wheat. This means that the nature of our harvest always corresponds to the nature of our seed.
The human spirit, with an attribute of free will, can choose the type of “seed”. If, for instance, he regularly decides to press forward whenever he encounters obstacles, then courage and confidence can develop from this attitude; if, however, he gives up the struggle, discouraged straightaway, it can give rise to a tendency towards resignation, defeatism and cowardice. In the course of time these characteristics can manifest ever more strongly and eventually leave their imprint on the personality – until such time as he changes the direction of his volition again, whereby correspondingly different character traits unfold.
The human being has therefore personally moulded the masterly or defective “work” as he manifests himself. Only the body is new with a newborn. The inner being, the spirit, has already been through a lot of experiences before this new life on earth and is shaped accordingly.
When, for instance, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played the piano as early as the age of four and impressed those around him with his exceptional musical abilities, it was not because his parents were musicians and had passed this talent down to him, but he had developed this talent himself in former lives. He was able to harvest what he sowed – and if this harvest turned out richer than with other musicians, then it was because he had worked at it longer and with greater strength. “Practice makes perfect!” as the saying states quite rightly.
Geniuses are often admired for the ease with which they can move in their chosen field. It is as if everything is quite easy for them and a good fairy must have placed all these talents at their crib. In reality, however, much energy and hard work lie behind every ability. If a child “brings along” outstanding abilities, then it has worked for these in previous lives and it will also in future need to devote a great deal of energy to sustain or to unfold these abilities further.
When such “innate dispositions” are very pronounced, they often push the child in a certain direction. It then declares, for example, with some certainty that it wants to become a doctor, an architect or a pianist – and later actually does become one.
The Law of Sowing and Harvesting, which underlies the formation of human personality, urges the child – and later the adult – to further development. Every harvest makes us aware whether or not our own seed was beneficial. The “harvest” embraces our entire personality, and it can lead us, depending on its nature, into supporting or conflict- ridden situations.
Background to the fate of the child
Every incarnation brings us a part of the harvest from the seeds sown in previous lives. This happens in all sorts of everyday situations. Whoever has helped others, respected and encouraged them, will experience the same on himself; whoever, on the other hand, sowed violence, oppression or deception, will now have to experience what is similar on himself, as long as he has not improved inwardly since he sowed the seed. To the extent to which someone recognises his faults and changes inwardly, the “karmic repercussions” will be attenuated. The reciprocal action does take place, but in a diminished form.
The circumstances of the incarnation as well as the further fate of a human being are thus the consequences of many decisions from former times. Every spirit lives through the particular circumstances with which the threads of fate connect him. Depending on the experiences he needs for his further spiritual maturity, he will incarnate in a certain epoch and in a certain part of the earth, in a time of plenty or scarcity, of cultural upswing or decadence, in a small village or a big city – and in a certain family. On his path of fate he will find joy or misery, illness or war, prosperity or hunger, and so on. And among the human spirits who live in these surroundings with him will be some with whom he already had contact in former times, friendships will be developed – as well as reservations towards others; many of life’s situations will provide an opportunity to mature spiritually and to make progress.
The combined effect of the Laws of the Attraction of Homogeneous Species and of Reciprocal Action ensures that each child comes into the world at exactly the right place. Since these Laws are, without exception, all embracing in their effect, there are no errors in the incarnation, no arbitrariness, no coincidence.
The fateful events in our daily lives, the joys and problems in the family, social and professional life, are to a large extent the consequences of decisions made long ago, but naturally also of our present decisions, since – endowed with a free will – we are constantly making new decisions, which likewise have effects. Even when we consciously or for lack of initiative do not want to decide, this is still a decision with its consequences, because according to the Law of Movement the human spirit must unfold and make use of its abilities. “If you are not going forward you are going backwards,” as the saying goes. We can thus also get into difficult or conflict-laden situations because we are not moving enough, or we have perhaps withdrawn into our “ivory tower”.
Drawing lessons from one’s own experiences
A person can learn something from every experience, and this learning is by no means to be understood only in the intellectual sense. It is a matter of a deeper insight that touches deeply to the spirit of a person and is not just limited to the physical brain.
There is a big difference between intellectual and spiritual knowledge. Someone may, for example, reason out perfectly well that lying or stealing is not right – and yet he lies and steals. The “knowledge” is not really rooted in him. Only when he himself has to suffer one day from a lie or a theft might he really learn the significance of such an action. The personal experience ensures that he will internalise and embrace this knowledge as his own, that it is “entrenched” in his spirit as a certainty. In other words, it becomes an intrinsic part of his spirit.
“Drawing a lesson” is thus not just about the intellect; the personal experience is important. That being so, children also or even babies can learn from experience – it impresses them, even before they have the intellectual capacity of an adult.
Why just these parents – and not others?
What impresses most people deeply and lastingly during their sojourn on earth is family life. The parents are the ones to whom the child relates most closely and decisively, and with whom it will live for about 20 years, thus nearly a quarter of its life.
This association is not for nothing: the parents provide the child through their personality and their own fate with the necessary impetus for development. Their abilities and strengths encourage the child to act similarly in life, their weaknesses having a repulsing effect and able to induce it to behave differently.
How lawfully does a child come to incarnate with just these parents and not with any other folks?
On the one hand, as has already been explained in detail in this series, the homogeneity between parent and child can be decisive for the incarnation. On the other, there is often a karmic bond at work between a child and its parents, thus a “bond of reciprocal action”. For example, the child could be a human spirit who in a previous life was a great help to its present mother and the mother now has an opportunity to contribute her part lovingly and helpfully. But the child could, for example, also have had problems with one or other of the parents in a previous life. Now both “parties” have an opportunity to mature together and to change their attitude to each other.
If the former lapse by one person caused some kind of harm to another, then the reunion of the two is an absolute necessity. So that a just balance occurs, the offender must make good the harm to his victim. This balance may be accomplished in the course of the shared experiencing. The close relationship in family life, the love that develops totally naturally between family members offers, in general, a mighty help for the reparation and for the inner change that this step is based on.
Karmic threads can for this reason operate not only between parents and children, but of course siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and so on will also be incorporated.
Most people can feel in their heart that they do not live in “their” family by pure chance. We all have the parents we deserve, the children we deserve – and our children have the parents they deserve.
Does the child choose its parents? We hear the opinion expressed occasionally that a person selects his parents consciously in the beyond before being incarnated, with a view to certain aims. But in truth there is no arbitrary freedom in these matters. Wishes and longings can of course give a certain direction, but a person cannot change his nature nor sever his threads of fate in the twinkling of an eye. Ultimately the Laws of Homogeneity and Reciprocal Action lead everyone precisely to “his” parents.
If somebody incarnates, then it is because he has lived through a development phase in the beyond and he has to come to earth to gather experiences, detach threads or perform some other task. The notion “I chose my parents for this incarnation” is in general right only in the sense that previously we ourselves made those many personality and fate-moulding decisions which have led us into a particular environment in this earth life and to certain parents.
Time of birth and astrology
The fact that a child’s personality and fate are the results of its own decisions of will appears to contradict astrology, which assumes that there is a connection between the child’s personality, its fate and the position of the stars at the moment of birth. In reality, however, a child does not have a certain character and fate just because the stars were arrayed in a corresponding constellation in the sky. Rather, a person is born under these stellar radiations because he has a certain character that corresponds with just this stellar constellation at the time of birth.
If earlier mention was made that the Law of Reciprocal Action “returns” to us the harvest of our own seed, thus our karma or fate, we did not as yet address how that works in detail. This process is linked with our solar system as well as with further celestial bodies. Their radiations form “channels” that “guide” the karma pending for every- one. Abd-ru-shin writes in his lecture “Astrology”: “The radiations of the stars only form the paths and channels through which all the living ethereal substance can penetrate in a more concentrated form to the human soul in order to become effective there. Figuratively speaking, one can say that the stars give the signal for the times when the returning reciprocal actions and other influences can, through the guidance of their radiations, flow to the human being in a more complete and concentrated form. Unfavourable or hostile stellar radiations become united with evil vibrations floating in the Ethereal World in connection with a certain person; on the other hand favourable radiations will only unite with beneficial ethereal vibrations, all according to homogeneity.” (“In the Light of Truth”, Volume II )
There is therefore a contradiction between our understanding or use of astrology and the fact that we shape our own destiny. The stars do not determine our fate but their contribution allows it to take form. The radiations of the stars channel to every one of us that which is due to him. Every person is born under certain stellar radiations, because he has an inner homogeneity with their energies. The point in time of the birth marks the moment in which a person is emotion- ally and physically ready for this world, his inner state is in harmonious balance with a certain time and place, so as to experience in the course of his further life a certain sequence of events.
It is therefore not advisable to arbitrarily alter the point in time of a birth, for example, by performing, for the convenience of the mother, a Caesarean section before the contractions start spontaneously. Such interventions advance artificially the time of the birth, and the further one gets from the certain ideal point in time of a natural birth, which is determined by the Laws, the more difficult it becomes for the incarnated soul to adapt to its body and the circumstances of life. If, by contrast, a birth has to be carried out for unavoidable medical reasons before the expected date of delivery, this event may naturally also be a part of the child’s fate.