The Karma of a Brief Lifetime
a Wisdom Imagination

I’ve been very busy preparing for the program, “Beyond 63.” Beyond 63 will look at the meaning and purpose of our long lives, what lessons we learned in the art of being human, and the evolution of our individuality. The course will explore how we meet aging, dying, and the possibility of preparing for our next lifetime. 

Then last week the opposite questions about the meaning of a brief lifetime roiled to the surface of my American consciousness. 


 I’ve been contemplating the meaning of a brief lifetime for many years. This contemplation has taught me more about karma and spiritual realities than anything else. I hadn’t planned on sharing these thoughts but the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court leak this past week screamed “NOW!” in my soul. 


What is the karma of abortion/miscarriage, of death between conception and birth? We are all being asked this question…what are the imaginations that arise in our souls in response? And I also consider the karma of choice.


Let me make clear that it serves no one to focus on the victim-perpetrator judgments of an abortion. Those judgments reveal either Luciferic or Ahrimanic seductions and distractions. As we react to beliefs in Luciferic sin, Ahrimanic rights and the impact of the forthcoming SCOTUS RvW decision, we need to open ourselves to the mysteries of incarnation and the karmic and essential impact of the briefest of lives. 


I feel strongly that if we can contemplate these esoteric realities with holy calm, and bring compassion rather than judgment even in regard to the individuals, choices, and events that from our earthly perspective we find offensive, wrong, or tragic, we will awaken freedom, love, and wisdom in our souls. 


When I look at life from my earthly perspective, live fully in this incarnation in the 21st Century, as an American, privileged, educated, politically liberal, white woman, I am very upset, often enraged at the conservative denial of women’s rights of choice. I have learned to manage my opinions and my reactions to the opinions and choices of others most of the time. 

If only religion and politics could evolve into a spiritual and moral understanding of karma and multiple lifetimes. 


I am sharing my thoughts not as an authority on matters moral and spiritual but as someone who has learned to wonder at deep questions from more than one perspective. One perspective never gets anywhere near the truth. In the course of my almost 75 years, I have had so many sacred conversations, been influenced by so many great souls, and asked so many questions with an open mind. I have also designed many courses which I have offered in-person and online on the challenges of self-imagining…all the ways we can respond to O Human Soul, Know Thyself. 


Whether working with long or brief lifetimes, we need to develop new thoughtful imaginations that are grounded in the wisdom of multiple lifetimes, karma, spiritual realities, and the evolution of consciousness. These imaginations will not be determining right and wrong. They will not be an attempt to dominate with opinion, power, or intolerance. They will intend to have spiritual significance, rather than rely on religious and/or political correctness or agreement. With reverence for personal suffering, the imaginations are not about living a perfect life, but about finding the meaning and purpose beyond the ideal, the dutiful, and the acceptable. They require a consciousness that is evolving, rather than one that is defining.


As an anthroposophically-inspired mentor, friend, and coach for over 30 years, I have had a number of clients come to me to share their stories and feelings about their choices to terminate a pregnancy, some more than once. They have come with so many feelings of spiritual and moral grief, doubt, shame, guilt, and loneliness. When they come to me, it is not just with the request that I help them overcome their feelings. They come wanting to understand and to imagine the why. They want conversations that reveal the karma, the meaning, and the purpose of their choice. 

It has been their deep spiritual questions and my own that have led me to my spiritual research on the karma of brief unborn lives. 


By karma, I mean the prebirth script or design of the coming incarnation into an earthly lifetime.  The karmic script unfolds in a number of lessons, initiations, and epiphanies that will arise from temptations, sufferings, obstacles, thresholds, and impossible choices and the consequences. Every aspect of a life is spiritually essential though as a life story it may be quite difficult, messy, and painful. 


Our individual karmic script is written with our angel. But there is also the script of the spiritual cohort of individuals that is written with the cohort’s archangel and designs a network, a web of karmic collaborations that are often unrecognized because they hide in such complexity. In the archangelic cohort script, even the briefest individual lifetime can have a huge, lasting, and essential karmic impact on the cohort.


Is the value and meaning of a lifetime based on the number of days between conception and death? From a corporeal and materialistic perspective in the 21st Century, every life must be long, healthy, and happy. But from a spiritual, non-corporeal perspective, how the individual’s consciousness evolves (“Wisdom is crystalized suffering.” Rudolf Steiner) is their destiny, and the impact of their incarnation on others and on the future is where an individual’s meaning and purpose are found no matter how brief it is.  The impact on others and the future needs the lens of the karmic cohort.


We need to see that a brief lifetime is not a tragedy when seen spiritually and karmically. To see this we need to have faith that the divine kernel of Individuality has many unique lifetimes. The human I incarnates multiple times into different stories in order to fully possess all the possibilities of human experience. A karmic cohort weaves together complex series of relationships in order to surround each “I” with the full tapestry of humanity. 


Let me share a couple of archetypal realities concerning multiple lifetimes based on my anthroposophical research. Please consider them.

  • The longer a lifetime between conception and death, the longer the time between death and the next conception.
  • A lifetime that ends before puberty means that reincarnation can happen almost immediately, so imagine what happens when death occurs before birth or in infancy. 
  • Every one of us will experience a brief lifetime. We will have a lifetime when we are aborted/miscarried, and a lifetime when we choose to abort as a woman. We will also face a lifetime when, as a man, we are an inseminator of a woman and for so many possible reasons do not or cannot father the conceived child. 
  • One of the essential challenges of incarnation is to find and sustain a balanced integrity in the face of opposing and disintegrating forces.


What I share spiritually, does not deny the stories of memories and feelings, but it might bring the blessing of a wisdom of karma and an understanding of the complex ways we experience an evolution of our I-consciousness.


My years of sacred conversations have made it clear that each of us have much to celebrate, much to grieve, and much to forgive. A daily practice of these three gestures, celebrating, grieving, and forgiving, will allow us to move beyond our stories to the equanimity of karmic understanding and a gratitude that lives beyond the earthly ideals, dramas, and desires.


When you consider the karmic cohort of an abortion, what do you recognize? Every abortion impacts many souls in many ways. How many brief lives have shaped your stories? 


Let me share how my life and my work have been impacted by the very brief lives of others. 


I am the second child of my parents but have experienced my childhood as a first-born. My parents’ first child was born anencephalic (a very rare neural tube defect that means the cerebral hemispheres and most of the skull are absent). She lived for 20 minutes and was never held by either of our parents. I was born two years later. There is a likelihood that I was this child. 


When I was 11 years old, my mother had an illegal abortion. The child’s father was in the process of divorcing his wife in order to marry my mother. His wife and the mother of his two sons was paralyzed in a car accident and he ended the relationship with my mother to return to his marriage and care for his wife and sons. My mother then found out that she was pregnant.


I came of age in the age of birth control and sexual liberation. At university, I supported several friends as they struggled with their abortion karma 


My sister got pregnant and married and suffered a miscarriage at 16. She did not finish high school. This created a great distance in our relationship.


As a mother of a sexually-active daughter and a sexually-active son, I prayed that I would not have to suffer the confusing emotions of either of them experiencing an unwanted pregnancy and having to make a life choice. 


Then there are all the women that have come to me with their abortion stories. It is with empathy I experience all the feelings that have weighed on their heart or been hidden in the place of no-feelings and secrets. It is with compassion that I work with them to grieve and to forgive. Often, the gift then appears…the calming, healing awareness of meaning and purpose of the brief life on the karmic cohort. They see that their unborn child’s brief lifetime provided a lasting impact. The being had then gone on to another incarnation, another lifetime, another experience of meaning and purpose. 


If you or someone close to you has suffered in any of the ways of choice, (and now it looks like many may be suffering from the karma of not having a choice) have reverence for their feelings and their choice. Join them in imagining the meaning and purpose of the choice/no choice. The choice we always have is the choice that lives in how we feel about how we feel. With equanimity, a freedom develops that lives beyond our karma. Support them in uniquely celebrating, grieving, and forgiving. 


In regard to the karma of a brief life, open your heart to the imagination that this being is now living another lifetime in another body, with a completely different etheric design, a new meaning, and a new purpose as an individual and as a member of a karmic cohort. 


Our angels know the spiritual reality of our many lifetimes. When we return to our spiritual home after each lifetime no matter how brief or how long, we see the new script added to our akashic record of the evolution of our human consciousness.  And we celebrate and continue the unfolding process of becoming fully human as an individual and as a member of the great cohort of humanity awakening inner freedom, unconditional love, and utter wisdom.