Why Did I Choose to be Black This Lifetime?

One of the more interesting queries a client came in with last week was wanting to know why he had chosen to come into this life as a black man.  "It's been hard!" he commented.  "Why would I do that to myself?"

As you might guess, he uncovered a lifetime in the South in the 1800s where, as a wealthy entitled young white man, he lacked a sense of compassion for the black people around him, seeing them as only there to serve his purposes.  In fact, he raped and beat up a young black woman he was attracted to, and did not help her with the child which ensued until his wife took the child in when its mother died.

This brings up an important reflection on karma, a concept which I believe is often misunderstood.  Yes, if we behave poorly in one lifetime, we will undoubtedly be on the other side of that fence in another lifetime (if not the current one!)  But rather than being seen as a punishment for wrong deeds, it is more usefully seen as the opportunity to set things right: to see things from the others' point of view, to learn and correct one's attitudes and behavior.  Essentially it's our chance to balance the scale and 'clean up our messes,' so to speak.  

I must say, as karma goes, this client certainly gave himself a much easier way of experiencing being black in the US than he would have experienced in the 1800s!