A Personal Account of Possible Insight into the Effects of Slaveholder Past Lives
Continued ...... "I did not recognize at that age that it was an unnatural
situation, but feelings of empathy swelled up inside me to the point
that I did every task the black child laborers were forced to do. I
crawled on my knees and pulled the same sacks, lifted the same weights,
and sweated the same number of hours. I felt more bonded to them than to
my parents and other white adults.
When the laborers were given separate glasses in to drink tea, and other
dishes, scalded later by my mother and set aside only for them, I felt
ashamed and protested, only to be rebuked for my fraternization. One
girl who was my age and I became friends, talking of our hopes to go to
college and be teachers or something like that when we were adults
instead of being field hands. We were equally smart and could talk about
anything. But I never saw her after age 12, about 1951 when I began to
realize that her chances were much less than mine because she was black,
and a girl.
Over the years as I progressed in education and career, hardly a year
passed by that I did not cry as I would ponder _____ being left behind
without the mentors and opportunities I had. Growing up in that deep
South culture, it was clear that enslavement takes many forms.
Bonded in a form of slavery with descendants of the people I had
enslaved, since then something inside forces me to eschew any behavior
that might suggest that I was the Master and another was the Slave. As a
young teacher, I refused to reinforce any hint of dependency by students who 'looked up' to a man a the head of the class. Later as a military
officer, I had difficulty in playing the "command" role, particularly
with seasoned petty officers who knew a hell of a lot more than I did. I
could play the game, but made it clear in explicit and implicit ways
that we were equal humans.
Later, appointed as a U.S. diplomat, I was
immediately given the power of a "master" over foreign nationals in
various roles. The Embassy's local employees had been trained to serve
those with diplomatic status as if we were royalty (as we were often
hobnobbing with local royals). In addition we had local personal staff
in our residencies who treated us like European colonials had demanded
in the past. Most of my colleagues seemed at ease in this master/slave
interaction, but that unidentifiable nudging I still felt inside made it
impossible for me to play it.
I would jump in and do some of the same tasks as my helpers did,
regardless of our respective formal positions. However, as I tried to
relate to all these employees and servants as peers even if our work
roles were different, I found that most of them were confused by my
Their subservience was so deeply engrained that they had difficulty
relating to me. However, by the time I left a post, the 'locals' with
whom I had worked had learned that all of us were not ugly Americans.
These experiences taught me that the master/servant model has been so
inculcated in humans that progress has to come upward as well as
downward. In the reincarnation model consciousness evolves in both
As something of a final cram course, in one of my posts, I fell deeply
in love with the daughter of second-generation slaves. For a significant
period in my life, I both lived inside a legacy that I now know that I
helped create and at the same time experienced the generosity and
forgiveness of the enduring human spirit regardless of how badly it's
treated by the rest of us from life to life.
For many decades, this experience (including its sorrows and its
pleasures) has been an unspoken guide more often than not in my
relationships. This was true in working with staff as an official in
Washington and later as the owner of a private business . I
never asked anyone to do anything that I could or would not do. In my 70's now, I still cannot hire a neighbor's boys to help do manual labor
in our woods and garden without working side by side with them.
I believe past-life learning occurs when we become sensitive to inborn traits that have the
power to depreciate or harm another. In my view, the message comes
through feedback that something is not working equally well for the self
and the other. Conscious introspection can reveal what we need to