Whose Karma is the Refugee Crisis?

I find it hard to go on with my day-to-day life as if the refugee crisis in Europe doesn’t impact me. I find myself thinking, feeling, and praying a lot about the fate of the people involved—the images so haunting and the numbers so great.  The pictures overwhelm.  The dead bodies; all of a family’s belongings in backpacks; people pushing to board vehicles of various kinds; the refuse left on the ground after the people have moved on. The children, especially, tug at my heartstrings whether in the arms of their parents or walking with them hand in hand.  I wonder what their little hearts are feeling.  What impact will this experience have on the rest of their lives? What do they really understand about what is happening to them?  What trust and faith these parents must have to attempt this most trying arduous and dangerous journey to find freedom and opportunity?  Talk about living in the now!  Could you or I go through this?  Would our families survive?

With modern media, we are asked to think globally about so many issues that in past ages we would not have even known were happening.  Daily, TV and newspapers tell us that thousands of people from many different countries are pouring over the borders of countries with no end in sight.  Today, a report in the New York Times, has illustrated graphically the exponential rise in the numbers of refuges pouring into Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan (4.7 million) and those entering the European Union countries, estimated to be 1.3 million by the end of the year.[1]

A few countries have been welcoming.  How heartwarming it was to hear that the Germans welcomed the arriving children with cheers, candy and stuffed animals, and for the adults, sanitary supplies, food and other necessities.  We learned that some German people gave over empty homes to house families and the government was making every effort to make the refuges feel welcomed with housing, food and opportunity to apply for asylum. For how much longer can the Germans continue to open their arms?  At what point does the welcome, by necessity, turn to other reactions when, because of the sheer numbers, their resources to cope with the large influx of refugees are strained to the breaking point?

Tomorrow (9/14) the EU leaders are going to be meeting to try to come up with a plan to distribute the refugees across its member states.  Merkel has said the refugees do not get to choose where they will go, as Germany is close to closing its borders after having taken in the bulk of those heading towards Europe so far.  We know certain countries have refused to take in refuges. Why have the Arabian countries been so reticent? The US has agreed to 10,000 by last count, but apparently only those who are already in the pipeline. Were there not an ocean between us, we too, no doubt would have thousands pouring across our borders as well.  Where will all these people end up?

Looking ahead, how will the world feed, clothe, educate and medicate these millions of refugees?  It strains my heart and mind to consider the ramifications of these numbers of people on the social, cultural and political systems of these European countries.   How generous will our own countries be with resources and supplies? Goodwill will be required in every instance and will surely test the moral timber of us all.  If God was giving us a test of our sense of responsibility for our fellow man, this is certainly a good one–a Good Samaritan test for our modern times, which I hope we will all pass with flying colors.  It seems to me that it has become our collective opportunity to make good karma, for ourselves individually and for our nations, but until the problem of religious intolerance and man’s inhumanity towards man, as we have seen it emerge in the Middle East, is collectively addressed, we will continue to have these challenging migrations.

Dr. Celeste A. Miller

[1]Aisch, G., Almukhtar, S., Keller, J., Andrews, N. (2015).  The Scale of the Migrant Crisis from 160 to Millions, New York Times, 9/13.

Lighting over the Catalina Mountains

Lighting over the Catalina Mountains

Infanticide

Infanticide

This past month, as the information in the secret Planned Parenthood videos has been released, many of us have been appalled.  And we are told there are more videos yet to be released.  Abortion itself is karma making, but imagine the additional karma of harvesting the organs of the babies for profit, in some cases removing these while the baby is still alive!  This degree of hatred of the child is unthinkable.  These shocking videos challenge our notion of the sanctity of God-given life. Unfortunately, for the karma of people living on this planet, infanticide has been prevalent throughout history and in all cultures.  Probably, we have all been victims or perpetrators in some lifetime and have opportunities to atone for what many call murder today. We certainly want it stopped.

 

Let me share with you some of this history of the practices of infanticide exposed by D. Keith Osborn, author of Early Childhood Education in Historical Perspective.   This information is not general knowledge, certainly never got included in any history book I ever studied in school and is a damming record that seems still to be with us as evidenced by the Planned Parenthood videos. He reports that in general, throughout history, children born to families of poverty, or children with birth defects, or otherwise unwanted children, particularly girls, were left to die in the elements, thrown over walls, or drowned.  As long as 5000 years ago, there is an historical record in the Yangshao culture of China that infanticide, especially of female babies, was commonplace.  However even as recently as the 1930’s the practice of infanticide continued in China.  My own father told me about seeing babies left to die beside the roads in northern China where he grew up as a boy.

 

Infanticide was commonly practiced in ancient Greece as well and once again, it was the female babies that were deemed undesirable.  The common practice here too was to put babies out to die from exposure to the elements.  Aristotle wrote that abortion would be more preferable than the Greek practice of leaving babies to die by exposure. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”, said Jesus.  We usually think of Jesus as having made this statement to encourage the children in the crowd to draw nearer to him, but maybe he intended a wider interpretation.  He lived in a society where infanticide was common because babies were often seen as an unavoidable consequence of sex, nothing more. Perhaps Jesus was also alluding to the abolishment of this practice.

 

It wasn’t until several centuries after Jesus, that Christians outlawed the practice of infanticide and denounced the practice as pagan, calling it murder.  In 318 AD, Emperor Constantine declared that killing a child was a crime. So then, instead of being killed, children were simply abandoned.  The Council of Nicene in AD 325 ordered the establishment of orphanages so parents who couldn’t afford to raise their children could take them to these places. Augustus, a later emperor, offered a stipend to any family that would rear a foundling (an abandoned child).  By 400 AD, Christian churches were demanding a stop to both infanticide and abandonment. Still the practice continued.

 

During the Middle Ages, it became a crime to willfully dispose of children.  However if a child died from injury, then there was no punishment.  As a result, a common form of death was called “overlaying”, where the adult smothered the child by lying on them in bed.  The punishment for infanticide was a year of penance.  “A quote from a civil authority during the Middle Ages perhaps reflects the prevailing view of society in general:  “Parents who commit infanticide are to be congratulated.”  In the 1700’s, the use of opiates, starvation, and dunking a youngster in very cold water were used to kill.   In 1784, a law was passed in Austria forbidding parents from sleeping with children because overlaying had become such a problem.

 

During the 1800’s, in an effort to curb infanticide, large cities in Europe established foundling homes.  Some of these were quite large.  In St. Petersburg, Russia there were 25,000 children in a single home.  The London Hospital admitted 15,000 children during a four-year period.  The mortality rate for these children was high, often 30-40%. During the Industrial Revolution, working mothers often left their children with wet nurses, who were actually hired for the purpose of disposing of the infants.  This practice was known as baby farming and the nurses were called “killer nurses” or “angel makers.”  The general attitude towards children was not to become attached to them, because they could die from diseases of various kinds, as many did between the ages of birth and 4.  A child who lived past the age of 4, had more love and affection lavished on them.  Finally, in the U.S. in 1872, the Infant Life Protection Act was passed protecting newborn children’s lives.

 

This is not a pretty picture of the history of the treatment of infants.  Since the practice of infanticide was so widespread in ancient times, the chances are pretty good that we have somehow been involved.  So, let us take this opportunity to forgive ourselves and others, and actively work to stop the practices of modern day versions of infanticide in our respective countries.  Certainly, we need to object to the sale of baby parts, the use of parts of babies for medical research at major institutions, the rights of parents to assign their aborted baby over to physicians, and continue to advocate for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. At some point, as a society, we have to be ready to say “Enough is enough.”  Let us respect God’s life from the time of conception and give full rights to the developing child.

Dr. Celeste Miller

Holy Bible.  Mark 10:14

Osborn, D. Keith. (1991). Early Childhood Education in Historical Perspective. GA, Athens: Daye Press, Inc.

Color the World with Love

Color the World with Love

 

Reincarnation: The Drama of Life

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Reincarnation: the Drama of Life

Shakespeare said all the world is a stage and we each play our parts. You may relate to this notion.  When we believe in reincarnation, we know in the back of our mind that there are other plays we have been in –ones that are already concluded – yet bleeding into the current play in progress.  These memories, often mysterious and powerful, add deeper dimensions to the current play.  We find ourselves involved in unfinished business that is brought forward because we didn’t take care of it back then.  As we go along living out our life, suddenly the inexplicable is thrust upon us.  The acts within the play can change suddenly, players leave the stage and new ones come on, and the play continues.  Oftentimes, the new players are children or grandchildren we are asked to nurture and care for.  The grand theater for our play is this school room, Earth.  It is here where we have ample opportunity to be our own writer and director as we play out the scenes of our life.

How I Came to Believe

As a teenager, I came into a belief in reincarnation by identifying strongly with certain scenes in movies that triggered past life memories for me. I also was aware of certain classmates whom I had known before. Then later, this “knowing” was enhanced by the study of revelatory scriptures, both East and West.  In the joyful process of parenting my six children, and meeting my karma head on, my belief in reincarnation has only strengthened.  My own life play has had its share of drama, intrigue, politics, love, tears and triumphs.  Looking back, I maintain that a belief in reincarnation has helped me to live a fuller, more purposeful, more empathic, and certainly a more directed life than I would have lived otherwise.  It brought a kind of 3-D and 4-D perspective to the parenting and educative processes.

Coming Back Again

Why do we come back? Let me share with you what I understand is the purpose of coming back lifetime after lifetime.  From the point of our creation as souls, we will live in many different bodies learning our lessons until we eventually harmonize with the electronic part of us that remains in spirit at a higher frequency – sometimes called the greater self.  By a process of self-transcendence through trial and error over many lifetimes, we eventually master existence in this plane (frequency) as we become better able to be love in action. We pay our debts to life and graduate, thereby gaining our freedom.  People who have learned to consciously identify with their greater self are often called avatars or holy men and women, revered people who exemplify this type of ideal spirituality.  After our release, our life continues in other dimensions of which we know very little, our minds being limited by the matrices of time and space.

1440x375_Water Drops on Leaves-1

 

Family: The Karma Crucible

 

Family:  The Karma Crucible

A crucible is a container that can withstand very high temperatures and is used for metal, glass and pigment production. Various elements, when placed in a crucible and subjected to high heat are fused together in new creations. A family is a type of crucible.  The combining of the karma of all the family members is the chemical combination of elements, you might say, that continuously combine in the family crucible.

Many factors are combined in this crucible for family transformation. We want these transformations within the family unit to be positive and powered by love and respect. Each person in a family is affected by every other person – the underlying belief of family systems theory.  All play a role no matter what their age.  Due to their collective karma, each family will be unique and their challenges and joys unique as well.

Soul Development in the Family

The dynamic interactions taking place in the crucible of family are critical for the development of the soul. The soul will be asked to accommodate itself to other people in a multitude of ways, often difficult. The testing of love through relationships in families occurs in a variety of forms regardless of family configurations, values, religion or culture.

Karma plays a big role in the dynamic of families. If past encounters have been difficult in some way, these will be unconscious factors in the dynamics of interactions between family members.  If there have been positive ones, they will strengthen the current bonds.  When love is the foundation that supports and binds a family together, the times of testing and trial can be transformed into the building of each member’s character and their commitment to one another.  In this way, the family is the opportunity for the transformation of each person’s soul.

Unconditional Love

Nothing remains the same for long, so it is important that the family remains strong and helpful to each member through adversity and challenge. The one positive constant in our lives can be those people who love us unconditionally and are always there for us.  We often think of these people as family whether we are related by blood or not.  This is why on a personal level, our unique “family” is the most important spiritual tether to the world.  The reincarnating child needs the healthiest family life that their karma and circumstances can provide. Knowing this, parents can make the supreme effort to be good parents and utilize approaches to parenting and educating that will produce good fruit in the lives of their children.

(Excerpt from The Family:  Seasons and Reasons by Celeste A. Miller, Ph.D.)

Japanese maple leaves, Worcester, MA, Photographed by Tom Miller

Japanese maple leaves, Worcester, MA, Photographed by Tom Miller