“I was once a mother with twelve children. Ignorant in terms of education, far from beautiful, particularly in later years, with a wild temper and raucous voice. This was around Jerusalem in the sixth century. The children had many fathers. I did my best to provide for them.
“My name was Marshaba. We lived wherever we could, squatting in doorways and, finally, all begging. Yet in that existence, physical life had a contrast, a sharpness greater than any I had known. A crust of bread was far more delicious to me than any piece of cake, however well frosted, had ever been in lives before.
“When my children laughed I was overwhelmed with delight, and despite our privations, each morning was a triumphant surprise that we had not died in our sleep, that we had not succumbed to starvation.
“I chose that life deliberately, as each of you choose each of yours, and I did so because my previous lives had left me too blase. I was too cushioned. I no longer focused with clarity upon the truly spectacular physical delights and experiences that earth can provide.
“Though I yelled at my children and screamed sometimes in rage against the elements, I was struck through with the magnificence of existence, and learned more about true spirituality than I ever did as a monk. This does not mean that poverty leads to truth, or that suffering is good for the soul.
“Many who shared those conditions with me learned little. It does mean that each of you choose those life conditions that you have for your own purpose, knowing ahead of time where your weaknesses and strengths lie.
“In the gestalt of my personality, as in your terms I lived later richer lives, that woman was alive again in me—as, for example, the child is alive in the adult, and filled with gratitude comparing later circumstances to the earlier existences. She urged me to use my advantages better.”
~ SETH [Seth Speaks, Session 589]