In London, they joke that you wait hours for a bus, and then three all come along at once. The London bus principal applies to the mission of reliance. In my sessions, I can go weeks without seeing it, then I’ll come across it several times in the space of a couple of days. Then it’ll disappear again for a while. In my book, The Instruction, I described a client’s son who was born with part of his brain missing. His mission of reliance is all about learning to rely on others; something he has little choice in. Having to depend on others is unavoidable for him in this life, and having this mission ensures he gets maximum growth from the experience.

Sometimes, when I speak to a client with the mission of reliance, they’ll be calling me from a nursing home, or they’ll be confined to a wheelchair. One way or another, they’ll be forced to look to others for assistance.

But sometimes, a mission of reliance turns up in someone who is not only able-bodied, but also fiercely independent. They have no limiting physical or mental issues. For this kind of person, the mission is all about self-reliance. They choose the mission before entering the physical body at the time of birth. And once here, they’re noticeably self-sufficient.

The child with a mission of self-reliance says things like, “I’ll do it by myself,” and insists on being allowed to make their own mistakes. It can be infuriating for the parents who want their child to look to them for support. Once the child grows up, the most common characteristic is an inability to delegate, or to ask for assistance.

Recently, I asked a client with a mission of self-reliance if she had difficulties asking others for help. She laughed and said, “I can’t ask anyone for help!” The “risk,” or negative aspect associated with a mission of reliance is “obduracy,” which is defined in the dictionary as: “difficult to manage; stubborn.”

When Grandma won’t let social services past the front door, it’s possible she’s slipping into the risk.  When your child adamantly refuses to accept your help, even when things are clearly not working, it’s likely he or she is doing the same thing.

In a relationship, the person with self-reliance will often fail to incorporate his or her partner in the decision-making process. They’ll book a trip or start redecorating the kitchen without thinking to run it by their partner first. They tend to act autonomously, as if they have to do everything themselves.

At work, the mission can create problems when the individual who acts independently forgets to go through the proper channels. They might make decisions that are not theirs to make. And they’ll very often take on too much, in the erroneous belief that no one else is going to do it as well as they can. The underlying belief is: “The only person I can really depend on in this life is myself.”

Two things seem to unite people with a mission of self-reliance. The first is an expectation before coming into this life that they’ll have to pretty much “go it alone.” That’s why I’ll see the mission in adults who grew up lost in the middle of a large brood of siblings, or whose parents were distracted by careers, alcoholism, mental illness, or divorce. In most cases, the child was left to his or her own devices, and the mission came in useful.

The second is a recent past life in which there was no one to turn to for support. Nine times out of ten, this will be a life as an orphan. The past life as an orphan is an experience a soul can draw on to help bring self-reliance to the fore.

A typical example comes from Margaret, a recent client of mine, who was abandoned by her parents in India, sometime in the early part of the 20th Century. In her past life, Margaret was a boy, and fortunate enough to be rescued from the streets and given work as a servant. Though he had a home and food, he was denied an education, and suffered continual abuse throughout this short and very disappointing lifetime.

Now Margaret has used her experience in India, along with the mission of self-reliance, to first deal with her chaotic upbringing in an alcoholic household, and then a string of abusive relationships. She has remained strongly independent, but at a cost. The downside is that she has never learned to place her faith in anyone else.

Choosing men she could never rely on has reinforced her belief that she has no one to count on but herself. Now that she recognizes the mission of self-reliance, and has explored her prior incarnation in India, the challenge is to find a more balanced relationship with a partner in whom she can depend.

When I tell someone who has been an orphan in a previous lifetime about “spiritual acts” – something that can heal the trauma from the past – in this case, anything to help abandoned children, the most common reaction is something like, “I’ve always wanted to do something to help orphans!”

One of my clients is healing her past through humanitarian work with young girls in the Dominican Republic.  Many others sponsor children in developing countries. Several have been drawn to Africa where they can make a significant difference in the lives of AIDS orphans.

At the time of writing, another of my clients is about to undergo surgery for a tumor on her brain. She recognized the mission of self-reliance as soon as I mentioned it, and acknowledged it would be quite a challenge for her having to depend on her husband during her recovery.

If you want to know if you have the mission of self-reliance, the markers are simple.

  • Number one is a stronger than usual sense of independence.
  • Number two is a reluctance (or even a complete inability) to accept help from someone else.
  • And number three is that, as a child, you’ll have been unusually self-reliant.

During my client sessions last week, the London bus of missions turned up on three separate occasions. It will probably lie low for a while, then reappear in a week or two with several of its friends, much like the Number 74 to Baker Street.