Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.
Yesterday I wrote about a friend who keeps telling me the same story, over and over again, and it made me think about the stories I repeat, the patterns which keep playing out in my life. This reminded me of something I wrote a while ago for my old blog. Since this blog is in some ways a reincarnation of my former one, Today I thought I’d share that piece with you:
A Trip into my Other Lives
Reincarnation. It is one of those elusive ideas. I can’t prove it or disprove it to myself or anyone else. The concept appeals to me. It has a certain logic, which appeals to my mind. It makes living more poetic, which my heart loves. It also makes the consequences of my actions or non-actions more thought-provoking. My next life will suffer if I am not responsible in this life, and this life’s suffering may be due to my having been irresponsible in a former life.
Relationships take on a deeper meaning too. It explains the fatedness of certain meetings. Soul Mates. People with whom you have an instant connection. The recognition of a love you once had, that perhaps ended abruptly, and now you have the chance to rekindle a flame, or tie up a loose end. Not all soul mate relationships are meant to last, some are very brief indeed. Perhaps you or they died before you could say goodbye, and you are meeting again to say those words, and untie a bond that no longer needs to exist between you. Attachment creates so many entanglements, sometimes it is impossible to unravel all the knots and you have to sever all ties, and sometimes the knots loosen themselves.
I look at people who have hurt me, particularly my parents, and wonder if perhaps in a previous life I wounded them, and in this life they are simply acting upon an impulse to rebalance the interaction between our souls. This notion makes it easier to bear the pain of suffering. If someone hurts me, rather than loathing them and wanting to avenge myself, I can take a step back from my heartbreak, see the situation with less fury and more compassion. To hurt another human being, you must first be hurt yourself. By sharing our pain with others we are searching for a means to release ourselves from the suffering, this does not justify the agony we inflict on others, but it does help to answer the questions that arise out it.
On a larger, global scale, there is so much that seems inexplicable. Natural disasters are a part of living on a planet which is governed by wild, mysterious and omnipotent forces. They are the cycle of life. But the horrors humans inflict on humans is altogether much harder to comprehend. Are these all manifestations of karma. Events which need to take place to enable humanity as a whole to evolve, learn, and transform ourselves from savage beasts into enlightened beings. Unfortunately learning things the hard way is sometimes the only way to learn an important lesson.
There are so many human conditions and burdens that reincarnation can explain, things don’t seem so random, chaotic, and unfair. From the smallest worry, to the greatest outrage. Somewhere, somehow your actions created a burden, which you have to carry until you resolve the reason behind it, and can finally set it down, to release it and yourself. And others too.
“Peace comes from within, do not seek it without” – Buddha.
And so, without any conclusions drawn on the reality or unreality of reincarnation, here is my personal story of an exploration into my past lives:
Many years ago I went to see a Past Life Regression Therapist. She was considered to be one of the best in the field, though there were not that many practitioners at the time. She was very kind, welcoming, and she exuded an aura of rationality. Her home office, where she conducted her therapy, was a small room, intimate without being claustrophobic, sparsely furnished, orderly, and very relaxing. I sat down in a very comfortable recliner. The shades were drawn, letting in just enough light to see. Soft ambient music played very quietly in the background, to distract the thinking mind, so that it would release its hold on me. I closed my eyes, and listened as I was guided by a very gentle, yet firm voice, into a light, trance-like state.
The therapist asked me to focus upon my reason for exploring my past lives, what I wanted to know deep down in my heart, not to think about them intellectually, but to hold them in my mind’s eye waiting for a pull towards a feeling, then, once I had found it, I was to follow the feeling wherever it led.
The first life I uncovered was that of a Greek or perhaps Roman philosopher. His name was Claude – this made me want to laugh because it seemed a ridiculous name for a philosopher. He had founded a school of thought, which was small, but successful. He was old, tired, and very concerned about the future of his school. He was pondering the problem of passing the responsibility of the leadership on to one of his pupils. That was all I saw of this life.
In the next life I was a young girl, about fourteen years of age, living during the 1800’s. I do not recall what her name was. She was also in the grips of a big decision. She was the caretaker of her younger sister, who was five, and a baby brother. I immediately recognised my parents as her siblings. The baby was ill, with a fever. The sister was upset and crying. The girl had been caring for her siblings with such devotion, and was so sick with worry, that she had not slept or eaten for days. In her condition of diminished reasoning she had convinced herself that she could somehow absorb the baby’s illness into her body, thus saving him. And that is exactly what happened. She died. The baby lived. And the five year old took over the care of the baby.
The third and final life I visited, was longer and more detailed than the other two. I was a man, called Arius. He was a warrior in ancient feudal times. I think it may have been in Britain, but I am not sure. Arius lived by a strict code of honour, and served his Lord and Master with great loyalty. He had risen through the ranks to become the most trusted member of his Lord’s men. This led to him being given the task of watching over the welfare of his Lord’s daughter. Arius was deeply in love with her, but he knew that his love could never be, since they were separated by class. He accepted this stoically, and expressed his great love for her by serving her father without ever questioning anything.
The daughter was betrothed to the son of the neighbouring Lord and Landowner. She was to make a special trip from her father’s castle to her groom’s father’s castle, and Arius was chosen by her father to be her only escort. The father did not want to draw unnecessary attention to the travelers by arranging a big escort. He was worried that a rival landowner might use the opportunity to snatch his daughter and hold her for ransom. Arius was a very fierce, skilful, and strong warrior. He was not fearful of others, and felt capable enough to handle the protection of his Lord’s daughter single-handedly. They were ambushed. The daughter died.
Arius was distraught. He blamed himself for her death, and swore vengeance upon her killers. His Lord told him that he was certain that her death had been arranged by her groom’s father. There had been a longstanding feud between the two, which was to be settled by the union of their children. The Lord felt that his rival had planned the whole thing from the beginning, never intending to settle the feud, but to use the union to weaken his foe, then attack and steal his land. Arius was struck to the core by his Lord’s words, but not in the way they were intended. He was friends with the groom. He had also come to know the groom’s father. They were not the sort of people who would kill an innocent woman to achieve a victory over a rival. He realised that his Lord was describing himself and not the groom’s father, that he had arranged the killing of his own daughter to create a situation in which he felt he would be able to seize his rival’s land.
Arius’ grief at the betrayal, and the loss of his greatest love, sent him into a killing frenzy. He joined forces with the groom and his father, and defeated his Lord and Master. The empty revenge sent him further into a downward spiral, and he became a mercenary, hiring his vicious, bloodthirsty services out to whoever offered him the worst wars to fight in. He desperately wanted to die, but his strict code forbade him to kill himself, or allow himself to be killed. So on he fought, battle after battle, killing hundreds and thousands… until one day he was mortally wounded.
He stood on the battlefield looking for one last time at the world around him. The carnage sickened him. It was an horrific waste of life, energy, and of everything that was beautiful about humanity. He felt deeply ashamed of himself, of all that he had done, of the soul he had lost when his love had died. He had tried to resurrect her by sacrificing others. Instead he had sacrificed himself.
When Arius died, I felt myself drift up and out of his body, carrying his immense sadness up into the ether.
There was a moment of intense clarity in this place of nothingness in which I found myself. I knew exactly who I was, who I truly was rather than who I thought I was. I was none of these lives, I was not even my own life. Yet at the same time I was all of the lives, at once and together.
Then the moment was gone…. and I awoke from the trance.
The therapist gave me a tape recording of the session. I listened to it once, shortly afterwards, just to remember what had happened. I never listened to it again. One day, years later, I unraveled it and threw it away. It didn’t seem relevant anymore.
There you have it. I have no idea if these were real past lives that I lived, or if they were allegories created by the inner workings of my mind. They reflect my psychology both at the time that I did the regression, and now. They are very precise representations of facets of my self. There is a philosophical side to me. There is an emotional, caring side to me. And there is a fierce, intensely loyal warrior side to my character.
Ultimately I don’t think it really matters if these stories are real or imaginary. In both instances they reveal to me the same thing, my subconscious self. Knowing that is precious to me. Through self-knowledge I have transformed myself from a very miserable human being, into a more balanced, more positive, and more joyous human being, but I am very much still a work in progress.
Thank you for listening… the end… for now.
My views of reincarnation have evolved since I wrote this. As I too have evolved from the person who wrote those words. Not dramatically, but subtly, enough for me to feel a difference.
I like to keep an open mind about as much as possible, to allow for change, and the assimilation of new ideas and data. I prefer my new views, but this is already a very long post, and so I will share those another day, perhaps Tomorrow.
So, What are your views on reincarnation, have you experienced memories of a past life, or had a relationship you felt was fated?