This month I’ve been confronted with an inventory of lives lived
on the journey to now. They cover an awfully long time. It seems like centuries.
Memories are like pearls on a string; each pearl has a time and theme of its
own and I was a different person for each. Perhaps the cord holding these episodes
in a row is what I think of as the Higher Mind, and Carl Jung termed the SELF, and
it secretly strings these pears as if they were episodes of a NETFLIX series. An
invisible producer is probably winging the outcome with a brilliant script
writer. That is what I choose to hope. It is a strange experience to go with unintended
clarity to a place where I once lived or at least frequented often and to experience
the sensations concerns and emotions again of who I was then. This is beyond
lucid memory. If 3D double exposure film existed, one could be at any place and
time. But these beads of time seem to pull my spirit down as if they were made
of lead. I long to put time in its proper order.
On the other hand, perhaps my Higher Mind is cleaning up personal history for whatever lies ahead by revisiting all unhealed remnants of my past. The process is somewhat like remodeling an old house by fixing structural flaws that are not likely to sustain the challenges of the future.
I’ve been on a strange memory trip for the past two months but this week it became so intense that I could feel cold wind on my cheeks, hear birds, cars passing, and naked branches rustling in the breeze from times and places of despair and longing that I thought long ago disintegrated into memory dust. It caused me to realize that there is good reason the past normally fades into soft focus. This backward descent caught me by surprise. I was finally living free of most of my old demons and psychic bullies. Now I recognize why genuinely participating in past life memories would seriously interfere with the present life. This recognition answers to my satisfaction the question: “why don’t we remember more about our previous lives?” However, there are assumptions, reactions and ingrained thoughts and reactive patterns that must be dissolved at the source before we can safely move forward without self-sabotaging from some unconscious reaction to a hidden trigger. To some degree, most of us have PTSD. This keeps our world in constant peril.
Life as we know it truly is a dream full of unresolved issues flecked with occasional particles of new insight like those first bits of sleet before a storm. While I believe this, I suspect that any past life memories are as symbolic and enigmatic as a sleeping dream. The emotional intensity reveals the significance of the events. Then, imagine if those core concerns are keys to unlocking the treasures of creative power and higher knowledge? Paradoxically, our nighttime dreams are often a wakeup call.
It isn’t all bad. In fact, much of the pain is filtered out of old memories. However, the experience of oneself in so many places and circumstances bring up the question; “who am I,” and how many previous selves sneak into this lifetime for another chance at solving an old problem or answering a troubling existential question. I don’t want to come back here again, although I doubt that I’ve passed this grade with high enough marks to graduate, yet I hope at least to qualify for graduate school. I’m also concerned that the human species is barreling toward the catastrophic results of the unbalanced myopic perception of a big brain with a shriveled soul. If I come back, in say, 200 years, what kind of mess might I find myself in? If you don’t believe in reincarnation, you can still imagine what your grandchildren and great grandchildren are facing. The melting icecaps, increasingly intense weather, unhinged political behavior and COVID-19 pandemic are a taste of where we are headed.
Most humans are fumbling around in a world that is moving so fast on the physical time/space level that few have time to contemplate what might lay beyond the rapidly shifting surface. Just minding the traffic keeps the lower mind so busy that until we are faced with a sudden vacuum there is no reflection or evaluation of what lies beneath the precipitous changes. But does this frantic action take us anywhere? I loved playing with a kaleidoscope as a child. One turn and a different reality appears. Our modern world has become a large kaleidoscope and however interesting the scenes might be there is no base point, or end point. Just continuous rearranging of the same elements.
In esoteric teachings, our ego is under the purview and guidance of a Higher Self, or at least it should be if we are to get off the merry-go-round of life after life, after life on the same wheel. Spiritual teacher, George Gurdjieff, when asked what became of humans at death, would say, “humans are food for the moon.” This is a typically enigmatic way of saying that like the moon we get some light from the sun but can’t get beyond our satellite ties to a lower earth existence. We are emotional beings, and our position in life is concealed in the cloud of our personal experience. It takes a kick up to get through that cloud.
It’s very hard to see beyond the moon’s secondary sun-glow to the greater cosmos with only our accustomed ego sight and just as challenging to transcend our accumulated emotional issues to take guidance from our higher self. We are now many millennia into our human tribe, country, family, class and personal coping mechanisms and most of these influences are based on unconscious habitual assumptions. The moon watches over us, and effects our weather and tides. We take her for granted and find her mysterious and yet familiar. We feel her inside as well as in the sky above. Yet she can be a step to launch ourselves into the cosmos or we can stay put and be lunatics.