“Story first! Explanations take such a dreadful long time!” The Griffin said it to the Mock Turtle, and it’s always seemed to me a good motto for my writing. But once in a while it’s fun to explain, too. Like about How the Universe Really Is. I’ll try.
I’d never been too much interested in “past lives”; everyone always thinking they were Egyptian princesses, but never serfs. And lovers, understanding how they’ve had past lives together, more embarrassing baggage when the affair is over. I’d had no intimations of past lives myself. “Besides,” the philosopher in me reasoned, “what I really think is that ultimately Everything is One; so I am everything, and all lives, in the end.”
But this side of that ultimate merger, I see now, there are ways of thinking about what “other lives” might be.
Perhaps the particular selves we are being here and now can have access into understanding certain other lives from the inside, lives that are like our own in important ways, or lives that form a pattern with ours, perhaps a lesson. For whatever reasons, certain lives resonate with our own in ways that lift the veil of ego-separateness, we call them “our other lives”.
Jane Roberts imagines there being an “Oversoul”, and hints at Over-Oversouls, pyramiding, I suppose, into the Oneness of All.
My own favorite myth is the movies: one actress, here chaste, there sexy, here rich and glamorous, there poor and blessed with a sense of humor, and still somehow it’s the same person being them all. (Or sometimes it’s like the Bergman movies where groups of actors play together, now medieval crusader and Death, now gas station attendant and professor.)
“Other lives”, “Oversoul”, “actress”‘, all are myths speaking the names of the One in the Many, is how I see it now.
Another reservation I’d had about “past lives” was the historical unlikelihood of some of the lives I heard. But now — well, first off, my conception of history is changing so much from what I was taught in school. The possibility of matriarchy, the story of witchcraft and the “fairies”, were things “undreamt of in my philosophy”. Herstory may be magic. I am much more humble now about knowing what “the past” may hold.
Then, too, about “historical inaccuracies” in past lives, there is this, the nature of visions. Dreams, for instance, think how they contain real events from the past (and the future), but woven in creatively, rather than as literal “replays” of the event. Why should we expect our access into other lives to be entirely literal? More likely we see the actual event through a weave of symbols wrought from our present understandings, our present selves.
Also, as to whether these lives “really happened”: One day I was astounded to hear of Caroline’s changing a life mid-stream. “No. I was poor last time, too. Think I’ll try being well-off this time round.” When I asked her about it, she said something about “branching universes” or “alternate realities”. And Tee, I was interested to hear, described these meditations simply as ways into one’s creativity.
So what are “past life memories”?
Zana prefers to call them “Journeys into Other Lives”. I agree. Surely “time” is one of the first categories to go. Why shouldn’t we see into “future lives” as well? And into lives contemporary with our own? And may we not also, as Caroline suggests, look into lives on other worldlines than the one we travel? Other possibilities, the might-have-beens of our own universe, the paths not taken. If somewhere there is all knowledge, these are also worlds to know.
As for “Egyptian princesses”, it interests me how ethically concerned our visions sometimes are. Sandra’s stories of war and peace, mine, to my own chagrin, touching on class and privilege.
Both times I’ve done this meditation I’ve felt I was “making it up”. And I was busy discounting it as I went. I’d thought of life as a cave woman from reading Clan of the Cave Bear. The “red garnet ring” could be traced to a catalog ad I’d seen.
But then in daily life, aren’t there signs and portents? Indeed, may not that catalog ad have been placed just there in my life so I would remember the ring? Sometimes I’ve seemed to catch life working that way, showing the symbolic logic of a story, being a set-piece made for me to walk through, the cosmos conveniently arranging itself for me so as to form a teaching, or a joke. It would be just like Her to seed into my present days hints of other lives.
One more thing about “other lives”. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says that after you die you will not only see your whole life in review, but you will know all the consequences in all the lives yours has touched. Saint Teresa needs no more of heaven, nor Hitler of hell. It makes sense. The mirror of Karma. In order to understand who I have been, I will experience what it’s like to be you. What a joke! We are each other’s other lives.
Look outward, look inward.
Only the Presence, everywhere.
& it doesn’t solve a thing. We will always love each other imperfectly. But then again.
Once my heart cried out, “Oh, Goddess! If we’re all One, why, oh why, did You shatter into this desolate separation?” And She answered, “So there could be touching.”
Touching. Down the time-lines, along the branching universes, across the barriers of daily life, Journeys toward our Wholeness.