Monday, January 22, 2018

My Own Flashbacks of a Former Life

“the Soul is immortal and the body a boat to ferry us across to this realization.”

Siddhanath, Yogiraj Satgurunath. Wings to Freedom: Mystic Revelations From Babaji & The Himalayan Yogis (Page 9). Alight Publications. Kindle Edition.

Originally I had intended to present my experiences chronologically but I have taken a detour. I hope to fill in some of that missing material at a later date. 

When I first started meditating I had some shocking experiences that caused me to almost give up on meditation completely. During the first one I heard a woman screaming and saw a black boot kicking someone. I stopped meditating right away and didn’t want to go back to it. When I finally picked up the courage to meditate again I suddenly began talking in a language I didn’t know. I was complaining bitterly to a blond-haired man. I looked down and saw my meditation shawl in my lap as a dead infant. I went on and on and really wished I could stop. Even as I was complaining I felt I had said enough and I should let some of this go. When it was over I had no way of comprehending what had happened. At that time, I did not believe in reincarnation. Later I connected the two meditation events and saw that someone had kicked me in the belly when I was pregnant, and the baby was aborted. I was slowly coming around to accepting reincarnation. 

Then a friend gave me a book about art therapy at Terezin concentration camp. I hid it away and didn’t look at it for a year. When I did, I first saw the back cover, which had a picture of a group of children. I heard myself say “I know him” about one of the little boys. Finally, I turned the book over and on the cover was a portrait of a woman. I said, “That looks like me.” I opened the book and began reading about the woman on the cover. She was Friedl Dicker-Brandeis an artist who pioneered the use of art therapy with children. In this life I have been an artist my whole life and had a master’s degree in art therapy. Whether I was actually Fiedl in another life I do not know but what I am absolutely positive of is that I lost an infant in another life and the strong desire to have a child carried me into this life. 

When things are left undone, or there has been no closure or forgiveness of past grievances incarnation follows to address those specific issues. This is born out by several stories recounted in Michael Newton’s books. If a life is cut short, as by accident or killing, there is a good chance of a hasty reincarnation because of strong desires to fulfill thwarted goals. It is also interesting to note as Rabbi Yonassan Gershom points out in his book “Beyond the Ashes: cases of reincarnation from the Holocaust” that some victims of the Holocaust chose to reincarnate in non-Jewish families because they were terrified of being identified as being Jewish. Some Holocaust reincarnates feel the urge to visit specific places that turn out to trigger past life memories. I on the other hand have felt a strong aversion to visiting certain places such as Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic due to past associations. Rabbi Gershom also lists several other characteristics of people he has interviewed that died in the Holocaust. One of these is being a baby-boomer (which I am), another is recurring nightmares involving Nazis (which I had as a child), and another is physical symptoms relating to past life “memories”. Michael Newton also describes several cases where people reincarnate with birthmarks or congenital physical conditions that are carryovers from trauma in a past life. 

Monday, January 1, 2018


Poet’s Cosmology

I’ll never know how it was I came to have a memory before time began.
Was there an irregularity in the singularity,
a hair in the ointment of the Big Bang?

That fiery night I felt each exquisite desire embody as a point of light.
Like drops of dew they appeared from nowhere
and spun off like tops to bifurcate and bifurcate again.

Time’s birth cry rocketed through the chambers of the universe
but it changed not
the rose petals of Love on the altar of the heart.

This inner compass, the longing for return, sailed through
the field of Becoming like a lark
heading towards Home.

Although this poem of mine seems fanciful and maybe even a little humorous I am quite serious about its content. If indeed there really was a Big Bang then there must have been some irregularity, some tiny difference in the initial conditions that allowed the bang to blow up and blossom into the wildly diverse universe we inhabit. This tiny fluctuation of initial conditions can be seen as a memory of what had come before the Big Crunch and it preceded the advent of time.
          The screens (coulisses) in the wings of a theater are the settings for various parts of a play. The shifting of these coulisses moves the story of the plot forward. Likewise the shuffling of time fragments in our mind streams is a time-coulisse. These fragments jostle one another moving from recent past to future to distant past in any number of variations in a time fluid mess. You will be quite familiar with this if you have ever attempted meditation. So although our logical mind tells us that time flows in only one direction the mind’s own activity tells a different story. This mix-up of time flow in our own minds surely opens the door to the possibility of memory before time.
          The possibility of backflow in time sequence makes an impact on storytelling and in understanding our own lives. Our lives apparently begin at birth. But what if they didn’t? What if reincarnation really exists? Then like the Big Crunch almost all memory of past lives is crunched out, forgotten. We begin anew with only a hidden fragment of a desire that propelled us into birth. This hidden desire will be guiding our steps and shaping our lives. This is a time-coulisse revealing the deeper hidden causes unapparent in our lives.
Causes are not just learned behaviors as psychology teaches us. They are that, yes, but the cause of causes is desire. Desire weaves the fabric of our lives, the stories we tell ourselves and others. Desire is a power of infinite strength spinning out stories endlessly. At last tired by the round of storytelling, I loosened my grasp on time, desire fell away and I found myself in the eternal present, a blissful state of timelessness where desire has never arisen.
This is the journey I have been on in this life.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Childhood Experiences 3

The other incident in primary school occurred after an intense discussion at school about the Holocaust. Most of the children in my class had lost family members in the camps. At the same time, in the evenings on television were replays of newsreels about the camps and the war. I would watch these with my father. I was walking home from school feeling quite depressed when I felt a slight “tugging” of my mind by a spirit being. My response was “Go away, go away!” What this being was telling me was below my conscious awareness but close enough to it that I could form this reaction to it. I was walking at a place where there was a sheer drop to my left that was a lightwell for basement windows. I said, “I will throw myself down there if you don’t leave me alone!” I kept walking. At the next corner I felt a strong force push me against a building. That got my attention. I was no longer resisting. I heard the words, “It’s all a movie.” I walked the rest of the way home feeling very weird indeed. My mind was unable to focus in the normal way and my body felt strange as well. I’m afraid I misunderstood the message. I thought I could pretend to be in my own movie starring myself instead of realizing that the events of this world are a mere acting out of our own aversions and desires and that we can wake up from that. The following quote from Swami Yogananda expresses this much more eloquently:

First World War was still being waged in the West; the newsreel presented the carnage with such realism that I left the theater with a troubled heart. “Lord,” I prayed, “why dost Thou permit such suffering?” To my intense surprise, an instant answer came in the form of a vision of the actual European battlefields. The scenes, filled with the dead and dying, far surpassed in ferocity any representation of the newsreel. “Look intently!” A gentle Voice spoke to my inner consciousness. “You will see that these scenes now being enacted in France are nothing but a play of chiaroscuro. They are the cosmic motion picture, as real and as unreal as the theater newsreel you have just seen — a play within a play.” My heart was still not comforted. The Divine Voice went on: “Creation is light and shadow both, else no picture is possible. The good and evil of maya must ever alternate in supremacy. If joy were ceaseless here in this world, would man ever desire another? Without suffering, he scarcely cares to recall that he has forsaken his eternal home. Pain is a prod to remembrance. The way of escape is through wisdom. The tragedy of death is unreal; those who shudder at it are like an ignorant actor who dies of fright on the stage when nothing more has been fired at him than a blank cartridge. My sons are children of light; they will not sleep forever in delusion.”
Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship) (p. 307). Self-Realization Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Ekhart Tolle states that cataclysmic events in our lives create an opportunity to break through our clinging of a self-identity based on relationships to others or to things, beyond that to a connection with the inner peace that is the ground of our being. “The world is here for you to experience things going wrong.” (See his talk on You Tube “Reality is Beyond Thought”: )

I must admit my own continuing reluctance to view pain and suffering as “positive” forces for change but I realize they can be. The following prayer found at Ravensbruck death camp where 92,000 women and children died, many in horrific “scientific” experiments, is a great inspiration to me. It was scrawled on wrapping paper near a dead child.

“Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will also those of ill will. But do not only remember the suffering they have inflicted on us. Remember the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering--our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness. Amen”

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Childhood Experiences 2

When I was about seven or eight my parents invited a student from Columbia University, who was from India to share our Thanksgiving meal. After dinner he demonstrated some hatha yoga postures on our living room rug. In the fifties, unlike today, hatha yoga was not well known or practiced in the US. I got down on the floor and started copying him claiming these poses were “easy.” In the evenings following that visit, when I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep (my mother always put me to bed too early) I began floating out of my body up to the ceiling. This went on for weeks and I loved flying around the room. I felt so light and free. I later learned that this phenomenon is the astral body leaving the physical body and people can actually train themselves to do this at will and can travel to any destination they wish in their astral body. There is even an institute that specializes in training people to have out of body experiences: . Eventually, leaving my body stopped happening spontaneously and I tried very hard to make it happen myself. The most I ever got was an inch or two above my body and it cost me so much effort eventually I gave up.

At this point I received a thought to pray. This was something foreign to me as my parents did not speak to me about spirituality or give me any instruction in prayer. The only prayer I knew was “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .” but I didn’t like it. I never considered there might be non-formulaic prayer. After a few nights of saying my formulaic prayer I gave it up and began to explore infinity with the presence that had asked me to pray. Infinity was a word I had heard the kids at school say when they boasted of having a lot of something. For myself I was actually intrigued by the concept. I started mentally exploring the outer reaches of the universe. At these far flung places there was just emptiness. I would get as far as I could and then remember to be infinite it must never have a boundary. I would go further and so on until I had absolutely convinced myself of the infinity of space. Imagine my amazement to find out a few years ago that this very contemplation is recorded in the Buddhist Pali Cannon as the means to reach the meditative state known as the sphere of infinite space
After that as I waited to fall asleep I began seeing beautiful rings of colored light. The colors were bright and fluctuated creating an amazing and delightful show. I called it the colored radio. As I grew accustomed after months of this, it too gradually faded away. I learned later in life that these colored lights are called nimmitas (signs). They often appear just before a meditator enters higher states of concentration. I believe that these two events were related to the visit of that young Indian man. He most likely had a guru back in India who was able to assist me in having these spiritual experiences. As an adult I came to consciously experience remote communications from gurus so I know that it is possible.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Childhood Mystical Experiences 1

I will be writing a series of my own mystical experiences in these posts. The reason for sharing them is to encourage others to have direct contact with their own spiritual nature. 

“. . . I speak not now of your ordinary religious believer, who follows the conventional observances of his country, whether it be Buddhist, Christian, or Mohammedan. His religion has been made for him by others, communicated to him by tradition, determined to fixed forms by imitation, and retained by habit. It would profit us little to study this second-hand religious life. We must make search rather for the original experiences which were the pattern-setters to all this mass of suggested feeling and imitated conduct.”
William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (pp. 4-5). Heraklion Press. Kindle Edition.

I have had a number of what could be called mystical experiences in my life. They were mystical only in the sense that they defied ordinary sense perception and the demand of the ordinary mind for the constraints of logic. The amazing thing for me was that I had the majority of these experiences and the truths they presented to me before I encountered them spelled out in sacred texts such as the Vedas and the Buddhist scriptures. Imagine my surprise (and relief) that these things had been experienced by others, for certainly no one I knew could relate to this type of direct knowing. For the most part I kept them to myself, feeling that others would not understand. That was the hardest part, being utterly alone. It is now after having studied some of these scriptures and seen how my experiences fit into a larger framework of spiritual practice that I feel comfortable sharing them. I am doing this because I wish others to know that what these texts are teaching is not mere philosophy or dogma but living truths that can be experienced by those who seek them and even those who don’t seek them for they can just pop up unexpectedly, as you will see. Each person will experience these truths differently according to the images his or her own mind prefers, due to cultural and religious training, but the truths remain the same.
On occasion I have had the experience of becoming aware of the astral realms of existence. The beings who inhabit astral realms are either there between lives on earth or beings who will continue living there until they have perfected themselves enough to move on to the causal realm. The means of communication between astral beings is telepathy consequently there can be no such thing as a lie. One’s thoughts are available to anyone who seeks to know them. For the most part astral beings sustain themselves through cosmic light, not food. In the astral world we meet friends and relatives from our former lives. The life span of an astral being may be as long as 500 to 1,000 years. One’s astral body most often resembles that of one’s physical body between the ages of 20 and 30.

My contact with the astral realms began at a very young age, two or three years old. In my adulthood I remember reading a letter my parents had written to my grandmother about my two “imaginary friends.” Of course, they were not imaginary at all but were denizens of an astral plane. I say “of course” because I have come to learn though reading the accounts of others that young children are often attuned to the astral world and even to past lives. This ability will often fade away as the child grows up.
I do not recall any of the communications I had with my two astral friends, but I do remember feeling that they were my true companions and fun to be with. The last time I saw them I was three or four years old. They were sitting on the polka dots of the wall paper in the kitchen. At that time my mother was not so delighted to hear about them and, so they ceased appearing to me. There are many books with accounts of life in the astral worlds. Among these are Raymond Moody’s accounts of other people’s near-death experiences and “Nosso Lar” by Fancisco Candido Xavier. There are many others. In the book “Lives between Lives” by Michael Newton, the author’s clients came to him for hypnosis and Newton was surprised to find them not only recounting stories of their past lives but their lives in the astral realm. For some people the aid of hypnosis is not necessary. Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), scientist, mystic and founder of the Swedenborg Church had among other mystical experiences, those of playing with astral children when he was very little. Of course, there are many other people who have had such experiences, however the most eloquent account of the astral realms I have come across is from Swami Yogananda’s autobiography:

“Just as many physical suns and stars roam in space, so there are also countless astral solar and stellar systems. Their planets have astral suns and moons, more beautiful than the physical ones. The astral luminaries resemble the aurora borealis. . . The astral day and night are longer than those of earth.
“The astral world is infinitely beautiful, clean, pure, and orderly. There are no dead planets or barren lands. The terrestrial blemishes — weeds, bacteria, insects, snakes — are absent. Unlike the variable climates and seasons of the earth, the astral planets maintain the even temperature of an eternal spring, with occasional luminous white snow and rain of many-colored lights. Astral planets abound in opal lakes and bright seas and rainbow rivers.
Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship) (p. 472). Self-Realization Fellowship. Kindle Edition.