We appear in this body, in this set of circumstances only once. This life is unique. The aggregates composing what we call the jiva or soul bounces from life to life, yet our personality structure and what we face right now, happens in its own unique moment in time.
When I look at my past lives, millions of them streak by; it’s like looking through a kaleidoscope that’s being turned quickly through different patterns, making me dizzy. If I concentrate, I see the images clearly of one life, of another life, and yet another one.
From these images arises an awareness of that time, and these experiences offer valuable lessons about the nature of life.
Scrubbing the floor of the monastery run by Saint Clare, a close friend of Saint Francis…I feel the love they each had for Christ and for God. I feel the whispers of unspoken accusations that Francis and Clare were more than friends, revealing even in the most sacred of places doubts can poison the mind.
As Queen of a small forest tribe, I live surrounded by enemies. Although my people follow my lead while I attempt to negotiate peace and then fight bravely when peace fails, our community is destroyed. Even with great power, it is not possible to control other people and circumstances.
In the city as a small child, I leave the Baptist Church to wait for my friend on the steps leading up to her apartment while she walks home from the Catholic Church. At 6 years old I’m too young to know about the mafia war when I am caught in the crossfire. As I die, I know innocence does not protect us from death.
While these past lives and the others I’ve felt are fascinating stories, the times and places I’ve visited and the people I have been do not really matter in the larger scheme of things. What matters is the awareness and knowledge retrieved from a past life. The only thing we take with us from life to life is awareness. We don’t need to pinpoint a previous life to help us understand the tendencies and biases that permeate our minds. It’s enough to be mindful as the habitual thoughts arise and examine them in terms of is this something I want to continue to carry with me in this one life?
If visions of your past arise, from this life or other lives, don’t be alarmed or intoxicated by them. See them for what they are: transient experiences passing through the mind. Watch and learn what you can about your patterns, keeping only what is useful to further your journey towards Light.
One day, when it is your time and you have prepared your mind, you will let go of all it and realize there never was an individual Self; that all of this is simply the play and movement of Light…but that’s a discussion for another time.
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