Reincarnation? Reality or Not?
I have remained undecided, on a "rational" level, as to whether "reincarnation" is a reality of our human existence, or not, for many years. However, I have leaned more towards wanting to believe in it's reality, (although I can't claim to have experienced anything definite, which would convince me, absolutely, that it is real), mainly because I have been haunted, since childhood, with "dreams" of being another person, in fact several other people, in other places and times.
When I say "dreams", I do not mean the dreams that you have when you fall asleep, these "dreams" of mine, have been more like "waking dreams", a bit like "fantasies" and for years, I have tried to pass them off, as just that, though something in me has always known better, on some intuitive level. I can first recall having these "dreams" around the age of 9. They were something I first began to entertain myself with, usually around bedtime, after my mother had put me to bed, but I was not quite ready to go to sleep yet; my mind would begin to fill with these very involved "fantasies" which contained specific characters, sometimes male, sometimes female, and which were generally always set in faraway, exotic places, and which continued on, each night, from where they had left off, like a long, never ending "sequel".
Even at that age, I deduced logically, that these were just some form of "fantasy world" I had created for myself, for whatever reasons, and accepted it as that, to begin with. I was experiencing some traumas in my childhood that would have justified some need to escape into fantasy, as a release from the pains and disappointments of my real life, however, I began to notice some strange characteristics, about these "fantasies" of mine, which even as a child, I could not quite explain, or pass off, as merely the result of an over-active imagination.
Granted, sometimes the content of my fantasies was fuelled by stimuli I encountered in my daily life, things seen on TV or read about in books, but as time wore on, I began to realize some things about these dreams, which made them seem more significant, than just simple childhood daydreaming. I had an extreme emotional attachment to the characters in these "scenes" playing out in my mind - I truly felt their pains and joys, their sorrows and struggles, on a deep emotional level, I truly envisioned myself, on a very deep level, as actually being these people, and as an adult, who is now 44 years old, I still feel that deep emotional connection to these various characters, as if I am, or was, actually them. I carry with me, on mental, spiritual, and emotional levels, even to this day, the lessons learned in these "other lives", these things are as real to me, as if I had actually lived through them, in this life. I can't explain it, on any rational level, but deep inside the recesses of my psyche, I just know it, and the older I have gotten, the more I have just come to accept, that these "people", whoever they were, are part of me, are me, on some level.
Still, since I cant say I've had any very intense and definite "remembrance" of some scene from a "past life", I still do not claim to believe in reincarnation, 100%, since I feel to truly "believe" in reincarnation, is more a matter of knowing, than of "faith". And you only know, when you have that definite remembrance. And to this day, I can't really say that I've had that.
One of the interesting aspects of these "fantasies", was that, included in them, was often an assumption, by the characters, that reincarnation was in fact a reality, and something they totally expected to experience! This may not seem so remarkable, on the surface, but what is remarkable to me, in hindsight, is that as a child of 9 years old, (who was being raised by a highly unimaginative single mother, who was not in the least bit spiritual or esoteric in nature, but who was in fact entirely pragmatic and materialistic, to the extreme, and who was barely even able to instil a belief in God, in me, having little belief in anything of a spiritual nature, herself), and also living in the late 60's, where discussions of such concepts were not common in conservative society, I had had NO EXPOSURE TO THIS CONCEPT OF REINCARNATION! I remember, to this day, the excitement I felt, when finally, I did hear someone, somewhere, actually talk about the possibility of reincarnation, I became quite agitated and excited, because, of course, I had been "dreaming" about this very thing, for some time! I often thought, myself, that perhaps I was " going crazy", going over the edge, for daring to dream of such unheard of things, and to hear someone else validate this possibility, to know that there was someone else out there, who believed in such things, this was just such a great thing, in my life, because I'd been seeing it in my dreams, for such a long time! (though I myself only believed it, in my dreams, and had no reason to believe in it, as far as real life experiences were concerned, and wasn't really sure what I believed, as the person I actually am, the person separate from my dream identities) Of course, I could talk to no one about these feelings, I had to suppress them, because no one in my family or circle of friends could have understood my excitement over such a thing. Sometimes I felt "ashamed" of my increasingly fertile "dream life", which sometimes (even often) contained sexual content, and which I realized, I was becoming more and more immersed in, emotionally, as if it were real. I knew this wasn't right somehow, it didn't make sense, but I couldn't seem to stop it. I became increasingly frightened that friends or family members would find out about this "alternative reality" I was often living in, in my mind. I was sure someone would have me committed, if they ever knew, if they ever found out, so I kept it a secret, all of my life.
I truly even became concerned about my own sanity, but the allure of these dreams was too much to resist, I returned to them again and again. They seemed to satisfy something in me, that nothing else in life could. I got to a point where I just didn't feel "balanced", unless I had this "dream time", each day. (or night, whenever I could find time, and nights did seem to be the best time to just let the mind wander to wherever it wanted to) As the dreams persisted, I became obsessed with certain things. For a time (after reading Black Beauty), I became completely obsessed with the very clear vision of a black horse.
My mother tried repeatedly to buy toy horses which embodied the vision of this black horse, which had become emblazoned in my mind, but each toy she brought was "not quite right", it had to be exactly the same, and if it wasn't, I became extremely agitated, and often flew into temper tantrums. I was trying to make this "vision" real, somehow, and I couldn't find anything in the world that could make it real for me. I'm sure my mother must have begun to wonder what was wrong with me, why I was so fixated on this horse. She had first mistakenly assumed that all I had wanted was a toy horse, after being inspired by reading a book about horses, but it became clear after awhile, that there was something more obsessive in the way I craved this very kind of horse. Eager to please, and to stop my ranting, she eventually purchased a cast iron statue, which wasn't actually a toy, but was black and in a rearing, wild stallion posture, which seemed to at least partially embody what I was looking for, in some way.
Once I had possession of this physical embodiment of my vision, I finally felt at peace, and was able to let go of this vision. I never obsessed about it again, after that. (though I do sometimes still see this horse in my dreams) Around that same time period, I also became obsessed with pirates, (perhaps after watching a TV movie or some such thing), and I developed an obsession with pirates, which was a bit strange, for a girl, but it all seemed perfectly natural, to me.
I scoured libraries, reading every book for my age group, which had to do with pirates, and the many masted great ships, which they had once piloted. I became obsessed with the images of these ships, just as I had, with the horse, craving the sight of them, scouring through books looking for pictures of them. It was as if I was searching for something, for confirmation of the story, in fact, that was playing out in my dreams, as if I was seeking a way to prove that this story was real, and I often did understand, that that is exactly what I was doing, though I never did find those familiar characters, in any book, and was very frustrated by the fact. One consistent theme in my dreams, was of being in ancient Middle Eastern areas. (and I learned much later, that the first classic "pirates" were, in fact, from Middle Eastern areas.
I had no idea of any such connection, as a young child, in fact, I just came across this knowledge, recently) The first time I saw a movie on TV, of Arabs riding across the desert, with their turbans and robes, sabers drawn, my heart was immediately in my throat, I was filled with an excitement and admiration for these men, which I could hardly contain, but it was not as if their images were new to me, I had been dreaming of them, for some time. As I said, I was quite emotionally involved with the characters in these dreams, as if it were I, myself, living through their experiences, and what started out as a fairly innocent seeming "nighttime pastime", began to become an integral part of who I was. If a character in my "dreams" of the night before, was sad, or in pain, or in trouble, in some way, I carried that pain and sorrow into my daily life, often feeling extremely depressed, for days, over some event which had only really happened, in my "imagination". (and in fact, these "people" who have become constant companions of my subconscious self, since I have carried them with me, so many years, were having quite a number of problems, I saw several die at young ages, there were many problems with tumultuous love affairs , problems with enemies pursuing them, wars being fought, kingdoms being lost and won, etc, etc..)
I began to actually begin to have some fairly severe problems with depression, which had little or nothing to do with my actual real life, and everything to do with what I was seeing and feeling in these "fantasies". As a result of depression and increasing unexplainable feelings of unhappiness, I began to have more and more problems in my real life, began to turn to drugs and alcohol, and acting out, at a very young age, in an attempt to escape this elusive pain. Although I had mainly been a quiet and well behaved child, up until about the age of 13, an only child, and generally more mature than other children my age, as a result, by 14, I had dropped out of school, run away from home, and started a new life with my vagabond father, who allowed me to smoke and drink and do drugs to my heart's content, which resulted in living on the streets for 3 years, while traveling across the country, but I was happy in this kind of life, somehow, I felt a sense of freedom I had longed for, for many years, a felt a need to live like a "gypsy" I felt I was able to break out of the mundane existence of my former "normal life" and perhaps have a chance to live out some of the things I had dreamed of, or at least try to. As always, I felt compelled to make my dreams real, in some way, and this was a golden opportunity for me to break out of the mould of the average modern existence, to do something different, radical, to live more like someone from the past would have lived.
I delighted in the new trend which had young men growing their hair long, this seemed so natural to me, and so much more attractive. As the 60's progressed into the 70's, I became part of the "hippy movement", and this, too, was very comfortable to me, a chance to defy the norms of dress and habit, to do things closer to how some would have done them, in other centuries, not having to conform to that modern mould. For a time, I was ecstatic. We gravitated to wooded areas, where we camped out and lived close to nature, and I adapted to all this, like a fish to water.
I did eventually have to come back to the "real world", though, had 4 children, was married, separated, had a few more relationships, settled down to some degree, became an adult, but always seemed to be living outside the mainstream, a not quite "normal" life, (because a "normal life" was the last thing in the world, that I wanted) and my strange "dreams" continued, through all of this. Long past the age of childhood fancy and fantasy, my dreams which began in childhood, continued to unfold, the sagas of familiar characters in ever more familiar places, continuing on through adulthood.
Often, even during the course of the day, I would be acting out these scenes in my mind. It sometimes seemed to me, as if I was in two places, at once; my eyes seeing the world around me, going through the motions of daily life, doing the things required to maintain that life, but my mind actually somewhere else, living out some other moment, in another time, and another place. Increasingly, my dreams cantered around ancient Middle Eastern lands and times, until they have become almost exclusively in that setting, so much so, that I feel a complete familiarity and comfort with that setting, which I now simply accept as somehow being part of me.
Certain characters solidified, and became constant companions, and still are to this day. I often still ask myself, is it only "escapism", or some form of delusional fantasy life? On a rational level, I cant really be sure, but my inner, emotional self has now become so accepting of this "alternate reality" of mine, that it no longer questions, no longer doubts, in some way, I am "cantered", when I am in these dreams, I am more in tune with myself and my feelings, and the idea that these "visions" of "another life" are real and must be related to some kind of past life remembrance, becomes more and more compelling to me, though it doesn't seem to be the standard type of "remembrance", that I often read about, in various books and magazines. I find myself often hoping, that I could have that kind of intense, undeniable, remembering, but it hasn't happened, so far.
One thing I have come to understand about myself, is that some part of me is not very happy in this life, because it is longing to be in that "other life" which seemed to be much better, in some ways, more fulfilling, even though the pain of that "life" was more intense, the happiness, it seems, was, also, and there is a feeling that I have left behind people and places and things that I cared deeply for, and just cannot get over the loss of. So I do still suffer from some fairly deep depression, at times, caused by a longing for something I cant even quite define. As my life progresses, and I get older, I feel I am getting farther and farther away from that "other life", I am losing my grip on it, memories fading, as this life progresses, and I become more engrossed in it, and I feel very sad about that. I feel a keen need to return to that life, that "other me", wherever, or whenever it may be. To really, truly, remember, and know what it is all about, as if I can't complete my "mission" in life, until I do.
But there is even more to it than that. In these "dreams" or "visions", (as I have begun to call them, because I have come to know that these dreams of mine are often near to prophetic, as well as being entertaining) I often see things, and find that I know things, which I have no way of knowing about, which I consistently find out later, are or were actual realities. One example: I once had a "vision" of strolling leisurely amongst the Great Pyramids, on a sunny day, at a time when those pyramids were new, they were all white and gleaming, and I was feeling very happy, as if my life was very blessed, proud to be a part of the culture and society I was living in, knowing, without a doubt, that it was the most advanced culture on earth, and feeling quite proud of that, but the rational part of me, was puzzled by the fact, that in this beautiful "vision" the landscape seemed to contain much greenery, many tropical plants were everywhere, and my "real" knowledge of that area, was that it was, and always had been, a desert land. Shouldn't I have been seeing a stark, harsh climate, with little relief from the heat and sand? I had no explanation for it, but from years of experience, had come to accept that the things I "saw" in my "dreams" often proved to be true. Sure enough, a short time after having this "vision", I saw a television program, in which a renowned archaeologist made a startling discovery.
He found "water rings" around the Sphinx, which were uncovered when its submerged parts were unburied from the sand of centuries, and was at that time introducing his theory (which is now pretty much accepted by most archaeologists), that this area had once been tropical! I suppressed, as usual, my "irrational excitement", upon hearing this, as it confirmed the "vision" I had recently had, of how that area had once looked. There have been hundreds of small incidences like this one, over the years. I have known, for some time, due to my dreams, that ancient Egyptian society was far more advanced, than we in the so called "modern world" give it credit for, and it seems that each day, a new discovery is made, which lends credence to this idea, which is an idea I came across, through a completely irrational source.
I have read in some books, that clues to our past lives, can often be found in the small things we are drawn to, certain types of art, food, architecture, styles of clothing, music, etc.., and I have found this is how it has been, for me. I am now fairly sure, that if this past life thing is real, I was most definitely in Middle Eastern areas, for probably at least a few lifetimes, because of the way I am strongly drawn to Middle Eastern everything. (I feel my spirit may have come back to this land, again and again, because it did find so much fulfilment there) If there is ever anything about the ancient pyramids on TV, I am right there, and it has also proved to be extremely upsetting to me, since our country has decided to be involved in wars with Iraq, so much so, that I have taken up the political cause of fighting against the war with Iraq, not so much because of any political affiliation or belief, but because of my irrational emotional attachment to that area. I feel as if it is my old homes, my old stomping grounds, "my people" they are dropping bombs on, even though I have no reason to feel such a thing, there is nothing in my life today to explain such a feeling. I feel a great yearning to resolve these unexplainable feelings and dreams and "visions" of mine, but I have never really had the resources to pursue actual regression therapy, which I think maybe could help me with some of the depression issues I do still have today. I feel a great sense of sadness, a very deep sadness, that I really have no explanation for, and a feeling of isolation, as if I don't quite "belong" to the world I am in now.
These kinds of feelings, left unresolved, don't generally lead to a well balanced and happy life. I am hoping that maybe someday this option will be offered to me, (perhaps with the usual costs being waived, since it is so completely out of my grasp, to pursue this with my own resources?) because something in me does feel that it is so important, somehow, a feeling as if I am not able to fulfil my life's destiny, until it is done, but my own resources just aren't letting me get there. It is highly frustrating.
Perhaps as part of a research project of some kind, I might be offered this? Could there be such resources around? I don't know. I do know it will be a shame, to go to my grave, never really knowing, or understanding why I have had these experiences, which have had such a dramatic effect on my life, and who I am, today.