by Stephen Sakellarios
Writer and Producer of 'In Another Life: Reincarnation in America'
Very often when life provides you with two opposite alternatives, and you see people advocating one side over here, while other people are advocating the other side over there, neither choice seems quite satisfactory. Even in grief, where your only choice appears to be "Hobson's choice" (a 19th-century idiom meaning you only have the one choice), still, there are two sides tugging at you: hang on, or let go. Our every instinct says to hang on; but every friend, counselor, and self-help system tells us to "let go and move on."
If your relationship was a soul-mate relationship, however, neither works.
Why? Because, if you hang on, where is your beloved? In the ground? Kept alive in your memories (as some would think to reassure you, pouring acid on your wounds)? In a photograph album or family videos you can't bear to look at?
On the other hand, if you move on, you may be fooling yourself. You may try to replicate what you had with your soul-mate, and you may succeed to a degree, with someone you care for and who cares for you; or you may land yourself in a real mess, with someone who superficially seems like your soul-mate in one respect or another, but isn't in more crucial ways. My experience was the latter; I don't know how common it may be.
Is there a third choice? I believe there is, based on my own experience, though it took me a long time to find it. One hundred-seventy years, to be exact, and this is how it happened.
In this life, I had one romantic disaster after another. I was always looking for love at first sight, a soul mate. At times it was an even more articulate search - I wanted a soul mate from my past life. This, by the way, is a very good way to chase propsective partners away, if you should ever want to do so! I always knew, even as a child, that I had loved deeply, and was still grieving. That's right, I came into this life grieving, and I knew it, in some vague way. But I never had any inkling that it was possible to find her, until I began researching my own reincarnation case a few years ago. When my volunteer researcher sent me a letter written by my first wife in that lifetime to my past-life sister, and I began reading it, I suddenly felt like crying. I couldn't, really - the feelings were too old, and too well-blocked. But I could feel it down deep somewhere.
Then, a few days later, listening to a rendering of Hafiz's poetry by musician Jamie Newell, the dam broke, all my grief came pouring out, and I began sobbing for her. All the grief I felt as a child, finally made it to the surface and spilled out uncontrollably!
Now, this is why I'm convinced it doesn't work for soul-mates, in particular, to "move on." You can't move on. You can push it down, you can try to replace it, but it will follow you - into the next body, and the next, and the next. Because this kind of love goes beyond bodies. It was not about the body when your beloved died; it will not be about your body when you die, or when you are reborn. It is about something deeper and stronger and older than any number of bodies.
About 12 years earlier, I had brought a reincarnation subject for a psychic reading, and the psychic had made a strong "hit" right at the start of the reading, on videotape no less. I felt, accordingly, that she had been proven genuine, and I decided to ask for her help in communicating with Abby. As the telephone reading began, she told me that Abby was flooding her with images a full hour before the session was to start, she was that eager to talk to me! She said that I had loved her dearly, and that I could not understand how deeply she loved me. You see, 170 years was nothing. I have been in probably three bodies since the one I knew her in; all that time had passed - and nothing had changed. Our love was the same as ever.
So, what happened was that we learned to communicate, we learned just how much of a relationship we could have in these unusual circumstances, and I started writing about it in my blog. About two years into the relationship, I learned how to channel, and Abby began writing her own blog - quite different from my writing (better, really, I would say). And we decided I should write about how the whole thing came about.
We realized that we had to do more than just enjoy our relationship and share it with a handful of people (some of whom were in the same kind of cross-dimensional relationship, themselves). I felt I had to try to prevent what had happened to me, from happening to anyone else in a soul-mate relationship. It appears that Abby and I had promised to stay together even if one of us died. When she died after only five years of marriage, and began appearing to me (according to the psychic), I couldn't believe it was real. I thought I was hallucinating, going mad. The people I turned to for advice pushed me in the direction of "moving on," just as they might, today. I took all my will power and bent it toward that end, and I am given to understand that this was a crushing blow to Abby, who was trying to reach me. Whenever I tune into her about that, I can hardly express the pain she conveys to me about this incident. Imagine someone you love turning their back on you so completely as to believe you don't exist. We can't imagine the pain of that. The only thing I can think of that's similar, is when a child does something a parent can't accept, and the parent disowns him or her. When we are allowed to be talked into accepting that our beloved no-longer exists, and we "move on" in that sense, we are unintentionally doing much the same thing to our partner.
So, I did this in 1841; and it took me 170 years of bitter experimentation to finally come back to the point of being ready for that meeting, through the psychic. No-wonder Abby was eager!
Who is speaking out for this option of continuing a soul-mate relationship beyond death? There is a handful of authors out there advocating it, or at least describing it. With an exhaustive search, I was able to find two accounts of people whose partner died, and who then continued the relationship cross-dimensionally for about a year. After that year, both authors report that they did, in fact, move on. In one case the person who had died was preparing to reincarnate. This was a troubled marriage, and much of the communication during that year had to do with making amends. In the second example, the remaining partner felt he wanted a new physical relationship and was able to let go. I am wary of making pronouncements as to what relationships are, or are not, "soul mate" relationships. I simply don't know. I can only go by my own experience--that all my life I've been unconsciously looking for Abby, even falling most deeply in love with girls who turned out to have looked like her. I was, simply, trying to replicate what I had with her, but there was no substitution possible. Other people may experience it differently. I only want people to know, it's possible.
In my search to find literature describing similar relationships, I also found that the 28th governor of Pennsylvania, Gifford Pinchot, had continued a relationship with his fiance, Laura Houghteling, for some 15 years after she passed - and then finally remarried. Why he decided to remarry after all that time, I don't know. I also found a few other more fantastical examples, like Dorothy Eady (Om Seti) with an ancient Egyptian Pharoah, or mythological tales of Celtic kings marrying goddesses. There were a few brief, untraceable references in online forums, and quite a few widows and widowers who reported sensing their loved one's presence, or receiving signs and practical assistance.
But I wasn't content with sensed presence and signs. I wanted to see just how full a relationship was possible, with a little old-fashioned American ingenuity. And, while the story is told in full in our book, and described as well in Abby's blog from her perspective, I will say that the answer is, "a far fuller relationship than you'd ever think possible." Once you learn to communicate, even just "yes" or "no" like the Fox sisters, the door is wide open. Now, two years later, I can channel; we can share music, and books, and movies, and nature; she can teach me piano; we can take photographs together; she can advise me on practical matters. I can learn about what it's like where she lives, at least to some extent, and what her life is like there. She can help me remember incidents from our past life (and lives) together. And much more.
The irony has struck me that, technically speaking, my situation is the same as any couple separated by the "Great Divide" - and yet, I am experiencing the thrill of reunion, while they are experiencing soul-crushing grief. What's the difference? How can I take exactly the same circumstance they are in, and make of it a celebration? The beginning, instead of the end?
Admittedly, it wouldn't be so easy if I'd spent years relating to Abby in her physical body, and then lost that body, and found myself in this situation. One cannot shake that illusion that one's partner was his or her body, right away. It's much easier for me, being 170 years and several bodies removed from that, and even so, I'll tell you, once I started remembering her, I still found myself missing her physical presence. She had the most beautiful ivory skin, and the biggest eyes. She was an ethereal, magical beauty, and frankly, I miss holding her close and looking into her eyes. But that feeling is repeatedly swept away in the joy of finding her again. If I cannot have her body, I can have her mind, her heart, her sense of humor, her psychic presence - all the things that were abiding, and hence, all the things that were real. I can have what made her her. And so I rejoice! There is no joy like 170-year-old grief turned upside down, let me tell you! Body, schmody.
Love does not die, if it is real, and from my own experience, I believe that relationships also do not die, if they were real. Think of this before you give the remaining half of a soul-mate couple your well-intended advice to "move on." Perhaps it's not the best advice for that particular couple, after all.
Addendum, July 13, 2016
Since writing this article, I learned that in 1852, Mathew appears to have sent in to the paper, along with his own humorous sketch, an excerpt from a book published in 1848, entitled "The Night Side of Nature." This portion, on page 292, describes several people, including a minister with impeccable credentials, who continued their relationship with their spouse after the spouse's death. I then discovered ample evidence that Mathew, himself, attempted to continue his relationship with Abby at least for a couple of years, around 1850-52, and even wrote two channeled letters to the editor. However, it appears he succumbed to one or more relationships with young women who reminded him especially of Abby, but who rejected him after a month or so when he proposed. Mathew may have felt he had betrayed Abby and so didn't continue. Or, he may have tried, being unable to consistently sustain his faith in it; or as a relatively young man, he may have finally decided he wasn't capable of remaining celibate. In general, he seems to have bounced from deeply sensitive faith, to stoic cynicism, and after a failed relationship, he would fall into the cynical phase. In 1858 he remarried on a practical basis while in one of these cynical phases, anecdotes from which can be found in a series of tales entitled "Blifkins, the Martyr" written by humorist B.P. Shillaber. As of 1873, it appears that Mathew was rueing this marriage, and was still trying to communicate with Abby, psychically. Stephen Sakellarios is the producer of reincarnation documentary "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America." [As of the publication of this article he was contracting] with the Meher Spiritual Center and the Sheriar Foundation for restoration video editing. He did the videography, writing, editing and narration for the video that introduces new visitors to the Center, and also edited the film, "Mehera: Meher Baba's Beloved" for Meher Prasad. He has written two ebooks, just recently released: "Matthew Franklin Whittier in his own words," a scholarly attempt to prove his own reincarnation case as the younger brother of Romantic poet John Greenleaf Whittier; and "Loving Abby in Truth and Spirit," the story of how he reconnected with Abby Poyen Whittier, Matthew's first wife, and then re-established their relationship across the "Great Divide" after 170 years. Stephen has a master's degree in counseling, has studied reincarnation for 38 years, and has maintained the "In Another Life" website, one of the most extensive on the topic of reincarnation in the world, since its inception in 1998.
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