Continuity... I'm wondering whether, and how, to write about this, to a mixed audience. Everyone has far more emotional and intuitive continuity with their past lives, than they ever suspect. Make a list of all the things you say "I've always" about--"I've always liked my coffee hot"; "I've always loved to travel"; "I've always loved sharp cheese"; "I've always hated to swim in cold water." Probably everything on that list is a proclivity from a past life. It goes even deeper than that, to more serious issues, but I won't write an essay on it here. This isn't new--you will find similar explanations in the writings of other reincarnation educators and advocates.
But just how conscious can one make this continuity, with an identified past lifetime? I have researched my 19th-century life as author Mathew Franklin Whittier for seven years, now. I know a great deal about this obscure person; enough to give me at least the illusion of remembering that lifetime. Actually, I remember that life 100% emotionally. I can accurately tell you what Mathew felt about everything in his life. However, most of my cognitive knowledge is second-hand--through his letters, his published works, and what I've been able to logically deduce once all the information is in.
What some part of me would really like, is the whole banana. I would like to have full and complete cognitive and emotional continuity, from his life all the way through mine (now at age 62). It probably wouldn't be healthy or advisable. But let's be honest, I find that I do want that.
Still, what I have in that regard is more than a scholar gains, for example, by his life-long study of an historical figure. It would be hard to explain the difference. First of all, as I went through all the available facts about Mathew Franklin Whittier in the historical record, I found that much of it was in error. I just ran across one the other day, searching on a variation of his name on Google. Someone, speaking in retrospect, said that Mathew used to publish primarily in "Vanity Fair," and his work was reprinted across the country in the early 1850's. No, he only published in "Vanity Fair" in 1862/63.
That's a little error, but there are dozens and dozens of errors. Mathew was very secretive, so it's not too surprising that there are mistakes in his record. Still, it suggests to me that what the average scholar of any famous historical figure thinks he knows, is actually full of misinformation. When it came to Mathew, the two historians I found who did write about him turned out to be wrong on a slew of points. I, on the other hand, could sort the mistakes from the truth because I could remember his life, viscerally. I can't explain, but I can give another obvious example. In the historical record, the error has replicated itself that Mathew remarried a couple of weeks before his first wife and child had died. It's a simple matter of a mistaken date--1841, instead of 1842. But it is an insidious error, because it suggests he was remarrying as his wife and child from his first marriage lay dying. And people have been given such a poor impression of Mathew--deliberately, in some cases--that they actually accept this date without questioning, regardless of the implications.
Well, immediately I knew that was wrong. I knew that his first wife was the love of his life. I also knew, in my gut, that he had been tricked by family--guilted, if you will--into remarrying someone they had arranged for him. How did they trick him? Well, by this time I have pretty-much proven it was an arranged marriage, as I had immediately felt. But I cannot prove my best guess about how they tricked him. It is unlikely to show up anywhere--but I think they lied to him, that a medium had said his first wife wanted him to remarry. That is the only reason I can see he would have capitulated. They rationalized they were telling a little fib for his own good. And that second marriage was a disaster. They picked the second wife as someone who would keep him in line; because that is how they perceived him, as the black sheep of the family who needed guidance and a firm hand. They never liked his first wife, who understood he was a maverick genius, and who supported him in it.
This scenario is logically consistent with the facts, so when I say I can't prove it, I mean, I don't have a specific mention in correspondence anywhere--the publicly-available correspondence having been carefully culled for anything embarrassing. Still, many of the things which I knew instinctively were gradually confirmed by all the evidence I was able to gather, over seven years, in bits and pieces of clues. You won't get this inside story from a single "smoking gun"--you will get it from the whole, once you understand how it all fits together.
But I digress...how to explain the sensation of continuity? I was just watching a comedy routine by online social commentator, Lee Camp. I think he's brilliant, a real genius in his line. Mathew was also a genius in this field (that I can prove, despite the lukewarm reception he is given by the few historians who mention him). So I am appreciating Camp, intuitively and emotionally, as a colleague, being myself retired. To be honest, I also feel a certain competitive urge--it is like one of the tennis greats from 20 years ago, who is working today as a sports broadcaster, watching Wimbledon. There is appreciation--there is the understanding of an insider. And there may even be that little lurking envy--"Is he better than I was? In my prime, could I have beaten him?" It's like that.
While I have retired from the social commentary arena, I have not retired from the fight for spirituality, and against Materialism. As Mathew, I publicly promoted Spiritualism, and in that day, I fought, not so much against Materialism, as fundamentalist religion. Materialism and scientific reductionism were yet looming on the horizon at that time, with their main proponents. The immediate threats were fundamentalist religion, on the one hand, which discouraged people from getting involved with witchcraft and evil spirits; and then Unitarianism, on the other hand, which sought to strip religion of everything superstitious and otherworldly. The Spiritualists were warning them both of the coming threat of Materialism--if they denied the significance of spirit contact, on the one hand, or stripped religion of all the miracles and spiritual phenomena, on the other, when Materialism came, they would be defenseless against it.
They were right. Materialistic science (which is not the only way science can be interpreted) defeated religion, as a model of reality. In a very real sense, it has supplanted Christianity as the new state religion, even though it is hardly adequate as a world view.
So I picked up the work where I had left it, and still I continue trying to educate the public; except, my primary foe, now, is Materialism, itself. Religion, I mostly leave alone, though I see some people are reading my response to a Billy Graham column about reincarnation.
I find that my mind is precisely the same as it was when I was Mathew, though his personality was specific to that incarnation and its life-experiences. My personality is not identical with his--it is, rather, his personality progressed. I can, however, reach back into my past-life talents quite easily, now. I have the fire-power of two lifetimes at my disposal. I also have my soul-mate of many lifetimes as my help-mate in this life, because Abby is with me, in spirit. I have, intuitively, the knowledge-base that Mathew painstakingly acquired via a lifetime of study; but I also have the knowledge-base acquired in this lifetime, by studying the teachings of saints and God-Realized spiritual masters. As Mathew, I had the advantage of the mysticism (probably, Hermeticism) taught to me by Abby, which then prepared me for the sources I studied in this life.
So there is quite a bit of continuity, there. I don't find it difficult to handle, or disorienting, at all. If I hadn't had the preparation I've had, however, I might. It could throw an unprepared person off his balance. For this reason, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to others, but I'm rather enjoying it.
When I first heard the song that opens this page, "Spirit Chaser," I had a powerful past-life vision. I am in a time before the white man--there is no such thing. I am seated on one side of the big fire, with the men, and the women are on the other side. This music is being chanted, first by the elder, and then the young men, and then the women, and then everyone together, as you hear on the album. Abby--the same soul, I don't know her name, then--is seated across the fire. I see her distinctly in the firelight--she is about 14 years old, quite beautiful, like a gazelle. I am probably around the same age. I am electrified--I can't take my eyes off her. She catches my glance--but she is not displeased.*
That's all. I have no more cognitive continuity with that lifetime. But my love for Abby extends, like a golden thread, through countless lifetimes. In 1836, in the late fall, when we were just married, I am walking hand-in-hand with her down a tree-lined street in the evening, the trees being bare. Houses are lit on either side, but no-one is out. We are talking philosophy--our minds are soaring together like two birds. We are like two people from the future, discussing things that society isn't ready for, yet. We are of one mind, and it is timeless. It is happening now.** This is a deeper kind of continuity. I can no more explain it, than I can the first kind. I do know that I had no idea that New England streets typically were lined with trees like that. I don't care whether that proves anything to you; it's a sign, to me, that it was a real memory.
Sigh. Some part of me is still there--we are always there. We never leave that space, because at that moment, we broke into eternity. We only lose it and find it again, waiting for us.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*When I was talking to Abby about this memory, she made one word pop into my mind: "Lakota." Someone subsequently told me the song does come from that culture, but I didn't know anything about it. It occurs to me, as I write this entry, that maybe this was an occasion when small clans got together in a larger gathering, and that this is why I was seeing the girl for the first time. I hadn't thought of that, before. It does seem, from my memory (which I can still see to some extent), that it was a fairly large gathering--maybe 50 or 100, or more? More than just a few families. Maybe that is why I didn't know her name--it's not that I don't remember it, it's that I actually didn't know it at the time of that memory glimpse.
**Once again, I was unable to find any mention of this memory in correspondence, but I was able to pinpoint roughly the time and the probable location within a few blocks, and to find early 1900's images of the streets. I also was able to confirm that both Abby and Mathew were highly intelligent, socially conscious, and conversant with mysticism; and in general that they were, as both of the psychics I used stated, ahead of their time. The image I've used, above, may be the actual street--Silver Street, in Dover, NH--on which this memory took place some 70 years earlier.
Music opening this page: "Spirit Chaser,
by The Native Tribes United, from the album, "American Indian Chant"