I have suggested several research topics that my own self-study is highlighting, including what kind of scene from a past life can trigger past-life impressions in normal waking consciousness, and evidence that the higher mind remains virtually unchanged from one recent lifetime to another, despite the physical personality being, of necessity, at least somewhat different. Now comes a third topic: to what extent are we reliving our past lives, today? In other words, what scenes and situations reappear from the past, unknown to us?
We are now getting into the realm of fate and karma. Dr. Ian Stevenson weighed in on this subject, saying that (as I understand) he saw little evidence for karma, as taught in the East. But I'm seeing a great deal of evidence for it. One must think of it, not as lock-step retribution, but as carryovers from the past. The tendency, as Abby has indicated to me through thought-burst communication, can be expressed with the pithy conception, "Then, you wanted it; now, you don't want it." But the thing itself has simply reappeared, in a slightly different configuration, as one might expect. There is thus what my Guru called a "well-rounded" experience. Just as, reportedly, in the Life Review, the newly-crossed person will see their life from a different perspective, so too from one lifetime to another, do we re-experience the situations of the past from a different perspective.
The classic example which comes to mind, is that one might spend a lifetime married to a person who doesn't really love you as you imagine. That person is with you primarily for the situation; but during that lifetime, the situation never goes sour, so you never figure it out. Come another lifetime, and you are drawn together once again, by the force of habit, as it were; but this time, you can't sustain the conditions. The person, true to form, abandons you--but while you react emotionally as though it was the one you believed in, with all the weight of that lifetime of experience, you are faced with the stark reality that they couldn't have been as you believed. Here, the emotional self is fully awake; but the past-life amnesia barrier is also in full force, for cognitive memory. So you continue to react emotionally to the past-life partner as you once perceived them to be. Your emotions will not allow logic to sway them, because your subconscious mind is remembering the relationship as it was, and as you then took it to be. But the other person is, as said, simply behaving true-to-form.
Thus does truth eventually out; but it cannot always be faced, until past-life experience is consciously factored in.
Now, I am writing at the very beginning of my first full day in my new digs. I have rented a studio apartment in a converted attic, the third floor of an old Victorian house here in Portland, Maine. I have always loved old houses--and when one says "I have always loved" something, this is often a sign of a past-life fondness or proclivity. When I was a child, and visited my grandparents in rural Pennsylvania, I felt that their old house was almost magical--the same sense that one gets from C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" series, when the children arrive at the old house in the country, during WWII. But in Portland, these houses are everywhere, and each one is different. Out my front window, which faces the street, you can see several of them, and later this morning, I'll get a shot of them to place here.
A block or two away, is a house with a bay window that extends out from the house, hanging, as it were, over the air. I'll see if I can get a shot of that one, too.\
Before this, I was in a group situation, which was sort of semi-communal, with a strong leader and a list of house rules. By nature, I'm more of a hermit, and my new place is a huge relief. There are quirks in this place--the heater thermostat may not be working properly (I have to increase the temperature setting to get it to come on, and then it never seems to come on again, no matter how cold it gets in here); the bathroom sink has hot or cold running water (but not both); and there are no drawers in the kitchen. Clearly I'm going to have to get some more furniture. But overall it's delightful, and not only that, the neighbors are all, as near as I can see, good-hearted characters.
Now, when Mathew Franklin Whittier, myself in the 19th century, was a young man, he lived in Boston and New York. Later, when he was 37, he lived for some part of a year in Philadelphia. I don't know his living situation in Boston, but in New York, he took rooms in boarding houses; and then, he rented a "garret," i.e., an attic. In Philadelphia, he had a garret, as well.
When I present evidence like this, I suspect that the knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Yes, but you knew this beforehand." I did, indeed, but it couldn't have influenced my decisions. Why? Because I was desperate, and I took the first viable living situation to move here. By "viable," I mean that my criteria were that it be safe, and that I could afford it. So I ended up in a large house which was originally intended for recovering alcoholics, which happened to have a room available (I answered the ad for a "sober roommate"); and I looked for about three weeks before I finally found this attic studio apartment. So I most certainly did not attempt to replicate Mathew Franklin Whittier's history.
I have well over a thousand of Mathew's published works digitized, which means, his body of work as a whole is now searchable. I've searched on the word "garret," and come up with, oh, 20 pieces. Not all of them are autobiographical, but a few are, so that I can say with some certainty that he lived in an attic in New York in 1831, and again in Philadelphia in 1849. There is, of course, a certain ordinary logic to this--Mathew had trouble finding a place he could afford, and so took a "garret," and things haven't changed so very much. I'm not saying that this, by itself, is proof of anything. I'm illustrating a principle--if you are still mightily struggling with the "is it real or not" issue, you would have to read my entire book and see whether the preponderance of the evidence convinces you. I'm beyond that issue, so I don't try to prove that my case is genuine with each offering.
I'm going to pull a couple of representative quotes; keep in mind that Mathew embedded a great deal of his personal life, and his personal history, in his works, both fiction and non-fiction.
Finely I got into a comfortable doze, and the night-mare went off. I guess it was about 4 o'clock in the mornin when I was waked up by a sort of hammerin on top of the house--I sleep in the garret chamber--just like somebody tryin to brake in. (2/5/31, NY)
Now, doctor, supposing you to have become aware of the heinousness of your offence, and desirous of repairing your transgression, it requires but a slight stretch of the imagination to consider you descended from your lofty position and taking up your quarters in my little 7 by 9 garret, having appointed me, your humble admirer, a special amanuensis, as the bills say, "for this night only," to pour forth upon the world the antidote to the dreadful bane by which you were the means of poisoning so many humans. Therefore, reader, you will recollect it is not I, Peter Popkins, who speak, but the sage and world-renowned medical gentleman, who speaks through me, his humble secretary--"Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest." (5/12/49, Philadelphia)
Note the cartoonish double-P name, "Peter Popkins." This was a series very much in the spirit of Mathew's earlier one written under "Israel Icicle," which I have discussed recently.
My heater just came on by itself! Oh, the little things...
Today I have a huge number of loose ends to wrap up, and necessities of life to purchase. Once I get this place set up properly, it's going to be very homey. So while Mathew had a 9x7 "garret" (a disparaging term), my place, even though it is a studio, is much larger (and, apparently, warmer). I'm even told, by one of the long-time residents, that I'll have an unobstructed view of the fireworks on the 4th. My neighbors have lived in this complex for years--the one I'm replacing had been here for six years, as I recall being told, and a downstairs neighbor has lived here for 10. I'm told the reason is that everybody gets along, nobody bothers anyone else or gets in their business, and thus it's quite comfortable.
So I appear to be recapitulating Mathew's experience, but with a general improvement. I had to go through the group experience to get here (literally, because I couldn't have rented this place remotely, without a job); but I think it may have been less trying than Mathew's experiences with 19th century boarding houses. So there is karmic repetition; but the quality of the experience is improving, presumably as the karma itself is worn out.
There's at least one other factor, here, and that is intervention by one's astral guide, or astral helpers. Abby, Mathew's first wife and now my wife (as we have remarried across the Great Divide), may have had a hand in all this. She cannot cancel out my karma, but to the extent I am amenable to her guidance, I think she can channel, assist, and cause certain things either to come into my path, or not to come into it. Here's an interesting case, and this is admittedly only speculation. Sorry, this will take a minute to explain.
(I know everyone is an impatient reader, in this modern era.)
My apartment has a flight of stairs after I open the door. They are carpeted, the only carpeting in the place; and I am concerned that my cat may get the idea to scratch on them. Therefore, I need to find a way to prevent her from going down the stairs. I had the idea to buy a piece of Masonite, and have it custom-cut in such a way that I could slide it into place. But that night, another idea came to me--I had already bought a child's quilt, which should (as I thought) be just about the right size to cover the entrance to the stairs. I could fasten it with Velcro strips, so that it would be easy to open and pass through; and it should still deter the cat. In fact, the quilt is the right size (being about 2 inches wider on each side).
But we haven't come to the relevant portion, yet. While I was at the home improvement store buying the Velcro, I also bought three stick-on picture hangers. I have three large framed pieces of artwork, and it would be the easy way to hang them. I was aware that these kinds of hangers have a tendency to work well for awhile, and then suddenly let loose; but I decided to try them anyway, with the least valuable painting. I could reinforce it with a nail just in case; I could put some kind of padding below, in case it fell.
All the while, I didn't feel that Abby wanted it, and I was, as you see, wriggling my way out of taking her advice. But I can't figure out where I put the darned things! I'm going to have to buy the Velcro again; and when I do (or if I find the original purchase), I think I'll leave the stick-on hangers alone. The reason is that I have this nagging sense that if one of these things fell while I wasn't home, and the glass shattered, the cat could get into it and cut herself, bleeding to death before I could save her. Am I "awfulizing"? Or was it guidance? Did I subconsciously "forget" where I put them, because I, myself, am worried about it? Or did Abby somehow abscond with them, because I wasn't listening? Don't put this kind of thing past a person in the astral realm. Any medium worth his or her salt will tell you, that they can do such tricks. In seances, objects which suddenly materialize are called "apports." This would just be a variation.*
I don't know the answers to these questions. I'm just putting it out there, in the spirit of being a Guinea pig, so that the questions, themselves, are asked. It will take researchers with real funding, large sample sizes, open-minded peers and a receptive Society, in order to make more definitive progress on these things. There is so much work to be done, beyond the question, "Is it real"?
I am reminded of something I learned in my master's counseling program. You have, perhaps, seen Guido Sarduci's routine about the "Five-Minute University." Well, this is something I retained from that program, which should be included in the Five Minute University's counseling program. A social theorist named Irvin Yalom, as I recall, described the stages in the formation of any group. The first stage (again, as I recall), he labeled "In or Out." Then there were more stages, as the group began to coalesce. When people are stuck on the question, "Is this real or not," I think of Yalom's first stage, "In or Out." It is as if a group never gets past this first stage; for years together, they are still trying to decide who is to be admitted into the group, and who is not.
You can't get anywhere like that.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Turns out it was still in the car, behind the seat. Still, I don't have a good feeling about the picture hangers, so I don't think I'll use them for anything heavy or framed with glass.
Music opening this page: "Brilliant Room," by Eric Johnson
from the album, "Up Close"