Never mind that the mini-psychic reading I had a couple of days ago at a psychic fair, came with some frustrating interpersonal dynanmics. I do understand--when I went through my master's program in counseling, as a young man, I had that urge to "interpret" to clients, believing that I had their answers whether they could see it, or not. I knew the theory that you should let the realizations arise organically from the client's own expanding awareness; but the temptation was too great to force him or her into realizing what he or she was denying.
That's just poor counseling technique, and, perhaps, one is even more likely to run into it with a truncated session of 15 minutes. But there was one piece of past-life information that came through, and it brings up the possibility of confirming a multi-incarnational karmic pattern.
Now, I could go through scenarios from a number of my past lives--or rather, glimpses I have had, which I can't verify--and illustrate how karmic patterns work. But right now, I'm more interested in the possibility of a method for scientifically verifying karma.
The Stevensonians will tell you that they have found very little in their evidence to confirm the concept of karma. Actually, as I've opined before, I think this is, in part, because of they way they define karma. The word "karma" means "to do," i.e., "action," and by inference, the effects which are set in motion by action. That means, first and foremost, one would be looking for continuing tendencies. If water starts moving, you see a stream flowing in a particular direction. If you define karma that way, you do see evidence for it in the results obtained by Dr. Ian Stevenson and colleagues. A girl still loves her past-life husband; a boy still knows how to use a machine; another boy still doesn't like eating meat. That's karma.
But then there are the repercussions of actions, which the Eastern sages talk about. What we, in the West, are wont to think of as "punishment." This is what the Stevensonians say they are not seeing evidence for. But pioneering past-life therapist, Roger Woolger, did see evidence for it. Woolger, however, was going back many lifetimes; whereas the Stevensonian method typically only goes back to the most-recent previous life. Personally, I suspect this is the primary reason, because karmic repercussions may take a few lifetimes to kick in. The circumstances have to be right. If a tough trucker murders a sensitive poet, the tough trucker has to be a sensitive poet, in order to experience the flip-side. That may take a few incarnations, for him to gradually morph into that role. This is a theory, understand, which is why I couched it that way.
But let's look at a method which might be taken to study these things more rigorously. I'll use that portion of my own past-life glimpses to illustrate.
In the very first (effective) hypnotic past-life regression I ever had, I saw myself as a slave overseer in a very ancient, advanced civilization--perhaps on another planet. I stood on a platform or at a desk, and I supervised the slaves. There was a pneumatic tube used as a subway system, except that it was made of a sort of transparent bubble, like an organic material, which stretched or shrunk in size according to need. That was all--just that glimpse. (Note that some observers have seen what can be interpreted as transportation tubes on the surface of Mars--but I had never heard of this when I had the regression.)
I was also told, in a psychic reading many years ago, that I had been a Roman official, who "destroyed a number of towns." But that it was done in the name of duty and efficiency; in other words, that I did things "by the book," and there was some practical reason why this was thought to be necessary.
On the other hand, I have also extrapolated, and had intuitions of, a lifetime in which I was a Greek philosopher, captured by the Romans and made a slave to some sort of official. In that capacity, I knew a great deal more of the hidden workings of life than my "employer."
I suppose the Roman Empire existed long enough for both of these lifetimes to have existed within its reign.
There are other lifetimes I could plug in, here, but suffice it to say, it appears that I was a sage or priest of some kind in several past lives. There may have been one in the ancient Celtic world, perhaps around 400 A.D.; as Mathew Franklin Whittier, I seemed to be aware of one as a "high Jewish priest." Interestingly, in the same psychic reading wherein I was told about being a heartless Roman official, she opened the reading by asking if I was aware of any lives as a rabbi, because, she said, "You have rabbi all over you." This was many years before I learned of Mathew; but it was the same psychic whom I used to try to contact Mathew's soul-mate, Abby, in the astral realm. She provided a great many verified "hits" in that later reading (as well as in another reading with Jeff Keene, when I was investigating his case). So since I know she's accurate, if she said I had "rabbi all over me," this is probably correct.
Now we get to Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century. He is a fiercely dedicated Abolitionist, who risks his life to report on a private slave auction in New Orleans, under cover; and who, as it appears, works as a liaison for William Lloyd Garrison, as well as occasionally participating in the Underground Railroad. He is also deeply impressed by Hiram Powers' sculpture of the Greek Slave; and he is a life-long philosopher, whom nobody takes seriously in that capacity. When he teaches, he does so behind the curtains of anonymity, disguised story plots, and humor. In other words, he is working to free slaves, and he communicates the truth just as a slave would.
You see the patterns, and there are more of them, but the point is, that some of this comes with objective verification. It points the way to a truly scientific method which could be used to verify the existence of karma. Psychics can be tested and certified (as Dr. Gary Schwartz at the Univ. of Arizona has done); there are, I believe, ways to tighten up past-life regression to render its results more reliable. Just because these tools have been sloppily used in the past, doesn't mean they are useless. It means that most investigators haven't assessed them fairly, or used them carefully. Dr. Stevenson, himself, would occasionally resort to hypnosis (I have a personal letter from him mentioning it); only, I think he was so much under fire from critics, that he retreated to the most reliable method he could find. That, however, should not deter future investigators from going back and trying to fine-tune the other methods.
But to wrap this up with my example, this psychic I saw last Sunday said that, as a slave in ancient Egypt, I wasn't so much angry, as "sad" that nobody understood or appreciated my advanced knowledge. It's essentially the same scenario as I had seemingly remembered for ancient Rome; but without the back-story, that I had earlier been a slave overseer. Now, we have this added dimension, of me as a philosopher not being understood by the society I am, as it were, forced to live in, but in which I find myself, subjectively, a stranger. Mathew Franklin Whittier experienced this; and I experience it, today. The key difference is that while Mathew hid his light under a bushel, writing in code and under pseudonymns, today I have reconstructed his legacy (which, apparently, he himself attempted to suppress and destroy). And unlike Mathew, I am speaking (i.e., online) quite openly, if not brazenly. But because I am still a mis-match for the society I have found myself in, I am still not understood, or am misunderstood. And I am still not appreciated.
However, I am not a slave--at least, not any more than anybody else is, who has to put in x-number of hours per week to earn enough money for food and shelter. I am marginalized, and in relative poverty, because I refuse to sell out, or to go along with the Mutual Admiration Society and the status quo. So in that particular sense, I still experience the life of a slave, when given my accomplishments, I should at least be reasonably comfortable.
Finally, in my work in eldercare (which I am about to trade for working in a bread bakery), one of my clients appears to have been that same Roman official.* Once again, I was his valet. And once again, I was not in a position to reveal more than a fraction of who I am, and what I know. Today, as I write this, he lies on the brink of death; yesterday's shift was probably the last I will ever see him. I gently wiped his eyes, and moistened his lips, and sat near him repeating my Guru's name (i.e., silently invoking the Name of God). Perhaps that completes the karma, somehow, I don't know.
So I don't want to end this with another complaint. Probably many of the people I marginalized, controlled and suppressed, when I was a slave overseer, were far more advanced in their understanding than I was; and, presumably, those who were slavemasters over me, were very much as I had once been. Now I know what it feels like from both sides. But my primary intention this morning, is to suggest that, potentially, these things can be researched in a systematic, rigorous way. And that karma does co-exist with reincarnation, despite the fact that the Stevensonians say they haven't found evidence for it.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*One fascinating clue regarding this fellow possibly having been an official in ancient Rome, is that he is a very nice guy, but he has zero tolerance for violent criminals, whom he thinks should be punished to the max (i.e., violently) for their misdeeds.
Audio opening this page: "White Bird"
by It's a Beautiful Day, from the album, "It's a Beautiful Day"