I continue to proofread my past-life work, written as Mathew Franklin Whittier, from his younger years. Several times I have run across instances wherein Mathew either reviewed, or commented upon, a piece of artwork, where I can find the actual image, and view it while I read his comments; and I was reading one of these, recently. Mathew, as the acting editor of the New York "Constellation," in November of 1831, is reviewing an art book depicting scenes in New York City. He is particularly drawn to one of them, and describes it as follows:
The resent number comprises views of the Elysian Fields at Hoboken, the City Hotel, the Lunatic Asylum, and the Merchants' Room in the Exchange--all faithfully delineated and tastefully executed. The view of the Elysian Fields, is one of the most exquisite specimens of the art--to say nothing of its correctness as a picture--we have yet seen. There is the same charm shed over it, as belongs to the original. The eye dwells on the graceful alternation of light and shade, produced by the weeping-willow, the maple and the poplar--beneath them it sees groups of gay and happy persons enjoying the cool shade--in the distance, it discerns the long outline of the city, clear and distinct as of a cloudless day, yet so minute at first glance to be almost imperceptible--while between that and the point of view, it rests on the broad-rolling Hudson, bearing on its bosom the expanded sail of many a summer craft. This picture pleases us more than all--whether because it is better executed or because the original is connected in our mind with so many pleasing associations, we shall not here inquire; but we cannot dismiss it without extracting from the excellent graphic descriptions with which each number is accompanied, a few remarks touching this scene.
I didn't copy the text excerpt from the book, but it is possible to find the book, itself, in pdf format in Archive.org. One can also buy a reprinted facsimile of the book, which I did last year, but my copy is in a box somewhere in storage so we will use the online version. I've tuned it up a bit in Photoshop Elements:
In the original I think you can see the city skyline a little more clearly. Now, those of you who clamour (however honestly or dishonestly) for proof, I have thrown you all enough bones in the last few entries. Today we are entering into a subjective realm, which has its own value, given that I take great pains to report with strict honesty. It has been my observation, i.e., in observing my own perceptions, reactions and mental operations, that my higher mind has not changed at all since I was Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century. By that I mean, my mind works precisely in the same way. It takes the same turns, if you will. It reacts with the same sensibilities. The same sorts of responses occur to me. In short, when I read Mathew's written works, he expresses himself precisely as I would.
So I can read a passage like the above, and gaze at that etching which he is describing, and I know exactly what he feels. I react in just the same way, at the same depth. I spent many years as an amateur photographer, and I was a natural. I had a very strong "eye" from the very beginning. I've demonstrated that before, with an example from my second role of film, taken with an Instamatic I picked up from a yard sale, when I didn't know the first thing about photography. But Mathew, also, had the same "eye." Now, which prior lifetime we both got it from, I don't know. I sense lifetimes in Japan, and in the ancient Celtic world--both cultures which stressed nature mysticism. But unlike my 19th century incarnation, I have no evidence for them, other than these raw talents.
I don't know whether anyone else in the field of reincarnation studies is discovering this in the course of their own research. Typically, pioneers at far-flung corners of the earth will be found to uncover the same truths, during the same era. So my colleague probably is out there, somewhere. In any case, in the course of my own study, I have stumbled upon some principles having to do with which aspects of the mind change, and which remain the same. Also, I have found principles which have to do with what type of memories come through readily in normal waking consciousness, and which don't. And one of the principles I've discovered, at least to the extent that I am representative, is that the higher mind remains the same.
Now, my Guru, Meher Baba, said--as I recall--that what he calls the "mental body" remains essentially unchanged for several incarnations. So we already have this principle from his teachings. But what I'm doing is experimentally verifying his teachings, at least to some small degree. Meher Baba has some five chapters in his "Discourses" devoted to reincarnation. But this is not philosophy. This is Gnosis. And it can be verified through research. I have verified the existence of reincarnation, which he teaches; but I am also verifying some of the nuances, as well, including this observation about the higher mind, or mental body, persisting unchanged.
I didn't "drive it" from what my Guru had written. In fact, I had forgotten he had written that. I just had this subjective experience, over and over, while reading Mathew Franklin Whittier's works--"That's precisely the way I would have expressed it." Or, "That's precisely the type of humorous twist I would have given it."
I was about to give an example--but his writing is chock-full of examples.
Now, what's different is his personality. What I have seen called the "physical personality" cannot be the same, because he grew up on a farm in early 19th-century New England, while I grew up in Miami of the mid-20th century. He lived and worked in New England; I lived and worked in the South for most of my life. So he takes that same higher mind, and uses New England sensibilities, while I use Miami, Florida sensibilities--but we use them in precisely the same way. I can demonstrate this, and have done so in the Appendix of my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," by providing four examples of my own writing. One of them is an early entry of this journal, but the other three were done before I ever learned of Mathew. An objective (i.e., a truly objective) person can thus compare my writing with Mathew's. And I think you would see the deep parallels.
As I pioneer, sometimes I strain to go beyond this worn-out argument of whether reincarnation is a real phenomenon, or not. I'm very, very tired of it, especially when there are so many different aspects of this phenomenon to explore. How does the amnesia barrier work? What is actually coming through, even in normal waking consciousness? What is blocked out in the typical person (i.e., not one of Stevenson's exceptional children, but the rest of us)? If the "higher mind" functions essentially the same, what exactly is it? And if the personality is different, how different is it? In my case, it is not really very different--I would say about 15%. If Mathew and I met at a dinner, we would get along famously. I might not be quite as inclined to use sarcasm; I also am not in grief for our soulmate, because I have a deeper faith in the afterlife. I don't have the penchant for revenge that Mathew had; I don't have quite the chip on my shoulder (but also, I don't have quite his self-confidence). And there are other slight differences, representing ways that I've changed since then. The same would be true of your 60-year-old-self, and your 20-year-old-self, for example. But I would think all his favorite jokes hilarious; and he would enjoy mine, just as well. And we both love, above all, humorous stories drawn directly from real life.
My favorite joke? I guarantee Mathew would have loved this. The historians recently got permission to exhume Beethoven, to find out how he really died, there being some controversy about the matter. When they opened the casket, they found, with him, a manuscript of his last, unfinished symphony. But the strange thing was, it seemed that it had been partially erased, from the bottom up. Finally, the experts concluded that all this time, Beethoven had been decomposing.
Here's something of Mathew's I particularly enjoyed. But one has to have the context. A female writer who went by the name of Grace Greenwood--who, like Mathew, was an abolitionist and a deeply spiritual person--had been publicly criticized because she had a character using a bit of off-color language. From memory, as I recall it, a 14-year-old boy had commented on a mill pond which was without the customary dam, that it "wasn't worth a dam." So Mathew steps up to the plate to ridicule the critics, and support her, but he does it by reporting on the huge, wide dam at a place called Holyoak, Mass. First referring briefly to the controversy surrounding Ms. Greenwood, he says that the view at Holyoak is the "best dam scene in America." Keep in mind this is the middle of the 19th century. Mathew loved to push the envelope just as far as he could get away with it.
Well, while I discover principles which will probably lay the foundation for reincarnation research for the next hundred years, I can only afford a room in a house for $600/month, which I share with my elderly cat. In order to afford her medicines, I have to eat very, very cheaply. Fortunately I have no problem eating the same simple things over and over again. I don't know whether Mathew had this ability, or not, since he doesn't mention it. I love good food, and so did he, but I can keep it simple.
Mathew felt unappreciated, as well, and I know this because he commented on a monument to the man who had first developed the steam boat, in Europe. Mathew said something to the effect (from memory, I could look it up) that the fellow probably would have appreciated the money to buy a little food while he was still living, more than having a big monument in the middle of an island dedicated to him, after he died.
It's sort of like finding a friend who is so compatible, you finish each other's sentences--except this is the same effect on steroids. This was me. The way my mind works hasn't really changed, at all.
Usually a clever wrap-up effortlessly pops into my head. I don't seem to have one, today. Sometimes I really wish that somebody understood the level of work I'm doing, here, completely unfunded and without encouragement or any other support from my ostensible peers (no less the public). But that's the way it very often is. I'm telling you, Mathew wrote "A Christmas Carol" with his soul-mate, Abby; and after her death, he wrote "The Raven." These were stolen by Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe, respectively. I say that partly for shock value--but partly because the perception that I'm delusional simply isn't the correct interpretation. It's a plausible guess on the surface of things, but it just doesn't turn out to be right.
I once interviewed past-life research pioneer, Marge Rieder. Putting on my skeptic's hat, I asked her: "Did your subjects ever compare notes privately among themselves, so that their answers seemed more consistent than they really were?" (Or something to that effect.) She responded, "It just didn't happen." I believe Ms. Rieder's veracity. If she says it didn't happen, then, it didn't happen; which means, these people were remembering details about real past-life events, independently.
Well, I'm not delusional. It's just not what's going on, here. And my research very clearly points to Mathew Franklin Whittier's co-authorship, and authorship, respectively, of these two works.
If this is true, wouldn't you think my efforts would be worth a little funding and support?
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Awaken," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Up Close"