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Other Lifetimes: the Multidimensional Aspects of the Soul.


This is an exploration of other lifetimes here in this world and elsewhere in the universe, and of some of the perceptions and misperceptions that we believe surround the notion of "past lives".


Tarot Card - The Hanged One from the Ancestral Deck by US Games First, let it be understood that the opposite of life is not death, but more life. Life doesn't stop at the grave, but merely transitions into another form or dimension. You experience birth into that dimension just as you experienced birth into this world. If you go on the anecdotal descriptions of those who have had near death experiences, there is a long dark tunnel leading to the light, much like you experience passage down the dark tunnel of the birth canal preceding your birth and, often, one might add, emerging into the glaring lights of a hospital ward. In the movie "Shrek", Donkey tells Shrek: "Don't die, Shrek, and if you see any long tunnels, stay away from the light". Life is a continuous waking up to new dimensions and new experiences. There is ultimately no going to sleep or shutting down, but merely a different state of consciousness or awareness. Death is the transition or passage between such states, and not an end in itself. When a human being appears asleep or even catatonic in the physical world, his or her mind is active or awake in some other dimension of consciousness.

       The next and obvious point to all of this is that life does not start with physical birth. Therefore, the death of a child, or even a fetus for that matter, does not "cut short" life in any way. Such a life represents rather a brief window in this particular form or body. This is a very painful experience for those of us whose only window on life is through this physical existence. For the Soul, however, whose window is "everlasting life" or "eternity", then short or long sojourns in any existence make no difference. The soul enters into a particular existence for the experience, not based on time.

       This brings us to a third point: namely, that time does not exist as such outside of the physical universe. Therefore time itself is an illusion. The soul does not know of time, only of experience, even only of the intensity of experience. The fact that experiences in the physical world play out in time does not alter the nature of the experience, neither its intensity, nor its validity. So, the life of an old person or a young child, even of a fetus, carries with it the timeless intensity of the experience. That is its function and its purpose.

       Love underlies all forms and all things. There is no opposite to love other than in the judgment of the human mind, whose perception is limited to the experience of the physical world. If all you see is a part of the whole, and you keep judging the whole by this fragmented part, then you will perforce be basing your beliefs and your life on ignorance and illusion. Humans tend to do this by definition as part of the inheritance of physical experience. Not that they are not capable of much more. But the human mind, conditioned by physical experience and by the culture into which it was born, has trouble seeing outside of the box that forms that material existence. In other words, you don't know what you don't know, but you are still very convinced that you do know. Charque and I were once left this message by a friend on our answering machine: "the world is divided into people who think they are right". And then he, our caller, laughed and laughed and laughed. We laughed too. It is absurd the limits that people will go to in order toTHe Devil Card from the Universal Waite Tarot Deck by US GAmes justify being right.The Devil card in Tarot is all about being chained to a belief system: namely some belief about material existence that you carry, which holds you in chains, and then the moral, political and scientific codes that you believe are right and go about imposing on yourselves and everyone else. Such beliefs are in fact rooted in fear and ignorance. They fill a large part of your waking mind which is then consumed with anger and judgment at that which doesn't fit your beliefs. This is not only judgment of others, but also judgment of self. It is the basis of your inner "demons" that you torture yourself and others with. Jesus was not making some idle statement when he said: "judge not, lest ye be judged". When you finally see the relationship between your beliefs and their subsequent fear and judgment, it becomes an occasion for much relief and much mirth. You feel a weight being lifted from your shoulders. Most great spiritual masters are happy, because they are not bound by the chains of limiting beliefs.Image-THe Laughing_BuddahThere is a tradition of The Laughing Buddha. There is also a statement in one of Edgar Cayce's readings about Jesus that "he went to The Last Supper his usual jovial self".

The soul is eternal; time is an illusion. The soul enters into many dimensions, many existences and lifetimes, and many states of consciousness, all of it experienced in the timeless and eternal now.Time, however, is a useful dimension or illusion to work with on the physical plane. It allows the human mind to relate experiences through the division of time into past, present, and future. Each time a person revisits an experience either physically or mentally, it alters or adds to or intensifies the experience in some way, either positively or negatively in human terms. You either experience joy or pain. No experience exists in a void. It is always connected internally to something else, and often externally as well. It is through awakening to the relationship of experiences one to another that the human mind begins to awaken to its fuller potential. It begins to see interconnected parts which can then take shape in the physical experience. This brings more understanding and, with it, more acceptance and peace of mind. The parts begin to take on some semblance of a whole. This concept of a whole made up of parts is what Gestalt is all about. Gestalt practices are useful when working with dreams. But they are also very useful when working with and trying to understand your life. (An exercise in Gestalt) In Gestalt, everything is part of a bigger whole, which is ever expanding as you plumb greater depths of your reality.

      From this perspective, other lifetimes, whether past or parallel or even future, take on a more cohesive reality, as opposed to some of the overly dramatic and rather literal concepts that abound around reincarnation. Just as any one lifetime is made up of a series of related experiences, forming the whole, so different but related lifetimes form a bigger whole or Gestalt. And because time is not ultimately real but an illusion, these lifetimes can be occurring in all dimensions of time, past, present and future. Past Lives Tarot Card from Zen Deck by US GamesYou have other past selves or egos; you have other present selves or egos; you have other future selves or egos. For the soul they exist simultaneously. If you think of these other selves as counterparts to yourself in this lifetime, rather than as "past lives", then it is easier to embrace a concept of yourself as belonging to a bigger whole. Your mind will not be so blocked to the experience of these other selves or counterparts as it is when you think of yourself as a human being limited to the conditions of this particular physical lifetime, and perhaps, maybe, having several past lives. This limited concept of the self is called the ego in many spiritual traditions. It is the part of self that knows only the experience of this physical and mental body. One of the lessons in A Course in Miracles states "I am not a body" as a practice in connecting with your larger consciousness, and not just the ego consciousness of this lifetime. Past lives are your counterparts that existed in the historical past. Parallel lifetimes exist simultaneously to you in the present. Future selves are related parts or counterparts that have not yet manifested in the physical world. These lifetimes are all one interlocked piece or, as we like to say, one loaf. However you slice it, they are still interconnected. If you alter the recipe at one point, that changes the whole loaf. This perspective leads to the rather startling conclusion that our choices in the moment affect not only the present and the future, but also the past. This is truly a "free will" Universe.

      Can you run into another part or counterpart of your larger self or soul? Of course! Why wouldn't you? Would you recognize them as part of yourself? Some of them, yes, because they are extensions of what you are consciously working on in this lifetime. Others not, because they reside in your unconscious, and can be polar opposites of what your ego sees as yourself now, parts that you have judged and rejected. Some of these selves would be quite antipathetic to your current ego self or lifetime. Such opposite selves may appear as shadowy or threatening figures in dreams and especially in nightmares. Since they have not been integrated into your whole psyche, your working to ease some of the tension, conflict and fear that surround such dreamtime figures can be very healing. Gestalt dream therapy, which embraces all parts of the dream as parts of self, is a very healing and integrating technique or inner spiritual tool. (An exercise in Gestalt)

      It was once suggested to me in meditation that we "spawn lifetimes". That amounts to a lot of lives, a lot of parts and counterparts, past, present and future. Of course, not all of your "spawned lifetimes" are related to this life and what you are currently working on. There are Gestalts within Gestalts that make up the whole of your soul's experience. Also, not all of your existences occur in this dimension on the physical plane. Or, put in another way, not all parts of your soul take on physical incarnation. You may experience parts of your soul as guides or teachers, aspects of your higher consciousness that are closer to your spiritual source. You may experience higher consciousness in the form of masters or teachers who have walked the earth but have moved beyond the cycle of physical reincarnation. You may experience guidance coming from your spiritual tradition in the form of angels or archangels, animal totems, gods and goddesses from past or present spiritual traditions, or even from the so-called "aliens" of ufology.

     The memory of other lifetimes, however, is rare, except under hypnosis. And even there you cannot be sure if you are experiencing an actual other lifetime or a dream or psychic Gestalt image. That said, however, it really doesn't make much difference, as both would be part of the integrating and healing experience. Whatever the level of the psyche that such experiences occur on, whatever dimensions, physical or otherwise, they exist in, they are all a part of your wholeness and a part of your soul.

    During the middle ages the idea that the earth was not the centre of the universe was met with violent resistance and considered heresy. Few people now would have a problem seeing the sun as the centre of our solar system, which in turn is part of ever bigger systems in outer space. We humans are now no longer earth centered but sun centered and beyond. To quote my mother from years back: "you are not the only pebble on the beach". English beaches have a lot of pebbles. Outer space has a lot of planets, solar systems and galaxies. Likewise, the soul has many existences and whatever larger spiritual groupings that lie beyond that. We need to look at the soul metaphorically as a solar system, possibly even a galaxy, of which our individual, physical existence forms a part, as well as a part within a part.



























A picture of the pebbles of Chisil Beach in england

As we scrabbled along Chesil Beach on the English south coast, I realized I had always wondered where "the other pebble" was!


From The Ancestral Path Tarot Deck

From the Universal Waite Tarot Deck by
US Games

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The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
From The Osho Zen Tarot
Click here for the source of the photograph.