Sunday, November 25, 2007

In the right spirit

Sometimes I really struggle with these weekly columns. You know, do I write about this, or should it be about that? These struggles I hoped would cease when I came across a rather well known Latin American poet’s thoughts who said “write as though it were your last day on earth and all would be clear”. Well, the sheet’s still clear, but a chance meeting left me thinking that there would perhaps never be a last day on earth for me – or for you! Old hat you say? Well, I don’t know… let me tell you what this interesting lady, I met at a friend’s place, had to say about her experiences and then you and I’ll go about making up our minds together. Now don’t laugh, but this woman I met volunteers, so to speak, as a medium at séances. And she isn’t a lonely loony widow but an attractive woman in her 20s with a blossoming corporate career. NN was your everyday teenaged girl who rebels against parents, parties with friends, swoons at the movies and spoils her dog silly. And it is that dog that wags this tale. NN was besotted with her Yorkshire terrier Murphy, and treated him like a dear friend, her confidant, her child. But dogs being dogs, tend to curl up and die sooner than we’d expect and so was the case with poor Murphy. NN was inconsolable. She cried, she pined and she questioned; questioned her family, her friends, her beliefs and her god, until one day she met a lady, a friend of her mother’s who told her she could make her talk to Murphy. This clairvoyant aunt of hers acted as a medium between her and her dog and revealed to NN secrets that were known only to NN and her dog. “No matter how improbable, once faced with such a situation, it sure makes for compelling evidence, don’t you think?” she asked wide eyed.

I don’t think I would’ve had the heart to disagree even if I felt otherwise, but going by what she said, I could see no avenue for disagreement. But a greater revelation awaited her. NN underwent a hypnotic trance that took her back to her days with Murphy, to her childhood and then, in a vision, she saw a grey-bearded man, walking through a field toward a great banyan tree. Around the tree there sat a group of men and women. They were chanting and the bearded man joined them. This man looked familiar, very familiar… where had she seen this man before, and then she knew it – she was this man. NN believes this was a vision from a past life. That moment, she believes transformed her. She lost her fear of death and more significantly, she lost her fear of losing those she loves because she believes she saw in that vision the very people she is close to in this life and that no matter as what or where, we are always likely, in every life, to be close to those we love - and you thought it happened only in the movies Compelling? Debatable! Interesting? Undoubtedly! The friend I had gone to meet was still mourning the loss of his mother. I had picked up a set of books by a psychiatrist called Dr. Brian Weiss (see pic) for him. Brian Weiss’ first book ‘Many Lives Many Masters’ is about one of his patients who stumbled upon her past life during a hypnotic session and the many journeys they take into past lives together. I have found that his books are a wonderful healing agent for those who have lost someone they love because unlike everything else around us, his books reiterate the permanence of life and love.

Following my meeting with NN I sought out other individuals who had dabbled in past life regression. Some had attended workshops and still couldn’t believe what they had experienced while others were reluctant and refused to share their experiences because they suspected they would be mocked. So where do we stand on the issue, dear reader? I for one, remain an interested sceptic. I really want to believe it all, but not until I’ve experienced and understood it all for myself. But it definitely is a course worth chasing for in it could lie the answers to all the mysteries that shroud our understanding of ourselves, our lives and death. I am ‘dying’ to find out, aren’t you?

The slip stream

The Immortal Cycle

The concept of reincarnation is very strong in the Hindu religion. Thousands of years old Upanishads, the guiding force of Hinduism, make powerful arguments in favour of reincarnation. It’s believed that body is nothing but a vessel for the soul, which is immortal. The cycle of death and rebirth goes on indefinitely until the soul itself becomes dissatisfied and hungers for Moksha–where it attains spiritual enlightenment, thus ending the cycle of death and rebirth. However, the concept (of reincarnation) isn’t restricted to Hinduism alone. Throughout history there have been numerous recorded instances of people claiming to be reincarnated. People suddenly remembering, or claiming to remember their previous lives with accurate and verifiable details–such accounts are dime a dozen with Dr Ian Stevenson, a psychiatry researcher who’s dedicated 40 years to study this phenomenon. He claims to have over 3,000 similar cases with him, involving mostly children, where the only plausible explanation has to be reincarnation. With religion and science, both coming out in support for this ideology, maybe it deserves a closer look.


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