Rethinking Reincarnation Again

A brief History of Reincarnation, and Me

Here I am again, this time not writing off the top of my head, but writing from inside of my head, still not knowing for sure what I will say, but tonight I have a direction to go in. I wish I knew how to put background music onto a blog, because there are two or three songs I would love for you to listen to while reading this particular blog page. I would start with Neil Diamond singing Skybird, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyBkeUmUkfI) and follow it up with Eric Burdon and the Animals singing “New York 1963 – America 1968 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PVcC9KQB3Y), ending with Eric Burdon and War doing Visions of Rassan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ3tkwInb_g). These songs tell the story of a search for something humanity has yearned for from the time we realized we were intelligent, because we knew naught from whence that intelligence came.

It is my belief that intelligence came from reincarnation. And the knowledge of reincarnation came from the Indian subcontinent. While most people alive at the time were spending their days hunting for food, clothing, and other needs for survival, there was a group or groups of people who had enough sustenance to allow them time to think with their minds about why they even had minds. They exchanged their ideas with their fellow thinkers and other fellow thinkers, until they came together as a group and declared intelligence came from being born to this world time after time after time. And how were they able to do this? Because they were still close enough to their own incarnations to remember some bits of where they had come from.

And from this one declaration came great philosophies of thought, and great religions that celebrated their discoveries. But as these great thinkers died and passed on their thoughts and words were twisted and turned around on themselves until the common castes forgot the purposes of reincarnation. And made of them a joke they used to defraud those who were luckier or richer than themselves. Only in the monasteries was the wisdom of the great thinkers preserved. But they too over time lost sight of the whole, and became but pieces of it. Each monastery specialized in the thoughts and wisdom of a single thinker, until there were many forms and sects of first the Hindu religion, and later the Buddhist philosophies as re-revealed by the Buddha to the people and monks of the various sects in a vain attempt to rebuild the whole from all the pieces of its parts. But not even the Buddha could do that, because he did not know where all the monasteries were located, so he could only reunite those of which he was aware. Of that he did an incredible piece of work, showing all the people what he thought it would look like were all the various sects rejoined in one big all-knowing group. His mistake, as was, and still is today, the mistake all great teachers have suffered from every era of intelligent life, They gave their wisdom away to people who could not understand it, and it did not take many generations to obscure the teacher’s wise words into that which he did not say. And that which the Buddha rebuilt from the ashes of the Great Thinkers tumbled down once more until as had happened to the great thinkers of the past, even as it would happen to those teachers who came after them, they died.

The funny thing about life on this world is that everything must always change. And this is especially true for humans from any and all generations. Change happens, and that which was truth become fiction, and fiction will become fact, and fact will become truth until it too is supplanted by a newer, more seemingly eternal Truth. But there is no such thing as eternal Truth, because, as I said earlier, everything always changes. Further, one can control his or her ideas, thoughts and wisdom from the grave. Once dead, always dead. No?

No. The wisdom might be gone from “samsara,” the physical world, as far as the death-on-Earth of the thinker in question, but it is not gone from the universe.

Where, then, is it gone to? In my opinion/belief system, It is gone to a wisdom bank of sorts, a place I originally thought was the universe in total, but on a different plane of existence, the plane of the Spirit of Origin. But as of this moment, since I cannot tell if it is ego or spirit that is doing the thinking, my gut feeling is that there are a great number of wisdom banks which have a certain number of spirits attached to them, but that number depends on how many spirits are on Earth or elsewhere in the universe at any given time. And the reason I think this is because I feel like I have been connected to my wisdom bank for hundreds or thousands of millennia…

( I actually think these banks were not for collecting wisdom at the start of life in our universe, because there was no such thing as wisdom in the early stages of life from the single cell onward until life reached the macro-multicellular stage where life began to think, rather than allowing instinct to be the only guide that a being could follow. It is at that time when life realized there were three raison d’être for life, which had ezisted since the dawn of physical life: live as long as you can, procreate as much as you can, and progress in some fashion as far as you can. These were not rules or directives or anything like that. How they even developed I cannot imagine, but somehow they did, And they drove life to continue, to multiply, and especially to develop better and better ways of improving something or someone or somehow between the physical doors of birth and death. I know, for myself, it was the banks that saved the improvements through the process of spiritual reincarnation.)

…And it is the number of incarnations connected to my wisdom bank that leads people to sense something in me that makes them feel and say the things they do.

In Buddhism it is said the physical body is connected to an Overself by a silver cord, which is basically the equivalent of my wisdom bank. Twice in my life I have had Near-Life Experiences, as opposed to near-death experiences. Both times my consciousness, be it my spirit or my mind or some other piece of the me that excludes my ego, travelled up a long shining tunnel that could be described as silverish. The destination I arrived at was incredibly beautiful, not only in sight, but also in sound, Each time I write about these experiences, I pull out my memory of that beauty, and it never fails to amaze me in its connecting electrified coloured lines of light, bobbing and weaving over, under and around each other, all musical notes corresponding with different colours, chords being represented by different weaves of colours, the music sounding closest to classical, and a definite feeling of home, but like on the veranda with an open door in front of me.

The first time I was there, a voice sounded in my head, speaking a language I did not understand, but still instantly translated into English for me, an instant echo booming in my head. “You are here before your time! You must choose to stay or go back.” I made an instant decision, basing that decision on two things: first, I did not want to leave my body a vegetable. Now I knew how so many others were turned into vegetables, still alive but no one home to direct what the body did or said; second, I had always thought I was born to do something important, and now I knew what it was. I would be my responsibility to tell the world about this experience. I was so close to entering the door, but then I was flying back through the silver tunnel at twenty times the speed I had travelled to get there. And I did get back, just like in the movies, with no time to spare. I looked ahead and imagined seeing bricklayers closing up the hole into my head where the silver tunnel emptied into the brain. I dived through just as the last brick was about to be placed, and I felt my spirit filling up my squishy flesh again. I opened my eyes, looked at the clock, and over two hours had passed since I last saw that clock. In my mind, it was barely seconds.

I soon fell asleep, which I had never done while high on acid ever, but I didn’t seem to suffer for that. But I did wake up exhausted the next day, wondering, but knowing that it was all true. One thing for sure, I didn’t feel anything like the same person who had woke up yesterday morning in this very bed.

How was I different that day. It’s not easy to remember almost 50 years later, but I can still close my eyes and see those beautiful lights, but I cannot hear the music that controlled them. To the best of my knowledge, Youtube.com has nothing like them, because I’m not sure the experience can be reproduced by even the most sophisticated computer imaginable, because it would take the mind of a software genius who has been “there” to even know where to start. And while I have been there, I am not a software genius. And if a software genius did go there, and return to tell the tale, it would only be written in the spaces between the seconds of measured time because in the seconds between spaces there would be no interest in repeating what had already been experienced.

 

More Rethinking Reincarnation

The Memoirs of a Cat

In the past seven years, while I have been recovering from Post-Concussion Syndrome, there seems to have been some rearranging of the synapses of my mind. This could just be ego speaking; we used to be friends but ego knew my spirit was in charge.  Or it could be spirit speaking, but with a different taste on my tongue. I am seeing some of the fallacies of what I thought I understood, particularly that the Spirit of Origin, as I have lately started to call the being of First Life, wouldn’t have such a wide range of personalities in people’s spirits, that there would be more homogeneity if we were all coming from the same source. I understand that there are so many spirits that make up the Spirit of Origin (consider how many trillions of cells there are in our bodies {30 to 37 trillion in the adult human body}, each with its own little spirit inside), and multiply that by the number of people in the world (presently close to 7.5 billion), none of that number taking into any consideration at all of the unimaginable number of other living beings on our planet, that it would take 10 to the power of infinity to make up the number of spirits that it would take to fill up our world–we would never even have a word to signify so high an unimaginable number. But every one of that number would each have a spirit, making the number of spirits in the universe equal a number that can only be expressed by infinity to the power of infinity squared. That number could only be comprehensible to the Spirit of Origin, if even to it. Therefore, if every being alive on Earth has 37 trillion little spirits that combine into one big spirit, how many spirits are there on the Earth at any given time? I don’t think even the best computer in the world can compute so high a number. And the thing is, each of the big spirits is so different from its fellow species  members as to make my old theory useless..

For this example I will use cats. I’ve probably had at least 20 different cats in my lifetime, and not two of them had even similar personality traits. Loki, a short-haired black, was probably the smartest cat I ever lived with. He could look at something, and know if it was fact or fiction. His first time ever in front of a TV he watched the actors do their bits on the screen. He watched it from the front, from the top, and from each side trying to figure out where actors were coming from as they entered the screen, and where they were going when they left the screen. Finally, when the credits started to roll upwards, he watched each one disappear from the screen, He jumped back on top of the TV and waited for the credits to appear. When they did not, he turned his back on television, and never watched it again. But that was just a start of how he showed off his wisdom and his street smarts.  He would go for walks with the woman who was to be my wife and I, walking ten blocks or more away from home, inspecting all the yards as we walked past them. Every once in a while we would have to stop and wait for him as he read the smells and scents left behind by previous mammals. If we kept on going, not noticing he had lagged behind, or if he was taking too long in one place, we would walk on ahead, and maybe five minutes later he would rush up to us, and meow his bewilderment or anger that we had gone on without him. He had little fear of dogs or other cats, and none of people. The world was his to explore, and if he wanted us to go walking with him, he would paw at our knees as if to say, time for our walk, let’s go. We would let him lead the way, and he would find places he or we had not been to before. And he could lead us home by completely different routes, knowing the streets that led to his street, and knowing which direction would lead home.

But that was not the most shining example of his intelligence. First I have to tell the story of his first (and only) mating season. We were living in a five story walk-up at the time, occupying an apartment on the fourth floor. Now, I will admit that even as a kitten we had been taking him down to ground level and carrying him across the street to the only green space nearby. He would run and chase butterflies, follow an ant for half an hour to see where it was going, play with daddy longleg spiders, who rolled themselves into little balls when he approached. Sometimes he would pick the defenseless spider up gently with his teeth, and walk around us with his head and tail held high. Then he would put it down as gently as he had picked it up, and bat it softly around like a hockey puck. Those spiders would entertain him for hours. But then, one night, when it was time to go home, he ran under a parked car and stayed just out of our reach. That was the first time he had ever stayed outside by himself. He was almost a year-old by now, and presumably he could smell the female pheromones in the air. About two o’clock in the morning we heard scratching at our back door, the one leading to the combination fire escape/ balcony. The smile on his face was tremendous. He went to sleep without even eating first. He slept way past his usual waking time, and because he did we were late leaving for work. He had always been our alarm clock on weekdays, letting us sleep in on weekends. This day he slept the sleep of the dead. I always arrived home from work earlier than my to-be ex., so I was the only witness to his actions when I closed the apartment door behind me. He walked over to his food dish and showed to me how shiny clean it was. I put some food out for him, and he ate it with great gusto. I was sitting on the couch, reading the newspaper when he surprised me with a godawful grumbling sound that sounded as if it were coming out of his throat. I looked at him, and he looked at me, then at the door, signifying he wanted to go out. He had never gone out on his own before, our outside time was always after supper. But today he was in a hurry, and made another yowling sound like nothing I had ever heard before. It was like he was twisting the vocal cords in his larynx and coming out with sounds no cat had ever made. I told him to be quiet, and wait for “mommy” to get home. Since it was time to start supper I got out of my chair and started towards the kitchen, which was where our back door stayed locked whenever we went out. Loki ran straight to the door, but I veered to the right towards the refrigerator. And what happened next as far as I heard it is no word of a lie. His third attempt at making this indescribable sound  was his best try yet. In one long vocal explosion I heard a stuttering a sound that I suddenly realized added up to the sentence, “IIIIwaaaaantttttogooooooooutttt!” He was doing his best to speak English with vocal cords never intended for human language.  I stood there for ten or so seconds while he pawed at the door handle as if trying to turn it. Then I unlocked the door and barely started to open it. He was out the door like greased lightning and running down the stairs to ground level. That was about by 5:30 PM.  By 11:00 PM my best friend and I were worried. We had gone out looking for him a few times, but had not seen him anywhere. My bff thought the story of him speaking English (as close as he could) was all hooey,  but the longer he stayed out the more worried she got.  At 11:00 PM we found flashlights and went looking for him one more time. We heard a screeching sound from down the block, and we went to investigate. The sounds were coming from underneath a car, and when we got down on our hands and knees and turned on our flashlights what we saw was our Loki, having sex with a queen,  but it was the five cats waiting around him that amazed us. They obviously were not males, since they weren’t fighting, and they all seemed to want to carry on Loki’s gene pool. We left him there that night, under the car with his harem, after he had glowered at us for interfering in his personal orgy. It wasn’t till about 3 days later that we next saw Loki, dragging his beaten and bedraggled body up the four flights of stairs to his home. Of course we took him straight to the veterinarian, who put a cast on his broken right front leg, and cleaned up all the scratches and bites he had most likely suffered from the males who had attacked in a moment of weakness. He was attracting most of the females near our home, and we can only imagine how many kittens he sired in that time period. To complete this part of Loki’s life story, (which this blog has obviously come to be about), after wearing the cast for 4 to 6 weeks, the vet took it off and announced that he was all healed. For the next few days he still limped around, favouring his right leg, until one day we arrived home early. Either it was poppy dèay (what we now call Remembrance Day) or an election day, because Loki was not expecting us at that time. He was playing Chase with our other cat, and he was chasing her all over the room. When he suddenly saw us watching,  he stopped running and immediately started limping again, “on his left leg.” He realized his mistake too late, and switched to limping on the right leg, but he knew his secret had been discovered. He had lost our sympathy, and when my girlfriend said to him, “Forget it, Loki, we know you’re all fixed up,” (or words to that effect), he put his right leg down and started playing chase again.  That was the last time we trusted him when he told us he was injured, and as far as I know he never tried to fool us again.

And now for the “pièce de résistance.” My girlfriend and I split up. I cannot remember why, but we did. Loki was very unhappy after I moved out of our new apartment.  I didn’t move too far, about six or seven blocks away, down one of Winnipeg’s main feeder roads for people going to and from work. This was a just-off downtown area, and traffic was fairly heavy all day long, and even moreso at rush hour. Fortunately we both lived south of the street, so there was no reason for crossing it, but still it would be a dangerous walk for any lone child, let alone a cat. But with no reason for Loki to have any idea of where I was living, I came home one night to find him camped out at the  side door I frequently used, as that was where I locked up my bicycle. I didn’t drive, as in the city there was no need to add the exhaust of another car to the already noxious fumes surrounding us.  Besides, I did not have, nor never had at that time, a driver’s licence. I saw no need for one. Winnipeg had about the best bus service in Canada, and I used it extensively to travel to and from work in the vicious Winnipeg winter winds. But as soon as spring came, and until the snow started to fall, I travelled everywhere by foot or by bicycle. And that left no scent for Loki to follow in order to find where I lived, yet here he was, patiently waiting for who knows how long. I took a long time giving him scratches and cuddles and pets and just holding him, while he purred away in my arms. After I let him know how much I still loved him, I told him to go back home because his “mother” would be missing him. He would have no part of leaving me. He wanted to come in with me, and I finally relented. I had no food for him, didn’t have his favourite water bowl, nor did I have much from our old home except my clothes, and the waterbed. Everything else was new, and one thing I knew, cats do not like change. But I rang for the elevator, and when the doors opened he slithered in as if he had been doing this all his life. He sat beside my feet as I waited for the elevator to arrive at the sixth floor, the site of my new home. The door opened several times between the parking lot and the sixth floor, but I did not move, so neither did he. I led him down the hall to my apartment, unlocked the door, and followed him in. He immediately went into the kitchen, and did his little food and water dance. He must have been waiting for me all day, because this was not his usual feeding time.  Luckily there was a mom and pop store half a block away, and after I gave him some water in a soup bowl, I went to the store, bought cat food, cat litter, grabbed a box to put the litter in, and returned home as fast as I could. I fed him, and then I fed myself. It was the first night in two weeks that I felt comfortable in my new home. I watched some TV while he curled up on my lap and went to sleep. I phoned my ex and told her not to worry about Loki as he was safe with me. At first she accused me of catnapping him, but eventually I convinced her he had come of his own volition. I slept like a baby that night, Loki curled up at the foot-end of the bed, and slept until the minute before my alarm would go off just the way it had always been. He washed my face until I woke up and gave him a big kiss. But I had to go to work, and I did not want to leave him all alone in an apartment which he was not familiar with. But I didn’t have to worry about that for long, because as he watched me get ready to go to work, he went and sat at the door, letting me know he wanted to go outside. Once again he got onto the elevator and went down to the parking lot one floor below ground level, but with both an entrance and an exit ramp to the outside, doors that were almost always open. I went to work, happy that Loki had come to visit, but not expecting him to really be there when I got home.  It was too much like a dream to actually have happened. And sure enough when I locked my bike up after riding home, there was no Loki waiting for me. I noted that I was actually sad that he wasn’t there, yesterday had been such a wonderful evening and night. Half dejectedly I got into the elevator, and took it up to the sixth floor. When I reached my floor I didn’t really think about Loki, he had come for a visit, and now he had gone home. I thought! When I arrived at my door, there he was, lying in wait for me in front of the inset door where I had not been able to see him as I walked down the hall. I unlocked my door, opened it,  and together we walked in. This time he did not look for food or water, He ran to the couch and jumped up on it, sitting with exactly enough room between him and the arm of the couch for my butt to fit in, and waited for me to join him. Soon I did, and he got back on my lap, and we told each other how much we loved each other. This time I didn’t wait, I phoned my ex to let her know he was still with me. That was when she told me he had come to her home about mid-morning. played with our other cats till mid-afternoon and then jumped out the catwindow, a window that was always open in summer for cats to go in and out without bothering us. She had not seen him since, and when he didn’t come home at snack time she was worried about his whereabouts. I told her where he had waited for me, and we talked a bit about how he could always surprise us with his intelligence, and said good-bye.

The next day being Saturday,  he didn’t wake me up until 8:59 AM, still one minute before the alarm was scheduled to ring. We ate breakfast together, and then he let me know he wanted to go for a walk. I got dressed, and out we went, but this time going out the front door rather than using the parking lot. It didn’t phase him one bit,  He headed straight towards Broadway, the busy street that ran from my new street to my old street, walked to our old ground story apartment, and he jumped right through the open window. I had no idea what to do, so I turned and walked back to my apartment to decide what to do for the day. And then it struck me! How had I not noticed before? Yesterday, after work, Loki had not met me at the door in the parking lot, he had met me at the door to my apartment. How had he done that? I knew he was smart, but the only way he could get to my apartment without going through fire doors on every floor of the fire escape,  was to use the elevator. How had he entered the building? How had he got into the elevator. Though weird, those two things were easy enough for a child to do, just wait for someone to open the building door, then wait for the elevator doors to open. But how did he know which floor to get off on, and how would he get to the exact floor he needed at get off at? There was no way he could have reached the buttons, and definitely no way to press one even if he could reach them. He could have ridden in the elevator for hours, waiting for someone to get off at the right floor. But however he had done it, he did it successfully. And I was so happy he did. I was supposed to go out with some friends that night, but I begged off, not telling anyone the real reason why I wanted to stay home. I wanted to be there if and when he came back. I sat there all night, and he never showed up. My phone rang about 9:30. It was my ex telling me Loki had stayed home all day, once he got there, waiting and watching the door for something to happen She didn’t know what, but I did. He had led me home, and he had expected me to join him on the inside. I can only say I must have disappointed him thoroughly. Finally there was one thing he could not understand, the end of a relationship. But his action also told me something I did not understand; whatever had happened between us we both still loved each other, and Loki knew we belonged together. And for three days  in a row now we humans had talked to each other, both concerned about where Loki was, and was he safe? We were talking civilly to each other again, whereas the frost in the air when we decided to split up had prevented us from seeing the truth. I got back on the phone, and when she answered, I asked her  to promise me one thing.  Her voice sounded questionable, but she asked, What thing?” I answered that if Loki asked to go for a walk the next morning, and he led her to my place, would she please bring him upstairs?” She laughed and answered, “If he walks me to your door I will definitely bring him up.” I could hear in her voice that she thought I was crazy, and so she had gone along with the gag.

Next morning, just before ten, my buzzer rang. When I answered it her incredulous voice said, “Here we are. Let us up.” I had been ready for this to happen for almost 15 minutes now. I had her favourite tea brewing on the table, and three places set, one each for the humans, and one place for the cat. When the knock came on the door, I opened it and said, “Please come in.” She looked around the apartment, which I had gotten up early to make spotless, which spoke to her pet peeve as to how sloppy a man I was.  And she was right, I was a sloppy man, but only between the wall and my side of the waterbed where no casual visitor could see my mess.  She was stunned speechless for a moment, then she asked, “How did you know?” I returned. “Because that’s what he tried to get me to do yesterday, about this same time, but I didn’t follow him in. I just walked away. And that’s probably what you would have done today.” “Yes, I was almost going to do that anyway, but I had promised to bring him upstairs and so I did. I was not expecting this,”  she pointed towards the table set for three, with a pot of tea in the middle of the table. cream and sugar beside it, knowing  that I drank my tea black. “Why”, she finally added.

“Because Loki knows us better than we do. He knows we belong together. and he doing his best to be a matchmaker.”

“Do we belong together?” she asked. “What about…?”Loki chose this moment to jump up on the table, and started to eat the food I had put out for him. We both cracked up laughing, but she said, “Only if we get married.”

“Is that a proposal?” I asked,

“I guess. It sounded like one to me?”

I got down on one knee, accepted her proposal, and then asked if she would marry  me?

“Only if you stay here until after the wedding,” and that was how I came to be married to her for the next 7 years. And it was all because of Loki…

Now, you might be wondering why I told you this story in a blog that was supposed to be about Rethinking Reincarnation.  And I have to say I don’t know, but hopefully I will figure it out before my next blog. I started my last blog by telling you I was writing off the top of my head, and I had no idea where we would end up. Well, this is not the end, not yet, but I never expected to come here. As I started today’s blog I thought I was going to write about the intended subject, and maybe I have, I don’t know yet. We’ll all have to wait and see where this is taking us. I can definitely say now, though, that this is my spirit talking, decidedly not my ego. I believe my spirit is finally taking back control of my life. I certainly hope I am right.

Until next time…

Rethinking Reincarnation

Memoirs of a Hippie

I am writing this off the top of my head, so even I don’t know where it will take me. For years I have believed that reincarnation works as I described it in an earlier blog called “Experimenting with Reincarnation.” I never doubted that I was wrong, or even could be wrong. The Buddhists talk about releasing themselves from the world of “samsara,” meaning the physical world in which our bodies live and act between birth and death. They also talk about freeing themselves from “ego,” which I think is the same thing, only using the living language of English as opposed to the almost dead language of “Sanskrit.” Latin is to us and our ancestors mainly a language of science and religion, so that while it is dead it is still being used today in very strict ways, but no one speaks it as an everyday language. In the Middle East, throughout the Indian subcontinent, and encroaching into the Far East, meaning Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Tibet, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and possibly even Sri Lanka, Sanskrit was the language of trade and economy of many peoples, thus affecting many Indo-European languages to the point it’s descendant languages were spoken by more people than those who spoke Latin-based languages, the languages that grew out of ancient Rome. And equally as Latin is still the language of science and religion, Sanskrit is still the language of scienceand religion in that area, but is also the language of philosophy, and even some of the spoken or written arts in subcontinental India and surrounding nations. Unlike Latin, however, Sanskrit is slowly being revived in certain areas, I would suggest possibly because Sanskrit is a more precise language, whereas, like English and other languages, words are becoming confusing, having more than one meaning through common usage.

So much for the history lesson, I just wish I could write in Sanskrit so I could be more precise in why I might be changing my mind about how reincarnation really works. Certainly, beyond death, there is or are (a) bank(s) or (a) reservoir(s) of collected wisdom that incarnating spirits bring to the physical world inside them. This wisdom doesn’t show up right away, of course, but as a child grows into a teen their personalities generally change to some extent, a change that becomes more and more apparent as the teen become a young adult, and beyond until we end up with people who all started out the same way at birth (knowing nothing) becoming older adults with such different characteristics it is unable to be explained by nature (DNA) or nurture (how they were raised) WITHOUT the colour of the background of reincarnation. I am not going to even try to rule out nature or nurture, because that would be foolish. Your DNA affects you physically, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Your nurture can affect you mentally, being brought up in a good home by loving parents or brought up surrounded by physical, mental, or sexual abuse including any combination of those three factors. Then there are the problems of the early death of a parent or sibling, entering the children’s services system where any kind of happiness or hell is possible, having good and loving friends or friends who are just using you for something you probably would not even realize until years later, if ever. That is what life is like in our modern society where parents own their children until they prove totally incapable of parenting a child or children.  Such children can very easily turn into adults with all kinds of neuroses or psychoses, just as children can who are born into rich families where the parents have no time for their children and they lavish them with money instead of love. All these conditions and many more can adversely affect how children become adults, if they ever grow beyond mentally remaining a child for life. And what of the children who grow up in a loving family, that is still no guarantee that they will become good people when they grow up? Most of these children will grow up to be good people, but not all of them. Some of the world’s most famous psychopaths or sociopaths were the product of good and loving parents and homes.  Conversely, not all people who grow up with physical problems and/or abusive parents or friends, or illnesses of the mind will become bad people. Who can know why? Not our psychologists and psychiatrists, that is for sure, because they aren’t allowed to even think reincarnation is real, or might have a hand in whether people grow up nice or not.

Here I offer myself as an example of a child who grew up with an abusive father, and a weak mother who died early of cancer, leaving my devil of a father to raise ten children alone. He sexually abused my three sisters, and physically and/or mentally abused all ten of us kids, even my little brother who was born with Downs Syndrome. Being the one with the “brains” of the family, I was probably the brunt of my father’s rage as he accused me more than once of “stealing my little brother’s brains.” I’m not going to say I didn’t have lots of medical and mental problems as I grew up and some that have lasted to today, as I sit here a 67 year-old man, living with a woman much younger than I (close to 20 years, and six cats) and with a complete litany of medical conditions. But in spite of all that, and other things that I did or had happen to me in life, I have a smile on my face and a Bachelor of Social Work in my pocket after finally graduating university at the ripe young age of 57. The other thing I have is a VERY STRONG sense of spirituality that I did not realize was so strong until many many years ago when an acquaintance (we didn’t know each other well enough to be friends) told me that I was alive way before my time, that I had an innate wisdom that far exceeded his mother and father put together. But not so much wisdom that when I was approached by a Buddhist monk about a year later, he looked deep deep deep into my eyes and said these words to me, and they were the only words spoken between us in that single meeting, “You’re not ready yet.” And with that he turned on his heel and virtually disappeared out the door of a restaurant where I was having a late snack before heading for home in an abandoned house in East Vancouver.

Those are the kinds of things that have happened to me in all kinds of circumstances, by people I had never met before.  Once a woman told me I scared her because my eyes were so old. Other people who read my poetry which I was writing in my “I want to become a poet” period, told me there was something in what they read that spoke to the future of life, a future they had never imagined. The most recent such event was only about 6 tears ago when I got into a taxicab in Edmonton, and the East Indian or Pakistani driver turned around to face me at a red light, and said, “You are very wise, you will never return to this world again. This is your last incarnation.” Then the light turned green, he put up the plastic screen between us, and did not say another word to me until the end of the trip, at which point I paid my fare and offered him a tip to which he put out his hand in a “stop” gesture, and said “It was my honour to drive you today.”

What am I to make of all these strange occurrences? The Buddhist monk was the most bewildering event in my life, though I have had many others that would be considered close seconds. However, it was his words that drove me after our very short encounter. I was already into spiritual studies on my own before that, but he inspired me to delve even deeper, and to study Buddhism to the best of my ability in the days before computers and the internet. There were very few books on Eastern religions and philosophies in Canada at that time, the Beatles had not yet travelled as a band to India, though George Harrison had had discussions with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi sometime earlier when he went to India to study the sitar.  After the Beatles went east to study Buddhism there was much more interest in Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Hare Krshna movement than ever before in the West, and it would grow because the Beatles led the way (again). Hinduism and Hare Krshna movements were about as attractive to me as was the Jesus Freak movement that had started on the West Coast around that same time. Young people were falling off the bus joining whatever group would take them in. And then along came Scientology and they were extreme, but that made them all the more magnetic to people who had never had anything. The youth of America had “dropped in, tuned out, and turned on,” so Timothy Leary had said, and they had been becoming hippies and flower children. Suddenly they were becoming desperately religious, but mostly not for the religions of their parents, those were passe and no fun at all. Christian-based religions  called for suffering and eternal damnation, with a slim possibility of reaching heaven if you could stay sinless for the rest of your life. Young people had been eschewing money and material things for drugs and excitement.  Now they were eschewing drugs and excitement for Eastern religions. The Western world was changing, and our beliefs about the world and life on this world were changing too. And one of the biggest changes for those years was the advent of the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies of reincarnation. The idea of reincarnation blew a wide swath through our subculture, affecting different people different ways.

I was (and still am) a hippie, but I was not doing drugs for excitement. I started with smoking marijuana, and after each time I smoked it I began to notice an increase in my ability to think. While I may have been speaking on a normal conversation level, my mind busy listening to what I was saying, and was translating my words inside my head, looking for hidden gems of wisdom that could be garnered from my words. And there were a lot of those, maybe nothing world-changing, but ideas that were changing how I functioned in the world.  At that time I was living off money earned by selling marijuana and hashish to people who wanted it, never to anyone who didn’t approach me.  And that was also the time that I started doing LSD (acid, we called it), the drug that really opened my mind to possibilities so far outside the box of normal thought that I couldn’t even see the box anymore.  Where were all these ideas coming from? I knew they were coming from me, from my mind, but how did they ever get there?

That was also the time that I became more careless in who I was selling drugs to. I was still only selling to people who wanted the drugs I was willing to sell, the list of two drugs I mentioned earlier, but now I was also selling acid, because I believed in it, and I believed it could help others the way it was helping me. Even so, as I said, I was getting careless, and I ended up selling drugs to two undercover RCMP narcotics agents. I was still living in Vancouver at the time, sleeping on the beach at English Bay, or at crash houses some of the more moneyed hippies were setting up. The two undercover agents, using the names of Sunset and Hart, befriended me and let me stay with them for awhile, as long as I turned them on to the dealers that were supplying those of us who sold the drugs on the streets. And I did a fine job of that, not realizing I was leading them to almost all the dealers in the West End of Vancouver, Kitsilano Beach, and even North Vancouver. At first I never clued into the fact that these two “fellow hippies,” who said they were AWOL from the army or something stupid like that, were not selling or using the drugs themselves, but were sending them back to “friends” in Saskatchewan where such drugs were said to be very scarce. I started to get nervous, something wasn’t going right, so one day I bought a bus ticket to Hope, which was all I could afford, and hitchhiked the rest of the way back home to Winnipeg where I started going back to school to finish my Grades 11 and 12. I was still keeping up on any news that came out of Vancouver, and when I heard that a number of people got busted by undercover narcs, and I read some of the names, I knew what had happened and that I was responsible for a lot of those people getting arrested and being sent to prison. I disappeared even deeper into normal society, and thanked my lucky stars that I got out of Vancouver in time. I took a part time job at a local grocery store to help finance my rent and meals while I was in school, and I thought I was safe.

to be continued…