“We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in Blue.”
During my flirtation with Hinduism and the Occult, I almost believed in reincarnation. Even as a small child I had the attributes of an “old soul”, my first thoughts were like, ” Here we go again.” And I had this enduring memory of falling asleep in a library in front of an open fire, my pipe beside me. The memory reverberated with hidden meaning, but like a dream the more I attempted to focus on details, the quicker it evaporated. Was that how I had died?
The stories of Joan of Arc and St Bernadette disturbed me even as a wee toddler making me strangely emotional, but I had no idea why.
Then there were those feelings of deja vu. But with me it was more to do with place. I have often felt, “I’ve been here before, but things have changed.”
Before you condemn my stupidity, it’s a fairly common delusion and is backed up by plenty of anecdotal evidence.
But lysergic acid diethylamide literally changed everything for me. During one trip I sank so deep into myself that I ceased being just me and it felt like the “I am” encompassed all things. The present was a wave of electricity surging through everything. It was like the pulse of the music of the spheres. Or a universal ocean flowing as rivers through each separate life. I discovered I could travel these different streams. Then something stranger than a hallucination happened. I opened my eyes, but I was no longer inside my body. Instead I was looking through my then partners eyes, with his mind. I was him. As him I saw myself totally out of it, laying as if dead, staring vacantly at the ceiling from the settee. The shock of this jolted me back into my body.
While I do not confuse visions or drug induced hallucinations with reality, this did get me thinking. I felt that we were all the same being split in time and space into an infinity of different perspectives. I confidentially dumped the concept of reincarnation, instead believing that we all share the same unconscious mind and the past reverberated through us according to type.
However I still filed this belief as mythological and unreal as I had no scientific laws or theories I could relate it to. I’ve always been split like this; my imagination accepts what my rational mind rejects. Rather than being a trait of lunacy, I think it is a saner approach than a tyrannically imposed unity of thought.
Further reading proved I was not unique in having this realisation. The Welsh poet Taliesin had had a similar epiphany and saw his “I am” in each living being.
Even the secret name of the Hebrew God, “I am” or “I become I” suggested a similar unfathomable mystery.
I read about one reincarnated soul in India who remembered his previous life clearly. Even remembering his previous address. But when he went to visit his former family, he was surprised to find that his former self was still alive. He hadn’t died, though had been rather poorly just before his new reincarnated self was born. If I was a complete idiot, I would take that as proof that my theory was true. We are one another and the same thing in different skin. If only truth was that simple.
However, I have since come up with a tentative theory that describes a mechanism by which it is plausible. Rather than repeat myself, may I refer you to my earlier blog The Spectrum of Consciousnesses. The weird and wonderful world of quantum mechanics and observer effects (for example Schrödinger’s Cat) make this idea not entirely preposterous.
This is mind blowing stuff and counter intuitive. If you think you’ve got it, you probably haven’t.
I’ll wrap this up with a synchronicity. While writing this I was shown this small extract from Flaubert’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony:
Il n’y a qu’une seule âme, universellement épandue, comme l’eau d’un fleuve divisé en plusieurs bras. C’est elle qui soupire dans le vent, grince dans le marbre qu’on scie, hurle par la voix de la mer ; et elle pleure des larmes de lait quand on arrache les feuilles du figuier.
This (roughly) translates as:
There is only one soul, universally spread as the water of a river is divided in several branches. It is it which murmurs in the wind, creaks in the marble that is sawed, howls in the voice of the sea: and it cries the tears of milk when we uproot the leaves of a fig tree.
I guess this means I am a heretic as well as a fool…