Approaching My 64th Birthday
I was born 64 years ago in Newport News, Virginia. The story I heard while growing up was that my parents had met when my uncle brought home his classmate from the University of Chicago. Years later, my father went to Illinois to look up his old chum and my mother answered the door. He allegedly said, "So, you're the kid sister?" Implied always was that she had grown up and he decided to marry her as quickly as he could persuade her to see the future as he envisioned it. I have had more than one occasion to question the official myth but this is the story that was promulgated at that time. My father escaped military service in WWII by marriage, my birth, and working for what was the precursor to NASA.
As my ever inquisitive soul sought to understand the family into which I was born—and why—I learned that we were Walloons on my mother's side of the family and we had left Belgium for Sweden at the behest of the Bernadottes who were fearful that Napoleon would conquer Sweden. My family was involved in the Swedish steel industry. I was told we could trace our ancestry back more than 2000 years, and that we hailed from metallurgists in Greece who made very fine swords.
I was the only blood relative at my grandfather's 90th birthday. There, I sat quietly and watched the interactions of people who had known each other at least 60 years, some 90. I was thirty and in awe both of the life experience and inexperience of the clan. By age 30, I had already lived seven lives. I had already visited more than 50 countries, learned many languages, had insights into many cultures. My grandfather had a minor accident a few days after his birthday. I knew he would not recover, not because the injury was serious but because his time clock was running out. The hospital gave him pain medications and when I next saw him, he thought I was Woodrow Wilson. He was reliving one of the highlights of his life, a time when the president asked him to design a floating dry dock for repair of ships at sea. My grandfather did not know the word "impossible" and I think I inherited this gene from him. When my grandfather was dying, he took a deep breath and became silent. More than 45 minutes passed. He opened his eyes again and asked, "Are you sure there is a life after death?" I told him I was very sure. He closed his eyes and 45 minutes later spoke again: "You wouldn't lie to me at a time like this, would you?" I said, "No, I am very certain there is life after death." The last book he read before he died was the Dalai Lama's autobiography, duly autographed by H.H. the Dalai Lama when he visited my mother in her home in Hawaii. She failed proper protocol by not gifting him an appropriate number of white peacocks, but I'm quite sure their connection was far more interesting than more screeching birds would have been.
My grandfather reincarnated in Hawaii some years later, a wonderful story but one for another time.
Fast forward to the visit of India's most famous predictional astrologer, K.N. Rao. We met at the home of David Frawley and he asked for the honor of doing my horoscope. He left the room for an hour and returned to say that my father was a military person. I asked him if he meant literally that he wore a uniform because the gift I gave him of peace, that is the freedom not to wear a uniform, did not make him peaceful. He was a volatile person who designed airplanes and rockets and missiles and satellites. One day he looked a little different when he came home from work and I asked him what happened that day. He said the scientists had had a long meeting in which they discussed their responsibility for the weapons they were inventing. My heart leaped. I remember the anticipation I felt. It was the most exciting day in my entire relationship with him. I asked what they decided. He said it was their responsibility to develop the weapons and that politicians were responsible for how the weapons were used. I think our relationship, already difficult, was beyond repair from that moment onwards. I could never respect him. I tried. I searched valiantly for something redeeming, but I could not find it, not until countless years later.
I told Mr. Rao that technically speaking, my father was not a military person. Mr. Rao went on to describe the manner of his demise and date of death, this, I believe, to convince me were talking about the same person. He was right on all other accounts. I never saw Mars on my seventh house cusp in exactly the same way after this remarkable meeting. I believed I had really been imprinted by all that violence going back countless generations to the sword smiths. By that time, I had already seen at least 125 of my own past lives . . . and I could see that the imprint was indelible because it was not just in the genetic heritage of this body but countless other bodies. I had seen enough violence to shun it forever.
In Japan, I was not content just to see Hiroshima. Once I saw the twisted steel of Hiroshima, I had to go to Nagasaki. I went to museums and looked at the pictures. I studied the eyes and body language and medical emergency measures. I talked to people on the streets, anyone at all who wanted to talk. My Japanese was very fluent in those days and I asked bus drivers and museum curators and students and elderly people how it felt to live in Hiroshima. Almost everyone felt they lived in the most peaceful city on the Earth, the one place that knew it was entitled to demand peace for the whole world. I loved the people of Hiroshima and as my destiny unfolded, I became politically involved in the Vietnamese peace process. Years later, I became interested in protocols for toxicity stemming from Agent Orange and from radiation. I believe we are all this sensitive; and our destinies are all intertwined, complex, amazing, and important. We just seldom take time to ask questions and reflect until we find answers.
As time unfolded even more, I began to regress people. Without exception, every patient's illnesses and places of disease were identical to the places traumatized in past lives. There were variations, but minor. For instance, if someone was injured in the knee by an arrow, he might in another lifetime be bitten by a snake in the same place, wounded while doing penance on one's knees later, and have melanoma in the same spot later. I learned that wounds are very deep and they do not heal just because one pulls out the arrow and puts on a bandage. There is no true healing until the pattern is resolved. My students looked at the countless lifetimes and years I have spent educating myself and preparing to do meaningful work in the world. They feared they could never make a living doing what I do. I feared that given what I have seen, I will never be able to take down my shingle until the Universe itself comes to an end because so long as we keep hurting each other, the healing will never be completed. Healing is the only discipline I really understand. I was never all that good in other subjects, but once one sees a pattern and its diverse modes of expression, one needs to find ways to transform the pattern, not superficially but permanently. No pattern is changed by superimposing another pattern. Oh, the short-term results are incredible, often very persuasive and encouraging, but when the energy field is withdrawn, the person will revert to the earlier pattern unless the person has had a new experience that allows him to overwrite the earlier one. In most cases, the new experience will have to be successfully repeated many times before the instinctual consciousness accepts the reality of the change. When this occurs, there is spontaneous healing and no medicine is required. It's a miracle, but it is not really a miracle because it follows the laws of karma which dictate that a pattern will persist until it is met by an equal and opposite reaction. This does not mean that male can neutralize female or that one can mix one warrior with one pacifist and create new identities for those with conflicting identities. It means that the warrior must come into doubt about the wisdom of his methods and learn other strategies for achieving the just world that can never be forced into existence at gunpoint. Likewise, the pacifist must learn to validate the issues motivating the warrior without succumbing to the clumsy and ill-tempered expression of frustration.
Obviously, it is more complicated than this. If it were simple, no one would have to meditate more than once in a lifetime and psychotherapy would take 20 minutes, not 20 years. There is, however, a short cut and that short cut has always been there. The short cut is unconditional surrender to Divine Will, not political will, not theocracy or ideology, but Divine Will. This is not a group experience. It is a mystical experience and occurs one person at a time when persons are sincere enough to ask for guidance. This is like changing the operating system in a computer. The machinery is still the same but the guidance system is totally different, and this creates all kinds of new possibilities.
Until we surrender, we are, no matter how pious, completely idiosyncratic. There is nothing transpersonal and nothing of importance beyond oneself until the moment of surrender. Then, inspiration replaces malfunctioning karmic agenda. No can achieve this transcendence by imitating another. Freedom from the repercussions of dysfunctional personal agenda always comes with surrender of the ego to inspiration. There is no other way but the way has always been there and it has always been lighted and beaconing.
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2002, 2006, 2009, 2014