“I hear this mind my former lives all share.”
(David Hinton, The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan, Archipelago Books, 2004, p. 5.)
Embracing the mountain stillness where he spent his life in eighth century China, Meng Hao-jan came to hear this mind. Is this the mind that knows who I am and why I am here? If I listen as did this mountain poet will I be able to distinguish this mind from the chatter, from the debris, from the insistence of the current life?
Claire came to me some months ago having lost her way. She was penniless and without direction. It took some time for her to see and to believe that listening to the voice of despair was not the only voice. There was a child’s voice as well, a child who had been hurt and needed love. We worked on that for a while. After a time she began to be stronger, to take action, to begin to move forward. The description that follows is her last session with me. A number of voices are present from different levels, different times. Sometimes you can hear the voice that is shared by all her former lives, what I call – for lack of a better term – the voice of the soul. When the hurt is at that level what is the help that is required? And from where can it come? In this regard, my facilitation is only a role; the content comes from Above.
In previous sessions we had not made any attempt to visit past lives since there was so much in the current life that needed attention. But this time, three past lives appeared, almost unbidden.
This post is long but I feel this material needs to be made available and could help in the understanding of therapeutic work at different levels.
Jack: Where do you find yourself to be now?
Claire: All I see is that I’m a peasant in the Middle Ages, a serf, a land tiller not a landowner. It seems to be that’s always what I’m going to be. Basically, I’m a slave.
Jack: Are you a man or a woman? How old are you?
Claire: I’m a man in my twenties. I’m dirty. Everything is dirty. There are pigs nearby that I have to feed. I’m in my twenties but I feel so much older.
Jack: Because you’ve had such a hard life…
Claire: Yes. I don’t see any way out of this … ever … ever…
Jack: Let’s move ahead in this life to the next significant thing that happens…
Claire: My whole family dies of the plague. My father, mother, brothers and sisters, older and younger. They suffered…
Jack: Do you die too?
Claire: No. I have to keep on. There doesn’t seem to be any prospects of marriage either.
Jack: So let’s move on again.
Claire: I’m on my deathbed. I’m 33, coughing blood. There are stupid doctors around, they bleed you. And a priest who is giving me the last rites. But I’m not sad to die because I’m tired of this life.
Jack: Rising up above the body and looking down, tell me a little bit about that scene…
Claire: [pause] I can’t say anything. I just can’t wait to get out of the body for good.
Jack: So you move out of the body and look back down. The body was pretty much done with. I’d like you to see if you can leave all of that now with a sense of forgiveness. A release of all that. It needs to be left behind in the past. It’s not a question of condoning what took place – it was a vicious system. But for some reason the soul needed to experience that. Now it all needs to be left behind. A sense of detachment, a letting go is taking place, a forgiveness, a forgiveness for the whole system, a forgiveness for the doctor who doesn’t know what he’s doing, a forgiveness for the priest who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Is it possible to allow all that to be left behind?
Jack: What happens as you move away from that life? Is there something happening?
Claire: I feel a tightness in my throat. You know what it reminds me of? Those animals that have a yoke around their neck, pulling a plow through the fields, or tilling.
Jack: Let’s stay with that tightness. Maybe there is something here that has not been fully dealt with… What is it that’s got you by the neck?
Claire: I was hanged…
Jack: Go back now in that life to before the hanging took place. What is happening?
Claire: I was a writer but I was anti-government. I think it was France, during the French Revolution. My writing is important. It will help other people.
Jack: Are you a man or a woman?
Claire: A man. I’m against the monarchy. I’m very poor, often hungry when I’m writing, and again there seems to be no way out of this life. I’m in my forties.
Jack: So in both these lives, no way out except dying. In both cases, no other way out.
Claire: It’s the only way I can be free.
Jack: Let’s go to this final event, the hanging you mentioned. You don’t have to be in it, you can be above it, see it take place, see the people involved. What is happening?
Claire: There are 5 of us being hanged at once.
Jack: This is an example for the people then.
Claire: But the crowd gets really weird and enjoys it.
Jack: I want you to rise up above that. You see it take place. You feel the separation take place. You look down. You know the people engaged in doing it have no awareness, it’s all mechanical.
Claire: Human life has no value.
Jack: It has no value in the eyes of those people. It shows you their system of belief.
Claire: They burned everything I wrote. I’m leaving nothing behind.
Jack: So you never got published. You did all that work, went hungry and nothing came of it. Here is another life now that you must leave behind. You must forgive the people who perpetrated all of that. Let go and leave it in the past. You made an effort to correct something in the world. It appears that did not achieve it, but we don’t really know. You would have had associations with others souls and you would have had an effect on them, whether you were aware of it or not. The same with the other life too – you would have had relationships with people. There’s a pattern of connections. We can’t really see that whole web of connections. We don’t really know what took place.
Claire: It’s like I can’t really let go completely of either one. [the intonation becomes desperate] I’m carrying something back. I’m reliving it now. I’m holding on to it, carrying it on my back.
Jack: Yes, suffering and disappointment.
Claire: [whispered] Hopelessness.
Jack: At the same time, we have present here Claire of today from the year 2012 who’s very capable of seeing and understanding with the mind what an impact these two lives have on the current life. It’s very clear that there’s an impact here, there’s also a symbolism. By trying to set things right in the world, you get hanged. By trying to earn a living the only escape is death. Your relationship to writing. These have an impact in various areas of the current life. It’s possible to be clear in the mind of Claire of today. These two individuals need to be comforted so that you can let go of what took place a long time ago. There is still a residue being felt.
Claire: It feels like they’re running in parallel to my present life.
Jack: Yes, they are running in parallel. They’re having an effect still. But they don’t need to. We’re told all these lives happen concurrently. There’s something that needs to be let go of – released. Because it’s not relevant to this moment, today, October 24, 2012. On this day those two lives are something on another track. That track can be set aside, left behind. So I’d like you to come back into that hammock once again, where we began this session. It’s rocking very gently back and forth. Let it rock you back and forth, a very gentle, comforting movement, as if that movement in itself allows these other two lives to move further and further away … further and further away … so that they recede into the past where they belong, left in the past where they belong, so that the soul of the Claire of today feels comforted with that gentle protected movement, in a beautiful environment, feeling rocked by the wind and the waves and the sounds that are present. These lives are losing their vibrancy because they’re being left in the past. How does that movement feel in you now?
Claire: [pause] I don’t know why I’m feeling this but I feel like I don’t deserve to be in a hammock in a nice place. I don’t know why…
Jack: But you are there. You can feel yourself there in that hammock. But I think we need now to call on something else, something that will help affirm what Claire really deserves. We need to call on some kind of higher force, or entity, or person, that can come and inform Claire of her worth.
Claire: It’s kind of like a pyramid, not Egyptian, Aztec or Mayan or something. I don’t know why. There are steps going up to the top, and that’s where I have to go.
Jack: I see. There’s another relevant life we need to look at then. So what happens as you move up those steps? How old are you?
Claire: I’m a little girl of 8. It’s hard because they are big steps and my legs are small. I have the weight of the world on my shoulders although I’m supposed to be light, light-hearted.
Jack: Why is that? Why do you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Claire: I’m supposed to be the next priestess or something. People are depending on me. It’s part of a ritual.
Jack: This is important, you have to do the right thing…
Claire: I don’t want that responsibility but it’s not my choice… I have no choice.
Jack: So you’re moving up. You didn’t ask to be put in this position, once again you have no control. You’re moving up and up. What’s the next important thing that happens in this scene?
Claire: At the top there’s like a hole in the middle of the pyramid and there’s fire at the bottom … in the middle. I’m supposed to sacrifice something and I cannot. An animal, a sheep.
Jack: So what happens then?
Claire: [crying] I just can’t do it. I’m a disgrace.
Jack: Who else is there with you?
Claire: Elders, frowning. I’m going to be punished but I’d rather take the punishment than kill an innocent being.
Jack: What happens to you?
Claire: The punishment is that I’m going to be isolated from the rest of the people … for eternity. A curse is put on me. I have to find my own food, my own survival. I’m only 8 so it’s difficult. It’s scary in the forest. I never have enough to eat.
Jack: How does this end?
Claire: I’m in the foetal position and I’m dying of hunger. I’m 10. I survived another two years. [pause]
Now I’m seeing all kinds of visions. It’s like I’m losing my mind.
Jack: Your mind is going elsewhere, that’s all. What are the visions about?
Claire: Wolves, and spirits … good spirits … protecting me. [intonation of surprise] They look like aurora borealis, long and high and light-like. They are close to me. But I’m almost not believing in them because I think they’re just visions. It’s the first time I’ve ever had anything benevolent come to me in that life.
Jack: So it’s mysterious, it’s strange, it’s probably a little scary even … but nevertheless you can feel their benevolence. Right?
Jack: So just concentrate on that feeling of benevolence. You can see a movement in the shapes, they don’t have a definite shape. They keep moving and there’s a light, a brightness to them, a gentleness to them. And they’re there in order to reassure you that, even though you’ve had terrible things happen, you are still essentially okay … because they’re with you. And that’s why they’re there. To reassure you.
Claire: Because I’m a child. I did nothing wrong.
Jack: It’s very clear you did nothing wrong. But you suffered as result of some weird belief system by those dudes on that pyramid. You had to pay a price for it that had nothing to do with you.
Claire: I want to become a spirit like those I am seeing around me now.
Jack: Is there any information conveyed to you? Any understanding … what happens?
Claire: I’m making associations. I’m thinking of the Holy Spirit. I’m thinking of speaking in tongues. I’m thinking of grace. That’s what it feels like.
Jack: You are entering that state of grace once again. You are reliving it. You can feel yourself close to that once again… I’d like you to look specifically at the fact that those spirits are there to help and protect and comfort.
Claire: They’re taking me to the other side.
Jack: Yes. I’d like you to feel inside yourself the part that they’re caring for. It’s not the 8 year old or the 10 year old, it’s a deeper part, the soul that is behind that incarnation and that part is still present today, it’s the same soul. There is a relationship between those helper spirits that have come to comfort and the soul. You can feel how this help is there to support … to strengthen … so the soul begins to realize that it has an importance. It has it’s own independent life.
Claire: They are talking to me without talking. They are conveying thoughts of trust and innocence … and compassion. But I’m having trouble believing them.
Jack: What you need to believe is what you’re feeling. You can feel their benevolence.
Claire: But I have a yearning. I don’t want to come back to Earth. But I have to come back.
Jack: Somehow a decision was made to come back and you are here right now in Jack’s office. You are back once again. But you’re learning to separate out these pieces from the past, and leave them in the past. It’s very important to reinforce this contact with these spirits who are so helpful. These spirits are still around.
Claire: I came back. I was supposed to help … somebody. [pause; whispering now] I think I need to help me, help myself.
Jack: You have to help Claire first before you can help others.
Claire: It’s so hard…
Jack: It’s hard but you have the help of these spirits who are as much present now in this moment as they were then. Can you feel them present?
Jack: Of course you can feel them. And the information that comes to you now without words is also available to you. You need only open to it, receive it. You need only ask and it will be given to you.
Claire: They’re so ancient and wise.
Jack: We are living in a world where each person has free will. Over time the choices begin to become more intelligent. There are choices to make now and it’s clear that it’s toward this benevolence that you must turn.
Claire: They are showing me that my pain is nothing. They’re showing me all the pain, extreme pain. They are showing me [gasp, sobs]
… and all the genocides…
Jack: They wouldn’t be showing that if they didn’t think I could take it.
Claire: It happened to others but to me too. [pause] I’m supposed to bring light, help to bring light to people. I don’t know how.
Jack: You don’t have to know how. It will be given to you, because of your contact with those spirits … it will just come. But you have to accept.
Claire: It’s hurting me to accept. It feels like too much responsibility. [continuing to cry]
Jack: It’s like the responsibility you felt when walking up that pyramid. But you can see that that was a false responsibility. It was laid on you; it was not yours at all.
Claire: I feel like a feather. I’m too light. I can’t take it.
Jack: They wouldn’t be asking you to do this if they didn’t know you could do it.
Claire: They don’t know.
Jack: Of course they know.
Claire: I pretend.
Jack: You can’t pretend in front of those spirits. They know precisely who and what you are. And they’re showing you what you need to see… You can choose to resist … it’s up to you. Concentrate on the benevolence of those spirits, their compassion, their love. This is something you can trust.
Claire: They’re so sad.
Jack: They have good reason to be sad. But your strength can be drawn from them. If you feel light as a feather you can ask them for strength and become strong as a mountain.
Claire: Maybe I have to start as a tree first. A bamboo.
Jack: Yes, it bends with the wind and doesn’t break. So you’re at a particular juncture now, October 24th, 2012… something needs to bend in the wind…
Claire: I’m lightning too. There’s a pain in the pit of my stomach again. That must be resistance.
Jack: What emotion is it connected to?
Claire: Anger. Why me? What the fuck?
Jack: But that’s what’s happened. You’re being given a very clear message that you were chosen to bring light, to help.
Claire: St-Francis. So poor. All those guys, so poor. It’s like you can’t do good unless you’re poor. Doesn’t make any sense. People don’t trust you when you’re rich. Even the bums in the street… everyone is better off than they are.
Jack: What do the spirits say about that? You need to ask.
Claire: They’re showing me. Water, water, water. Water going over rocks … flowing around … just flowing … don’t worry … don’t even think about it. [pause; change in intonation] More good can be done with money though.
Jack: So what is the purpose of showing you water?
Claire: Just let it go. You don’t have to do anything to the rocks, they’re just part of the landscape.
Jack: So it’s not up to you in a way.
Claire: There are veins of gold in the rock. There are nuggets of gold.
Jack: You can just reach down and pick them up. Just reach down. Everything is there, everything is provided, nothing is lacking, but you do have to reach down and pick it up.
Claire: Oh, … too much trouble.
Jack: When you say “too much trouble” what do the spirits say in response?
Claire: They say, “A lot of resistance!” [we laugh; pause] Bending over is a lot of trouble. They’re calling me lazy. It’s okay that they do that. They’re saying that they can’t do it for me. That’s why I’m in this human body.
Jack: Why exactly?
Claire: To be a vehicle for something.
Jack: That’s right it has a purpose. But there’s a resistance. Of course there has to be resistance otherwise there wouldn’t be any purpose, there wouldn’t be any work, there wouldn’t be any action. It takes both – what’s needed to be done and the resistance.
Claire: Why couldn’t it just be easy?
Jack: Because then there wouldn’t be a dynamic. No movement. It’s dead.
Claire: There’s a tiredness. Who’s that guy who had to carry that big rock up the mountain? And rolls back down.
Jack: Sisyphus. He was condemned to doing that for eternity.
Claire: And there’s that guy that got his liver picked out by birds? Prometheus. Each and every one of us are those guys. I don’t want to be a martyr.
Jack: I don’t think you’re being asked to be a martyr this time. You’re just being asked to get on with it.
Claire: It feels like it though. This victim shit.
Jack: Well, you’re acting in that role because of past incarnations. But you’re not being asked to do that. I think it’s habit.
Claire: It’s my interpretation.
Jack: Yes, it’s your interpretation, and this resistance that doesn’t want to reach down and pick up those nuggets that are right there.
Claire: [intonation of being disgusted with herself] They are golden nuggets … but I like silver better.
Jack: Yes, there is that part that has to come to terms, that part that’s isolated, that is set off by itself, a part that can never be completely sufficient all on its own. It has to come to be part of this larger picture that includes the spirits and the rocks and all this other stuff. It has been isolated but it doesn’t have to be, it can move towards a kind of fulfillment, a plénitude. [pause]
Claire: I’m in this space where it’s cold, lonely and there is no sound.
Jack: You’re in between. Maybe you need to move up and up into the white light where you can maybe have some clearer advice.
Claire: I need warmth.
Jack: So what happens now? Where are you going? Where is the movement taking you.
Claire: Upward. Like a light elevator. Sparks. Sparks that are all people.
Jack: Yes, little intelligent points of light.
Claire: I don’t know where I’m going.
Jack: Just keep moving up and up…. There’s a certain level that has to be reached.
Claire: There’s this part of me that just wants to die.
Jack: It can’t die because it’s immortal. Maybe it just wants to give up.
Claire: It doesn’t want to be in this incarnation. It hopes that a next one will be better. The next one, not this one.
Jack: Yes, but there are still lots of opportunities in this one. And there’s a great need on this planet at the moment. A huge need.
Claire: But it’s not me. I’m too small to help.
Jack: Well, I’m not sure that’s what those wise spirits said. They wouldn’t be asking you to help…
Claire: I’m just telling them to go fuck themselves, that’s all.
Jack: Yes, you’re free to do that.
Claire: It’s not very nice. They’re laughing at me.
Jack: You’re being willful, from a position that has no power.
Claire: Like the terrible twos.
Jack: Maybe it’s a question of maturity. There’s a child there who really doesn’t want to grow up…
Claire: Stomping her feet.
Jack: Yes, she’s saying, “No, no, no … I’m not going to be any part of that.” The child is very naturally in that state because it did not receive enough love in this life. That’s why the present incarnation is so difficult. And now that love has to come from somewhere else … so Claire has to find that, provide it for herself. That’s how we’ve been working. Providing that love for that little child who stomps her foot and doesn’t want to participate any more, who wants to take her marbles and go home. Claire is needed. There are many indications that she is needed. There has to be great and deep compassion for this situation, for this child. Only through compassion and love can the child really begin to mature and turn into the wonderful woman that she really is.
Claire: I have to convince myself that I can.
Jack: It’s not a question of can, it’s question of want. The trouble is you can’t know ahead of time, the future is unknown, you have to move forward, you have to be like the Fool in the tarot cards, you’re walking along a cliff, you have no idea where you’re going… But you’re happy because you’re on the path.
Claire: But I can fall off, falling and falling…. Terrible.
Jack: Is that possible? You have to land somewhere.
Claire: It’s hell.
Jack: You’re never alone. Spirits can communicate, nudge things in the right direction, it’s not their place to do what you have to do. Claire has been very resistant to doing those things.
Claire: I’m cold.
Jack: You need to allow that hammock and that scene to bring you warmth, have it enter into the body. You deserve this hammock, and this warmth. You deserve to have the ressources you need to do what you need to do. It’s not just a piece of imagination, it’s a fact.
Claire: I’m dizzy now, everything is turning. But I just have to find the centre, the point of stability. I have to get up off the hammock and touch the tree.
Jack: Sit with your back against the tree.
Claire: The tree is like an old man…
Jack: So the anger can be absorbed by the tree and recycled into the earth. The energy gets recycled.
Claire: Can we come back now?
Jack: Let’s visualize that tree. Retaining that image clearly, feeling the support like an old man..
Jack: He’s a magician, he can wave his magic wand and the resistance can disappear. Just visualize him waving that wand, so that Claire can continue to do what needs to be done in this incarnation… Gandalf can do things like open a door…
Claire: But I have to do the work…
Jack: Coming down this avenue of tall trees now to a doorway back to the present place and time…
Claire: Arm and arm with Gandalf…