I remember bits and pieces of some of my more colorful past lives. I never get the full story, though – just quick, disconnected flashes lacking any kind of meaningful context.
I know I was once the leader of a secret religious order called Lamb of God. But I only see images of torchlight flickering on roughhewn walls; of long white tunics and heavy crosses worn around the neck. It would be nice to know a little more, but that’s all I have.
And then there’s a shamanic episode a couple of centuries later that took place on Navajo land: I see images of a black horse galloping at me, its rider silhouetted against the sun; I’m raising my arms, and wearing a long cape that seems to be made of shiny black feathers.
In general, I’m not all that fascinated by the idea of past lives, so I haven’t gone out of my way to find out more. I don’t know, maybe that’s because I tend to remember less about past lives and more about past deaths.
I’ve been burned at the stake. Shot in the back. But before I talk about past death, I want to go back a minute and tell you more about that shamanic memory. It took place at Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly, during an amazing 5 day InnerVision journey I did with Fran in 2008. (if you don’t know who Fran is, see any of the blog entries listed under ‘Sedona’s spiritual connection.’)
We toured a great big loop through Arizona and Utah. It was amazing – someday maybe I’ll write the whole story as an epic 5-parter. We hit lots of well known sacred spots on that trip: Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley etc., as well as some lesser known areas like Mexican Hat.
Fran had long been telling me about Mexican Hat. She was afraid of that place; she knew she had a deep connection to that very troubled land, and that she was supposed to do something powerful there but had never felt ready. She told me the land had been raped – mined for uranium which was then processed at nearby mills, leaving the area with permanently polluted groundwater.
InnerVision journeys are never planned ahead of time. Fran just goes wherever Spirit leads. As we approached Mexican Hat, her description of its painful history grew more heated and angry. I was expecting to see a ravaged landscape, but as we got out of the car the place struck me as astonishingly beautiful, a study in red rocks and green (don’t drink it) water.
Suddenly she stopped in mid-rant. She was remembering she’d been ‘told’ long ago that she would one day bring someone there who would heal the land. And she just now realized that someone was me.
Time stopped and I watched myself out-of-body as I said to her: “To heal the land, we need to love the rapists.”
I wasn’t entirely sure at the time what I meant by that. But the other night I realized that this episode actually connects to another one, a past-death memory. Here’s that past-death story as it’s told in my book:
…The next thing I knew, I was in three places at once. Part of me was reliving my own murder from a previous lifetime, a brutal rape and strangulation. Yet it wasn’t nearly as scary or disturbing as you’d expect, because a second part of me was peacefully watching it unfold from a detached bird’s-eye viewpoint and the third part of me knew I was safely lying in my own bed the whole time.
‘I’m being shown this for a reason.’ This was the thought that filled my mind, and I knew it was the truth. ‘I’m supposed to forgive this guy.’
Yet it didn’t seem to require forgiveness in the usual sense of the word. I didn’t get that I was supposed to be saying, “Oh, there, there, it’s ok that you’re murdering me.”
It seemed I was being asked to remain open-hearted and peacefully present while he did this awful thing. So I did. And as I made the choice to do it, I dimly sensed that this decision to stay loving in the face of hatred was having a big effect, shuffling the deck on my own past or future timeline, although I couldn’t begin to say how.
This past-death experience occurred shortly before I was introduced to A Course in Miracles. Now I recognize that it was asking me to practice forgiveness as defined by the Course: To completely overlook the imagined transgressions of this world – no matter how evil or terrifying they might seem – and to respond only with love.
And what’s the payoff, you ask, for responding with love instead of attack or defense? The payoff is huge. Probably more awesome than you or I can comprehend, in fact.
When I made the choice to offer only love and peace to that rapist-murderer (instead of responding with terror and rage as I had done the first time around), I felt a massive shift that I described at the time as ‘shuffling the deck.’ But it really felt as if time itself was collapsing, shortening my journey immeasurably. I had the strong impression, in fact, that it was rewriting my past or future to leave out certain painful portions because those lessons were learned now.
A Heavenly do-over, if you will. Pretty powerful stuff.
So, back to Mexican Hat. Could that ravaged land really be healed through the simple action of choosing to love its ‘rapists’? I’m thinking yes. If time and destiny fall like dominoes when love is chosen over fear, surely the Earth can be healed by that same gently loving choice.
After all, that’s another of the Course’s basic tenets: We’re all One with everything that is. Which presumably includes every rock and stream. Heal ourselves as we heal the rapists, and in that simple choice the land is automatically healed too. So can you imagine just how powerful love really is?
I don’t know; something to think about.