Food #16: EXCERPT- "Bridge Across Time: My Own Past Life Journey"
Discovering Your Past Lives:
Chapter 1: A Death in Virginia or
At the edge of dreams, at the fringe of memory, where body, mind, and spirit become one, there lies a bridge across time. It is a bridge which connects who you were with who you are with who you will be. It is a bridge as close to you as your breath and as far away from you as it must be to keep you safe and sane. It is a bridge that at some point in our lifetimes we all must cross.
This is the true story of how I found the Bridge Across Time and how I crossed it. It is the story of how I came to understand my past lives so that I could heal my present and build my future. By following me on my journey, I will show you how you too can discover this bridge across time and "move through time into healing".
The Dream of the Settler and the Indian
The dream was always the same. I could see my feet in badly made shoes running quickly through the tall grass. I could feel my coarse, humble grey gown catching at fallen twigs and branches. Tears of frustration clouded my eyes as I ran toward the top of the hill. I knew I could not outrun the Indian chasing me but I had to try.
There was something deep inside me that could never give up: no matter how hopeless or impossible the circumstances. I could feel my head turning to look over at my shoulder at him. As I did, my linen cap was blown off my head. My long golden hair freed itself from it's braids.
The Indian was gaining on me. Although my breath stuck in my throat and my legs ached with pain, I kept going. I was almost at the top of the hill when I felt the knife enter my back. It was a shock: I stumbled and fell forward...
I hit the ground hard. I was dazed until the sensation of the knife being pulled out of my back focused my awareness. I could feel the cold ground sting the wound on my back as my attacker rolled me over. The pain was agonizing but the fear was worse. The Indian knelt over me, using his strong knees to keep my struggling frame in place. There was a moment when we looked at one another in silence.
For a split second as I stared into his cold, unforgiving eyes, I knew exactly why this was happening to me. It was not a random act of violence, not bad luck, or even misfortune. It was happening for a reason which I somehow already knew.
As the Indian raised up his hands to plunge the dagger into my chest, I could tell that he knew why too - if only for the briefest moment.
It was then that I would wake up in a panic. The first thing I would do was look around my comfortable room and remind myself where I was and that I was safe. I would listen to the chimes of the grandfather clock downstairs to lull myself back to sleep. I would tell myself that it was just a dream.
Yet if it was only a dream: why - whenever I was troubled - would I run quite desperately the same distance through my house? When I was doing it, why would I feel that I could never run fast enough? Or that if only I could run fast enough I would somehow outrun all my troubles?
Unearthing a Death in Virginia
The answers to these questions came in the most unexpected way. I had gone on a vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia with a dear friend of mine. It was a pleasant trip which I undertook with a much enthusiasm. For I had always been fascinated by the history of the settling of Virginia by English colonists.
The last stop on our trip was Carter's Grove Plantation outside of Williamsburg. My friend, who loves going the scenic route, insisted that we travel there by the country road. That road wound for a few miles through beautiful wooded scenery. The closer we drew closer to Carter's Grove, the larger knot in my stomach got.
Reasons for not stopping there raced through my mind but none of them were good ones. Hating to spoil my friend's fun, I swallowed my inexplicable dread and in we went. Carter's Grove was a lovely place and my fears melted away.
My friend was fascinated by it and, with her usual charm, she instantly bonded with the tour guide. Having traveled with her many years, I knew this was my cue to leave so she could grill the guide about the house.
Relaxed, I walked down to the river. The guide told me that a long, abandoned English colony - Martin's Hundred - had been discovered there. Since I loved ruins, I could not wait to see it. Excitedly, I raced to the top of the hill overlooking the outline of the fort. It only took a moment for the scene to change.
Instead of mid afternoon, it was early morning with the sun just rising. Instead of a bare, modern reconstruction of the fort, I saw the complete settlement. The shore line instantly moved farther out. The buildings instead of being outlines were whole but were on fire. Smoke and screams filled the chilly air.
Then, suddenly, I stopped being the observer
In an instant, I was down there... way back then. For many days, I had slept fully clothed for I knew this attack was coming. There was so much hatred between us and the native Indians. They had helped us survive harsh winters and low food supplies. In return, we had made no attempt to understand their ways. Being the chosen of God, we "naturally" assumed our civilization was superior.
Many times, I had tried to warn those in charge about all they were doing wrong.
But who was going to listen to me: a servant, a spinster, and worse, a woman? It was not like I could have whipped out my past life resume listing out my extensive military background. All I could do was prepare myself for the inevitable disaster I was helpless to stop. When the attack came, I raced out of my bed.
I instantly saw that the fort had been taken by surprise. I knew the only thing I could do was get help from one of the other settlements. Or, at least, warn them that the Indians had finally attacked. Studying the massacre in this life, I learned that settlements up and down the river had been stricken that day at the same time.
Unlike our English military commanders, the Indians had a strategy. Before I knew it, I was running up that hill with that Indian racing after me. Then I was on the ground and he was poised to plunge the knife into my heart. I looked into the blackness of his eyes and, suddenly, we both were in another time and place. It was more than a thousand years before and a half a world away...
The Secret Murder of a Barbarian
A torch flickered barely piercing the blackness of the cell. I could see it's light dimly reflected in the polished breastplate I wore. I was pacing impatiently back and forth in front of the prisoner. He was a dirty barbarian that time: not an Indian.
I could feel my fine red and gold linen cape brushing against my arms as I moved. Instantly, I knew I was a Roman soldier charged with interrogating this man. This barbarian had penetrated the outer wall and had slipped into the City unnoticed.
He had been caught after he had broken into the armory. His mission had been to steal as many weapons as he could and take them back to his barbarian friends waiting outside the walls. If he had not been so greedy, the barbarian might well have succeeded in doing so. As the Commander in charge of the new walls in the City of Constantine, this incident would tarnish - and maybe even end - my otherwise distinguished career in the Army.
I could feel my anger at this filthy captive filling my throat. In barely understandable Greek, this barbarian spoke of me, my troops, the Emperor, and the Roman Empire with unmistakable contempt. Deep inside, I knew much of what he said was the truth. That only increased my fury. How dare he say such things to me - "Didn't he know who I was? Worse, didn't he know that he was scum?"
My aide suggested that I simply kill the barbarian. That way no one else would ever know what really happened. My aide had caught the man and had made sure that no one had seen or had spoken to him except me. I can still hear my aide's words. "A single thrust of a sword and this will all be over".
At that moment, the third hour was being called outside the cell. If I did not go now, my sharp tongued wife would berate me for not being on time and I would insult my dinner guests. Worse, I would have to turn the barbarian over to the commander of the next shift and explain his presence.
Almost without thinking, I unsheathed my dagger. I thrust it through the barbarian's heart and he died instantly. But that was not the worst part. Only - in 20th century America - could I realize the full horror of what I had done that day.
Looking Back at Myself over the Bridge Across Time
When you stand on the bridge across time staring back at who you were, there is no space for lies or excuses. There is nowhere to hide from yourself. There is only the truth. Although the truth can set you free, it can also be very hard to accept.
When I, as the City Commander, killed the barbarian, I had not acted against the laws of the time. Under Roman law, I was within my rights to have him executed for stealing. Yet I did act against the law of the universe.
This universal law is easy to understand but hard to live. It is simply: to love always - to treat others the way that you would like to be treated.
I had killed a human being: a Divine spark of God. But in that Roman lifetime, I saw that barbarian as no better than dirt under my feet. My only thought as I plunged my dagger into his beating heart was the hope that his spattering blood would not stain my fine new cape. His death was no more than a momentary inconvenience to my otherwise perfect life. I had no compassion or remorse.
I never even took a moment to consider other options. I could have just given him the standard number of lashes for stealing. I could have spared his life and sent him back into the frontier as a warning to his "countrymen". That might have served my purpose better. After all, it might have made his friends think before breaching my precious walls. But I was too busy, too lazy, too worried about what others would think. I had a life to lead and this "filthy barbarian" was in my way.
Beyond asking my aide if he had disposed of the barbarian's body, I never gave the man another thought in that lifetime. What I had done did not diminish my enjoyment of my dinner, interfere with my getting a good's night sleep, or make me feel bad in any way. It was just easier for me to brush him like dirt off my tunic than to take the time to care. From the Roman commander's viewpoint, the barbarian was invading his home and he deserved exactly what he got.
Understanding the Lesson from the Death in Virginia
I wondered if the Indian thought, as he knelt over me, that I had invaded home and deserved what I was about to get. From his point of view, all English colonists, including me, a servant without a choice, were invaders. As I looked into his eyes, I could see that there was no compassion or remorse in them. And I knew that a karmic debt long overdue was about to be paid in true coin.
It seemed like an eternity as I watched the Indian plunge his knife into my heart. But my death was as quick and painless as the barbarian's had been.
Looking back on the incident with 20th century eyes, it seems ironic that my payment for heartlessness was to be fatally wounded in the heart. But that is how I learned in the final moment of that life the lessons of tolerance and compassion.
These were lessons that I am certain I could have learned in no other way sometimes it takes an event as great as death to learn about life.
Just as the Roman commander could have let the barbarian go, the Indian could have let the woman settler go. She was no threat to him or his people - there was nothing she could have done to stop the attack. It would have been just as easy for the Indian to choose love over hate as it was for the Roman commander. Yet, for the Indian, it was as inconvenient to make that choice as it was for the Roman.
The choice had already been made. When the Roman soldier had killed the barbarian, the fate of the English settler was sealed. It was as if I, as the Roman commander, had plunged the dagger into my own heart, as the English settler. It was as if the barbarian and the Indian had never even existed at all.
How Exploration of Your Past Lives can Help You NOW
My experience as the Roman Commander and the English Settler illustrates the three primary practical benefits to be gained by exploring your own past lives.
1. Healing and Releasing Wounds and Bad Habits from
HEALING: A Horrible "Before" and a Beautiful "After" Picture
Past life healing can be instant and miraculous. After I faced the truth of what had happened in my life as an English settler, the dreams went away. My habit for inexplicable running disappeared. My "unstressed" heart rate - which had always been too fast - went down to near normal levels. Yet this was only a minor example of the true healing power that is possible by exploring your past lives.
Before I confronted and healed the wounds from many past lives, this was how I came into my current lifetime. Every morning I would spend 30 minutes coughing up phlegm which would gather in my lungs overnight. The last two fingers on my right hand acted as if they were not there. My ankles and calves were extremely tight and sore. My right wrist would swell up and stiffen for no apparent reason.
I had constant pain in my neck, back, and shoulders. I could not stand up straight without pain. I usually slept 10 hours daily. Ten years of chiropractic and three years of acupressure gave me temporary relief from the symptoms but they never did solve the problem. And over time, my pain got progressively worse.
Near the end, it was so bad that I could not find one comfortable position. Sitting, standing, and lying down were equally painful. I spent most of my spare time with pain remedies. All of these problems defied constant attempts at medical solution. Traditional medicine, alternative therapies, doctor after healer failed because my problems were not from this life. They were carryovers from past lives.
Looking back, I can hardly believe how I was able to keep going, let alone be continuously employed for twenty plus years. After journeying through my past lives, I quite literally have a brand new body. It is like I was reborn.
I have no more congestion. All my fingers work properly. My ankles, calves, and wrists are fine. I can stand up straight for hours at a time. I can move my head from one shoulder to the other and back again without pain. I have only minor tightness in my back, neck, and shoulders from time to time.
So if you have medical problems that have defied solution and are worsening over time, I invite you to consider looking for answers in your past lives.
UNDERSTANDING: There are No "Random Acts of Violence"
The past holds more than just the key to healing. Looking over the panorama of your own past lives, you can begin to make sense out of the senseless things that seem to "happen" to you. You can give meaning to otherwise meaningless, random events in your life and find the "true" purpose behind your experiences.
To the English settler, the short, unhappy life in Martin's Hundred seemed utterly pointless. When I was her, I spent a good deal of time cursing my hideous fate. The winters were harsh and the work unrelenting. As I was running up the hill looking back at the Indian chasing me, I was deeply convinced of God's injustice.
Yet, when I understood why I was dying: peacefulness washed over me. I realized and accepted that as I had sown, so was I reaping. I owed a debt and had come into that lifetime with the sole intention of repaying it. My anger at the apparent injustice was gone. For it was not unfair at all but perfectly just.
From the bridge across time, I now see that 1622 was a major turning point.
For in all the lives that followed, I never lost the respect for life and compassion for others I gained that day. That life paved the way for many better lifetimes which followed it. Not to say that there were not problems afterwards - there were - but a centuries long pattern of violence had begun to be broken.
Today I owe that woman - the "Martin's Hundred Maid" - so much. I wish I could go back to burning ruins of that lost settlement and thank her for my life today. But all I can do is stare at her from my end of the bridge across time and smile. I hope she sees the gratitude in my eyes.
BECOMING: "Career Military" Does Not Begin to Describe It
One thing I could have explained to the English settler was why she always seemed to know better than the company commanders. The simple truth was: she did. For in looking back over the bridge across time, I can see so many men - and, believe it or not, women - in military uniform. And that explains so much.
All my life, odd bits of my past kept surfacing at the most inappropriate moments. As a consequence, for the longest time, I really thought there was something seriously wrong with me. From an early age, I did not act like the typical girl.
Here are just a few examples of my "strange behavior":
At ten, I broke my wrist playing "obstacle course" with the boys (although I had Barbie dolls, I only used them to play war games - I blew Ken up and never romanced him).
For as long I can remember, I was always critiquing the battle strategies I would see in war movies. I would be thinking of how I could do it better with fewer troops or less loss of life. Just as in the lifetime as the English settler, the maid gave a great deal of thought to how the settlement's defenses could be improved.
Once I discovered who I had been, it became a lot easier to accept who I am. There was never anything wrong with me. I was just expressing who I had been and was becoming who I already am.
So if you are feeling out of place - like an accountant born into a family of artists - remember you are more like yourself than anyone else. You will be more strongly influenced by your past lives than by your present circumstances.
The truth is you are now the sum of this life and your lives before.
Your hopes and fears, your skills and shortcomings, your abilities and problems are all owed to your past selves. By coming to terms with your past, you can heal your present, and build your future.
Credits: from my book "Bridge Across Time: Healing Your Past Lives".
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Past & Now Forward Holistic Counseling,