Monday, June 23, 2008

For the past week or so, I’ve been haunted by a new “past life” memory which I’ve never remembered before, but which of course feels so intimately familiar I wonder how I ever could’ve forgotten.

Where do these come from and what makes them resurface when they do? Always I feel such aching and longing when they do, such sorrow for the loss of a precious way of life.

This memory is of ancient Greece (well not totally ancient because there are already impressive ruins). And it may not be exactly Greece, but at least that area of the Mediterranean. It seems to be a largely seafaring life, or at least the seafaring parts are the memories that are most prominent.

The qualitative feel of the memories is one of extreme well-being and contentment, of having a very rich life full of new experiences. I can feel the strong breeze coming over the prow of boat, feel the warmth of the sun beating down out of brilliant blue skies, see the white rocky coast and the hills beyond. All of those senses combine into the most luscious sense of well-being in my body.

When we anchor the boat, we go ashore and explore the surrounding countryside, finding fascinating ruins that speak of far earlier times and capture my imagination.

It is a peaceful time, a vibrant, healthy time for our civilization. There were few threats to our well-being and it was a time of abundance.

I wish we could recapture that!

I find it interesting that in all of the memories I’ve recovered over the years I have a very difficult time in remembering the people. I have a very good sense of who they were, in a general way, but I don’t usually remember individuals. I’ve heard it said that it would be too painful to remember all the friends and family and loved ones of past lives and I believe that to be very true. It would be overwhelming and sad to have full recall. All of those beautiful individuals, who manifested but once on this earth in that particular form--a product of that particular time and place.

I think it’s enough that I remember the landscapes, the scenery, and the whole “feeling-sense” of each life. I think the land gives birth to the lives lived upon it, so to re-immerse myself in the memories of those lands allows me to grasp what the relationships were like qualitatively. I don’t need to know the details (and I do think they indeed would be too painful) to get the full flavor of the lives lived.

So what triggered this memory now? There’s been something profound in just growing a garden this year--I can’t quite put my finger on it but it does feel like it connects me to the past. It may have been simply the smell of the basil I pinched back on the indoor plants. Obviously, I’ve smelled basil before. I’ve even grown it before and no Greek memories surfaced then. But it feels like right now, that beautiful pungent smell transports me there. And gardening in general gives me a sense of well-being--a pale imitation of the feeling in my memories, but a sense of well-being nonetheless. It’s been so long since I’ve revelled in that kind of overall, full-bodied feeling of wellness.

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