Today I reread a book that was pivotal to you and I, Many Lives, Many Masters, by Dr. Brian Weiss. After I read the book initially when we were just starting our relationship, I sent it to you and simply said, "You must read this." You did and you told me it changed your life. I was glad, because it had changed mine too. More or less, the philosophy discussed in this book provided more peace than any religion or spiritual concept either of us had studied. It also changed our views on death. After reading the book, we had shared with one another that we "no longer feared death." And then I watched you die. I was VERY afraid.
Over the past couple weeks, I've been experiencing a deep depression in my grief – one that is definitely darker than anything I have ever felt or ever witnessed in someone else. The worst part of this phase of grief is that with it has come faithlessness. Before you died, I thought the world was at my fingertips, love was on my lips, and life was beautiful. I thought the universe was on my side. And since you've been gone, I've been cursed with suffering, uncertainty, and the loss of the man who knew me better and loved me more than anyone.
So this morning, as an attempt to remember what I once believed in, and moreover, what YOU believed in, I reread the book that had impacted our lives so intensely.
The book tells the true story of a psychiatrist, Dr. Weiss, and his patient, Catherine. Catherine had come to see Weiss because she struggled with intense phobias that prevented her from living a normal life. Dr. Weiss, who is rooted in the scientific method and rational Western medicine and thought, is used to prescribing medications and using general therapeutic procedures for treatment. The doctor's philosophy and perspective is shattered when he puts Catherine under mild hypnosis to help her unleash childhood memories, and instead, she regresses to a past life where she lives as a Nubian slave in ancient Egypt. She remembers details from that life and facts from the era that are so specific they could only be identified by historians who specialize on Egypt. It is her death at the end of her life in Egypt thousands of years before which plagues her and causes one of the irrational fears in her current life.
Dr. Weiss works with Catherine over the course of time and she regresses back to parts of 87 different lives that she had experienced on the physical plane. She was a solider in what is now Ukraine in the eighteenth century, a male teacher in Japan, worked in a monastery in Switzerland hundreds of years ago, she was a young Moroccan boy who died in his youth, a slave in the South who was the illegitimate daughter of her owner, a prostitute in Spain named Louisa, an American Indian who lived on the Southwest Florida coast, a very ancient cave dweller, and many more. There are many texts and stories out there that discuss reincarnation. In fact, reincarnation was prominent in the Old and New Testament, but was removed by Constantine at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. for fear that is would disrupt political stability. I have personally believed in reincarnation for as long as I can remember. But my main root in this philosophy is that a world of immortal souls is more hopeful than a destination of Hell or even nothing at all. But isn't hope what faith is all about anyway?
But what sets this book apart from the rest in its class is that Catherine goes on to convey information from in-between lives. She unleashes secrets and messages from the Masters – ascended spirits that exist in seven different planes in the spiritual realm. We learn about the purpose of life, karma, debts, and deaths. We learn about how groups of souls often travel together. While you may be my soulmate in this life, you could be my mother in the next, for example. We learn about what happens after death and between incarnations. We learn about if loved ones have the opportunity to connect with us from beyond the grave. We see information gleaned from the collective unconscious that Carl Jung spoke of. We learn about faith. Well, we learn about all of this if we're open to it. In the book, even Catherine has her doubts.
Dr Weiss writes, "The conscious Catherine, when awake, was much more anxious and limited, much simpler and comparatively superficial. She could not tap into this superconscious state. I wondered if the prophets and sages of Eastern and Western religions, those called "actualized," were able to utilize this superconscious state to obtain their wisdom and knowledge. If so, then we all had the ability to do so, for we must all possess this superconscious... I would become increasingly frustrated by the uncrossable gulf between Catherine's conscious, awake intellect and her trance-level superconscious mind. While she was hypnotized, I would have fascinating philosophical dialogues with her at the superconscious level. When awake, however, Catherine had no interest in philosophy or related matters. She lived in the world of everyday detail, oblivious of the genius within her."
What restores my faith is the hope that there is a purpose in this suffering. That maybe it will teach me, or you, or someone a lesson that will make the next step more peaceful and less painful. It gives me the hope that all is not lost. It gives me the hope that you are overseeing me and all of those who miss you so deeply.
The subscription to the beliefs addressed in the text allow me to think you are both conscious and blissful right now. Perhaps you are even nearby. One of the most painful aspects of my grief is that you are somewhere hurting and alone. Even worse, is the fear that you are completely gone, physically and spiritually. But why would I trouble myself with these fears when I didn't believe them two months ago? Why would I cause myself more pain by believing the worst now? I'm trying to get back to my core and remind myself that just because there has been a nightmare in my life, it does not mean I need to rewrite my belief system to be a nightmare too.
When Dr. Weiss is talking to a Master via Catherine in hypnosis, he
asks, "Why do we come back [to the physical realm] to learn? Why can't
we learn as spirits? The master responds, "Those are different levels
of learning, and we must learn some of them in the flesh. We must feel
the pain. When you're a spirit you feel no pain. It is a period of
renewal. Your soul is being renewed. When you're in a physical state in
the flesh, you can feel pain; you can hurt. In spiritual form you do not
feel. There is only happiness, a sense of well-being."
While the book gives me tremendous hope at a point in my life where I've never needed it more, it doesn't relinquish the work. While I am clinging onto the faith that there is more than just this life and that we may meet again someday, I still have to live this life without you by my side. And while the big picture provides some solace, the short term is my whole life as I know it, and that's not to be taken lightly. Uncertainty, patience, and time are still the enemies I need to befriend and the the lessons I need to learn. But in the meantime, I am fueled with a bit more belief, faith, and connection today than the skepticism and isolation than I have been living with in the past couple of weeks.
A Master says, "Patience and timing... everything comes when it must come. A life cannot be rushed, cannot be worked on a schedule as so many people want it to be. We must accept what comes to us at a given time, and not ask for more. But life is endless, so we never die; we were never really born. We just pass through different phases. There is no end. Humans have many dimensions. But time is not as we see time, but rather in lessons that are learned."