[Jeez, one minute I’m looking at the 100 or so words left over from part 2 and thinking “how am I going to fill a whole post with what’s left?” and then next thing you know there’s enough to split it again, if I wanted to! I so love writing! But on to the blog!]
Next was the concept of the journal entry that I wrote about my brush with death in the soft and gentle blizzard a few years ago. In that entry I wrote these words:
Next is the whole Italy, or more specifically these days, Tuscany, issue. My family hails from Northern Europe. We’ve been able to trace quite a bit of the family lineage, especially on my mom’s mother’s side of the family because there is a famous (well, more like infamous) person in our direct bloodline: John Napier–yes, the bane of many a math-hater, my great-great-etc. grandfather is the one who invented logarithms. A short side story about that: I found this information from an old obituary for my great-great grandfather and showed the article to my high school calculus teacher. He very diligently and thoughtfully read the whole article and then looked up, and with a complete straight-face, said “Well. Then I’ll expect you to do better from now on!” But back to our regularly scheduled blog, in all of the family histories, we can find no existence, at least in the last 300+ years, of any line of the family coming from a more southerly location. Our lineage is strictly British (Edmunson), Irish (Ellis), Scottish (Napier), and German (Van Der Rohe–we can’t find a direct link to the famed architect Mies Van Der Rohe, although I find it fascinating that he also settled in Chicago where my mother’s parents (the Napiers and Rohes) lived). So everyone has always thought it quite strange that I 1) have darker skin that stays tan all winter, 2) tan very deeply without burning while the rest of every family member I know goes almost straight from white to red in a matter of minutes, 3) tend to speak very passionately and quickly while using my hands extensively, and 4) have always had a fascination with Italy, and, more recently Tuscany–any movie from there just connects with me deeply and quickly. Until meeting Mary and beginning to explore the idea of past lives, I’ve always explained these by saying that someone from Italy, now long lost to the history of family lineage, jaunted up to Northern Europe and did the “wild thing” with someone from my family, with the gene simply rolling recessively through our DNA for 300 years, only to POP up in me! But now…what do you think? Even if there are past lives, can physical traits be carried with us from a past life, overriding our genetic programming? Or could it be that something of the DNA from that physical person who came north and schtupped someone from the Ellis/Napier/Edmunson/Rohe clan (I’m betting on the Napiers, by the way. The rest are a very straight-laced bunch, but the Napiers include a line of hard-drinking, female, clergy–gotta love it!) carried with it a memory of the life lived by a predecessor–in other words: can DNA preserve our memories? Over multiple lifetimes?
So what do you think about all this? Hogwash? Cool stuff? Ah, interesting, but nothing major? And why is it that what YOU believe about this matters?
Because whatever came up for you while reading all this, whatever your thoughts and feelings are, they are a reflection of YOU and how you choose to operate your life! As I watch how I operate with my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in regard to past lives, whether they are “real” or not, and how I see them fitting in with my existing religious and philosophic structures, I get to learn more about me. What do I see when looking at this? First, I believe in free will. I am still strongly religious, but I want a religion where all views are welcomed, where spiritual discussions are NOT excuses to program the new participants to think like everyone else (or go to hell), but a genuine exchange of ideas by people who love learning more about new ideas and want to constantly be evolving themselves and how they see their universe. Next, I believe in not censoring myself. Even if something is out of my current beliefs about the way the world works, I want to have a sense of curiosity and child-like wonder about someone else’s radically different ideas, rather than an immediate rush to negate those views. I am an includer. Most organized religions are excluders. If you don’t believe like us, you’re wrong, and it’s our job to convert you (otherwise you will remain outside, or excluded, from grace). I believe in listening to my inner voice, even when it seems illogical. I will follow what feels right ahead of what I think is right. In other words, the way I live these days is by acting on my “intuition” (or “fast logic”) rather than acting on what my logical mind says to do after plodding through all the pros and cons. How do I do this with complete ease and comfort? I don’t believe in wrong turns or mistakes.
Mary’s daughter Elise told me the story last night about getting on the “wrong” bus to go into town looking for a computer cable. They ended up at a totally different store where she ended up meeting a guy and then consciously chose to step out of her comfort zone by asking him for his phone number. He said yes. I said, “so do you still think it was the wrong bus?” And she said “No! It was the right bus.” What’s really cool for me to notice about how I live is this (and this is a real key to being comfortable every moment of your life): I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that even in the very second I seem to have gotten on the “wrong” bus, that I am, IN FACT, on the “right” bus. All that’s left is to be curious about why this is the right bus!
So. Let’s hear from you! What do you believe about religion, past lives, believing “contradictory” things at the same time? And what do your beliefs about these things say about how you view your world/universe? We’d love to hear!