Thread of Time
Images from the past, whether they arise spontaneously or are sought in response to a burning need, always bring with them their own immutable truth. Not soft-edged like wishes and day-dreams, but bright, proclaiming the reality of their existence: the blond laughing fellow, the sad fair-haired girl.
So, too, the thought, unexpected and decisive, that surfaced one hot summer afternoon so far from home: I have been here before, but I shall never come here again. A ‘decision’ almost overturned some twenty years later by the equally unexpected exclamation: “But I should be there!”
People often ask why we don’t remember our past lives, as if the question itself somehow disposes of the concept, forgetting that we don’t consciously remember our birth even into this life. There are two answers: quite simply, that some people do remember other lifetimes; and, more picturesquely, that an actor taking on a new role in a new drama has to agree to forget, for the time being, any previous roles in other dramas.
So what is it that persuades us of pre-existence? Where does the ‘knowing’ come from? One hint alone is hardly recognised, even two or three may be coincidence. In the end, it’s the accumulation of ‘evidence’ that convinces, the gathering of clues over the years, the collection of way-markers lining the edges of the mind. The book I touch gently with my finger tips, unregarded at first, becomes precious with wakened memory, and the cheap framed print on the wall sharp with new meaning when recognised as an ancient talisman, a valued companion if I should die, alone again, one dark December night.
The candle flame flickers, lengthens, draws me softly in. I am the source of the dream and the dream itself, a living thread of time.
“In this life,” I ask, “have I met any souls from that other time? And him, have I met him again?”
His image then, tall and gently smiling, shakes the foundations of my disbelief. Other images too, some recognised, some unacknowledged… that young man, briefly known but never forgotten, were we acquaintances once before, long ago? If so, then I gladly accept, in my turn, the act of kindness which changed a life and completed again an unbroken circle.
And although the awareness has grown gradually that nothing happens without its preceding action, nor is anything without consequence, it is this ordinary day, adorned only by a simple candle, that marks the before and after of a more detailed perception; the unremarkable book and the faded print lending recognition that even events not directly linked form part of the cosmic jigsaw, the fragmented reflection of our own eternity. Unanswered questions still drift across each fading image. What mistake, and whose, lies between the fair-haired girl and the young woman in the yellow dress, linking century with century and love with love? And finally, almost as an afterthought, “What happened to my own children?”
The candle flickers again. In awe and wonder, I remember a smile reaching down the centuries and across the veil between spirit and matter. And I know that everything of importance, and much that is no longer important, has been made known. I put out the candle and gently close the book.
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> A day in my life