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Quest For The Afterlife - part 15
Clues In The Past
In the days following my meeting Maryanne, I would come to realize just how much we plan for ourselves prior to beginning a new incarnation. There is no doubt that life is trying and full of twists and turns which may lead us to question our existence. Usually, we don't form such questions when life is good for us. We're too busy enjoying ourselves to stop and wonder what it's all about. It's not until we are faced with sadness, worry, or dissatisfaction over some event that we look about us in bewilderment.
This is because we are innately selfish creatures. When I refer to being selfish, I don't mean in the classical sense as in being only concerned about our own happiness, but rather the fact that we live our lives for us. It is our life in the making which concerns us. We cannot live that life for anyone else, nor can anyone else live our life for us. Our journeys are about our own spiritual evolvement, and while there are others with whom we surround ourselves, they are only the window dressing. They are the tools by which we learn the lessons we've come to learn.
There are those who would argue with me, insisting that everything they do, every breath they take, every decision they make, is a reflection of their need to care for their children, or their parents, or whatever else they believe is central to their existence. That simply isn't so.
Our lessons are for us, alone. We care for our children because we have a need to learn through that experience. We may be learning about compassion, or selfless giving, or how to find joy in something outside of our internal world, but it still comes down to our need to learn, to experience. By the same token, those others in our lives, are living for themselves. We need to remember their decisions and actions are about their spiritual need to evolve, but because our lives are intertwined, we serve as catalysts to the lessons being learned individually.
During the hundreds of lives we've lead or will lead, we will play many roles. We will be killers, victims, handicapped either physically or mentally. We will be leaders, followers, wealthy and poor. Look around you and take notice of the many different types of personalities and understand that you have either lived a life similar to theirs or will be doing so at a later date. This is because the different perspectives afforded by living those lives are what create the depths of understanding our souls must achieve in order to become evolved.
I got to know Maryann in the weeks following New Years. She was quite a few years older than I, came from an entirely different background, and yet we seemed to be kindred spirits. Because of my new-found understandings, I wondered why we had been brought together.
I continued to do light meditation as time permitted. I still had a tendency to doze off if I was very tired because I still hadn't broken the habit of packing too much into a single day. One afternoon, as I was sinking into a good meditation state, I suddenly realized that I was no longer relaxing comfortable on my sofa. I could feel the cushions beneath my body, but my mind certainly wasn't resting in the same room. I'm not saying I “left” my body in the classic sense people refer to as out of body experiences. No, I was very much aware of what room in my house I was physically meditating, but my mind was “seeing” another place altogether.
When I first began to experience these types of things, they startled me. Sometimes I was so startled that I came hurtling back to conscious reality so rapidly it would cause my heart to race and pound. I hadn't yet learned how to calm myself enough to go right back to what I had been doing. On the occasions I managed to maintain a semblance of calm, I was always amazed by the vivid scenes I could see. More interesting to me was the fact that though it felt like I was say, raising my arm, in the scene, I knew I wasn't raising it in my physical state. As much as I've tried, I've never been able to accurately describe the feeling. It's as if I'm in two places and I'm able to feel and observe my senses of touch and smell, in both places. I am conscious enough to recognize that I'm still physically sitting in my armchair at home, yet it also seems I'm physically in this other place. I've never been hypnotized, but I imagine the similarities are striking.
On this particular occasion, I was aware that I was in a thick forest. It was absolutely gorgeous. The sun shone through the canopy of the trees here and there creating a dappled affect. I was walking along a pathway that wove in and out of the trees, and I was in the company of my sister. Don't ask me how I knew it was my sister, I just did. I knew I was about 14 or 15 years old, but I also wasn't thinking of myself in the way young teenagers today might. I felt like I was a fully grown young woman, quite capable of getting married and running a household. I knew, too, that it was the 15th or 16th century. I couldn't quite make it out. I kept getting “15th century” as well as “1500's”. I don't know if it was a little of both as in from the late 1400's into the 1500's.
I had a slight feeling of apprehension, sort of like butterflies in my stomach. Where ever we were headed toward, I was nervous. I looked over at the girl walking beside me. I can only describe the feeling as one of shock. I knew, without a doubt, that she was Maryanne! My conscious 21st century mind registered the shock and surprise, and even questioned how it could be. The girl walking beside me looked nothing like the Maryanne I knew, but I couldn't convince myself it wasn't really her. I knew, without any doubt, she and Maryanne were one and the same.
She was very pretty and at least two years older than I, but more likely about four years older. She walked with purpose. Her bearing was almost regal, head held high, walking steadily along. I understood that she was taking me somewhere. We never spoke, but she did reach out to hold my hand as though she knew of my apprehension.
Eventually, we came to a strange sort of dwelling. It was a home set into what looked like a hill formed from a pile of rocks. It appeared to be a natural formation, as though dirt and debris had coated this pile until it created a hill with one side exposed. A wall and doorway had been fitted on the exposed side to make the strange dwelling. I assumed the interior was actually an alcove under the pile of rocky hill.
Hanging all about on racks made from sticks and twigs, were bunches of herbs drying. I don't recall seeing any animals, but I remember taking their existence for granted. Sitting on the ground outside the door to her humble abode was an elderly woman, whom I thought of as the “woman in the woods.” She smiled a somewhat toothless grin up at us. She wasn't at all scary looking in her appearance, just older and poor. I knew she was considered a mystic by the townspeople, that they both feared and revered her. It was to her that they came seeking medicines and even spells. My modern mind was fascinated with the events. I couldn't stop watching.
The woman stood, and peered into my face, her eyes searching for some answer. I realized how kindly was her countenance and remembered wondering how anyone could be afraid of her. Then my modern mind realized that of course people would be afraid. In reality, she was just a woman skilled with the medicinal properties of herbs and plants, but she also dabbled in areas fed by superstition. Considering the era, it would only be natural for her to play at spell making and those things more mystical. It was how she earned a meager living.
She took my hand and still peering into my face she asked, “So Caitlin? Are ye still afraid?”
It was at this very point I was jolted back to conscious reality. One second the woman was peering into my face and the next the entire scene was gone and I was sitting with my heart pounding. Her words had been spoken with such a thick Irish brogue, I had no doubt we had been in Ireland. The thought crossed my mind that I now understood why I always had wanted to visit the country, and why it was called the Emerald Isle. The greens of the forest were so vibrant and lush, I wouldn't imagine any other name or term would fit.
When she pronounced my name, she said it like Kate Leen. I don't know what I had been afraid of, but I must have still been mighty scared because I bounced right back to my life in the 21stcentury with no warning, no time to attempt to remain. It was all just gone.
Over the next several days, I attempted to return to that wooded place but was unable. One rainy afternoon I settled down to try once more. I had decided not to pursue the woods, but rather to attempt to find out more about Maryanne. Who was she in the past? What did I need to know about her?
I saw her walking along the crest of a gently rolling hill and was immediately aware that I was now viewing a scene from another century altogether. It was the year 1142 AD. She was a wealthy woman by the standards of the day, and she was deeply worried about her husband. He was away fighting for his king and I don't believe the campaign was going well. I tried to get her name but couldn't get anything beyond “Lady...” It seemed to be just beyond my mental reach, sort of like when something is on the tip of your tongue but you can't think of the word.
I didn't know what it all meant, so I determined to do an internet search using the year and the words war, England, and Wales. I was sure the king referred to was the King of England. I learned that there definitely was unrest in 1142 AD having to do with the Isle of Ely and King Stephan's reign. I didn't feel like I needed to know the entire story behind the warring, and was satisfied to know that my little picture viewing had yielded some event that could be documented somewhat.
I was never able to discover the connection between the two lifetimes Maryanne had lived. I don't know why I saw the 12th century life unless there was something about that lifetime that connected her to the one she shared with me in Ireland. Apparently, I had a great fear of things mystical and magical. It's quite possibly one of the reasons I had ignored and rejected any hint of psychic abilities as a child. It was scary to me.
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With my new friend, I was able to talk openly about the new discoveries I was making, the mysterious visions, and my curiosity about all of it. Maryanne didn't profess to have any outward abilities, but she was interested in the phenomenon and curious as to how it might all work together. The two of us spent many days enjoying lunch while discussing the various books we read on related subjects.
There were countless occasions where Maryanne got to witness books “choosing” me. I had told her about the many times it seemed I was directed to a particular book to purchase or read. The very first time it happened in her presence, was just as astounding to me as it was to her. She was looking for a specific book related to a serious illness her young granddaughter suffered. We were at the local library, searching the shelves in the section it was listed on the computer filing system. The book was nowhere to be found, even though it wasn't supposed to have been checked out.
While she continued in her futile search, I moved 20 feet down the aisle into another section dealing with physical fitness. I didn't bother to read the titles, but just followed my instincts to a book that just seemed to stand out to me. As I was reaching to pull it off the shelf, Maryanne looked down the aisle at me and asked what I was doing. She came up beside me as I pulled the book down and turned it over to read the cover.
“Apparently, finding this for you,” I said as I handed her the book she had been searching to find. Her mouth dropped open and then snapped shut.
“How do you do that?” she asked incredulously.
The truth is that I don't know how I do it. I simply just do. I sometimes I wish I could control it, make it happen when I want it to, but I haven't gotten that good. There are many, many times I wish I could just find my car keys so I can get in my car and go. My “ability” seems to dessert me at those times. I know I could perfect it, in a manner of speaking, if I took the time to practice. I never seem to have much time to devote to practice. It might be that it's not important enough to me. I'm not overly interested in exercising the ability to find things, though I am very interested in understanding how it all works.
As time moved on, I came to understand that my two year friendship with Maryanne came about simply because we had planned it previous to coming to this life. Whatever her personal mission in this life was meant to accomplish, she obviously would need some sort of indication that there is more to life than living and dying, physically.
One day she said to me, “If our friendship has accomplished nothing else, it has served as proof that psychic abilities are real and not just fabrications for selling books.” She went on to explain that in her advancing age, she sometimes wondered if that was all there was to life. Live and die. Our discussions had served to answer her questions.