An entire Update just wrote itself in my head in the wee hours of the morning...should I attempt to reproduce it? Or should I simply sit here, before the computer, and let the thoughts wash over me...
As I start this, it is 4:36 a.m....I have my upstairs balcony sliding door open, and I can hear the surf dimly roaring in the distance...a cool breeze wafts in, and the hosts of birds around here have started singing. My cat, Gwendolyn, has taken up her accustomed spot on the scanner to my left.
What I was musing about, was my erstwhile friend's denial. This is the second e-mail conversation I have had with a skeptic, recently;* but these have been very odd conversations. The first is an expert in the field of reincarnation, who, as brilliant as he is, still went into classic skeptical denial regarding my own case. The second is an agnostic of sorts, probably at a Mensa level of IQ (though he says he has deliberately refrained from having himself tested). He and I had a falling out years ago over the very things I present in this blog; he had the thought to re-connect, and the argument picked up precisely where it left off.
In short, either I am way off and fooling myself; or I am so far ahead of my time, that even these people, who are very advanced intellectually, are going into denial because they just can't handle what I'm presenting.
Usually, there are one or two tell-tale clues, if you're willing to look for them and to admit they are there, which will help you out in cases like this. If I was this far off, and if I was fooling myself, I should not be sounding like I do, in these blog entries.
Now come the flood of ideas and examples which were keeping me awake. Examples of people who had their own reincarnation case-studies, which I dutifully read from beginning to end, giving them my full attention (something no-one will do for me). Examples of people going into denial; examples of the importance of letting people go into denial; examples of reincarnation cases which were sincere, but poorly-proven; examples of reincarnation cases which were logically-proven, but ignored.
In mid-1974, I was attending free classes at a yoga temple in Coconut Grove, Florida. I wasn't much good at the positions, but I liked the meditation and chanting; I hadn't joined, and didn't consider myself a member, but I had attended regularly enough that when a retreat was announced, I went. Little did I know that it was to be led by Baba Hari Dass, the yogi who had taught Ram Dass (Dr. Richard Alpert) each day in India, as described in "Be Here Now."** When he first arrived, and walked down the informal reception line, he looked at me and smiled knowingly, as if he recognized me. The distinct impression I got was, "Oh, you're back, just like I said you would be." Something like that.
I could fill 10 Updates with the story of that three-day retreat, and observations of Baba Hari Dass. But there is one anecdote that came to me while this Update was trying to write itself in my head. After the retreat, back in the yoga temple, Hari Dass is fielding questions. One young woman relates a longish story about her mother, how her mother refused to see some particular point, and was in denial about something. Hari Dass (writing on a chalk board, with someone speaking his words out for him), said, simply, "Let your mother have her denial."
And then, if memory serves, he looked straight at me. You see, he could see everyone's thoughts. Really. I'm not going to coddle you and say, scientifically, "It seemed to me that he could see everyone's thoughts." No, he could see them, alright. And he had this disconcerting habit of answering a question from this person, but then looking straight at that person, who was the one who really would need it, in their future development. Ten, twenty, thirty years in the future.
Fast-forward from 1974 to 1980. I am interning at a hospital in Tallahassee, Florida, in lieu of writing a master's thesis for my degree in counseling. I have been taught a powerful technique of active listening, to draw people out, and to help them become conscious of their inner issues and conflicts in emotional real time. My assigned job at the hospital, however, is simply to visit cancer patients. But I have been taught this idea that denial is always bad, and awareness is always good, and I should use my bag of tricks on people to bring them out of denial and into the light of self-awareness.
But most people are in denial when it comes to impending death. So I meet a woman--I want to say "elderly," but probably she was around my age, now--who had bone cancer. She was literally (to the extent one identifies a person with their physical body), falling apart from the inside. What materialistic person can face that? But I used the techniques I had been taught on her. The next time I visited, the staff asked me, "What did you say to that patient? Every time you show up, she goes into psychosis."
I was clueless. It wasn't until some years later I realized what I had done, and that I was, in fact, the culprit; and that what I had done was cruel.
What's fascinating, to me, as I write this, is that in my 19th century lifetime, I did the same thing (meaning, in a general way). I'm not guessing, I can show you the published works, under his well-established pseudonym. Mathew had belonged to the premiere debate club in Portland, Maine; but he was born with these talents. He knew he had been a "high Jewish priest" in some previous lifetime (that, from clues in his writing); it went back at least that far. His seemingly frivolous stories were actually teaching stories; and he could cut through bullshit like a knife. But sometimes it is best to keep one's knife in the sheath.
Now, my mind goes to the programs I have been seeing on the History Channel, regarding aliens, ancient civilizations, and so-on. Usually I am flip about this; but my observation is, they combine what appears to be good evidence (if it can be trusted), with a lot of speculation; and the mix, being sensationalized, is too watered down to take seriously. It is also too reductionistic. My studies have dealt with higher planes of consciousness and existence, beyond the physical. None of that is considered in these docu-shows. The explanation for everything is physical--so where the ancients might explain the unexplainable by resorting to the "gods," these modern theorists simply substitute "aliens" for "gods." But aliens are also part of the physical universe.
This isn't what I'm doing.
My mind also goes to some of the reincarnation self-studies I've read; things people have sent me privately (some of which were subsequently published). Some had more merit than others. One I recall, in particular--and I may still have it around, somewhere--involved attempting to identify a past life through clues in his dreams. If it was clear when he had the dreams, vs. when he identified the target historical figure, I don't remember that. Dreams can be interpreted in a great many ways. There was no control, there, to prevent him from identifying the historical person, and then interpreting his dreams to match it. Still, I think it may have been a genuine study--the problem is, there's no way to know, for sure. His conclusion was fascinating--he was trying to determine the past-life cause for his homosexuality, and he identified a historical figure who was castrated for his beliefs.
But this method, of identifying a historical person, and then selecting data to support it, isn't what I'm doing.
Then there were much stronger cases, such as the three I showcase on this website: Capt. Robert Snow, Jeff Keene, and Angela Grubbs. I read the manuscripts of all three before they were published (actually, I can't remember if I read Capt. Snow's before publication--I think so). Snow's and Grubb's cases, in particular, were rigorously proven at least to a legal standard. And Jeff's comparison photograph with his past-life personality spoke for itself, in addition to the facts presented, not to mention his personal traits and abilities.
But while two of these cases have achieved a certain notoriety, basically, Society has brushed them aside.
I am fully capable of logically attacking denial; but to what purpose? The best you could hope for is what happened to the poor lady with the bone cancer, i.e., to drive someone into full-blown psychosis. The hoped-for epiphany won't happen. Or, I should say, the best you could hope for is that a worldly person, who isn't ready to properly process the information, might become a believer; and then distort it according to their limited understanding, or, for personal gain.
I wouldn't want to be responsible for any of those outcomes.
And yet, I'm sitting on this amazing work which it took me eight years of daily effort--and the active assistance of my astral wife, Abby--to accomplish. And it seems to me that if nobody ever sees it for what it is, and appreciates it as it is meant to be appreciated, it will simply disappear with me, when I die.
That doesn't seem right. I know that as Mathew Franklin Whittier, I deliberately suppressed my legacy--I call it "legacy suicide." And then, he saw fit to reincarnate as myself, going to no small trouble to re-create it. Did I do all that for it to be entirely ignored, and sink back into legacy oblivion?
I remember one self-study I was sent, which also was subsequently published. This fellow believed he had been not one, but two famous persons in history, and he proceeded by providing a long list of synchronicities, similarities and coincidences, supposedly linking himself with these two figures. But so far as I recall, that was the sum and substance of his method. It wasn't convincing to me, despite the fact that I think he made something of a name for himself in reincarnation theory circles.
That, also, isn't what I'm doing.
In this lifetime, I am painfully aware of butting heads with people's denial, and the futility of same. My 98-year-old mother, for whom I am full-time caretaker, often gets some idea stubbornly lodged in her mind. It is useless to argue with her. Logic is of no avail; and if you think you have explained it so clearly that even a child would be convinced, ten minutes later, up will come the same absurd assertion. Should I ever press her to the point that her mind has nowhere to run, she will become angry. For example, if I tell her such-and-such a person passed on years ago, and that she can't call that person on the phone, I can ask when she was born (1919). I can ask her how much older that person was, than she (25 years). I can then ask her how old that person would be now, in 2017; and tell her, "You're 98, so that person would be 123 years old." The answer? "I'M NOT 98 YEARS OLD!!!!"
Believe it or not, this is precisely the kind of logic I was getting from the prominent reincarnation scientist, and from my agnostic friend--both of whom were patronizing me, and my study; and both of whom were quite certain that my study was like some of the poorer ones that I, myself, have read from time-to-time. The difference being that I had enough respect to read those studies from beginning to end with an open mind; whereas neither of these people will be bothered to give me the same courtesy.
So there is a very, very fine line between the sage and the fool; and few there are who have the required burning love of truth, and the honesty, to distinguish them.
Here's a question for you (not that it will do any good). I studied and presented those three strong cases on this website years before I began work on my own self-study. Do you think I would present cases like that, and then spend eight years preparing a sloppy case of my own?
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Actually the third, if I count a pro-reincarnation philosophy professor who contacted me out of the blue a few weeks ago, with whom I no-doubt would have had a very similar antogonistic exchange, had he chosen to write back.
**Not Neem Karoli Baba, the head of the ashram, but one of his disciples, who subsequently emigrated to the U.S.
Music opening this page: "Awaken," by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Up Close"