Further Explorations, Part 2

In all the lives I’d seen so far, loneliness had been a persistent theme. I had been lonely as an SS officer, lonely as an Arab girl, alone as a midget, and lonely as a clown. No famous lives, no wealthy lives, and not even a hint of love.

Those who study this stuff say that the past lives that come up tend to relate to your current life. Maybe I was lonely at that time, but it didn’t seem that way. I had a girlfriend I cared for, and many friends at work. I thought I was happy, but these were the lives that showed up.

Some months later, I met a guy named Stanley in the laundry room of my apartment complex. Friendly guy, but tough. He asked me to shoot some pool with him that afternoon. I knew I would lose when I saw that he had his own cue. While we were playing, he decided a guy two tables away was staring at him too long.

“What’s he looking at?” Stanley said, glaring at the guy, who looked, to me, a bit freaked out.

“What do you mean?” I said, laughing nervously. “I think he just happened to glance over here, Stanley. It’s no big deal, I’m sure.”

My explanation did little for Stanley, who wanted to fight the guy and almost did. I did my best to talk him out of it — “Stanley, if he’s looking at you, who cares? What difference does it make?” – and it seemed to help, a little, although it’s possible the other guy would have backed down anyway.

Later, we got stoned together and walked over to see “Cape Fear,” the Juliette Lewis version. He brought a knife with him. Big knife. He laughed at how freaked out I was about the knife, and I laughed at the idea that you have to bring a hunting knife with you when you go to the movies in Albuquerque. It had never occurred to me that I might need to defend myself in a movie theater, but it had certainly occurred to Stanley.

Punch the toughest guy

He’d done time in reform school, and told me what to do if I ever get sent to prison. It was the same advice his dad had given him, and following it had served him well.

“My dad told me, if I get sent to jail, then on the first day there, figure out who the toughest guy is, and go up and hit him as hard as you can. He’ll beat the hell out of you, but he’ll respect your courage. And no one else there will touch you; they’ll think you’re crazy. And that’s just what I did,” he said, showing me how he had stabbed the tough guy’s eyes with his fingers. “And he beat the hell out of me, but no one else messed with me, and he and I got to be friends.”

Stanley, who was in his mid-20s, said he’d slept with “roughly 700” women, although he’d lost count, and even though I never saw him with a woman, I doubted he was exaggerating by much. The way he said it did not sound like boasting, and he had the size, charm and courage for that kind of number. One of the women, he told me, he had really liked; her mom was a hypnotist.

“Really?” I said. I had not told him about my interest in reincarnation.

A noble rogue

“Yeah,” he said. “Once, her mom hypnotized me, and I saw this life where I was walking around a battlefield. I was some sort of Irish nobleman, and my people had just been wiped out in a battle against another king. I had tried to save them, but hadn’t been able to, and I was just walking around, looking at the bodies, feeling hollow.”

“Wow,” I said. Albuquerque was turning out to be quite a place, if guys like Stanley were checking out past lives.

I got the woman’s number, and called her. She confirmed what Stanley had said, which made me feel better — I wanted a little external confirmation. She liked him a lot, in the maternal way that some women like rogues, and she agreed to hypnotize me, too.

I drove out to her house one afternoon when I had the day off, and met her husband, who was working in the yard. Dorothy and I sat in the kitchen and talked a bit. They were very ordinary. Nothing bizarre about the decorations, or anything else. She was a sweet middle-aged woman, and her husband was a gruff but friendly middle-aged guy. In my hometown, people who looked like these folks did not believe in reincarnation. But I was 2,000 miles from my hometown.

I figured their daughter was probably pretty cute, but I never got to find out; she wasn’t home.

This hypnosis experience was different than the first two. For one thing, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was looking for anything. For another, the fact that I was in this woman’s home actually made me feel less comfortable than I had felt in the other guys’ offices. Hearing the sounds of her husband doing yard work was distracting; it kept reminding me of where I was.

Consequently, I didn’t ‘go under’ too far. But there was one new life: I saw myself as a young English girl, no more than 4 years old, walking around with my father above the White Cliffs of Dover. She asked me to describe my house, and I saw a small country place; we seemed to be a middle-class family. My father in this life hit me, while we walked above the White Cliffs, because he wanted to discipline me. I fell down and hit my head on a rock, and died. He hadn’t meant to kill me, only to stop me from some sort of misbehavior — but it hadn’t occurred to him that there might be sharp rocks under the grass on which we were walking. And so I died, with little drama, just sort of checking out early.

Dorothy tried to guide me to other lives, but either I wasn’t hypnotized enough or there was nothing left to find, because nothing came up.

“You seem to be resisting,” Dorothy said. “We should probably stop.”

When she brought me out of the trance, she said kindly, “I’m not sure what you’re looking for, Bill, but I don’t think it’s in a past life.”

Maybe not. But maybe all I had been looking for was the past lives themselves. And maybe I had seen enough.

Originally published by The Guy Code, August 16, 2001. 

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