What I Know About Love

Throughout learning about these past lives of mine and how I loved- or failed to love- in previous ages, I have a bit of insight.  I’m sure it’s in no way complete or the final word, but it may be useful.

First of all, falling in love is easy because love, in its most basic form, is just a fond attachment to someone.  In that sense, foxes might be said to be “in love” because they do form pair bonds.  I don’t think love on its own is unique to humans at all.

What love between human beings requires to really work is an extra ingredient: namely, mutual respect.  It’s just how we’re wired, socially and emotionally; we want to be respected, but to get respect it has to be an equal exchange.  Mutual respect seems to be the only real tonic for this dialectic in the human essence that pits our need for self-realization against our need for emotional and material interdependence.

some say that love is about sacrifice; but how do you make the right sacrifices to meet each other in the middle unless you both respect each other?

Some say love is about understanding and empathy; but how do you understand and empathize with someone you don’t respect?

Some say love is about communication; but how do you communicate on an equal footing unless you both respect each other?

When I was John, I believe I may have joined the army because I couldn’t deal with my family.  That was a failure of respect.

When I was a fox, we had no need for respect because we had only our most basic urges to guide us, and those basic urges just sort of pushed us together when we needed to be.

During my life in the mid-20th century, I didn’t respect my wife because I rushed into love and didn’t bother to learn, and I lived at a time when divorce had recently become socially acceptable so of course, it ended badly.

I would like to think that love and respect are something I have learned, but I can’t be certain; my fiance and I have been together for about 8 years and we’re doing well.  But I try not to fool myself into thinking that there isn’t some hard lesson about love that I still have yet to learn; I’ve come close to losing him in the long, difficult learning process.

I’m hopeful, but cautious.  Love’s lessons are harsh and regrets can be many.  I hope I’m beyond regrets; I want to live the rest of my life with someone for once, instead of leaving them or making them leave me.  I’m off to a good start but love is never a case of “Mission accomplished.”

But Why?

At this point, I have remembered four past lives in enough detail to place geographically, plus had tentative hints about 3 or 4 more; of these I know the names of two, one had no name, and my memories of having been John are actually the most developed and vivid to date even though that’s the second oldest life I remember in significant detail.

But why?

It isn’t a silly question.  I really would like to know why I’ve remembered enough detail to know names.  Why do I know that on May 24, 1915 I was somewhere between Railway Wood and the Menin Road scared out of my mind?  Why do I remember an inconsequential life in mid-20th century California?  And why would I remember a life where I wasn’t human at all?

If some god wants something special of me, why aren’t they saying so?

If this is some kind of deception by evil, to what end?  It isn’t like I was a solid monotheist to begin with and I’m still kind of agnostic, so if they’re trying to “steal me from God” it’s kind of a pointless effort because I still don’t know what god I could have been stolen from.

If this is an early stage of enlightenment, then how did I manage that while living in such an unenlightened way?

If this is meant to prepare me for the future, why is it sending me further back into a past that I know I can never recover?

If this is insanity, why am I able to confirm details with firsthand sources?

If this is simply Karma, how exactly do I interpret where I am in this life in the context of what I know about my previous lives?  Just when I think I have that one pinned down, something new comes up that kind of shakes up my tentative bid to link Karma of any sort to it decisively.

If I’m some sort of prophet, how does one go about knowing they’re a prophet?  And to which god?  I would think knowing the name of the deity who chose you as a mouthpiece would be a pretty important part of being a prophet, right?

It makes no sense.

I’m asking my readers to weigh in on this.  I know I have readers from many backgrounds and I’m really interested in a variety of opinions.  I hadn’t had much luck finding people who are “safe” to talk to locally.

Please weigh in.  Comments are welcome and appreciated.

Another Circumstance Plausible

It turns out, after just briefly thumbing through “Magnificent but Not War,” that my memories of moving through a wasteland on our way to the front that had no communication trenches were probably correct, as was my memory of a very ominous wooded area.

It turns out us 2nd KSLI were at the north end of the line pushing back the German advance between the railway and the Menin road, along with several other battalions.

This means that for every horrible thing I remembered, there are probably many things I’ve blocked.

A Dream I Had Today

I had a strange dream and woke up with a profound sense of sadness when I recalled it.

Part of the dream involved someone who I knew, but only in the context of us both being characters in the story. This character was someone who was a consternation for my character, but when he died, it cast a shadow over everything. I think he was a police officer from Texas, but he had gone to Palestine (not sure which part) and jumped out of a building.

Also, in another part of the dream that was somehow interwoven with that strange little subplot, we were in a busy city and there was a building that was full of bad energy or ghosts or something, but just outside between the building and the street was some scaffolding that had never been taken down. So I built a nice little patio out there, shielded from the rain by the upper timbers of the scaffolding and some other things I put up; I had potted plants and even tables and beach chairs. It was an urban oasis.

I loved my little makeshift patio or deck or whatever out on that old scaffolding. But the scaffolding shook when you moved, and you could see cars driving nearby on the busy city street below, and I thought what might happen if they crashed into it. I imagined the headlines about the homeless guy and his potted palms (I was male in the dream) falling out of a tower of scaffolding after a city bus hit it. Except I wasn’t homeless; I had a lackluster apartment full of bad energy to go back to.

Men from the construction company came, and I had to go back into the apartment. No sooner had I done so when my urban paradise- my flimsy little slice of heaven that I kept at the possible cost of my life- had been disassembled and I was left with only the cracked stucco of an early 20th century apartment in a busy downtown area.

I don’t know what it means. Currently the apartment I live in is in the suburbs so it wasn’t a building I recognized.

Got Stuff on Amazon

Among the things I got was a past-life related item.

“Magnificent but Not War” by John Dixon came highly recommended by several people as the definitive history text on the Second Battle of Ypres.  I’m hoping the book will answer some long-standing questions of mine and help put some of my memories in context.  The title comes from  French Marshal Pierre Bosquet in regards to the reckless heroism of the 1845 charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean war: “It is magnificent, but not war; it is madness.”  A fitting quote for what we did 70 years later in Belgium, I think.


Another Memory from the War

It’s been a while, but I had another one.  More vague impressions than anything, nothing really clear, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

Specifically, I remember singing Cwm Rhondda with a few of the other Shropshires (we were from the Welsh border regions, after all, and as such honorary Welshmen you might say).  Someone led the singing on an old harmonium, not unlike the one that now sits in my living room in this life.  I think it was before the battle, in a makeshift chapel somewhere on the Ypres Salient.  I have never heard men sing a hymn with such conviction since that night; it was as if we knew it was the eve of the Judgement Day, and we were doing a last penance before standing in judgement and hoping to dodge the lake of fire at the last instant.

But the boys who got blown to bits were lucky; most of them, if they were reincarnated at all, came back as people who forgot.  Most of us who remember, it seems, didn’t die in battle but in a lull in activity, or years later as a civilian.  We remember because we had time to think about what we saw out on the battlefield, the broken bodies and the bullets coming so close they ripple the fabric on your uniform.

Remembering this has been a bit of a somber turn.  I hope there aren’t more troubling memories to come.