My mother's final word to me before she left her body was a very succinct "wow." My grandmother was also in the room when my mom repeatedly uttered this childlike expression, evidently to express the wonder in the universe and the sheer immensity and profundity and bliss of being. And several times since that fateful day my Nana has lamented our not asking my mother to explain what it was she saw in those final moments of her life. Where was she? Was it that realm described by French out of body (OB) experiencer Marcel Louis Forhan in his book Practical Astral Projection, one of cosmic unity and summarized by the feeling "All that there is I am"?
I am left to conjecture, because the moment passed as quickly as it arose. Anyway I doubt that my mom could have found words to convey the precise nature of her experience. She seemed to be beyond the realm of the senses. But to be in her mind at that moment, to see what she saw and feel what she felt, would have uncovered the mystery to life. Left behind to find the answer to the ancient riddle for myself, I try to be amazed and in awe of things just like my mom was during her last waking day. Albert Einstein said that "there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.” I try, oh how I try! But when everything you do feels old and stale, when "been there done that" is always on the tip of your tongue and you're hounded by the nagging sense of Byronic ennui, when everything people suggest to you - from hiking to bike riding to road trips and races, and movies and concerts and projects and cognac - feels old hat, how to find that awe that scientists aver is the prescription for well-being? Ennui is sophisticated boredom, because everything French is sophisticated. Call me crazy but there is nothing really sophisticated about boredom. Boredom sucks. I am even bored about writing about boredom!
I think I've found awe and wonder, though. In of all places a book. How Byronic of me! Byron was a man of letters, so being like him is better than being moronic. Indeed Lord Byron himself produced lengthy works of poetry and prose. Like the poem Don Juan, which I've been wanting to read forever but can't get past the first page. Probably because it's boring. You are what your write, I guess. I much prefer the film.
But it was in Michael Talbot's Holographic Universe that I cam across the work of Dr. Joel Whitton. Whitton is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto Medical School who has used hypnosis to uncover what people subconsciously know about themselves. Whitton's most remarkable discovery occurred when he regressed people to the interim between lives. Reincarnation for him is a given, as it is with about 2 billion other people. This in-between place is "a dazzling, light-filled realm in which there was no such thing as time or space as we know it." The purpose of this realm is to allow us to plan our next life, to literally sketch out the important events and circumstances that will befall us in the future. After death, people do not possess the ability to rationalize away any of their shortcomings. Instead they see themselves with total and at times brutal honesty. Whitton coined a term to describe this depth of personal insight. He calls it "metaconsciousness."
As part of our journey through lifetimes, we choose to be reborn with people we have wronged in a previous life so that we have the opportunity to make amends for our misdeeds. We plan pleasant encounters with soul mates, individuals with whom we have built a mutually beneficial relationship over many lifetimes. We even schedule "accidental" events to learn lessons and help us along to greater accomplishments. How many people have you heard of who have overcome tremendous obstacles to realize heroic ideals? Lots. This also explains why people do not wish to know the future, although tomorrow exerts a profound fascination over us. But we do not want to be tempted to tamper with the script our metaconscious selves have written for us before we were born. So it is probable that our unconscious minds are not only aware of the rough outline of our lives but help direct us towards the fulfillment of our purpose. We incarnate in groups, frequently born with people we have known in prior lives. The guiding force behind our actions is affection or a sense of guilt or indebtedness, and the two most important things in life, the only things that matter, are ... can you guess? No not pizza and pornography. Love and knowledge. You take what you learned and how you love with you when you go. And what about when you go? When we die, there is no external judge of our conduct, no being who shifts us from life to life according to our actions. We are the shapers of our own souls. After death we have an intermediate nonphysical body (an astral or causal body, if you believe ancient scriptures) that functions as a carrier of our attributes - things like moral conduct, interests, aptitudes, and attitudes, which remain essentially the same throughout our existence - between one life and the next. And the consensus is that after death the feeling that takes possession of the recently deceased is one of total understanding and acceptance. Everything is perfect. It always is!
Would that we could adopt this attitude of supreme acceptance, an "attitude of gratitude" as my mother used to say, not merely when we die and the drama is done, but while still alive. Greet every event as essential, perfect, even willed by you for your own benefit. Once you get there, you have solved life's riddle, won the game. Do it before the game is over and you can still be alive to enjoy the prize. Easier said than done, because most people are not in charge of their own thoughts. Thoughts assail us and become emotions which translate into reactions almost before we know what's going on. To fix the situation, we need to be in open communication with our higher selves, through meditation, or sitting in silence and stillness. We must do this at frequent intervals to think about our lives and visualize in concrete terms what we wish for the future. Only then can we be assured that our life manifests as our unconscious selves had planned. But if it's all meant to be, then everything will work out anyway. That's less escapist than it may at first seem.
So I feel awed by this concept, and also by the fact that I met the most amazing girl with whom I get to share it with, and so many other adventures of life. Dare I say my soul mate? And you, dear reader. Because you're my soul mate too.