ArthursCaveForestofDeanHereford

A past life memory, whether from a dream, regression, psychic reading, vision, or intuition,  can be interviewed like a dream character or the personification of a life issue.  Doing so makes sense because, like those other experiences, we have drawn conclusions about the meaning of these events from the perspective of our waking identity.  These are inevitably partial and therefore miss major parts of the story that may change it entirely for us.

The following example, which came from a regression years ago, is not a grandiose past life memory of being Napoleon or a disciple of Jesus.  It is chosen precisely because its mundane nature gives it a degree of plausibility that more glorious and esteemed accounts can lack. However, the reality of such accounts is not a concern of Integral Deep Listening. The purpose of an interview is not to “prove” the reality of reincarnation or karma. Instead, it takes a strictly phenomenological approach in which all such assumptions are suspended in order to simply listen, in a deep and integral way, to what this or that perspective, however it may be embodied, has to say.

Here is the past life memory from a hypnotic regression:

“I am an orphan who has been adopted by a hermit.  He teaches me how to live in the woods.  We live in a cave-like place behind vines in a forest.  The floor is dirt. There is a three legged stool.  I walk into a small village and find it empty.  I go to the small church in the center of the village; there is no one there.  I go back to the woods and my home and become weak, sick, and die.”

The understanding I took away from this experience was that the people in the village must have died of something like the plague, and I caught it and died. Upon deeper reflection about why I might have had this experience I wrote, “Maybe to partially explain my lifelong ability to be by myself and not feel lonely.” I chose to interview the three-legged stool in the cave. Here is what it had to say:

“I am just a crudely fashioned three-legged stool.  I am made out of wood from this forest.  I am in this cave.  I am made to be sat on. I hold people up.  I am useful.  I am reliable; I do what I’m made to do. While I may be nothing special, I have a place and a purpose, and I fulfill both.”

“I personify the life support that comes from simplicity, from the overlooked, from the easily obtained.  One doesn’t have to have much to live well.  Not having had much, these forest dwellers do not experience themselves as impoverished. I am content to be myself.  I like my life and I like my purpose. If I were to score myself zero to ten in confidence I am a ten, because I have nothing to be afraid of.  I am not afraid of getting old and collapsing or being used as firewood.  Such things are my destiny. I am also a ten in inner peace and in acceptance, since I accept myself and life completely. I score myself an eight in witnessing because I get to observe these people and the world from an unemotional place.  I don’t personalize anything and I don’t do drama. I have no idea how I score in compassion because I am not in the business of caring about anyone or anything.”

“If I scored tens in all these qualities I wouldn’t be a stool any more. I would prefer to stay a stool. If humans scored like I do they would not experience scarcity.  They would experience life as abundant, regardless of their circumstances.  They would have no concern for the future.  It would be enough for a human to have a function and to take pleasure in fulfilling it. If I were a human I would not base my life on thinking or caring; most humans already do those things anyway.  They need to get into a deeper essence, a beingness that is not affected by other people or by the ravages of time. Proceed with great confidence, yet serenity. If you want to develop luminosity, joyful absurdity, and abundance, be me.  I have more of those things than you do. Become me whenever you take life too seriously. I am here to help you put your life in proportion.”

“You humans are likely to ignore what I am saying to you because I am just a three-legged stool.  Why should you listen to me? However, if you value turning the mundane, secular, and profane into the sacred, you could do worse than practice with me.”

“This experience points to the transitoriness of life, the value of simplicity, the abundance of nature, and how these values transcend space, time, and death.

Do you think it was a real past-life memory?

“I think it is like a dream, a metaphor designed to help him wake up.”

“From the perspective of this stool the distinction between waking experience, dreams, and past life experiences either is unimportant or non-existent.  What is important is how we understand such experiences and what we learn from them.  We can learn more and use them better if we interview other characters that appear in past life memories. Spirit doesn’t make such distinctions.  To make your life sacred, focus on the six core qualities and their fruit, luminosity, abundance, and joyful absurdity.”

This is a good example of how Integral Deep Listening suspends assumptions about the reality of experiences, including past life memories, dreams, historical, and mystical experiences in favor of allowing each individual perspective to express its unique transformational power.

Here is the transcript of the original interview:

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1. Building IDL

2. Deepening my awareness of life’s abundance, joyful absurdity, and luminosity.

3. Acting. thinking, feeling within the context of the six core qualities.

Tell me a past life memory.

I am an orphan who has been adopted by a hermit.  He teaches me how to live in the woods.  We live in a cave-like place behind vines in a forest.  The floor is dirt. There is a three legged stool.  I walk into a small village and find it empty.  I go to the small church; there is no one there.  I go back to the woods and my home and become weak, sick, and die.

I figure that the people in the village must have died of the plague and I caught it.

Why do you think that you had this past life experience?

Maybe to partially explain my lifelong ability to be by myself and not feel lonely.

If it were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?

Forest Hermit

These are the characters in the dream…

Me, Hermit, Woods, Cave, Vines, Stool, Village, Church

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?

The stool.  It’s so inconsequential, yet almost out of place.

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Stool, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I am just a crudely fashioned three-legged stool.  I am made out of wood from this forest.  I am in this cave.  I am made to be sat on.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I hold people up.  I am useful.  I am reliable; I do what I’m made to do.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

No.  While I may be nothing special, I have a place and a purpose, and I fulfill both.

Stool, you are in Joseph’s life experience, correct?  They created you, right? What aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?

I am the life support that comes from simplicity, from the overlooked, from the easily obtained.  One doesn’t have to have much to live well.  Not having had much, these people do not experience themselves as impoverished.

Stool, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

No.  I am content to be myself.  I like my life and I like my purpose.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Stool, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 10 I have nothing to be afraid of.  I am not afraid of getting old and collapsing or being used as firewood.  Such things are my destiny.

Compassion:   ? I am not in the business of caring about anyone or anything.

Wisdom:   ? I do not need or use wisdom.

Acceptance: 10 I accept myself and life completely.

Inner Peace: 10 Definitely.

Witnessing:   8 I get to observe these people and the world from an unemotional place.  I don’t personalize anything and I don’t do drama.

(Character,) if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

I wouldn’t be a stool any more if I scored ten in compassion and wisdom.  I would prefer to stay a stool.

How would the life of Joseph be different if he naturally scored high in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would would not experience scarcity.  He would experience life as abundant, regardless of his circumstances.  He would have no concern for the future.  It would be enough for him to have a function and to take pleasure in fulfilling it.

If you could live the life of Joseph for him, how would you live it differently?

I would not base my life on thinking or caring; he already does those things anyway.  He needs to get into a deeper essence, a beingness that is not affected by other people or by the ravages of time.

If you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1. Building his work:  Proceed with great confidence, yet serenity.

2. Luminosity, joyful absurdity, and abundance:  Be me.  I have more of those things than you do.

3. Living life from the six core qualities:  I can help with four of the six.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his life?

The same.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for this person to imagine that they are you and act as you would?

Whenever he takes life too seriously.

Why do you think that you are in this person’s life?

To help him put life in proportion.

How is this person most likely to ignore what you are saying to them?

I am just a three-legged stool.  Why should he listen to me?

What would you recommend that they do about that?

He values turning the mundane, secular, and profane into the sacred.  He could do worse than practice with me.

I think this person had this past life memory because

it points to the transitoriness of life, the value of simplicity, the abundance of nature, and how these values transcend space, time, and death.

Do you think it was a real past-life memory?

I think it is like a dream, a metaphor designed to help him wake up.

What have you heard yourself say?

That from the perspective of this self-aspect the distinction between waking experience, dreams, and past life experiences either is unimportant or non-existent.  What is important is how I understand such experiences and what I learn from them.  I can learn more and use them better if I interview other characters that appear in past life memories.

If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of yourself, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Spirit doesn’t make such distinctions.  To make your life sacred, focus on the six core qualities and their fruit, luminosity, abundance, and joyful absurdity.