Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spiritual beings having a soulful experience

Awhile ago, I was reading "Many Lives, Many Masters", which talks about this woman he called "Catherine" who suffered from terrible nightmares and anxiety attacks. As Dr. Weiss, an American psychiatrist, try to learn about her childhood traumas using hypnosis, he was shocked that she spoke about previous reincarnations with striking details. As she disclosed these details to the doctor, Catherine's symptoms started to ease off in her day-to-day life. There were so many details she gave that began to convince Dr. Weiss that what she was describing were real, rather than made-up stories. What was more, some sort of "masters spirits" would talk through Catherine to Dr. Weiss about spiritual lessons.

I don't know about the literal truth of this story, whether we are all somewhat haunted by past reincarnations, that our current soulfulness is the result of an accumulations of lessons we have learned in our past lives, but the idea is interesting. Even if it's not literally true, this "Catherine" could have manifested the abstract anxieties in her brain in the form of these past live stories under hypnosis. By expressing her anxieties as stories, she was able to digest and accept her issues and let go of the symptoms.

Catherine, the poor woman, went through many many reincarnations (either real or perceived by her) as a slave, a maid, or a servant. Sometimes she spent  entire life times just being angry about her existence as an oppressed being of a bottom level social class; sometimes she learned something from her existence. According to her stories, groups of souls tend to reincarnate together. For example, Dr. Weiss had been in her life before a few times, usually as her teacher and guide. Her mother and father's souls have also repeatedly reincarnated with her.

Some key points I've picked up from spiritual teachings of Dr. Brian Weiss and Seane Corn:

- We are all spiritual beings coming into a human body to have a soulful experience. Everything we have experienced in our lives, especially the most negative/terrible ones, are meant to teach the soul a lesson to transcend it to a higher level. 

- The group of souls that reincarnate together repeatedly are meant to teach each other important lessons. For example, if my mother and I have some serious issues with each other, we should really try to resolve it in this life time. If we just leave it as is, the same conflicts will just repeat itself again in a future life time. 

- Sometimes we meet beautiful beings with the terrible sufferings: for example, a child with severe mental retardation, a sibling with cystic fibrosis and does not live past the age of 25 -- these are actually advanced souls taking a short trip into the world in order to help inspire and advance other souls around them.

I talk about all this because I'm trying to interpret what I experienced today. This evening, I enjoyed a really nice Japanese dinner with a big group of researchers from different parts of Europe. It seems like for many European graduate schools, the PhD program is only 3-4 years, and one is required to publish 3-4 papers during this time. What this means is that the majority of Europeans can get their PhD in their late 20s, and with a bunch of publications in hand, they would not have trouble advancing to the next level in their scientific careers. 

Contrast this with my experience, where I spent 6 years, published next to nothing, was on the verge of quitting science all together and actually seriously considered becoming a yoga teacher instead (and maybe pick up a side job to supplement income). Many of my Canadian colleagues (and perhaps Americans as well) share similar experience with me (except not the yoga part).

It's not even about how far I get in my career; it's about how much damage the 6 years of unproductiveness does to the self-esteem. I'm trying to figure out why I (plus a whole continent of grad students) had to go through this long path while others in the world can cruise through their academic careers. What am I supposed to learn from this? How do I figure out what I have learned, and promptly let go of my negativity and bitterness? Catherine clung on to negative experiences in her previous life times without being able to enjoy the present one until she got help from Dr. Weiss; I seem to have the tendency to cling on pretty tightly to my negative past experiences of this life time. Can I learn from her stories and try to let it all go? 

This week I am supposed to network with a lot more researchers from different parts of the world and learn a ton of geeky science from them. But somehow I feel the more important lessons I have to learn from them is not the technical science stuff, but to pick up tips on how to live life from such a diverse group of people I normally will never get to meet if I hadn't taken up this job. Oh by the way, did I mention I am in Japan?

What an amazing opportunity and tonight I couldn't seem to let go of my past. I have to find a way to stop holding on to bitter memories and embrace the precious present moment.