Thank you to Lisa’s post Dark Reality and My Writing Journey for inspiring this blog.
Do you believe in past lives?
I am not sure. Part of me believes 100%. The other part of me doubts. Perhaps we’ve lived past lives. Perhaps we’ve not. What do you think?
From the time I was a wee elementary student–probably soon after viewing Sound of Music for the first time–I dreamed over and over and over again the same horrific nightmare.
Each nightmare was the same. Running from the Nazis. Running, running, attempting to escape, please, God, let me escape, they’re coming, they’re just around the bend, they’re taking over our town, please, please…
The nightmares started at age nine or ten. They continued for most of my adult life, although in recent years they’ve abated considerably. It took deep spiritual work to ease the fears triggered by these nighttime dreams.
Perhaps it’s not simply a past life rearing its painful head. Perhaps some of us white Anglo Saxon children growing up after the Holocaust, after the crematoriums and World War II, after the forced ghettos and Nazi gunshots, simply need to come to terms with what happened, if not for ourselves, then for humanity.
I only know that I’ve run from way too many Nazis in this lifetime. What helped heal the nightmares? In my 30’s and 40’s, exhausted from the repeated running heart-pumping dreams, I decided to go back into the dreams while awake.
Have you tried this? You imagine yourself back in the dreams. Then you either face your worst fears (i.e, getting shot or gassed) or consciously change the ending. Most of the time facing my most painful fears proved more valuable than attempting to alter the scenario.
The first attempt at going back into the dreams in the early 1990’s: The Nazi is approaching the front door of our little cabin in the woods. I am locking doors, trying to keep him out, heart palpitating, frightened. In active imagination, I decide to simply let him kill me. A bayonet slashes through the front door (sounds like World War I, doesn’t it?) Instead of running any more, I simply consciously open the front door. His bayonet instantly penetrates through the heart. In the “imagination” my spirit spirals upwards.
It was fascinating to learn that “I” didn’t cease to be. However, intriguingly enough, it soon became apparent that I wasn’t ready to die and returned to earth to learn.
The nightmares eased after this active imagination. However, they did not stop entirely. Time after time I would return to the dreams after awakening and turn to face the suffering, the running, the horror.
Several times, about a decade ago, I had day-nightmares. Once, driving by a Red Lobster restaurant early in the morning, saw smoke pouring from the chimney. Suddenly, was transported back to the early 1940’s and it was smoke rising from the crematoriums and I was crying, crying. It was as if I was actually there for a few minutes.
This blog post could be 20,000 words long about Nazi-related visions and actual serendipitous experiences that happened in this lifetime. Once, under hypnosis, began to talk about Dachau. Another time witnessed a long story about growing up as a Jewish girl in Poland.
Real past life memories? An overly active imagination? Suggestibility?
Eventually, all these years later, the unconscious pain connected to the Holocaust seems to have abated or become more conscious. I rarely run from the Nazis during midnight dreams any more. In fact, can’t recall the last escapist dream.
My heart still hurts for all the people killed by those who don’t understand, those who label and judge and despise. My heart also hurts for those who aim the gun, pull the trigger.
When will we learn not to demonize one another, to create wars?
P.S. Just finished searching for some images to add to this post. Many of them were so heart-breaking it’s impossible to imagine that we live in a world where humans can treat one another thus. Such sadness…