09. April 2016 · Comments Off on Not a New Age Thing · Categories: NMN. Reincarnation

Half the world believes in some form of reincarnation.

Steve Jobs believed that in a past life he was a pilot in World War II and said that sometimes that life still resonated with him.    While he was driving he would feel an urge to pull back on the joystick and take off.

But the phenomenon of reincarnation is far from a New Age thing.

General George S. Patton believed that he was a warrior through many lifetimes and he didn’t care who knew it.




General Patton saw himself as part of a type, a warrior class, whose warriors reincarnate throughout history and fight for their countries in times of crisis.

My psychic said that I belong to the creators and teachers type.

Partly because of my training in philosophy I am accustomed to thinking in terms such as all of Being, the whole of consciousness and the individual’s relation to the whole



Carl Jung


Recently, it occurred to me that Carl Jung wrote many books about his personal experiences and discoveries relating to omni-consciousness and the individual.

He also wrote about types or archetypes.

I was drawn to a book that I had not read – Memories, Dreams, Reflections.  Jung wrote this book when he was 83 years of age.


Carl Jung was not writing about reincarnation as such, but he gave me the clearest insight into this phenomenon up to now.

As a very young child Jung was already driven to ponder and question many things, dreams and visions that he learned to keep secret because no one understood what he was about.

Over a lifetime of examining his own dreams and fantasies as well as those of his patients, Carl Jung sought to uncover truth in whatever direction it led him, at times risking his professional reputation and friendships.

He came to realize that when a person dies he goes to the hereafter knowing only what he has learned through his personal experience and choices in his lifetime, and in any case that knowledge is limited to what he and his fellow humans have brought to the collective consciousness at that moment in time.

If he wants to know more, he can do this only by living in a body.

In other words, if he desires more knowledge he must reincarnate.


Here are the relevant passages in Carl Jung’s own words:

If there were to be a conscious existence after death, it would, so it seems to me, have to continue on the level of consciousness attained by humanity, which in any age has an upper though variable limit. There are many human beings who throughout their lives and at the moment of death lag behind their own potentialities and even more important-behind the knowledge which has been brought to consciousness by other human beings during their own lifetimes. ..

It seems to me that they [the dead who appeared in dreams and visions] were dependent on the living for receiving answers to their questions, that is, on those who have survived them and exist in a world of change: as if omniscience or, as I might put it, omni-consciousness, were not at their disposal, but could flow only into the pysche of the living, into a soul bound to a body.  The mind of the living appears, therefore, to hold an advantage over the dead in at least one point: in the capacity for attaining clear and decisive cognitions.  As I see it, the three-dimensional world in time and space is like a system of co-ordinates; what is here separated into ordinates and abscissae may appear “there,” in space-timelessness, as a primordial image with many aspects, perhaps as a diffuse cloud of cognition surrounding an archetype.  Yet a system of co-ordinates is necessary if any distinction of discrete contents is to be possible.  Any such operation seems to us unthinkable in a state of diffuse omniscience, or, as the case may be, of subjectless consciousness, with no spatial-temporal demarcations.  Cognition, like generation, presupposes an opposition, a here and there, an above and below, a before and after.

From Memories, Dream, Reflections by Carl Jung

Chapter XI On Life after Death


I would like to add an insight of my own.

I believe that desire is at the very heart of reincarnation.  Desire, or love, is the driving force towards reincarnation.

It cannot be just a vague love of the world or of life in general, or justice, or goodness, which are easy things to claim.   I have seen people display this kind of vague statement of good intentions which did not even hold up in the secret choices made during a lifetime.  How will they hold up when tested in extremis, when darkness overwhelms an empty heart and all fails?

No, it is the concrete desire for one person, or the love of many persons, rooted in moments of actual engagement with someone.  It is a baby smiling back into loving eyes, a child feeling worthy in her father’s embrace, a teacher beaming with satisfaction, and friends whose faces light up when they see you.

If I am given grace enough, all these things will prevail at the crucial time.  I will forever believe in love that is rooted in bodily existence.   I will desire another chance to love again, in a body, only with more shared knowledge and better than before.


08. April 2016 · Comments Off on Edith Wharton · Categories: NMN. Reincarnation, O.Naming

Since I started writing down my memories, not knowing where I was going with them, I paid close attention to any signs and clues that might flesh out a narrative of reincarnation.

The psychic who long ago planted the seeds for this project at first revealed to me only one past life even though she said I was an “old soul.”

It was the life of a servant girl in ancient Greece.  She was deaf and mute and her left arm was paralyzed as though it were in a sling.

It was all very intriguing, but I didn’t think it really mattered very much in my present life and I soon put it aside.

Years later, my twelve-year-old son gave me a book to read because he saw something in it that resonated with our ongoing family drama.  The book was Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

I had heard of this novelist and even knew someone who had written her doctoral dissertation on her.  However, I did not remember reading any of her books.

When I read Ethan Frome I found it to be strangely familiar and not only in the spiritual way that my son perceived it.   It seemed as though I knew what was about to happen in the story before reading it on the page.

Even though Ethan Frome was widely read in High Schools throughout the U.S. we did not read it at my school in Macau.

Back in the early 50’s Macau imposed a version of Legion of Decency standards on what movies were allowed to depict.  I think its standards were even more restrictive than the ones imposed on Hollywood film makers.

Movies allowed in Macau were to have no “glorification” of adultery, suicide, indecency in dress, prurient love scenes and so forth.   The nuns in my school used this standard for choosing what we read.   It even applied to Shakespeare.  In class we read two Shakespearean plays – The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar.   Even Romeo and Juliet was banned, never mind Othello.

After reading Ethan Frome I had recurring dreams and persistent hunches that led me to ask my psychic for clarification.

That is how I discovered that Edith Wharton also had something to do with my past lives.

I looked her up.  Immediately I was taken aback by the date of her death which adjusting for time zones was exactly the day I was born.  I went on to read her biography and a few of her novels.

But I did not see how knowing more about Wharton would be significant in my life and so my interest waned.

Since I started working on this project in 2013 I went back to reading Wharton’s writings.   Fortunately for me, she has written two autobiographies, twelve maximalist novels, volumes of short stories, several non- fiction books, articles on all manner of things and scads of letters.

For those who have studied Edith Wharton’s life and her writings it is not necessary to point out the similarities as well as differences in our stories.

If I am right in thinking that desire is at the heart of the phenomenon of reincarnation and the force that propels us to return to bodily existence, then I see clues in what Edith Wharton said that she wanted.

Edith Wharton said that she wanted to be a philosopher.  Ethan Frome was her favorite novel.

She was moving towards the Catholic Church.

She was fascinated by Greece.  She wanted to go to Greece so badly that she and her husband recklessly spent their whole year’s income on their voyage.   When they came back Edith found a letter telling her that an uncle had died and left her more money than they spent on their trip.  Although Crete was not among the islands they visited, Edith wrote  “Those months in the Aegean were the greatest step forward in my making.”

She also wrote, “My husband and I were so lost in enjoyment that neither of us gave a thought to the unsolved financial problem awaiting us at the end of the cruise.  Only twice in my life have I been able to put all practical cares out of my mind for months, and each time it has been on a voyage to the Aegean.”

Edith took that second trip to the Greek Islands many years later, when she was alone.  This time she visited Crete and Santorini.   I believe that the other past life we shared was partly in ancient Greece during the late Minoan Age.   A cataclysmic Thera volcanic eruption sheared off part of the island of Santorini and caused a tsunami that devastated much of the coastal region.

Edith planned to write a book about her whole Aegean experience but she never did.

I came from the other side of the world and went for a job interview at a company in the neighborhood where Edith Wharton spent her childhood.

I felt so at home there that I took that job even though I had an objectively much better job offer from another company.

Edith Wharton’s childhood home was at 14 West 23rd Street.  The company’s offices were at 932 Broadway, just a few steps away.

I met my future husband while working there.


Edith Wharton's childhood home steps from our company offices

Google map showing the location of Edith Wharton’s childhood home and Central Foundry Company


In my story there are so many unlikely out-of-the-blue happenings, miraculous coincidences and deus ex machina plot twists in order to keep this plot within its trajectory that Edith Wharton would not approve if this were a novel.  But this is not a novel.   This a true story of a real person with a real name.

Edith once said that each of her characters shows up with a name.  Some of the names were so outrageous that she tried to change them.  In every case, if she succeeded in giving a character a new name the character vanished and could not be written into her novel.

She would understand what it took to get here.

07. April 2016 · Comments Off on The One in Ancient Greece · Categories: NMN. Reincarnation


This narrative began with a psychic’s reading.  In her meditation the psychic sees me in a past life as a young servant girl in an ancient Greek setting.

She is wearing a long, simple garment.  Her left arm is paralyzed at an angle as though it were in a sling, and a dish of olives and grapes rests on the crook of that arm.  She is “speaking” with her other hand because she is mute.   She is also deaf.

Nevertheless she is strikingly beautiful.   A prominent man falls in love with her and takes her for himself, after which she lives a pampered life of luxury.

The psychic said that she blew it and she did not give back to the universe.

During the psychic’s vision she hears the song “Green Sleeves” in the background.

The psychic further says that I am to write a book on reincarnation presumably to give back to the universe.

That last part made no sense to me, and I dismissed it as one thing that the psychic got wrong, that is until I got nudged by out-of-the-blue forces.


I am unpacking a box of books that I had in storage.  As I pick up an old book, a little card falls out.  I am in the habit of using whatever is at hand to mark the page I am reading.

I remember this card.   This is very old.   It came with a beautiful floral arrangement from a friend of Herb’s the morning after this man came to dinner.

Now that whole evening comes rushing back.

Herb and I have been married for a few months.   As he often does, he calls me before he leaves the office.

Darling, what are our plans for dinner?

We’re having a cozy dinner at home.   I made his favorite chicken breasts flambe̕  in cognac.   This is a dish I concocted just for him.

I have someone here who just came in from California.   He’s an old friend who’s dying to meet you.   Can I bring him home for dinner?

Of course!

From the moment they walk in the door I see that Herb and Lou are close as brothers.   I know that a few years before I came to New York Herb had spent some months in California.   But Herb and I didn’t talk much about the past.  I have never heard of Lou.

The thing is I still don’t know who he is.  I know his name because I see it on this little card.   I have completely forgotten about him until now.

I remember that Lou immediately wants to know everything about Herb and me.  People are still telling the story of how we got married, no doubt embellishing things a bit, and Lou says he is fascinated.

He is so genuinely enthusiastic, as though ours is the love story he thought he’d never see in this day and age, that I don’t mind the very personal questions he asks.

Soon the three of us are talking about how it is with women and men, what is love and kinds of love, what is happiness, what is true and what is possible.   I haven’t been in a philosophical jam session like this since college.

Lou is talkative and exuberant all through dinner and I know it can’t be the wine or the cognac in the chicken.

Well, maybe the chicken.  He liked it so much that he asks for a piece to bring back to the hotel for later.   I wrap it in foil, and he slips it into his suit pocket.

I never saw Lou again.   Maybe the reason I didn’t remember him is that he didn’t tell me who he was.  I knew he had come to New York on business and went back to California.  I didn’t know what kind of business he was in or anything about his family.





The message he sent me with his flowers was as exuberant as his mood the previous evening.    Who writes thank you poetry like that anymore?

Who was this fellow anyway?  I do a google search.





The photo is of a much older man, but the dates correlate.  Lou would have been 51 when he came to dinner.  He lived a very long life.  He died in 2013, the year I started my blog.

I searched the Internet for more.


This is the story of Lou Lesser, as told by himself, his family, and those who call themselves his friends.

(From: The Legend)

Prologue – A-eudaimonia and the hidden a-arete:

A 93 year old man has much to teach us, even if he does not himself understand what we are learning from him.

93 year old Lou Lesser is the Legend of real estate development.

Lou gave his wife, Jeanne, everything, so that she could live a life of luxury without work.

Lou Lesser gave his wife a huge mansion in the center of Beverly Hills to live in.

Lou gave his wife a staff living in the mansion.

Lou gave his wife a housekeeper to clean the house.

Lou gave his wife a cook to prepare any meal she might want.

Lou gave his wife a gardener to take care of the grounds.

Lou gave his wife a nanny to take care of the children.

Lou gave his wife an expense account of effectively unlimited amount to shop in Beverly Hills.

Lou gave his wife a chauffeur to drive his wife anywhere.

Lou gave his wife these things, but she was still unhappy, in fact, more unhappy than before she was given these things, and to this day he cannot understand why.

The ancient Greeks had two concepts in their systems of Ethics, relating to a well lived life, and the Chinese had similar ones.  The Greeks had the concept of eudaemonia and arete.  The Chinese…

 – From an online post by Eric John Diesel who was writing Louis Lesser’s life story.

Then it occurred to me that the song “Greensleeves” which was playing in the background during the psychic’s vision is a lover’s lament.


(poss. Henry VIII of England, 1500’s.)

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady Greensleeves.

Your vows you’ve broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.


I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.


If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.


My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.


Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.


Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.


Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.

Left Arm, Right Arm


After many years of clinical experience with patients, Dr. Lowen wrote:

I often point out to patients that our tender feelings are represented by the left arm and hand; our aggressive feelings including anger by our right arm.  Cutting off your right arm by denying your anger would not produce any fulfillment.

             – The Voice of the Body by Alexander Lowen, M.D.


The girl in ancient Greece had a paralyzed left arm.

When Herb was a cadet at West Point he fought back against someone in such a fury that no one could stop him.    He saved himself from disaster by paralyzing his own right arm.


Edith Speaks

When Edith Wharton was seventeen her mother published a book of her poems.    The following poem puzzled me and still does.  (Emphasis below is mine.)

“A Failure.”

( She Speaks.)

I MEANT to be so strong and true!

The world may smile and question, When?

But what I might have been to you
I cannot be to other men.
Just one in twenty to the rest,
And all in all to you alone, —
This was my dream; perchance ’tis best
That this, like other dreams, is flown.

For you I should have been so kind,
So prompt my spirit to control,
To win fresh vigor for my mind,
And purer beauties for my soul;
Beneath your eye I might have grown
To that divine, ideal height,
Which, mating wholly with your own,
Our equal spirits should unite.


To others I am less than naught;
To you I might have been so much,
Could but your calm, discerning thought
Have put my powers to the touch!
Your love had made me doubly fair;
Your wisdom made me thrice as wise,
Lent clearer lustre to my hair,
And read new meanings in my eyes.

Ah, yes, to you I might have been
That happy being, past recall,
The slave, the helpmeet, and the queen, —
All these in one, and one in all.
But that which I had dreamed to do
I learned too late was dreamed in vain,
For what I might have been to you
I cannot be to other men.

                                                                                                           – Atlantic Monthly 45 (April 1880): 464-65


How did the teenage girl Edith Wharton have these tragic feelings of regret and failure for something that happened so long ago it is “past recall”?


Minoan Lady