Thursday, February 10, 2011


Readers of this blog book know that I have often pondered the question of reincarnation.

Do people have past lives?

DID I have a past life?

DID I LIVE BEFORE -- specifically back in 1883 -- as the wrongly-accused and falsely-imprisoned nun, Sister Renata?

I feel so deeply connected to Renata that there are times when I think, yes, well, maybe I have lived before.

Maybe I did inhabit another "self" or "consciousness."

After all, Renata's life back in 1883 feels completely real to me. So real that sometimes it feels more real to me than my "REAL" life.

I can slip into the nun's life -- and into her prison cell with her -- so easily.

I can tell you anything -- absolutely anything -- you want to know about her. I can tell you exactly how the scratchy wool habit feels at the skin of my waist. I can tell you how hard it is to follow Sister Teresa up the golden California hillside behind the convent. I can tell you what the sky looks like peeking through the tiny pointed leaves of the spreading live oaks.

I can lie on that straw-filled mattress in the tiny room at the convent staring up at that crucifix overhead.

I can see the dining room at Antonie's hacienda, the oak wood of the thick trestle table.

I can SMELL the bowl of gardenias that Señora Ramos -- the old Mexican housekeeper -- placed on the table.

I can see the door, the hammered door knob. I can feel it in my hand.

I can see -- and smell -- Antonie's sickbed. Even worse, I can smell the horrific odor from the dreadful foul pail sitting in Renata's cell.

All of it. I've lived all of it, every minute detail of it, or so it feels sometimes. I've lived it for the past 16 years, and I am living it still.

My writer friend Peg, who has seen me through all 16 years of the writing and the misery when I wasn't writing, agrees that everything I've written in Castenata feels absolutely real. So real that she says there is no reason to change a word of the Castenata story. It is as if I am writing the truth, describing a set of circumstances that really happened.

But at the same time, i often step back from the story and GO, no. You never lived a past life. You simply have a wildly-overactive imagination. You have a channel into a set of fictive experiences that are very strong. You are a fiction writer, not a time traveler. You don't believe in past-life regression therapy even if one of your own shrinks told you to consult such a therapist.

OK. So now comes this amazing, no, astonishing, TV news report out of Cleveland about a boy who appears to have had a past life. My sister, Holly Ricci, who often brings to my attention what I will call "spiritually alternative" facts and stories, Facebooked about it.

I noted her Facebook entry this morning, but decided to let it sit, thinking, "How good can this story be?"

And then my niece, Sarah Donohue, who happens to be a Hollywood producer on assignment filming a new movie in Louisiana, weighed in with ""What an amazing story!!!!" and I knew I had to watch it.

Sit back folks, because this is one news feature story that you just CANNOT MISS. This is a story you cannot ignore. This is the story (also reported by the BBC) of 11-year old boy, James Leininger, who at age two was drawing horrifically graphic images of war planes crashing into the ocean. This is the story of a boy who had violent nightmares about having been shot down in a plane by the Japanese.

Somehow, this child seems to have come into this world with the consciousness of a WW II fighter pilot whose plane ended up in a fiery crash, falling into the ocean off the coast of Japan!

How did this young boy know the NAMES of the older men that he eventually met, the names of the other soldiers in his platoon?

How did he know the nickname of the soldier's sister, the nickname that she had as a little girl? How did he know that the soldier's mother had painted an image of the sister WHEN NOBODY BUT THE SISTER HERSELF KNEW this fact?

Oh well, so, watch for yourself. See what you think.

I am inclined to believe what I see here, because the report is awfully convincing. But if you don't believe it, that's fine too.

I have said numerous times, writing Sister Mysteries and Castenata, that I just don't know what to think about past lives and medical intuitives and a lot of other phenomena that cannot be "rationally" explained.

I am not sure what to think.

But I was thinking earlier today that maybe consciousness is like a download file. Maybe each of us has our own particular download file, and when we die, that file occasionally gets swept up into into somebody else.

"I dunno," was my husband's response, when I presented to him my DOWNLOAD THEORY OF REINCARNATION.

We were eating lunch. He just finished writing his huge book about health care.

A very rational, intelligent book.

And I am writing this BOOK. Actually it's not a book in the traditional sense. I have taken to calling Sister Mysteries, and the related nun story, Castenata, a BLOGGA SAGA.

I told my husband that he really HAD to watch the TV news report about young James Leininger.

He smiled, and agreed that he would watch it.

But then, as he was munching on his salad, he looked up at me and he smiled and said. "You know honey, I don't want to come back again."

And then he laughed. "Once is enough. Life's a lot of work. I mean I'm a happy guy and all but still, it's a lot of work."

I had to laugh. As always, my husband really does have his head screwed on right. He makes a lot of sense, and I might just agree, that once is enough.

Except of course if you are forced to live as a nun, back in 1883, and you are sitting there, rotting in prison.

NOTE: The photos above show at left, James Huston, the fighter pilot who crashed off the coast of Japan in WW II. At right is the 11-year old, James Leininger, whose parents are now convinced he is the reincarnated soldier.


Lynn said...

I am SO behind this thought. I've long believed that we think things, remember things, for reasons beyond understanding. I felt like that when I went to Wales for the first time. And when I visited my folks AR home (now mine.) Yes, woman. Yes.

Claudia R said...

that's why we get along Lynn, I am behind this thought too! :)