Here and Now, an article by Tejvan
- Fortunately or unfortunately I don't have any recollection of past lives. Not even a feint reminiscence of once living in a particular country. (Unless they serve Yorkshire pudding and onion gravy, they all seem foreign to me). I once felt right at home in Oxford, but I think I was confusing the fact I'd lived there for the past 15 years, rather than some memorable past life experience.
Before I joined Sri Chinmoy's path, I was a rather aimless seeker, particularly interested in curiosities rather than the actual spiritual discipline. In a long litany of diversions and New age trinkets, I once went to a mystic Meg type figure - £50 for 20 minutes of 'trance time' above a spiritual bookshop. For my £50 she told me in a past life I was some relatively famous spiritual figure. I was quietly pleased; it sounded suitably impressive - I'd always secretly known I must have been somebody special.
However, my secret pride was somewhat dashed when she later confided that I wasn't the first person to have had that incarnation; in fact she told a bloke from the Post Office only last week he'd been that relatively famous spiritual figure too. Suitably confused, I temporarily wondered whether I should have paid £100 for 20 minutes; perhaps then I would had got the exclusive right to be that prominent past life.
But, I started to be all a bit disillusioned with these rather unhelpful diversions. I was a bit like a writer, who was spending all his time preparing his desk, researching the best ink, getting a comfortable chair - anything apart from actually writing! In the spiritual life, I was reading and analysing - anything except the actual discipline. Anyway, this experience started to diminish my fasciation with curiosities and diversions. So rather than trawling the pages of New Age weekly, I decided it might be a little more profitable to actually concentrate on making a little spiritual progress in this life
Here and Now
"Spirituality tells the seeker not to live in the hoary past, not to live in the remote future, but to live in the immediacy of today, in the eternal Now."
- Sri Chinmoy, Everest Aspiration Part 1, http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/everest-aspiration-1
Sri Chinmoy's philosophy is very much to live in the here and now. Perhaps knowledge of past lives can occassionally offer some help, some encouragement, but it certainly isn't essential. In the spiritual life, the important thing is our current attitude - our present achievements and aspiration. In cycling, we say you're only as good as your last race. This philosophy is equally true in the spiritual life. Even if people had spent the last 50 years doing great service, Sri Chinmoy would never allow them to sit back and relax in their former glories, Guru is always interested in knowing what we are doing now, and what we are going to do in the future. That is another striking feature of being in Sri Chinmoy's presence. The immediacy of the present moment, the vortex of current activity. Past and future melted away in Sri Chinmoy's presence because the present moment was so powerful and alive. There was no time to rest on laurels, not to speak of past lives. On Sri Chinmoy's path, there is too much energy for living here and now.
When postering for our meditation classes in Oxford, I revisit the University colleges where, only a few years ago, I was a student with a rather different philosophy and outlook. Walking into the old colleges and seeing the activities of students is a little strange. I once felt very connected to that world, but now, it seems like a different lifetime. Perhaps this is my previous incarnation - a rather nervous, shy chap, rather lost in the world. This was a time, when very different things appealed, I was motivated by different ambitions, desires and insecurities. But, since discovering the world of meditation, this old world of chimerical dreams and vain desires seem very much like a past life.
Occasionally, I get the wish to go back in time and go through University without the traumas of inexperience and ignorance. But, these flickering wishes are fleeting and they soon vanish. Why drag up a past life to try and improve it, when you can live fully in this present moment?
(On the positive side, at least I didn't pay Mystic Meg for the £10 budget session. Otherwise, I may have been submitting a long essay about my past life as Peter the Potato farmer )