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Tony Grist

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Foot Spas, Blackbirds And Reincarnation [Jun. 7th, 2008|10:42 am]
Tony Grist
1. Ailz acquired a foot spa off Freecycle the other day. We went and picked it up and the man who handed it over at the door called me, "my man" twice in the course of thirty seconds. In the far off and long ago "my man" was how rich men in wind-up motor cars addressed  simple, smock-wearing country folk when they had to stop and ask them for directions. It was patronising to the point of insult. Coming from a scruffy-looking bloke in a council house it presumably has other connotations- but I can't say I liked it much.

I just topped the spa up with nearly-boiling water from the kettle. Ailz seems to be enjoying herself. There are bubbles.

2.The blackbirds who nest in our ivy have successfully raised one brood this summer and are now raising another. This makes me happy. One cannot have too many blackbirds.

3. Michael Newton- author of Journey of Souls-  says we enter into a covenant not to remember past incarnations when our souls return to earth. We have lessons to learn- and it's better we start with a clean slate.  Our responses will be fresher if events surprise us-  and the task will seem more urgent if we don't realise we have lives to burn. Yes-  fair enough-  but to know what I was is to know who I am- and I'm finding it really frustrating to be kept in the dark.

[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2008-06-07 11:18 am (UTC)
Here in the US, "my man", especially in the African-American community, is akin to "friend" (as in "let's talk about my man Tony"), or used colloquially much the sane as "dude", "buddy", or "bro", as a form of conversational addressing ("You know, my man, I'm really into baseball.")

Can't speak as to its use in GB.

Hear's to bubbles and blackbirds!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-07 11:34 am (UTC)
The guy with the foot spa was white, but I guess he may have been clued into black American culture- a lot of British people are these days.

In Britain, "my man" has the implication of ownership. It's a master-servant thing. As in the P.G. Wodehouse title- "My Man, Jeeves."
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-07 11:23 am (UTC)
"My man" to my American ears sounds friendly and even respectful, but it's also the sound of it, I guess--how he said it.

I once went inside a used furniture store near a railroad track, and the store was dark and creepy, and out of the dim back room came a little old man who said "What for you, Sister?" and I fled, insulted and scared at the same time.


I like thinking about Ailz having foot bubble-baths!


As for reincarnation: Who makes up these rules about Lessons? I mean the on-high overseers who do this? Some council? (I picture gods in togas around a table, using notebooks and golden pens)

In my awful cynicism (which I have resisted for years until it's too tiring to fight anymore) I think (curling my lip--how I hate being so awful about it): "How convenient, that we can't remember our past lives.

Then I try to work it out--all these people on earth, all having lessons! Surely lots of them are new souls. (I've read that "new souls" get planted in remote places, like hillsides in central Asia, so they can adjust to being humans)

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-07 11:42 am (UTC)
"Sister" is insulting? You do surprise me. It sounds like equality-talk to me. I associate that kind of intimacy with black people and Quakers.

Gods in togas may not be too far from the mark.

I really recommend Michael Newton's Journey of Souls- and its sequels. My very clever daughter recommended it to me- and now I'm a believer. Newton is a hypnotherapist who found, by accident, he could regress people to their life between lives. I've looked hard at what he says- and scouted the Internet for people accusing him of fraud- and I've come to the conclusion he's a straight-up dude.
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From: bodhibird
2008-06-07 11:45 am (UTC)
Buddhists have a useful saying about past lives: If you want to know what your past lives were like, look at the conditions of your present life. If you want to know what your future lives will be like, look at your behavior in your present life.

By this logic, all of us First-World people must've been pretty virtuous in previous lives. Next time, though....

I try not to think too much about past lives. I have too much of a tendency to get stuck in the past of this life.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-07 12:23 pm (UTC)
That's a good way of looking at it. Yes, all we really need to know is where we're at right now. My problem is I'm just insatiably curious.

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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-06-07 01:27 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. My man has a feeling of ownership to it, but then, I am an American who is very much tied to British culture.

Reincarnation: I have a few strong Past Life memories. Ultimately, they mostly serve to reinforce my belief in reincarnation and this, in turn, serves to comfort me in times of stress or loss. Some people in my life I know have been with me for lifetime after lifetime. There are conflicts that I seem to not be able to resolve, yet, that is ok. That means that we will come back again to work on them. That is strangely comforting to me, because there are people in my life that I would rather fight with than do without. I also really enjoy the physicality of being alive. I hate to think that I would Ascend and leave all of this behind. Therefor, on some level, I RESIST learning my lessons, because I enjoy the ride.

I had a anxiety attack some years back that we thought was a heart attack. When faced with the possibility of dying, I was strangely calm. My belief in reincarnation is very firm, it seems.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-07 02:10 pm (UTC)
"Lifetime after lifetime"- yes, I believe that's how it works. We all belong to a small peer group of souls and incarnate with them time and time again.

Have you come across Michael Newton's Journey of Souls?- It's a fascinating book and very much confirms all that I felt that I knew.

I've had occasional hints of past lives. The most vivid came in a dream where I was part of the crew of a medieval trading ship. It was an exceptional dream- very much more intensely felt and seen than is usually the case.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2008-06-07 03:55 pm (UTC)
I've been called my man!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-07 04:14 pm (UTC)

And I don't suppose you liked it either :)
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-06-07 04:08 pm (UTC)
I saw two nests of blackbirds fledge very close to a bedroom window in Spain. They were about 6 feet from the window and it was lovely watching them every day until they left. They sing so beautifully.

I think I would very much like to read Journey of Souls. There are feelings I've been trying to ignore that make me think of where I might have been, instant recognition of places I have never visited in this life and a sense of affinity with places that have nothing to do with my immediate and traceable ancestry.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-07 04:23 pm (UTC)
Journey of Souls is a remarkable book. It convinced me- and I like to think of myself as a sceptic.

I had a feeling of connection when I was in Durham earlier this year. Some cathedrals leave we cold, but Durham moved me deeply. I'd been there once before- but only on a flying visit- and I have no family connections that I know of with the area.
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[User Picture]From: richenda
2008-06-08 08:18 am (UTC)
Perhaps he had heard it used by someone who was joking, but didn't understand the long ago context?
I actually thought that it was how men referred to their personal servants - never heard of smock-wearers being called that. Wouldn't they down tools immediately on the grounds that they are labourers and therefore vastly superior to manservants?
I know of someone whose husband constantly calls everyone "squire" because a delivery man called him that. The same man introduces himself with "I'm Mr X" because he worked for a rather pretentious firm that required its employees to address each other formally.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-08 08:58 am (UTC)
I think it was- once upon a time- a form of address used by self-important people to anyone they saw as a social inferior.

One that amuses me is the custom round here of addressing people as "young man". I still get it sometimes- and even from people who are not obviously older than myself. I'm never quite sure how to take it.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2008-06-09 07:15 pm (UTC)
It's interesting what Michael Newton says. I believe it to an extent, which is why I am hesitant of engaging in past life regression therapy. Have you ever done anything like that? Do you believe in it? Do you think it's all BS?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-14 10:15 am (UTC)
I'm a believer. Newton seems like a straight-up guy. I haven't done past life regression myself, but my daughter has- and I believe in her experience. One thing that makes it convincing is that the lives she remembers are so ineffably humdrum.
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From: manfalling
2008-06-10 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm curious how you reconcile a belief in the soul and in past lives with modern science- the selfish gene of Dawkins and so on. Granted, they don't actually cancel each other out, but the one does seem to make the other a bit ludicrous.

Look at evolution- we came from monkeys who ultimately came from fish, our brains are just complex computers to hold the complex programs of our minds. Where does reincarnation fit into that? Do monkeys reincarnate, and have a divine presence watching over their 'lessons'? Do fish? What is the cut-off point, bearing in mind we share something like 97% of our DNA with chimpanzees?

From another angle, I'm curious what the 'lessons' of reincarnation are supposed to add up to. An enlightened being? But enlightened by whose moral compass and to what end goal? Or do you look on it as a kind of evolution, with no known goal in mind, only a progression steadily moving forwards towards something we know not what?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-14 10:12 am (UTC)
I think you've said it- they don't actually cancel one another out. You can no more disprove the existence of the soul than you can prove it. People like Dawkins start with a Victorian materialistic mind-set and find all the evidence falling into place for them. That's what we all do, pretty much. We start with a premise and then go on to prove it- using evidence selected and tailored to our case.

Do monkeys reincarnate? Yes probably. But I think the human soul is special.

What are we learning? Love and wisdom, I suppose. But if we could define the end we wouldn't still be taking the lessons, would we?

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-18 12:40 pm (UTC)
I'm bringing my Newton comments back to your original forum.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, which came through while I was dressing to go for a morning walk, so I'm just now back.

I may have told you that when Kate was born, they gave her to me and she was a wobbling little machine, and then suddenly her face lit up and her eyes opened wide and she grinned hugely at me! It was so clearly a Hello of recognition that I have never forgotten that we surely knew each other at once--in fact, I felt the same (but of course sociologists or biologists would smirk and say, of course you did, that's how we survive as a species).

I can accept the concept of reincarnation, except for the why behind all of it--my concept of God, which changes all the time, is less and less of a personal God who needs us (although I used to think: aha! If God is Love--that is God=love--then love needs an object, and that's us; but then I get caught up in the idea of how can love be in a vacuum, and WHY is God love, and who thought that up anyway, and what is love, for that matter--the recognition in my daughter's eyes and my immediate bonding with her, which may be physical, etc.?

I wish we were sitting at a kitchen table, Tony. I don't even know where to begin, but I want very much to work my way through this, and not glibly (as is my wont) dismiss it and end up with my usual cynical judgement.

Just a start-Jackie
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 01:08 pm (UTC)
You and Kate seem to have an exceptionally close relationship; it wouldn't surprise me to learn that you had a lot of karmic back story.

Newton suggests that it's unusual for parents and children to belong to the same soul group- but not unheard of.

I think we're beating our heads against a brick wall if we try to understand God. He/she/it is just too much for our human brains to comprehend. But I think we're on safe ground if we accept the equation God=Love. It's a pointer. But of course Love is as much of a mystery as God is.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-18 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Tony, for this good conversation today.

I'll try to get his other books.

You've given me much to think about.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 03:41 pm (UTC)
I've enjoyed it too.

I'm sure we'll return to these topics again...
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-18 09:53 pm (UTC)
PS, Tony--one last story that fits our thread, and I thought of it just this afternoon:

The English cellist and child prodigy Jacqueline Dupre died in her forties of MS, and she had had a particulary horrible case in which she was in spasm often and certainly could no longer play the cello, and this began in her twenties.

When her sister wrote Jacqueline's biography, she recalled a day when they were little girls sitting in the grass at the back of their garden. During a quiet time in their conversation Jacqueline suddenly said: "Someday I'm not going to be able to move, but it's okay."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-19 10:08 am (UTC)
Nice story.

Yes, if Newton is to be believed, the broad outlines of every life are laid out in advance. I don't know quite how this relates to free will. I think there's some manoeuvreability; it seems one can refuse a task or make a dog's breakfast of it.

And what about lives of atrocity? Why would anyone volunteer to lead (say) the life of a mass murderer if it was clear what was coming? Are these lives a test? Was there a point in Hitler's life when he could have walked away from it all?
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-22 09:13 pm (UTC)
Tony, I deleted my Isaiah 55 comment, which felt kinda weird and from-the-long-ago-past to me--something I'd written down back, paraphrasing when I was thinking about all the things Bobby had told me.

It's been a long time.

If I was supposed to do something with my life, well, it's been many years since, and--nothing.

Makes me feel ashamed and depressed. How exciting it was to glimpse the possibilities! And now to see how little I've done.

Oh, well, ten thousand more lives and I'll get something right. Maybe.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-22 09:45 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you deleted the Isaiah. It was lovely.

What makes you think you haven't lived up to that promise? I think your friends would say otherwise.

Please don't run yourself down. You are one of the most beautiful people I know. Truly you are.



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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-23 04:23 pm (UTC)
I just found out (his mother lives in town nearby) that my ex-husband is in the intensive care unit at the hospital. This may be it, as he has terrible lungs (both emphesema and COPD, which means he can't breathe out carbon dioxide, either). So our talks about life and death and the soul are feeling very apt and timely this morning.

I'm distracted and restrained, knowing well that nothing I do has "soul" in it anymore: what's done is done, and what's left is sadness for me that there will never be closure.

At least not here on earth.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-23 05:38 pm (UTC)
Poor Richard.

You still sort of care for him, I think.

Would it be unthinkable for you to go see him?

I don't believe we can ever disown "soul". Soul is what we are, no matter what.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2008-06-23 04:32 pm (UTC)
And, by the way, the psychic I saw (in 1997 and 2000) said, 1n 1997: I see a "Richard" or a "Rich" around you, and he is, bless his heart, so destructive. I'm glad you are apart. I don't see him living to be an old man.

(I hadn't said one word to him about me. He knew nothing at all. He also said, "I see two kids with you, real strong." He didn't see that much about them, but he really got my husband.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-23 05:42 pm (UTC)
It sounds like this psychic was the real deal.

I think most of them are. The ones I mistrust are the high level ones, the ones with business empires. Alice went to see one of those recently and found her a nasty piece of work.
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