Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but don’t I know you? There’s just something about you. Haven’t we met before? We’ve been in love forever.
When we got to the top of the hill we saw Rome burning. I just let you walk away. I’ve never forgiven myself. I saw you on the steps in Paris, you were with someone else. Couldn’t you see that should’ve been me? I just walked on by.
Then we met in ’42 but we were on different sides. I hid you under my bed but they took you away. I lost you in a London smog as you crossed the lane. I never know where you’re gonna be next but I know that you’ll surprise me.
Come with me, I’ll find some rope and I’ll tie us together. I’ve been waiting for you so long, I don’t want to lose you again. Don’t walk into the crowd again. Don’t walk away again. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to lose you.
– Kate Bush, Snowed in at Wheeler Street
This is a beautiful and somewhat heart-wrenching song. And leave it to Kate Bush to create something as beautiful, sensual, unusual, and slightly bonkers in the best possible way.
This is one of the few love stories – in western pop-culture – that continues across lifetimes.
My best guess is that we live more than once. And if we do, it’s likely that we sometimes meet again, and some of us continue our love across lives – as lovers and through other kinds of relationships.
As I have written about before, there are a few aspects to the reincarnation or re-birth idea that is worth looking at.
First, whether it’s reality or not is a question best left to research. And at some universities, they do actually do research on this. (Only considering the importance of the topic, you would think most or all universities would have a research program on this topic. It may happen in the future as – or if – our collective world-view becomes less exclusively materialistic and the stigma goes out of this and related topics.)
At a psychological level, our ideas about our own past lives are very valuable since they mirror something in us here and now. For instance, although this song is beautiful, heartfelt, and very human, it also does reflect painful beliefs. And even if I didn’t write these lyrics, they still resonate and I can use them as a pointer and reminder to take a look at this in myself. It’s an invitation to find healing for emotional around aloneness, not being worthy of love, being unfortunate, things going wrong, loss, and so on. (These are quite universal and I have some of all of those, I am no exception.)
As anything found in a religion or spiritual tradition, ideas about reincarnation have also been used to regulate groups and society. This has been helpful in some ways, although it comes with a shadow side. For instance, it’s also used to control people and justify injustice – for instance, the caste system India.
Personally, I find the idea of innumerable lives very helpful, and not just as projection objects. When I notice something in me that’s not healed and/or not awake (which happens all the time), I see that there is no time like the present. Now, I have the tools and time to invite in healing and awakening. If I put it off, I’ll just have to do it later in this life, or in a future life where I may not have the same opportunity to work with it.
Finally, if there is reincarnation – and we have many lives – it’s really the divine taking on all these forms. What continues between the lives are subtle energy structures allowing the divine to temporarily express itself as a being and take itself to be a separate being. It’s all part of lila. It’s the play of the divine.
Gather ’round me, everybody Gather ’round me while I’m preachin’ Feel a sermon comin’ on me The topic will be sin and that’s what I’m ag’in’ If you wanna hear my story The settle back and just sit tight While I start reviewin’ The attitude of doin’ right
You’ve got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative And latch on to the affirmative Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith or pandemonium’s Liable to walk upon the scene
To illustrate my last remark Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark What did they do just when everything looked so dark?
(Man, they said “We’d better accentuate the positive”) (“Eliminate the negative”) (“And latch on to the affirmative”) Don’t mess with Mister In-Between (No!) Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
(Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum) (Bring gloom down to the minimum) (Have faith or pandemonium’s) (Liable to walk upon the scene)
You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative Don’t mess with Mister In-Between No, don’t mess with Mister In-Between
Words and Music by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer
This song may at first glance sound a bit naive, but is it really? It’s all about how we understand it.
Accentuate the positive. Even in a dark night, there is what we may think of as good. One way to discover this is to ask the question, is it true that what I am looking for is not here? More specifically: Is it true that peace is not here? Is it true that love is not here? Is it true that contentment is not here? Is it true that allowing is not here?
Eliminate the negative. Examine the apparent problems through how it appears in words, images and sensations. What happens when you see words as words, images as images, and sensations as sensations? What happens when you take time and feel sensations as sensations? (Living Inquiries.) What stressful thoughts do you have about what’s happening? What do you find when you examine these? (The Work.)
Latch on to the affirmative. Find love through ho’oponopono, tonglen, metta and similar practices. (Do these practices also on the suffering parts of yourself.) Meet the suffering parts of yourself in satsang. Pray to the divine. Ask for guidance. Ask for surrender. Ask for support in meeting what’s apparently troublesome with love.
Accentuate the positive: Is it true that what I am looking for is not here? (Peace, contentment, love, allowing.)
Eliminate the negative: Bring love to it. Inquire into stories about it. See what’s really there.
Latch on to the affirmative: Uncover and invite in love, for whatever is here.
Don’t mess with mister in-between: Do it wholeheartedly.