Once upon the count of ten, I found out what I was here for. I was on the edge of a new millennium, and I was searching. When I heard that a hypnotherapist was visiting Bahrain, and would be holding past-life regression workshops, I felt the need to see him.
I find that odd now, looking back, because at that point of my life, I had never before turned to the past for answers. The past, for me, had always been a collection of anecdotes and photographs given to me by others, and the collage I pieced together had created a pleasant enough picture, of a past I could not actually remember. Besides this, I did not - and am still unsure if I do - believe in past lives. I told myself I was going for fun. For a lark, and to be able to say that I had done that. To add a quirky anecdote to the old collage.
Now I know that some part of me knew I needed to take this step, that dominoed into step after step, little painful falls towards healing. That first hypnosis session was followed by five or six more, each one opening a fictional and yet more real past than I had ever known. But that first session - well, it was the first. Every step I've taken ever since has been a result of that first visit into my subconscious.
And so, with a count of ten, I was standing before a tower, on my way to meet an inner guide. The gentleman who had hypnotised me, Lee Stone, told me that this inner guide would answer questions, show me ways, and take me on journeys.
"Ask him," Lee said. "Ask him what your role here is."
So I asked, "What is my role here?"
And I got the answer: Just to be.
Just to be. What kind of role is that? In my mind, “to be” meant “nothing”. I defined life by doing, not being. If I am to be, rather than to do, then I am wasted, inanimate, useless, pointless. Actions, accomplishments, awards. Roles, diplomas, milestones, items ticked off on a list of errands. You don’t get gold stars for doing nothing.
Just to be. Those three words still waft about me today. For a very long time, I found them hard to accept, or even understand. I am only just beginning to understand. What kind of things just “be”? The answer took seven years to come to me: nature. Nature just is. There is no conscious will or decision-making. Nature just is, and somehow by its being, exerts its influence on those of us who think we are the masters of this planet.
We, the people, "do". We do lots of things. Lots and lots. We always have done, and will continue to do. And searching for answers is just one little thing in all those thousands of millions of things that we do. We do, we die, we search, we go on trying, year into century into aeon and we are still searching and doing and dying.
I will never know if those past lives I saw under hypnosis all those years ago were real, or beautifully creative visualisations. But now, knowing what little I do know, I think I have an idea of whose example to follow, and what to aspire to, should there be a life after this one I'm living now. Trees.
When you look at them, they don’t seem to be doing anything. They’re not visibly active, although in some passive unseen way, they are wildly and widely awake. There is photosynthesis, and osmosis, and all sorts of interestingly-named processes going on. They’re producing oxygen, carbon dioxide. They’re filtering toxins. They’re cooling the air. They’re housing birds and insects and animals. They’re sheltering smaller plants. They’re even growing anthuriums at their feet, in the rotting mulch that was once branches or fruit or bark or leaves. And under it all, their roots are holding the earth together. Effortlessly. Just by being.