Past Lives


“Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin’ through Kashmir.”

I never really gave reincarnation much of a thought. To me it seemed like something out of an L. Ron Hubbard novel. I mean the thought of being reborn just seemed absurd. With the population continuing to grow in numbers that would mean that there were a constant flow of new souls being generated as well as old souls being recycled. What was the point?


Ancient religions believe that life is a series of points. For every point there is a test. By completing the tests you move through the points which ultimately lead to enlightenment. Enlightenment means that you are ready to move on to the next portion of life. If you fail to reach this goal you are doomed to repeat the birth process all over again. Old souls are merely people you just fail to get it right over and over and over again.

If this is the case, man I hope I get it right this time. I am really tired of playing this game.

Anyway. I started thinking about the possibilities of reincarnation. Could it be that I have lived before? Many times before even? It sure would explain a few things….

Since I was a little kid I have had this vision of sorts. It usually manifests while I am lying in bed. In the period just before sleep. I find myself in a fox hole dug into the ground of some far away jungle. I am alone and clinching my rifle. It’s raining but the opening of the hole is covered with palm leaves and branches so I am dry. It is dark except for a small beam of light coming through the top. I can hear gun fire in the distance. I can hear foot steps and talking from outside the hole but I can not understand what they are saying. I sit as still as possible and as quiet as possible. I am not afraid, I am somehow comforted by the solitude and the darkness.


I can see this very clear, almost as if I am there. I never thought much of it before. I can smell the mud and the lingering odor of sulfur. I can feel the rain pounding down on the ground around me. Having a past life would explain why I can see all of this so vividly.

There is a smell I encounter from time to time. It smells like newly applied lead paint mixed in with rusty iron and recycled cardboard. It’s hard to explain. But every once in a while I smell it, and it leaves a copper taste in my mouth. Instantly I am reminded of something that I can’t quite seem to remember. All I know is that there is nothing around me that would warrant such a smell and that it is very familiar to me. I just can never quite put my finger on it.

I am drawn to books about war, mainly the Indian wars. I read about Waterloo and Wounded Knee, about the Revolution and the Civil wars. I identify with that way of life. The raw nature of survival. The kill or be killed mentality. Living on your own merit and not relying on the strength of others. Pride in tribe and outfit. Not connecting so much with the Indian braves, but with the frontiersmen and the trappers. Living in solitude in the middle of a vast wasteland.


Sometimes I get a feeling of mourning. For no reason what so ever. My stomach drops and I fight back tears. There is an overwhelming feeling of loss and sorrow. It passes quickly but for a moment I am looking back, or maybe forward, at my own death.

I have looked into a pair of eyes and somehow, for some reason, felt connected. I know this person even though we have never met before. I am filled with warmth and peace. I find myself feeling as if I would do anything to protect this person. I feel like I have known them forever. They are alive within my thoughts and dance freely within my emotions. Even though we are strangers, I somehow feel completed by them.


I am fascinated by the Hawk. If you were to ask me what my favorite animal is, as my daughters often do, I would say the Polar bear. But for some reason I am drawn to the Red Tailed Hawk. Whenever I see one I instantly slow down and watch. I can’t take my eyes off of them. They amaze me. Sometimes I swear they look right at me and give me a little nod of their head.


Sure all these things could be explained. They are all just strange accurateness, typical to those of everyone else. But maybe there is something to these “past lives”. Who knows. I would like to think I was smart enough to get it life right the first time. But with all the people inhabiting this Earth, I am guessing that would be somewhat of a rarity.

Maybe this is my lucky go around. Maybe this life will lead me to that yellow desert stream. I could use a little Kashmir right about now.


About paulsdahlman

Born in Southern California, raised on the road and now growing roots in New England. I am on the journey of my lifetime. May the footprints I leave behind form the words to my story.
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