Thinking about this this morning.
Since I was a child, i have thought that one of my most recent past lives, was as a Jew during WWII. There are reasons for this, most notably, the many, many dreams I had as child of being hidden from the Nazis. Most likely this occurred in Poland, or perhaps I was transported to Germany, i don't really know. (Yes, I think that is the way reality actually functions and I'm not interested whatsoever in debating past lives).
Once, a few years ago, I met an older German woman, and as i was shaking hands with her, I realized that she or someone from her family, may very well have been involved, in my Jewish past life in Poland (and/or Germany). This somewhat startled me.
And then i realized that these thoughts i was having about this woman, may very well be simply a story i was telling myself, an illusion as it were, about the past, as if it has actually occurred.
And then i thought that this is, perhaps, how reality itself works, that we tell ourselves stories, in fact, project those stories onto a so-called external world, and in fact create, an external world exactly out of what we think.
So that what we call 'reality' is both an illusion and an actual occurrence. An illusion, because it could have been anything and an actual occurrence because with our minds, we concretized it, and made it 'real'.
In any case, this was my experience when I met this woman. This was the swift story that appeared in my mind as I shook her hand. I have no way of knowing what has occurred in the past. The past is truly past. Now, today, I can only not get caught up in the stories I tell myself, not dwell in the past (or the future for that matter).
In a way, it is so comforting to dwell in the past. Because then we think we 'know' and by 'knowing' we can settle all the uncertainty about the present. And we can 'know' many things. But it is not a way to settle the present uncertainties.
I think it is important to look deeply into what we are doing. To carefully see how much we do not live in the present. To watch carefully how we construct our world out of imagined past and future scenarios. Imagined scenarios not only about ourselves, but about others as well.
In any case, this was a personal experience I had some years ago. I was thinking about it this morning and thought I would share it here.