Some books yield power and I often feel dwarfed in their presence. Two of them are mentioned here. Also mentioned, is an experience, of regression that I recently had, one that tested my boundaries just as the book that talked about it did. Such experiences change your concepts and question what you know. Autobiography Of A Yogi, The Celestine Prophecy, The Secret and Outliers are some other books that fall in to this category too, but that’s for another post.
Friend of My Youth: Alice Munro
Friend of My Youth is a collection of few deceptively short stories by Alice Munro which, if read right, requires a long, long time to read. It is definitely not a collection meant for those looking for a light- read. Rather, it’s a book that forces you to reminisce, rethink, reconsider and re-read the story, and that in itself, is an unforgettable and invigorating experience. I especially liked the fact that there is no neat and tidy resolution at the end of the stories and no dénouement releases the tension. Therefore, the sacred ambiguity remains intact. Ostensibly, the reader is expected to interpret it on the go, always wondering, always unsure.
I also liked the play of time in these stories. In spite of the fact, that each story has a somewhat grim outlook, there is a surprising playfulness of the time element, where the present, past and future intermingle. At times, the narrative races ahead and at times, settles in to harmony with the past, present and the future. The change of relationships that is showcased with the passage of time, is also as sincere as it is impressive. One is compelled to wonder, how so much is possible within such a short story and that’s why I call it ‘deceptive.’ These are actually full length stories, packed in tight layers, to fit in to a ‘short story format.’ Some of my favourite characters from the collection are, Almeda Roth from ‘Meneseteung,’ Murray from ‘Oranges and Apples’ and Austin Cobbett from ‘Pictures of the Ice.’ But, the story that I enjoyed the most is, Goodness and Mercy.
Many Lives, Many Masters: Dr Brian Weiss
This book not only pushes you to rethink and reconsider ideas, but it invariably changes many concepts of life altogether. It is somewhat difficult to talk about the contents of the book, Many Lives, Many Masters, written by Dr Brian Weiss. Instead, it is easier to describe this book as an experience or perhaps, a revelation. That’s because, the book talks about past-life therapy and talks about “the space between lives.” It changes what you know about life, death and the time in between the two.
Though, reincarnation is an integral part of Hindu belief, I had never really put it in the context of real life. This book makes it real. It not only provides a very clinical and scientific approach to the concept, but also talks about real life cases. As I said, this book is more of an experience. I had read this book years ago. At that time, I was going through an emotionally charged phase and the book had worked like a much- welcomed salve. The possibilities described by Dr Weiss, were overwhelming and awe-inspiring.
Past Life Regression
Few months ago I got a chance to experience the book or rather the concepts the book talks about. This came in the form of past life regression and that too with someone I trusted. A friend was training as a therapist and invited me to experience the ‘virtual tour’ of the spaces that Dr Weiss had talked about in the book. My past life regression began. Was I hypnotised? Partly yes, as in, I felt relaxed. Did I lose consciousness? No, not at all! Did I say anything that I was not aware of? No. Did I see past lives? Ahhhhh…that’s the tricky part! Yes, I saw many images, much of it resembled the experiences described in the book, but quite possibly this was because I had already read the book. I knew what to expect. The images were already embedded in my mind. Did I see different story settings? Yes, but then, I am a fiction writer. My imagination has a tendency to run wild and run fast and on any good day, I can imagine stories before anyone can say the word, ‘go.’ So how do I trust what I experienced? Do I know the veracity of these images? Obviously, I don’t. Nevertheless, the experience was worth a try and all I can say is, that it was like experiencing the book, Many Lives, Many Masters in 4 D.
There’s just a little discomfiting discrepancy in my otherwise logical explanation of this experience. I remember describing stories to my friend and she diligently and dutifully noted all that down and even recorded it. To me, the whole process was about 30 minutes long, or so I thought. But, having reached a logical conclusion for my fictitious stories, when I was about to leave my friend, I looked at my watch. Two and half hours had passed and not thirty minutes as I had previously thought or expected. “What did I do for the two hours that I can’t account for?” I asked my friend perplexed. “You were roaming in those spaces,” she said.