Excerpted from In Search of Lost Lives: Desire, Sanskaras, and the Evolution of a Mind&Soul
© 2017 by Michael Goddart.
The fifth chapter is the fifth past life before Michael Goddart’s current life.
The twelfth chapter is the twelfth past life before his current one.
Memory of a Former Life
When I read Edgar Cayce at age 12, it activated a memory of a former life, and I immediately knew that past lives were true. As I matured, meditating daily and intensely, and observed much about myself and my strong, unexpected feelings and responses to what came through my life, I never went looking for my past lives. One day the memory of a former life just happened. Like an eyepiece removed from a kaleidoscope, it would turn and I would find wholly different memories of previous lives; yet the abiding familiarity of them all helped complete my sense and understanding of who I was. Before that, my seemingly inexplicable affinities, inherent abilities, and feelings of familiarity with people, places, and historical times were mysteries. I did not know from whence they came. When I began to recover my past lives, I discovered that these were sanskaras, impressions from past lives.
I started to record what I recovered in the spiritual journal I’ve kept since 1977. Amazing journal entry followed amazing entry. Ultimately, I recovered eighty-eight past lives—seventy-one human and seventeen animal lives.
5. Memory of a Former Life: Indian Disciple and Business Owner (1650 – 1705)
The Happiest Life
January 1, 2014
By this time, I had been reincarnating regularly in human form. The earthly time in between lives had shortened, so that it was basically in and out. This had started with my life as a Mesopotamian priest, because of what happened in the life immediately prior life to that in Macedonia and then between lives. I consider all my lives since then to be recent lives. In my town in the Deccan sultanate of Golconda, in the present-day state of Andhra Pradesh, I was predisposed to being receptive to following a living teacher. The seed had been planted my twelfth life back in Tibet.
This life in India I lived a householder’s life, and rather than wait until I reached the last quarter of my life, as is an Indian custom, to devote myself fully to spiritual matters, I was initiated at age 24 before I married. At age 26 I married a girl of 18, and my good wife bore me three daughters. I grew to love my daughters dearly. I felt a keen sense of responsibility in providing for them and for saving to provide good dowries for their eventual marriages. Thus, this was the first Overriding Desire of the higher mind in that life: to provide for my daughters and wife. Luckily, I was a merchant in the Shudra caste and had my own business of buying tools and utensils and selling them. I also had a workshop that produced and assembled the tools and utensils. Although there were hard times, I was able to support my family well a majority of the time, and this also provided a certain freedom for meditation and devotion to my guru.
Thus, following my spiritual discipline, my meditation, was my second Overriding Desire during that Indian life, and I took to it like a duck that had been caged for ages but was now let go, free to dive deep into an inviting pond that in its depths promises all kinds of goodies. Three prior lives helped prepare me for this life. Clearly, one was the previous life of prayer and discipline as a monk in Slovenia when three Overriding Desires of the higher mind first informed and influenced my life. The other was the Tibetan Buddhist life (1214 – 1256), the first life on Earth when my higher mind began to predominate pervasively, and I was exposed in a positive way to Tibetan Buddhist practices and teachers. And interestingly, the third was my short life as an Indian girl (198–213). In my family during this short life, my father and mother meditated. I loved and looked up to my parents, and I was close to them. At times while my parents meditated, I’d speak quietly to my older brother about their meditation. He planned to meditate when he was older. I entertained the desire and hoped to meditate when I became older. This made a strong, positive impression on me and remained as a sanskara, waiting to sprout in the right, fertile field.
The third Overriding Desire that operated in my Indian disciple life was to be a good human being. One influence was the contact and the teaching of my guru. But the main influence came from within me. My higher mind was beginning to stretch its wings. It felt good to want to be good. I desired to be fair and honest in my business dealings. I wished to be a good father to my daughters, and I tried to be a good husband to my deserving wife. I was a dutiful husband and did my best to be loving. Relations with my wife continued for some years after the birth of my third daughter, and then they fell away. I didn’t miss it. I was happy in my meditation. I was happy being polite to people. I was happy helping my workers do well and advance themselves. I was happy in the day-to-day rhythms of life, of breathing in and breathing out, of feeling the sun on my back and the warm weather around me, touching my skin all over, supporting me, strengthening me, with a sureness and power that kept me going. I was happy being a good father to my daughters and seeing them married and giving them good dowries. I was happy with my two grandchildren, and I continued to live, my years advancing, but I began to yearn for something else.
I missed the connection with my guru. I had been without a teacher in the flesh for many years. I missed seeing him and listening to him and talking to him and asking questions, and drinking in his answers to my questions. I had loved my guru and still did, but gradually it had become faint as the minutes and hours and years rolled by. In the years before I died, I recognized that he had not been the be-all and end-all for me. I came to desire a greater spiritual Master, a Teacher who would lead me on a path beyond which my raja yoga guru could. A path that would give me what I wanted, but I was not clear what that was. Connected to the desire for a greater Teacher was a stronger yearning.
This was the happiest memory of a former life, but as I grew older, more and more, I became aware of what was missing. I yearned for greater love. I desired an all-encompassing love. In the end-years of this Indian life, that became a preoccupation. It was the natural yearning of the soul being received by the higher mind. So, what happened?
Liberated to Pursue Spirituality
September 26, 2015
In 1702, when I was 51 and living in Andhra Pradesh, in the spring, it was one April evening when my wife’s younger sister, her brother, and two daughters were staying with us for over a week. I wanted a touch of peace and quiet. I had happened to see a friend, one of the few fellow disciples I still saw on occasion, and mentioned the visit. He was a widower, and he was going to be away for a day. He invited me to visit his modest house to meditate and be alone. Now it was 9:00 p.m. and I had meditated, then made myself tea. I was sitting on the floor, drinking the tea, when instantly came a flash of inspiration. I realized I could be liberated. I felt what liberation could be and a new, simple feeling came and filled me. I felt freed, empowered, liberated. I felt lighter and more in accord with my purpose for having a human life.
I could, in fact, make spirituality my top priority. I would be free to pursue spirituality in three ways: my practice, my goals, and exploration. I practiced meditation with more dedication. I became clear in my spiritual goals, the main one being my resolve to make spirituality my top priority. I formulated and explored goals and the main fruitage of this was that I came to desire an all-encompassing love on a higher plane. This helped clear the way to focus on spirituality in the lives to come and helped to prevent me from being wholly distracted by the mind going out in the world.
This evolutionary spiritual experience served to balance my worldly life in which I was overly caught up in responsibility and duty to my family, business, and this householder’s life. That was the first Overriding Desire of my higher mind and also too strong a driver. I needed something to jolt me out of my routine and knock down those boundaries to facilitate evolution. In fact, with this evolutionary spiritual experience it was the first time in my physical existence that I put spirituality first.
12. Memory of a Former Life: Tibetan Buddhist and Government Official (1214 – 1256)
The Ambitionless Life
October 7, 2014
I was a male born in a village of about five hundred inhabitants close to Lhasa, Tibet. I was the youngest of three boys with parents who loved us. This was one of the best sets of parents of my recent lives. My father had a business selling toys, games, dolls, school supplies, and learning materials. He sold them in a market stall in our village and also traveled to Lhasa, which was within fifty miles. He made many of the toys and dolls and bought the other goods from other craftsmen. I had a happy childhood, with plenty of toys and games to play with myself, my brothers, and friends.
I attended school in our village from age 8 to 16 and did well. I grew to be over five feet, six inches, had black hair, smooth, light-brown skin, and average looks. At 17 I received a government job, running to deliver mail and other items. I loved the job—I loved the exercise, the beautiful scenery, the friendly people I met, and the feeling of oneness I experienced while running, running, running, skimming over rocks, seeing the boundless vistas of mountains and sky, my spirit expanding to join with everything. This fed my higher mind and exulted my spirit. The switch over to the higher mind being dominant over the lower mind had occurred before I was born, between lives. This was in the causal plane. It was with one of our teachers. He took me to a higher place of the causal, and there my higher mind was focused, concentrated, and strengthened. For the first time since I had become a human my higher mind was dominant over my lower mind. I was sent to Tibet, where my particular circumstances were good for me to begin to become primed for accelerated spiritual evolution.
Running mail, I often spent one or two nights away from home. When I was 20 I no longer wished to be away from Lhasa. I had met a girl. I left the job when we became spoken to for each other. We were married when I was 21. I soon grew to love her. We had two daughters. Meeting her and later planning to get married was the catalyst for seeking a new job. I obtained a job as a clerk in the Land Office of the government, initially copying and filing land records. This was a natural, ready fit after my work in Warwick during my previous life. At this time, the political power was not centered in Lhasa, but Lhasa was the still the spiritual center of Tibet and important in its own right. I worked in the Land Office for ten years, getting promoted, performing a variety of duties, but after five years I wanted more challenging work that was more at the center of things.
When I was 31 in my Tibetan life, I moved to the Office of Protocol. I was not ambitious and had not sought the job. A friend there was responsible for bringing me over. The Office of Protocol—that’s the best expression in English—was both a fascinating and often boring to place to work. I set up and ran meetings, handled relations between government officials, and dealt with visiting dignitaries. I entered the office during a time of great turmoil, after the Mongol invasion of 1240 and our eventual incorporation into the Mongol Empire. All kinds of ambition surged around me, including that of monks. Thanks to my higher mind being predominant, I came to see through the speech and false actions of those who jockeyed for advantage so that their gamesmanship was rendered naked. I came to understand that I must be like a water fowl, who must paddle around in the murky wets, but who keeps his wings dry so that he can fly away. Eventually, I met two who were above ambition.
When I was 34, I started attending a different temple. Right away I began an association with an older monk who, as I observed him, impressed me more and more. I came to appreciate his serenity, stillness, and self-containment. This was in counterpoint to men often around me in the government. Before, I’d gone to temple in spurts, but now I was drawn there. It became an integral part of my life. After five years, the monk died. I looked for another temple and found one. The monk who presided there soon impressed me greatly. I studied him as closely and discreetly as I could. He embodied a profoundness that I had not witnessed in anyone. From his eyes emanated a special light. A look from him seemed to contain the earth and heavens. I felt he was exalted. I realized that humans have the potential to attain a higher consciousness that sweeps up through the heavens. He was more evolved than anyone I had known. I continued to attend that temple for the rest of my life. I did not entertain the notion of leaving my demanding work, but the desire grew and grew to have my own teacher.
When I was 39, I was appointed to the position of Chief of Protocol. I had not sought the position. But I had performed well in my varied duties and was looked on well. This was a challenging, delicate position that called on a welter of skills, knowledge of details, and intuitions. My diplomatic skills had been developing—partly because my lack of ambition helped me keep a clear head—and now they were particularly needed when put to the test, while my sensitivities became more refined in divining other people and the vagaries of their egos. (My great attraction to and skills in playing the game Diplomacy this current life arose from this Tibetan life.) Although I was up to the challenges, it consumed much of my mental energy. I felt a pull away from my nascent spiritual life visiting the temple, meditating there, and taking in the feelings and sensations that were so different from my governmental and domestic lives. This was the first recent life in which I experienced the competing pulls of my spiritual, family, and work lives.
Several years later when I was 42, in September, one afternoon my wife left with our daughters to attend a birthday party of a friend of theirs. I did not work that day. I stayed home and did nothing. It was a relief not to be consumed by busyness. My mind gradually relaxed and unwound. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor when my consciousness was uplifted. Unbeknownst to me, my teacher from between lives, who had assisted me in empowering the higher mind in the causal plane, effected this upliftment. One thing I knew automatically—I just knew it—I’d be leaving soon. This good life was almost over. I wanted a spiritual teacher. I wanted to experience higher states of consciousness. I believed firmly in reincarnation, and I wanted to meet a teacher in my next life, but also in heaven.
This was a spiritual evolutionary experience in which the higher mind formed a definite spiritual desire that crystallized and had to come to fruition. This was fulfilled when I was next born in Asia, in India, and I met a guru who initiated me.
Two months later, in November, I became ill. Unbeknownst to me and the healer I visited, I had cancer of the gallbladder. It appears to have been advanced stage three. The cancer soon spread to my liver. The pain grew worse and worse. There was not much that could be done for me. My good wife tended to my needs and was there till the end. My daughters would come, and it was sad knowing that soon I must leave them. The suffering grew more and more intense until, finally, it overwhelmed me, and I was taken from that diseased body. After I left and soon readjusted within, I was joyful to have escaped. Moreover, I had fulfilled the threefold spiritual purpose of the Tibetan life: to loosen the pulls of the world, to see and experience the emptiness of worldly ambition, and, most important, to form the desire to attain higher states of consciousness.