I. Background and relationships
- Interviews 2009-2010
- I. Background and relationships
- Ii. Ideological residency and practice
- Iii. Destiny and life laws
- Iv. God or a larger, orderly body
- v. Health, ill health and care
- we. Faith and knowledge
- Vii. Visions and goals of the future
- Summary i-vii
"I had thought at some point, what is the meaning of life, I know, but I gave it up, because I kind of found nothing."
What the interviewees tell us about their background and upbringing. What the interviewees tell us about the path to the spiritual commitment they have today. What interviewees tell us about their relationships then and now.
Two people grew up in Christian homes. One of the respondents participated in church activities, it was natural when she was a child and teenager. Eventually, she moved on. The other respondent grew up in a family where one parent was strictly religious:
I wasn't allowed to take books home from school that were loan books. It was simply the Bible. And to read… When you got to the age of 10 or 12… It was the photo journal that was interesting, and I was not allowed to read it. My dad was totally torn apart, so I couldn't read it. So that when I was fourteen years old then I decided that I would change the whole thing, because I felt that I was crowded, my views were norlunda.
For others, the spiritual perspective has been completely absent growing up: "I didn't grow up in a home that has anything to do with anything to do… God or Buddha or anything, there has been no spirituality whatsoever." Someone describes their parents as very open, also to supernatural phenomena and odd mindsets:
So it was very easy for me, huh. They never forced anything on me. I remember them asking me when I was 12, or 11 or something, well, what do you think happens after death? No, nothing, I said. Black. Well, they just said. And then I heard them sitting in there talking about their stuff… My mom had a UFO friend where she worked. And there was a whole bunch of people who actually saw a mothership then over city hall, and that I heard about then when she came home and like this… Nothing more with it.
Several of the informants tell of difficult growing up experiences: "There is no escaping childhood, and my childhood was very unhappy. For some kind of banal reason. My parents were very immature, unhappy people." For one respondent, growing up was characterized by one parent's addiction.
Time of applicants
One of the respondents started to ponder early. He believes that this was influenced by the turmoil in the world, the Cold War with atomic bomb threats and the like:
So I started to ponder a lot, in such a very inarticulate way when I was in my teens, I just started to wonder above all about the big life issues like death and yes what really happens to man… Death above all else. At the time, I didn't think at all in spiritual or religious terms or anything like that, at the time, I didn't have those frame of reference at all. But you still want some kind of answer to what it's all about, is there any point, you know. We also had quite… This was in the early eighties when, or in the mid-eighties, then it was pretty much this cold war scenario, with atomic bombs and stuff like that. This affected me a lot. It's a very horrible discovery when you're so young to discover, partly that humanity isn't really healthy, and partly that life is actually finite.
Several describe feeling lost and frustrated in life and feeling bad: "I think I was heavenly… Confused in this life, at first. At the beginning of this life… It was so full of other shit. I was so excited about everything all the
time." For me, it's always been this… The earth, so,, I'm frustrated, I'm depressed… Fucking shit life." "Yes, in the past my outlook on life was very black, simply. I was chronically depressed, I think, all these years, and very, well… Worried and worried and so on." One respondent says that she thought about the question of the meaning of life earlier in life but then gave up: "I had probably thought at some point, what is the meaning of life, I know, but I gave it up, because I kind of found nothing.
Several interviewees have taken an interest in other types of spirituality or religions before they got the interest they have today. One of the respondents was interested in Buddhism for a period of time. When a Buddhist lama visited Sweden, she allowed herself to be initiated by him. This llama was quite angry and complained a lot about his co-workers, which the respondent thought was strange. However, the initiation itself made a profound impression on her. She really felt seen by this llama and was also given a new name that felt well-found and suited her well. She is not involved in Buddhism. One of the respondents tells about a time in life that he describes as an intensive crisis search phase:
The materialistic life had entered the end of the world. The materialistic worldview… He had gone into a dead end. I had to reconsider and get in touch with something deeper in life. I think I was pretty bad out there.
Eventually it became easier and everyday life returned, for better or for worse. Everyday life can be described as a "fog":
Unfortunately, this intensity subsides, I was in a life crisis there, and then… Of course, you may get a slightly distorted worldview, but you see other crystal clear things, when the fog eases for a while. Then when you go into the everyday grind, the fog falls into place again, and you fall asleep in front of the TV… And so on. The daily grind goes on again, and then it fogs again, the intensity decreases.
Crises and turning points
One respondent who had been educated and had worked in healthcare for a long time got tired at one point and retrained to something completely different: "I got tired of it. I got tired of taking care of others. So, yes, I wanted to do something else." One interviewee got to a point during his studies when he needed to make a choice: "I felt like I had come to a limit… I felt like I had to make a choice between these two sides that I had in myself… partly the social, rather superficial person, and a profound figure who did not quite come into his own in any way." One of the respondents tells how she struggled with her "demons" when she was in her twenties. She also began to think about how she could take her own life. Finally, there was a turning point:
And when you start having thoughts like that, you don't want to live anymore, because you feel so bad about yourself… And I understood that it was serious, because I got more and more thoughts like this… I wonder how you could find ways to get rid of yourself, you know. And that's not good. And I understood so much. This isn't good. So I… I know it was a night I… I couldn't sleep all night, because I got like that, you know… You know as you are, when your mind just buzzes. I think that was the crisis. And then I got a vision in the morning there, which was very beautiful, and I wrote a poem. And then it just turned around. Not so bad, but that it turned around so that it went about… so it kind of starts to go slowly downhill again, instead of it just being uphill, uphill, uphill. Then came the turning point.
This was a significant turning point in the respondent's life. Shortly thereafter, her spiritual interest began. She says that Christian had opened up to this: "And then when I… That's after that I found set. It was like I was kind of open to it."
For some, interest in the new spirituality has awakened at a ripe old age, when they have been between thirty and forty, while others have had interest with them since early in life. Several of the respondents have difficulty specifying a specific starting point for their engagement. Some believe that this interest, in one form or another, has been present already in childhood. A creative teacher in middle school, with his philosophical riddles, sowed a seed in one of the interviewees. For one of the respondents, the interest came through an older relative who shared their new-age thoughts when the respondent was in their late teens, which took on a crucial importance. A respondent tells about how in his teens he made in-depth contact with his brother and that they then began to explore the spiritual field together.
A priest had opened the church premises for things like "liberating breathing", which was of great importance to one of the interviewees during a difficult period. This priest was perceived as "fuzzy" by the interviewee, but he instilled confidence. The interviewee found it exciting and because of this meeting she considered a time to train as a priest herself. A newspaper interview with the artist Tomas DiLeva made a strong impression on one of the interviewees and became the starting point for her new applicants. One of the respondents, who grew up in a Christian family, points out that the interest started with an affecting insight, rather than with a senseful conviction:
What has led me forward is not just understanding, it's like… It was like an impactful insight, you might say. Yes, really, it was a money that fell down and suddenly, so… Or it's not as dramatic at all as it sounds now when I tell you, but suddenly you know one thing that you haven't known before, and I don't know how I know it, but I KNOW it. And it's like an insight that comes, and I've had that many times, but never in the Church.
One of the respondents had experienced the language of a writer he encountered by an event that was so compelling:
There was something in the language. That's how inscruable… It wasn't self-assertive, it was just like it was a mathematical equation in some way. It was up and down, but it was still pretty hot and so on. It was like opening the door. Finding the key… Come in here, huh?
A séance with a spiritual medium indicates one of the interviewees as his starting point. She had previously been in contact with such performances through a close relative, but then mostly thought it seemed strange. During this séance, however, the information given became so convincing that it could no longer be argued against. She describes it as having a radically different view of life from that moment on:
It started with a séance. I'd been to a séance before, and there was no… They hadn't spoken to me, and it wasn't that I felt it was true or anything. I have an aunt who is super-media. She talks about talking to the dead, and there's a dead thing going around in the house, banging on doors, and I've thought she's been completely coco… I sat down and said to myself, but I hear, it's all right. So that's where it started. And when I left… Then it was like… Yes, but it was… So it was like… It was a whole new life. A whole new life.
However, she suspects that this must have been on standby since childhood, in one way or another, just that she can't remember it. An interviewee had long practiced meditation, but was not particularly interested in reincarnation and the like. However, what she perceived as sudden memories of her past lives caught her by surprise one day and made her start to think in new ways:
I'm a pretty good one, what can I say… Doubting person, or. I meditated and was very much for emptiness and stuff like that, but reincarnation and stuff like that, I was so passively positive about that. I thought, well, there is, but whatever. But then things started to happen… And it's pretty new to me, maybe it will be, but it's more of a personal journey right now.
One of the respondents went for a period to an alternative therapist for help with their physical health. The therapist had indicated that he also had psychic abilities and on the last visit the interviewee took courage and asked if she could say anything about the respondent's previous life. This opened up new perspectives and was of great importance to the respondent. A deep depression as a young adult turned with a vision, which became the beginning of a new search for one of the respondents. For one of the interviewees, the interest developed more gradually, through the fact that he joined a Christian congregation during a life crisis. He describes it as not having any spiritual ambitions that were behind him joining that congregation. Eventually, however, this world felt too crowded. The answers that were given satisfactorily no longer. He then tried to move on to new age/newness:
Christianity I knew what it was, they took care of me, I felt safe there. Then it was… I can't fit in there, that's where it led. That I have to have a broader frame of thought, but I was still very afraid to kind of venture out into this new-age swamp.
Loneliness and community
Although several express that they feel odd and are afraid of being regarded as "kufar" if the surroundings learned how they view life, many also seem satisfied with this relative seclusion:
Yes, I am very, like today, I am very dependent on my loneliness. To build up. But then I'm a social person anyway. So that I choose to be alone, and I choose to be with people then. But my need to be alone is great, so I don't live with anyone. Because I'm aware that that relationship would never work… I have such a different view of things, which are very… And I'm aware of that… is odd. And those people are not next door, but you have to look for them somewhere else. So that I have chosen this to be alone, but then choose friends and acquaintances.
The desire to engage with a typical group, congregation or sect, seems to be generally weak. It is possible to experience community by visiting, for example, a church from time to time. Some people say she is dependent on her loneliness. Belonging to a group, or "worship" a particular leader, is not necessary for her. Like-minded people can be met at lectures and courses, for example. It is weak individuals who are attracted by being part of a group. If the individual does not have this need, the community in a spiritual group can rather be perceived as an isolation. Being able to visit different groups gives a different kind of freedom: "But at the same time I say this, it's good to get insight into different because then you become a little freer anyway as well. You don't want to be a member or worship someone. No, it doesn't suit me, no."
Several interviewees express that they can feel alone with their new interest, for example at their work: "They only work with computers, and they are very data-fixated. But there may be people who are a little deep there as well, but you have to kind of give it a little bit… I don't know what it's going to be like, but…" There may be a few people that respondents feel on wavelength with: "There are not so many people you can talk about this kind of thing with. I have a sister who is on the same track, so we can share this, and then I have a couple of friends, but a lot of people can't talk to about this."
Many people feel empty today for lack of such a larger context as, for example, the new spirituality offers, according to an interviewee. Speaking of something that has recently been read about in the newspaper, that many with roots in other countries want to be grounded in their home country when they die, one of the interviewees says: "Yes they want to belong to something, because they yes feel empty within themselves". New perspectives can also change the individual's old circle of acquaintances. It's sometimes hard to share the new interests and insights you've gained:
My friends have been replaced a lot. I don't have much contact with… I have virtually no contact with them who don't… It will be impossible for me to sit and be questioned. It doesn't work for me, I feel very limited. I'd rather be with friends who have an understanding, and also have that interest. Because that's where I develop in those relationships, I don't do that in the other relationships anymore, then it's finished.
These are thoughts that other people may even find unpleasant:
But other people think it's really silly and horrible, kind of like they don't like to go roller coaster. But I don't know… No, but I… I've probably been doing it for a lot of life, I don't know.
Several of the respondents also talk about a fear of being considered strange:
I think almost all the people you talk about… You don't say that, but everyone I've known almost, as I've come close to life, has had a lot of experiences like this that you call occult… Everything from true dreams to telepathy, or unexplained things just happening… A lot of things when someone dies and… I've been through a lot, but also others, I know a lot of people, even though you kind of don't talk about it… I don't do that either when I meet someone, because you're afraid you're going to be seen as this flumpelle.
The fact that the participants were promised anonymity has sometimes been crucial to wanting to participate in an interview:
And it's also part of the fact that you promise anonymity. It may also be of importance, because this may not be something I want to go public with. Maybe I don't want to come to a workplace and look for a job in my professional category… And be recognized as that person who has those weird perceptions. Because I know these are strange perceptions. And I don't want to… I know there are a lot of prejudices and… Because of ignorance… Because you're not familiar with this… Because there is very little information about this, it's something very strange.
One respondent says that her family and relatives think she's "crazy," but that they mean it in an appreciative way:
Yes, but they think I'm… They say, you're a little crazy [Who says it] My siblings say, and my children and… No, but F, my daughter, she told me… You're a little crazy. But you're not going to say that. Yes, but I think it's good. But folks, I shake them up a little bit, too, when I talk like this. But you can't talk anyway, you have to weigh the words a little who you're talking to.
One respondent said that many people have experiences of the occult, telepathy, UFOs and the like, but that they are not happy to talk about this for fear of being seen as strange:
There's a lot of interest, but it's not something people sign up with. When they come to work, they don't talk about it. Rarely, for others. Because UFO is great. It's like this, you know there's this… Are you a fucking UFO or… It has become a scolding word as well.
One of the respondents tells us that her adult son usually says that he does not want to hear about the respondent's interest: "My youngest son always says this, yes I don't have time to be in your world, I get to take it some other time in life /laugh/".
Love relationships and separations
One of the respondents lives with a partner who shares his outlook on life, which he values. He says it would have been difficult to have a relationship with someone with whom he could not share this interest:
I'm lucky enough to live together. Lucky, I've chosen… or… I live with a woman who shares my interests. Yes, and I find it very hard to imagine what it would be like otherwise, if we didn't share it. I don't think it would have… not gone.
Another of the interviewees is separating from his wife and is doubtful whether he will enter into a new relationship. He says that each individual has both male and female within him and that there are certain opportunities to "polarize with their inner being" although this cannot yet satisfy all needs:
Considering what I'm talking about too… that the ultimate would be if you were safe in yourself and satisfied with yourself, and could polarize with your inner self, so that you were also a whole that perhaps did not have such a great need to find… Someone outside, or what to say… Maybe that would be an ideal, in its own way. But I find it hard to see that I could fulfill it. You also want to share things with someone else, you want to do things together.
Another man said he had been married several times.
We live in the zone of unhappy marriages. I'm trying to live up to that /laughs.' As the human horizon is widening now, there are more things today that are able to interest us than just that concern for the offspring and yes the bread for the day and so on, which was the glue of previous generations, so to speak.
Several of the respondents talk about how, when they got to a point when they felt that they needed to be free to realize themselves or have room for their interests for spirituality and/or personal development, they took the initiative to break up from their marriages or love relationships. For one respondent, this happened shortly after she started meditating:
Yes, then I divorced my husband, because he… It wasn't such a happy relationship, was it? After that, I have the freedom to develop. [Me: How long ago have you been?] Yes, it's been 12 years, something like that. [Me: It was almost the same as you…?] Yes, well somehow it's connected, because when I started meditating in one, what am I going to say, regularly, it was… A few months later, I realized I had to get divorced. So it had a very strong connection in some way. To see the truth in life somehow. [Me: Was it like it helped you… To see more clearly, right?] Yes, exactly. It helped me look clearer, and it helped me to get courage somehow and take the plunge. So, yes… I have continued to meditate all these years. So it has meant a lot actually.
Another respondent describes several separations in which her spiritual commitment played a role:
Because I felt I had to move on to this, because this is still my passion. And my then husband wasn't on that wavelength like, so I felt… We're still friends, we never became enemies, it was more of one of those… You slide away from each other… I felt I had to evolve. And if you're in a relationship where there's always compromise and stuff like that… And he was kind of disturbed by my interests more and more, and it wasn't good and so on.
Becoming a parent is described as a big challenge. The personal difficulties the individual may have then come in a different light. One respondent describes that it was only when she became a parent that she realized how difficult she herself had had it when she was a child:
Then I had my first child. I was 27 at the time. And it caused me a great feeling that I would expose her to the same thing that I was subjected to. It was only then that I realized how hard it was when I was a child. I became a pretty anxious mother to her. Then I had two more kids and then it went better for some reason, I don't know why.
Another woman had her first child in her forties and tells me that she then "called" on her child: "Well, but if you want to come, you are welcome now, I can do this now". A man describes the creation of his children as "a miracle" (p5). One man says he's not interested in becoming a parent. One woman tells us that she has an intuitive feeling of having lived many times before and that she has experienced being a parent:
Unfortunately, I don't remember… Maybe it's good that you don't remember your past lives. But I have an intuitive feeling that I've lived many times, and things like that, and I don't worry about things like not having children, and things like that a lot of women think are a disaster. Because I feel… I've probably been through that a lot of times, I might as well avoid this time, and do other things instead. I see it bigger.
One woman says she has received a lot of support and a lot of wise advice from her children over the years:
As far as I know, young people today… They've been through more than I did then. And there I have felt the support of my children, if I have had maybe problems with some relationship, or colleague, or something like that, I don't really know how to deal with it, then I can ask them, and then they have such very simple answers. I've been able to do that since they were pretty small.
Reunions from past lives
People with whom we have close relationships are often ones we have known in one or more past lives. This can be described as the individual being part of a kind of "extended family" whose members are followed for life after life. In fact, it is relatively rare that we meet a person for the first time. A love relationship can thus be continued, just as conflicts can be sorted out in the long run. Over time, the individual gains a considerable experientienty material:
Since the law of sowing and harvesting means that what I do to a person, I need to harvest it again, so to speak. So it's necessarily the case that you… that it fulfils a function to incarnates simultaneously and together again, to acknowledge these harvest balances when that occurs.
"But I think you travel, or you live, different lives… I'm pretty sure… and that you are with the same people, but in different constellations." Seeing each other works much like a radio transmitter and a receiver. In this way, we are drawn back to special places, groups and specific individuals with whom we have a connection. In a previous life, we may have agreed to be re-entered in the next life to, for example, start a family: "But my husband was also… We also had several previous existences together. So we decided then that we would live together and have these four children then." The fact that individuals are returned to a new life may thus be due to unresolved conflicts or that they have something to repay to the other person. Although there are difficult relationship problems that will be resolved in this way, the deepest part of it has to do with love that people meet again:
So you let yourself be born, it's an act of love, and you do it because, in this case, because I had something to atone for my father in another life… And that's how it's been. It was my father who was important. My mom and I didn't have much together before.
Role changes between lives
What relationship people have with each other can vary between lives. The interviewees talk about many different experiences of this. (The interviewee's current position to the person mentioned is set in brackets.)
My father was a little boy at the time (daughter):
It's a little drastic story, or incredible history, but we lived like some kind of nomads in some desert landscape, and there you depended on being able to navigate for the stars to find watering holes and oases and stuff like that, and I was then, then, a MAN, one of those who could navigate, so to speak, so I was pretty high up in the range there, and yes led this nomadic tribe between the watering holes. Then my father was a little boy, and at some point when you broke up from some campground and moved on, this boy disappeared, or somehow got behind. And then it was me who would kind of try to find him then and take him with him, he would die of course, because he would not be able to fend for himself in the desert. And so, I went out, on my way back to see if I could find him, and yes I found him, but he was very taken, and he had drunk his own urine, and he was, well, in very bad condition simply, so I mercy-murdered him, killed him, so that he wouldn't make it then. And yes, and then I went back to the tribe and told them this, and then I was expelled from the tribe, and always had to go last. And so to atone for this, I let myself be born to my father then.
Daughter has been the interviewee's sister (Mother):
Little is it enough that you are born as if in a group, and you follow each other and support each other as well as, as this Indian said, among other things, that I had been a sister with my daughter at the time. And maybe that's the way it is.
Dad was a son and partner (Daughter): "I never had anything as incestuous with him, you could think that then. We've been like this partner and so on. He was my son and so on." One woman tells me that she had a lot of anxiety before and after giving birth to her first child, if she would be able to take care of the child. However, after realizing that this daughter had actually been her own mother in a previous life, a capable woman with special gifts, the interviewee felt more secure in her mother's role:
Maybe I see her as a little more strong now. She's a little kid. Small children are fragile, like. But I think this intuition that I had, that, oh, she's a strong soul, it's okay, it's probably true. I have a little more meat on my legs. She's learning like… everything. She's interested in stuff. The material world. [Me: But it doesn't come between you, in any way, that you're thinking… That's my mom, no, that' s it. do it. Let's see. No, the only time I felt this way, wow, it's when she does this little massage on my back like this. God, what a healer she is. I recognize this.
It's a life where I have a mother who is very… I don't know if she's enlightened, but she's very free or positive. It's so strong and I think everything is fine and so on. She's been my mom twice, this person. And both of these lives, this phenomenon recurs. So is my daughter. So what happened to me during pregnancy, that I thought it was going to be okay, I don't need to read any books, of course I can give birth, huh? That kind of comes back from when she was my mom.
Daughter was little sister (Mother):
And I've lived with N in some fancy neighborhood in Paris, and she's been my little sister. And she liked being in my care, so she chose to come here as my daughter /laugh/.
The Twin Soul
A "twin soul" or "best friend" is a person that the individual meets time and time again over long periods of time, perhaps forever. These relationships are distinguished by strong intensity and a sense of togetherness, although it is not always frictionless. When it is pleasant, it can be described as a "come-home love". So-called co-dependency can be explained in this way, namely that it is an individual to whom the person is particularly closely linked. John Lennon and Yoko Ono are an example of this type of relationship. "But then it's hard with such a twin soul relationship, so you say, it's hard. So you are… If it's hard enough with a normal relationship. But what if you have patterns from thirty lives together, how much pattern… The dark side becomes so dark with the twin soul, and the light side becomes so bright." A platonic, never-realized love relationship remotely with anyone can also have this basis. The people know each other, but the circumstances mean that they cannot be together in this life. However, there is a strong sense of belonging. The times you are not incarnated at the same time as this person you are particularly close to, the other may act as a guardian angel or otherwise be in telepathic contact. "I have a best friend here, and he or she, is here in mortality and so I'm not there all the time, but every other time it's usually the case that you're there at the same time…"
This kind of relationship affects everyday life, but can be difficult to communicate about or gain understanding of. One respondent had greeted another parent at kindergarten, who asked, "How are you?" and replied: "Yes, it's a bit hard this telepathic contact with my twin soul. He's not feeling well." The other had replied, "Yes, I know what it's like", and they could have laughed at this together.
Meetings as metaphors
One of the respondents met a person who gave her significant advice: "Then it was like this relationship just… So. That's why I met him, I understood that. Because when he said these words, something happened. So that I met him just for him to say it, I realized that." Another respondent had recently met a stranger who had made a strong impression. The meeting felt decisive and fateful. Perhaps this person was not a real person either, but a message that took the form of a human being:
And it's a bit like this thing with that, yes, but there may be metaphors as well. Maybe things come to you because you need to wake things up, to work with. So maybe he doesn't really… Maybe he doesn't exist… Maybe he just came there for me, so I could bring something to my consciousness.