A reply to a post on Quora regarding reincarnation....

Richard Martini
Richard Martini, Best selling author of books about the afterlife

Our son’s first sentence:

“Dad, I was a monk in Nepal.”
I had yet to begin my research into the flipside, I was aware of Carol Bowman’s book “Children’s Past lives” (and the subsequent books by Dr. Jim Tucker with ample evidence of reincarnation studies) but this was way before that… this was while I was home in Chicago and my son was on the phone saying goodnight.
He was 2. It was his first sentence to me. As if he’d been waiting two years to say it.
I said “Put your mom on the phone.” We went over “why did he say that?” Asked if they were watching a tv show, reading a book - no, no, and more no. She didn’t know. I let it go. Until he was 3.
One day riding around in the car I said “Son, where did you meet me?” I’m looking in the rear view mirror at his little face in the child safety seat. He looked up at me and said “Tibet.” Stunned, I said “Where in Tibet?” He said “On the path.”
Trying not to react, or over react, I thought about all the paths in Tibet I’d traversed when going there with Robert Thurman filming a documentary for Tibet House in NYC. (“Journey into Tibet with Robert Thurman” on youtube) Then I remembered when we were on the sacred mt. Kailash, Professor Thurman had offered “If you make a wish on this spot, Tibetans say it will come true.” I thought of an appropriate wish… “Hmmm. A million dollars… No, wait, a three picture movie deal.” I couldn’t make up my mind so determined I would count down from ten and whatever came out of my mouth would be my wish.”
“I want a son.” I said. I froze. What? Why did I say that? I had no clue. It wasn’t one of the two options. We had a daughter back home in Santa Monica… but it was the last thing from my conscious mind. I thought “Wow, why did I say that? Is that like a genetic thing that happens at altitude?” I let it go.
But now I was in the car with that 3 year old son. “On the path?” He nodded. “Wait, was it on Mt. Kailash?”
He shook his head “no.” I thought… wow, I was on a lot of paths in Tibet…but then remembered a name… “Was it on Kangra?”
He nodded. “Yes, it was Kangra.”
Kangra is the name of the path that goes around Mt. Kailash. It’s technically more precise, as that is where I made the wish. He was correcting me BUT IN TIBETAN.
But I said “Kangra” and he repeated it. And he was 3. So I let it go. A year later, I was working on the film “Salt” in Manhattan, had sublet an apt, when I got a call from my wife while I was on set. “Did you show him this book?” “What book?” I asked. She said our son had gone to the library of the apt’s owner, pulled two books out, threw one in the trash. My wife said “What are you doing?” He said “That book is worthless. This is the important one.” It was Robert Thurman’s book “Circling the Sacred Mountain” (written with Tad Wise) about his trip around Mt. Kailash.
Our son opened the book, pointed to a photograph of the place where I made the wish, and said “That’s where I FOUND DADDY.”
He was 4. He could not read yet. I told my wife “I’ve never said the word Kailash to him other than that one time in the car a year ago.”
But wait… there’s more.
When he was 5, we were in a Tibetan shop in LA and he disappeared. I mean my wife came and said “He’s disappeared! I can’t find him!” I looked around. Not a big shop. I said “He’s got to be here somewhere.” She came back 5 minutes later with a look of shock on her face. She said “I found him in the back room. He was in front of a mirror. DOING FULL PROSTRATIONS. (The way Monks stand up, hands over head, to lips, to heart, then go all the way to the ground.) She watched him for 3 minutes before he caught her in the mirror.
He said “Oh mom. You need to meditate more and this is how you do it.” He pulled her to the ground. He looked at her and said “Can you hear the bells in the music?” (A CD of Tibetan music “Traditional Chants of Tibet” by the Nechung Monks) was on the player. He said “Whenever there’s the ringing of a bell; that means peace comes into the world.”
I listened to her and later asked a Tibetan friend what it meant “during Tibetan music, when you hear a bell - does that represent something, like wisdom?” He shook his head. “It means peace comes into the world.”
Not something I knew or was aware of. And finally, since he no longer remembers these conversations, I’ll end with this last one. (This is cribbed from a chapter in “Flipside: A Tourist’s Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife” - “My son the monk.”) I got a phone call five years ago that my mom was dying. My friend the nurse called to say she wouldn’t make the weekend.
I sat the kids down and said “Now look, the next time you see grandma, she’s going to be wearing heavy makeup and will be in a casket.” I was trying to prepare them for my own experience of seeing dead relatives when I was a kid. I thought it was weird they had on heavy makeup and were in a box.
Our son laughed. “Dad, it’s okay.” He picked up a half empty bottle of water. He said “Spirit is like water. Watch.” He threw the bottle on the ground then stomped on it. He started jumping up and down on it gleefully. I can remember looking at my wife like “what is he doing?” He stopped, then picked up the crushed, broken bottle - but it still had the cap on. He showed us the bottle of half empty water and said, “See? The water is okay.”
Easily the most profound teaching I’ve heard about the nature of spirit. Our bodies grow old, they get stomped on a squished, fall apart …but the water is always okay. It may transform into mist, turn into clouds, turn into rain.. but our spirit… is always okay.
One last comment - lest anyone think that only former monks have this kind of ability to “remember their past.” When he was four, we were watching TV and on came a sexy ad for Victoria’s Secret. It was a pretty young model wearing giant white wings, wearing a bathing suit and dancing provocatively. He jumped off the couch, pointed at the TV and said “I want that!”
I laughed, not really knowing what part of the image he meant. But then I remembered what he’d said to me on the phone years earlier. I said “Wait a second, I thought you said you were a monk in Nepal.”
“Not anymore!” he said, happily. “Not anymore.”
What I suggest parents of toddlers do is to ask questions they don’t know the answer to. Ask kids this non denominational question; “Did mommy and daddy choose you? Or did you choose us?” And see what the answer is. The trick is not to judge or react to whatever the answer is. But in about half of the accounts I’ve heard,the answers have been nothing short of amazing.

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