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I was from here in my previous life

By JERICK AGUILAR

               It was many, many years ago when a close Filipino friend of mine introduced me to the metaphysical concept of “past-life regression.”  She said that she had herself hypnotized and was prompted to recall memories from her previous lives.  She mentioned that both she and I were European knights during medieval times – that we had our fair share of lost battles and won wars.  This, she has insisted to this day, explains why we quickly bonded when we became colleagues and is the reason why we still remain good friends even after the changes in our career paths and despite the years and distance of being apart.

Being born and raised Catholic, I grew up with the belief of spending my afterlife either in heaven or hell (well, there is also purgatory); so to believe in the beginning of another life after my current one ends was something quite hard for me to fathom.  Now that I have grown much older and, I would like to think, a bit wiser, believing in reincarnation is not that bad, if not “convenient.”  I mean, my high school Italian literature teacher would always remind us in class the part in Dante’s “Inferno” where the first sign that greets all souls entering hell is “Abandon All Hope.”  Hence, I just need to be very patient if I end up reincarnating to a lower life form, to do good for the most part, and then to become a higher being in my rebirth.

Now I even figure that the poor people who I met in Haiti were rich capitalist pigs during the Industrial Revolution in America, and that the rich and famous who I had a glimpse of in Monaco were the struggling Irish at the time of the potato famine a few centuries ago.  As for myself, I had never really given much thought as to who (or what) I was until a couple of days ago when I realized that I might actually be from Mongolia in one of my previous lives.

Before coming here, I was incessantly warned about the below-freezing temperatures especially in the weeks surrounding my arrival (which was on the third week of January).  I came from Denver, Colorado where the weather was about zero degrees Celsius.  I was already wearing a sweater and a jacket en route to the airport.  The stopover was in Beijing, China so while waiting for my continuing flight, I decided to put on my thermals and take out my wool coat from my carry-on luggage.  Upon arriving at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport, I was picked up by a colleague and our driver and, as soon as I stepped out of the entrance, the cold was not as cold as I had expected it to be.

In fact, I have been here for a little more than a month and I feel like I did not need any getting used to to the -35 to -30 extreme temperatures.  This is maybe because I was a pastoral nomad on the steppes of Arkhangai “aimag” who spent a lot of time herding in spite of the harsh climate especially in winter.  This might also be the reason why, even though I grew up in the tropical country of the Philippines, I despise the heat and the humidity having to sweat all the time and to take three showers every day.  For example, I do love traveling and visiting the same place once or twice, but I will never ever go back to Massawa, Eritrea where temperatures can reach as high as 47 degrees Celsius and air conditioning is virtually nonexistent.

Inasmuch as I hate being in that kind of weather, I absolutely love eating meat.  I know, I was born in an archipelago of 7,101 islands where fish and seafood abound, but I would always (and still) enjoy a hearty meal of beef or goat meat.  I remember living in Jewish Israel where pork is religiously prohibited, but I would usually find ways of getting and eating it.  I also had the same problem in a number of Muslim countries in the Middle East, but I got acquainted with lamb and have started devouring it since then.  While working in Tunisia, I was served their traditional “couscous” with camel meat and I found myself in gourmet ecstasy.  On my first meal here, I had the meat platter and I had to use my usual room left for dessert to finish the whole plate.  Just recently, I had the Mongolian “buuz” with ground horse meat and I was savoring every bite of it.  I can only surmise that my past life was in the landlocked country of Mongolia where food from livestock is the staple diet.

Come to think of it, my newfound belief in life after life is Buddhist in nature.  One of Buddhism’s three major concepts on life and the world is rebirth.  Beings go through a succession of lifetimes in a continuing cycle of conception and death.  Thus, it is possible that I was a Buddhist in the Mongolian People’s Republic in my previous lifetime (after 1924, that is).  It is also possible that I was a Shaman in the Mongol Empire (during the Middle Ages).  Unlike what Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe that there is only one God and that “He” is a singular entity, the God of Shamanism is not some human-type God, but nature.  Over the years, I have always entertained the thought of God as much bigger than us – that God cannot simply be referred to as a pronoun but as someone or something grander like the trees, the sky, and maybe the universe.

I know that there is a lot to being a Mongol or Mongolian, and I may or may not embody it.  But of all the countries I have worked and lived in, I feel the most at home here in Mongolia.  The extremely cold weather does not bother me one bit.  Maybe that is why I have not gotten sick since I came here.  I also look forward to eating different kinds of meat and tasting the various ways they are cooked and served.  With such delightful dishes, I do not find myself craving at all for fish and seafood.  Finally, my personal beliefs about life and God are very much similar to that of Buddhists and Shamans.  Life after death is definitely a much better thought than burning in hell; and I always feel God’s presence whenever I am around nature, look at the stars, and imagine the earth revolving around the sun along with seven other planets in our solar system.  I may not carry a Mongolian passport nor have Mongolian features, but I am definitely sure that my soul is.

The writer is The UB Post’s newest editor.  He has worked and traveled extensively around the world.  Mongolia is his 114th country.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=2971

Posted by on Feb 24 2013. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “I was from here in my previous life”

  1. Hello Jerick, I am very proud of your accomplishments and adventures. How long will you be staying in Mongolia? I am interested in visiting Ulan Bator and see for myself the land where once upon a time Chinggis Khan rules. I have a little investment in a company that have big mining project over there reason why I found your article in UBPost while searching for recent status of the standoff.

    I live in Chicago with my family since 1978. I am from Batangas. From where are your parents in the Philippines? The Aguilars, our neighbor are from Quezon. Congratulations to you for being the Ambassador of Goodwill of the Philippines. Mabuhay at sumaiyo pa ang marami at masayang adventures!

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