In 1986, I travelled in Saudi Arabia with members of a business roundtable. Two of our members were former Ambassadors and, through their connections with the King and Crown Prince, we were given the opportunity to visit a seldom-seen abandoned city in the desert east of Mecca and Medina. It is very similar in style to the ruins at Petra in Jordan and may well have been built by the same civilization. It was a stop on the ancient trade routes that carried goods across the Arabian Peninsula.
Meda’in Saleh is an impressive sight, rising up out of the desert. The buildings were all carved by slaves out of rock mountains and huge standing boulders. Many slaves probably spent their lives carving these structures.
As we walked among these ruins, I felt a strange attachment to the place…like I had been there before. I wondered if there might be some truth to the idea that we all have lived past lives.
When I returned home, I wrote the poem Past Lives which was published in Riding in Boxcars in 2006. There is also a photo there of one of these ruins.
The voices that spoke to me that day in Saudi Arabia did not speak of easy lives. If there is any truth to the view of reincarnation, most of us would have spent our past lives as slaves or victims of the many wars that have comprised much of the history of our civilizations.
Freedom has come slowly to the world and at a costly price. And even when some of us finally were able to rise from a sea of subjugation and became rulers of our individual worlds, it was easy to see it all disappear again.
I realized that all of those who came before, whether they were slave, soldier, mother, father, rebel, ruler, black or white, helped define who I am today. The voices that spoke to me that day in the desert were part of me, either through my genes…or, perhaps, through a soul that has been reborn from the blender of past lives.
Glenn K. Currie
I helped build the pyramids,
And died beneath one.
Bore a child,
On the Plains of Abraham,
And was lost in the desert.
I was buried in a mass grave,
That fertilized the cotton fields,
Of the South.
And I rejoiced
In the Resurrection.
I shed my blood for my enemies,
Grew old while growing young.
Sank into the sea,
And rose again,
In a sharks mouth.
I ruled the world,
Was betrayed by a friend,
Touched the edge of the universe,
From a black hole,
And then began again.