(Subtitle: My Soul Hypothesis)
I have always believed that I was a dog, among other things, in my past life/ves. That is because dogs, even the fiercest one (except perhaps for Picasso—you know who you are), seem to like me.
Once I visited a factory to interview the owner for a research project. An angry dog welcomed every person—strangers, like me, or otherwise, like the factory workers—with furious barking. As in any life situation, my attitude is this: you don’t have to like me, but I don’t have to give you attention either. So I sat at the lobby, reading magazines while I waited for my interviewee. Suddenly, there was silence. Despite that, I continued my reading…and was surprised to feel licking on my toes! The dog was let loose! I found it funny though that it sweetly came to me after an unfriendly encounter earlier.
On another occasion, my family and I visited my sister’s brother-in-law in his home. Lady, a big black Labrador, welcomed us in the guest area. Although she was nice to begin with, I was still amazed that after we took our seats, she laid her head on my feet, and stayed there the whole time. “She likes you!” her master exclaimed.
Maybe because I grew up always having pet dogs at home, I am able to connect to these lovely creatures.
It is a different story though when an elephant approached me. Last week, on our last day in Bangkok, we had our only chance to go to some must-see in the city, including the cultural presentation Siam Niramit (really an awesome, jaw-dropping production, by the way). While tourists were having some photo opportunity with the locals wearing their distinctively Thai costumes before proceeding to the show, a young elephant came out from nowhere. I was fine with that…until it started walking towards me, while the crowd, perhaps as overwhelmed as I was, started moving away from both of us! What do I do?! My friend shouted, “Picture! Picture!”
For a moment, the world seemed to have stopped. We looked at each other’s eyes…then he moved on to greet other guests. I wondered what he was trying to tell me at the time.
Amazingly, this kind of connection happens not only with the members of the animal kingdom but also with babies and toddlers. I always (would want to) think that I have a special connection with my niece, considering that we only had rare times together that I can count on the fingers of one hand: 1) one month when she was three months old; 2) another month when she was two years old; and 3) a total of around one week when she visited Manila last year and she was already turning five then. This topic deserves another post though, but just to cite one of my sweetest moments with her: we were riding at the back of the AUV one morning in November last year, everyone seemed to be having his/her own quiet time, when my niece rested her head against my chest. No words were spoken the whole time but I knew there was an exchange between us. Of course, she’s my niece! We will always have blood connection, I’d rationalize.
But then again, it’s a different story when the baby has no blood relation to me at all. Years back, a college friend and I brought her then two-year-old son to a children’s library after having a catch-up lunch. I had not seen her in years and it’s my first time to meet her son again after his baptism more than a year ago at the time.
We—meaning the boy and I—sat quietly in the library, reading our own stuff. Suddenly, he turned to me, looked straight into my eyes, and held my face (oh yeah, just like in romantic movies). I asked my friend
“if he were 30 years older, will you let him marry me?” “Er, what’s happening?” My friend had no idea either. I guess, somehow at some level, we two connected.
“You are a soul, (as opposed to) [name of a common friend] shifts between his soul and his ego, so be careful in dealing with [the person].” So said my guru years ago, when I had not yet acknowledged him as such. Little did he know that I also shift to my ego state, even more often than many people do (only that I let my ego speak in this blog, not in public, ha!).
I guess when souls meet, regardless of the physical form they are in, they recognize one another and connect with one another in a special, mysterious, inexplicable way.