A Many Lives Memoir
By Michael R. Kramer
Soul to God
My Life Story
I’ve always experienced life a bit differently than most. For instance, I’ve never feared death because I remember dying so many times and know what comes afterward. I know that I’m Soul, having a human experience. At two years of age, I recalled my life between lives, my friends and teachers before I was born, and how rewarding our work was. Those memories stuck with me but made life very uncomfortable. I felt like I was trapped in a dark world and was homesick for the higher realms. At five, I began suffering from frequent nightmares of a violent death in a past life. At twelve, I started experiencing past-life memories of a life in a Tibetan monastery. I learned to hide my abilities and experiences so that I blended in. I was quiet, careful to share only what others were prepared to understand. I realized that they were not experiencing the same memories and love. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for them to be cruel and not care about all life.
I chose to keep my abilities and experiences under wraps until the time came when I was comfortable and I felt more confident that the world was ready to listen. I’m not completely comfortable with sharing now, or convinced that I’m the right person to be doing this. I feel like I’m a bit undersized for this task, quiet and less well spoken. But I’ve kicked the can down the road long enough. As Wayne Dyer once advised, we need to share our music while it’s still in us. I don’t think I would be able to leave this world comfortably without writing this book. In a way, this book completes my life.
While reading Soul to God, I invite you to relax into a stillness within and experience the friendly presence of your guide. Pay attention to the subtle inner nudges and thoughts that occur to you. Be bold enough to experiment, to test your inner guidance, and give it a chance to prove itself. Don’t worry about where you are spiritually. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and don’t be concerned about what you don’t know. Be confident that what you need to know will come to you in its own time. Relax and grow naturally from where you are. You are in the most critical place and time—you are here, Now. Your path is unique—and you are unique. Rest in that.
The stories in Soul to God are not meant to convince you of my viewpoint. They are intended to entertain and be contemplations. They are not an accurate history of my life or lives. They are my honest personal perspective. Personal viewpoints are always skewed by the observer. But my deepest belief is that I’m not the real observer. I believe God is the true observer through our eyes. That’s the point of this book, to begin to see and feel through the eyes and heart of God.
At heart, I am a skeptic and take everyone and everything with a grain of salt. I have deeply ingrained memories of my life as a Tibetan Buddhist Monk growing up in a Lhasa Monastery in the 14th century. As a part of our study, we participated in sport-like debates in an outdoor courtyard to deepen our comprehension of Buddhist doctrine in order to advance in our studies. I loved the sport of debate and was good at it. I later became a lama instructing debate traditions to young monks.
Within these debate exercises, I taught my students how to think logically and to challenge all viewpoints, even scripture in holy books. I believed it was especially important to challenge one’s own thinking. I emphasized that we should take nothing for granted in our efforts to open wide the doors to comprehension and clear perspective. I believed these open doors led to the enlightened state, nirvana.
I confess that I did not reach nirvana in that lifetime, much to my frustration on my death bed. I remember lying in my small cell looking up at my young assistant. A single small oil lamp cast a light on his young face. My last thoughts were that I must use my future lives to explore other paths to realize the one, unnamed path that leads to final liberation. Some five centuries later, here I am writing this book after experiencing lives as a Shinto Monk, Zen Buddhist, Hindu, Hasidic Jew, Sikh, and Christian. I never dreamed I’d discover that the final liberation I’d been working towards was just the beginning of another stage in our ongoing evolution as Soul.
The reason I’ve waited so long to write this book is that I am that Tibetan lama skeptic who challenges all—including himself. I see things from my viewpoint while deeply appreciating differing views. I don’t assume that my position is entirely accurate or the final word, so I’m very careful in expressing my ideas. I was born with an ingrained, almost fierce need to challenge any viewpoint that appears illogical.
In my senior year at a private all-boys, college-prep Catholic high school, I got wind that the teaching Jesuit brothers had created a list of troublemakers. Most on the list were students who had been in fights or were suspected of petty crimes. My friend, who spied the list in the school office, told me that I was number six on their list. The brothers’ complaint was that I “Openly challenged Catholic doctrine in Religion classes.” I smiled when my friend told me this and thought, YES! I dared challenge the prejudices of the status quo. Being on that list was a badge of honor to me.
There comes a time in people’s lives when they respectfully set aside the viewpoints of others to claim the freedom to express their truth, then let the chips fall where they may. I realize my life stories are a bit fantastic and the coincidences seem implausible. One reason I’ve waited so long to write this book is that I wanted to get out of writing it. I felt that, if I were in your place, I’d find these stories too difficult to believe. I saw other, more capable spiritual teachers saying about the same thing in a more elegant way. I reasoned my voice was unnecessary. Why risk exposing myself?
But that was an excuse—a delay tactic. I’m sixty-eight, and I won’t be around forever—so here it is, Soul to God. I remember starting to write this book when I was ten. I had about seven pages done when my mother asked me what I was writing. I told her I was writing an important story about my life. She asked me how the story ended? I responded, “I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!” She laughed and I realized that I didn’t have a clear plan for the book, only a trust and a sense that I had to write it. All my life, I’ve felt like I needed to document all the miracles that happened to me, not to impress or seek attention, but to share and invite readers to discover the divine in their own lives.
And so, close to 60 years later, I’m again setting out to work on this book with a trust in God and some help from above. I’m uncomfortable calling attention to myself. I’ve always preferred to be quiet and work in the background, to channel spirit to others without their knowing. Now, I’m being asked to step up and share my thoughts and stories from my lives, both inner and outer. I remember my guide, Cho Mon, saying to me, “We didn’t put all this work into your life for just you.”
Mike sailing off Catalina Island