Sometimes we choose our physical environment to assist us in our journey to understanding because we want or need to experience a particular climate or culture, and other times we choose it just because we lived in the same area before and for various reasons are drawn to it. (See posts on February 14 & 15, 2010 about affinity for places.) Some people are born into an area and remain there, while others leave their childhood neighbourhoods because they are drawn to another area that will better satisfy the tasks and experiences they've set for this particular lifetime.
I'm drawn to the ocean - maybe because I'm a water sign (Cancer) - or maybe for other reasons. I love the harbour city where I live on the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean just the way it is, but shortly after moving here in the 1980s, I became aware that I'd lived here before when I unexpectedly "remembered" it as it once was.
I was born a couple of hundred miles from here and came to this area because my husband's work dictated we must. We bought a house not far from the seashore and the road home passed right along a rocky stretch of beach. One evening as I was driving home from work I came around a bend in the road and suddenly had a vision of that same beach, but in another time. In my mind's eye, I saw long wooden racks of fish with smokey fires burning beneath them. Adults were working busily catching and gutting the fish and laying them on the long racks to dry under the billowing smoke while older children tended the fires. The younger children ran up and down the beach throwing stones and waving their arms at swooping seagulls to keep them away from the precious smoked fish that would help carry them through the long cold winter. My vision lasted only a moment, but in those few seconds I stepped into another time. Then the beach reverted to it's current state of barren rocks, waves and water and I was back in the modern world of supermarkets and speciality stores, where I'd never even thought about how fish was caught and preserved long ago. That little glimpse of another time was so clear and detailed, that I have no doubt I'd lived it myself and I still think about it often. I obviously have an affinity for this part of the world that has brought me back.
Along with the physical environment I enjoy so very much, comes a social structure that allows freedom of choice in almost every aspect of life. As long as I pay my taxes and live within the confines of our legal system, there are no religious or political restrictions in this part of the world that inhibit me from persuing whatever path I wish to follow. It is because of these freedoms that I can develop my own theories and religious belief systems and share them with others. This might not be the case if I'd chosen to reincarnate into a some other areas of the world. In my next post, I'll discuss other types of society and the importance of cultural diversity.