The Jerusalem Experience is the milestone that was to literally shake me up on a soul level. I use the word soul because the experience expanded my awareness that took me beyond the tourist visiting an ancient city. I was not a tourist, I lived there, or so it seemed to me I did, until I remembered it was 1971, and a different time. My whole life has been in and out of time zones. I do not always understand why it happens, but when it does, I have learned to pay close attention. I am not sure I believed in the concept of reincarnation at age twenty-one. Today I know it is a reality never mind a belief.
I relate my experiences in the Old City in retrospect, as I have more knowledge about my past and its effect on the present. From the moment I got off the bus outside the walls of the Old City I knew I had been here before. I kept shrugging off this feeling. The Old City is one of the most well known places in the world, so what was new about this idea. I assumed everyone felt the way I did. The place was too familiar to me. As I walked towards the gate the feeling closed in on me more intensely. The time of my visit to the Old City was in 1971, four years after the Six Day War in 1967. The War Treaty recognized the right of all the states to live in peace within the secured boundaries of this ancient holy land. I am not a Biblical scholar but I translated the pain of history in that region inside of me, my soul cried, and still does.
As I approached the Damascus Gate, or the Ottoman Gate, and entered the archway, I felt the cobblestone road beneath my feet, and I lost track of time. Everything around me disappeared and I was in the past, in another time. There was a ringing sound in my ears and I felt as though I was going to faint. I sat down on the stone ledge nearby and tried to breathe evenly. What was happening to me? Once again I was asking no one in general but the answer came instantly; in time I would know. My thoughts ran on. Jerusalem is the center the land of religious holy ground. Each religion claims its stake in the land, and it obviously reminds you of the history of the past events. No one is not affected by religion.
Why was it so disturbing?
I could not explain the familiarity I felt with the land, or the walled city. As I sat on the wall I looked down the alley and saw the houses nestled in the wall and the archway, just as I remembered it. I froze, I knew I had lived there and could knock on the door of the house on the left, and go inside.
I shrugged off the feeling. Impossible! Yet the feeling would not go away and I was back in the past. I could hear the bustle of the busy coming and going of people. How could it be I had been in this place in another time? Yet I was sure of it. The scenes flashed before me, the clothes people were wearing were in the past, yes, in Biblical Times.
The past was in the present with me and I waited anxiously for the people to come out of the house so we could leave the City. Why were they taking so long. Time was short, we had to leave or we would be prevented from leaving. I began to panic and got up and walked towards the alley to go to the house looking for them. Then I stopped, and it came over me, this was from another time, and I was visiting the Old City. I didn’t live here.
I couldn’t piece this puzzle together at all. I shrugged it off as my friend Basha startled me back to the present, suggesting we go and have coffee in the marketplace. I was in the most well-known city of all time, and most probably everyone felt this way. Not so. Basha had no feeling of being in the Old City before, and no recollection of the past at all.