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Throwing this out there, for what it's worth.

Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic "Autobiograhy of a Yogi" reportedly said that Lincoln had been a developed spiritual ascetic in a past life, who died with the desire to bring about racial equality. In his life as Lincoln, Yogananda reportedly said, Lincoln gave expression to that desire with concrete action. This was mentioned in a book written by the former head of Yogananada's USA-based monastery.

I cannot personally verify whether this true about Lincoln or not. Just passing it on for Yogananda fans.

True or not, it makes me reflect on how the "punchline" or primary purpose of an incarnation might often be cloaked in an unfolding "plotline" of one's life, and may not be evident until that plotline has progressed considerably. This reminds me of how a flower does not appear in the growth cycle of many plants until the plant has been developing for quite some time. There often seems to be no indication that a flower is coming until - bang! - it appears.

Just thinking out loud.

I saw the movie a while ago, and I do agree there wasn't much about religion. I've done a fair amount of reading on the Civil War, and, both sides were pretty adamant that God was on THEIR side. But I suppose God is always on everyone's side, except when it's Soviets or Chinese.

I don't know if I agree that modern U.S. audiences aren't inclined toward religion. It seems certain people, usually politicians and conservative pundits are always shoveling it (before they get caught doing things they themselves get condemn, and even after). I am religious, but strongly believe in secular government. Because what's the point of faith if your government has to force it on you? You have to come willingly to it.

The movie spent a lot of time showing the real politicking that went on, which I think was extremely accurate. I think they meant to show what Lincoln had to go through and navigate, and the huge risks he constantly had to take.

My favorite part of the Abraham Lincoln story is the one about him dreaming of his own death. Asking the soldier who is in the coffin and the soldier answers "it's the President." I have this theory that we have precognitive dreams of things that we are going to be experiencing ourselves, so somehow the Abraham Lincoln in the future was going to be witness to his own funeral. Perhaps as a spirit? I have dreamed some big things but I'm pretty sure what I was actually dreaming was the emotional impact it had on me, like the Columbia shuttle disaster and the collapse of a bridge on I-40 where some people died. A week before the Shuttle tore up in the atmosphere I dreamed that parts of it landed in our back yard and I tried to get pictures of it but the Feds came and cleaned it up before I got a chance to get pictures. Of course this was all in a dream but it was a week before it actually happened!

"True or not, it makes me reflect on how the "punchline" or primary purpose of an incarnation might often be cloaked in an unfolding "plotline" of one's life, and may not be evident until that plotline has progressed considerably. This reminds me of how a flower does not appear in the growth cycle of many plants until the plant has been developing for quite some time. There often seems to be no indication that a flower is coming until - bang! - it appears." - James

That made me sit up and take notice! Only last weekend my husband and I were commenting upon how life seems to start coming together when one reaches late middle-age. It's as if a pattern emerges and all the pieces of the jigsaw come together to provide a clear understanding of what life's all about - for want of a less cliched and prosaic description.

Yes, Julie, it's weird, I don't know what you'd call it. I'm dealing with something very difficult now and it was just totally random that I found this person to help me. Even the person helping me commented on it, how this came to be, it seems so "random," but as if it was meant to be.

Getting back to Lincoln, it always seemed to me that he was meant to be at that time and place, it was like he was born for it - and gave his life for it.

Hi Kathleen. I kid you not that when I need something, anything, it turns up out of the blue - but only as long as I resist the temptation to take control. Ditto people. I don't know how or why this process works either, but it does.

If I begin to panic and lose my sense of inner balance, then the process is disrupted. Experience has taught me that a trusting and calm outlook is all that's necessary.

I don't try to analyse this phenomenon any deeper; I don't think it's productive to do so. But I believe it's something that's available to everyone. State of mind is of the essence.

LOL! Kathleen I'm deeply suspicious of free will and lean heavily towards fate and predestination. I don't automatically accept free will at all even though our brains try and convince us it's true.

It's like a really good teacher that has a detailed lesson plan with clearly stated objectives at the top of what the student will learn by the end of the lesson. The teacher knows what is in the lesson plan but the students don't.

Perhaps the soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn whether it wants to or not? This is what is meant by "learning holistically". It is the way that small children in primitive society learned before the advent of schools.

Another words the Creator of the Universe may be way smarter than what we give Him/Her/It credit for being. Everything may be happening exactly the way it was predestined to happen.

@Art: Yes, as time goes by I'm more and more inclined towards the notion of fate and predestination. Perhaps when we eventually see the pattern coming together it's a sign that we've lived our lives as planned in order to reap the benefits of the learning experience presented. As Alan Vaughn suggested his famous book, 'Patterns of Prophesy', we are born with a blueprint already in place. We can alter the details, but the overall pattern of our life is determined before birth. I seem to remember that he likes this to having the freedom/ability to alter the decor of our home but not the physical structure itself. Even so, I suspect some people have a wreaking ball. ;)

Regarding using free will vs. going with the flow of a higher consciousness (aka "God" or whatever), here is a useful prayer/affirmation:

"I will act, and I will will; but God guide my will and actions."

I've noticed that this relationship manifests itself both macro-cosmically and micro-cosmically.

For example, it reminds me of employees in a business.

When in managerial positions, I've preferred employees who will initiate actions -- even if they aren't always the best actions -- over employees who quietly wait to be told what to do.

The employee with initiative -- as long as he/she accepts corrective or collaborative input from management -- is the better choice, in my experience (ignoring explosively willful individuals with terrible judgement).

In other words, use your head, but keep in touch with big daddy :)

In that vein, I read that one of Lincoln's very favorite generals was Ulysses Grant, because, he said, "He fights!" Many of Lincoln's generals were too cautious or complacent.

This self-will-vs-higher-will question also makes me think of what General Eisenhower said when overseeing the D-Day deployment (paraphrased): "I don't care what religion you have, just as long as you have one."

His point was obvious: consciously try to align with a higher, wiser perspective while making gritty decisions on the battlefield. (Of course, Eisenhower would have all-but-certainly deplored evil in the name of religion.)

My take about free will is to consistently seek to tune in with the highest perspective while using one's best judgement about nuts-and-bolts actions and decisions.

Every indication was that Lincoln was willing to exert his own will in the service of a higher ideal or power. That is what made him a great president, IMHO.

The Lincoln filmmakers were not just "uncomfortable" with truthfully depicting the central part which both organized religion and spirituality played in mid-19th-century American life in general and in Abraham Lincoln' life in particular. They were flatly embarrassed by it. So they censored it to fit both their own preferences and those which they mistakenly believed to e their audience. Because Abe was a, you know, good guy and righteous dude, and not some Christianist Flying Spaghetti Monster rube.

It was contempt, both for religious faith and historical accuracy, which was behind Speilberg's desecration of fact. His censorship was designed to make Abe more palatable to him and the "progressive" socio-political meme which he holds so dear.

The noble Abe Lincoln is a primal American myth that has little to do with how he was.A power politician,a white supremacist(like most in his era) A close look at Lincoln character does not reveal Saint Abe, more like LBJ on steroids.
lIncoln was a great President in the same way Otto Von Bismarck was,her did not let ethics or the rules of war interfere with plans.

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