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Irish Monastery Monk/Abbot, eleventh century

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Last year, I turned 30 and around the same time, I started to feel an inexplicable pull towards exploring my spirituality. I am not a religious person, and would not even particularly describe myself as spiritual. Philosophical? Yes. Spiritual? A little. Religious? No.

I work in the field of marine biology, and my beliefs about the world tend to be rooted in science.
So, while the journey of the past year unnerves me, my mind, as always, tends to view it as a question that needs to be answered, a curious conundrum, an unknowable something that must be rooted somewhere, somehow in the universal laws that no one with a straight face could claim to completely understand.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread Please help. I'm confused and a little scared.
The past year

I started looking into genealogy, and when I did, I reached about as far back at 800AD, which I thought was pretty good for purely internet-based research.

The name of one individual (a very distant relative) who lived in Ireland in the 11th century popped out to me immediately. It was as though his name leapt off the page and I felt so strangely connected to it - quite honestly, as soon as I saw the name, the thought that popped into my head was, “Yes! That’s it!” What “it” was, I’m not totally sure.

I read a little bit about this man whom I will call M, although his name doesn't start with M. He was a monk and later an abbot at a monastery in Ireland during the 11th century, and is credited with some written histories and religious writings of the time (he did not necessarily do all of the writings, but he did oversee much of it). Reading about this man made me strangely happy, although there is understandably not much information about him that survives to the present day. At the time, I attributed feeling happy to having found a cool ancestor.

Something strange happened shortly after learning about M. One day, I was relaxing at home when all of a sudden I had what I can only describe as some sort of vision. All sensory and visual data from my current state was blocked out; it was as though I was suddenly immersed in a completely different environment. Never before, and never since, have I had anything like that happen to me. It lasted just a few seconds, but I felt as though I was actually there in my vision; all I saw were trees and green hills. Before I could make sense of it, the vision was over. I thought perhaps I was having a flashback to something I’d seen before, and put the episode out of my mind.

The catalyst for finally doing further research was stumbling, by chance, upon a picture of the monastery (the ruins, that is) that M oversaw - and I recognized it. I recognized it not in the way you recognize your loved ones, or you recognize that you left your socks on the floor last night. Rather, it was more like when you see or visit an area that you last saw or visited as a kid, and it takes you a moment before you say to yourself, “Oh yeah! I remember this place.” I wanted to do an experiment. So, I stared at that one picture for several minutes and let whatever thoughts were going to come, come. Other buildings, structures and ornamentation slowly came to my mind. Only then did I allow myself to view other pictures of the same monastery. Some of the other structures corresponded to what had come to mind, and it was then that I was unnerved. Some structures were missing, but by doing a little research, I learned that those structures had probably existed during the time that M lived there. I didn’t get everything 100% correct, but a solid 50%-60% was correct.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread Please help. I'm confused and a little scared.
Over the next few days, some memories of my childhood “imaginings” began to resurface spontaneously. I remember my father and I standing in a museum that depicted (very inaccurately) a scriptorium of the late Middle Ages, and me leaning over and telling my father about when I used to make books, and how this museum was all wrong. There was too much light, it was too clean, and there hadn’t been that much wooden furniture, nor was there wainscotting. I was five.

There are four separate, distinct images in my head and always have been. They have been in my head, unchanged, for all of my living memory. They resemble the illustrations in illuminated manuscripts. I have never seen the images in my head on any manuscript yet.

I once did research on ancient book-makers and libraries for a work project; I was studying the history of a local library and decided it would be nice to round out my speech by giving a little insight into ancient and medieval libraries. It was the strangest research I’d ever done, because while I was doing it, I felt like I was reviewing rather than learning. I knew some of the long-dead words for certain items of furniture and security measures placed around books hundreds of years ago; in fact, I casually called them by those names before realizing that I hadn’t read them in my research and no one had the foggiest idea of what I was talking about.

I did a little research on the beliefs surrounding reincarnation. I also read some case studies involving children and adults who believed they had been reincarnated. I talked to a Buddhist friend of mine about rebirth. I read up on the science of hypnosis and learned there wasn’t anything mystical about it. Very hesitantly, I decided to try some self-hypnosis.
Nothing happened.

Ten minutes later, I’m in the shower and the entire life story of a man I never met and who had died hundreds of years previous came to me quite quickly. I remember scrubbing my face and thinking, That’s interesting. I should write that down, it might make a good piece of fiction. It didn’t occur to me that those might be memories - I figured my imagination had been kicked into overdrive by the hypnosis session.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread Please help. I'm confused and a little scared.
But...just in case, I cross-checked a few of my “memories.” Now as I said, the biographical information on M is rather scant, but I felt compelled to dig a little deeper into his story, as my gut told me that my shower “memories” had something to do with him. I did find more about his (and ultimately my) family, and the information given matched up with the life story I’d “dreamed up” in the shower. Obviously, there are huge gaps in biographical details for M, so instead I started to do some research on that time period in Irish history. Once again, the life story that I “dreamed up” seemed to fit perfectly into culturally what would have been the normal course of a human life in Ireland during that time.

A few nights ago I decided to do some hypnosis work. Not past-life hypnosis, but rather a deep relaxation exercise that you slip into after meditating. All was going well and I fell into a very deeply relaxed state.

Suddenly I realized that in my mind, I was staring up at a castle turret at a man looking back at me. He wore some sort of blue tunic and some sort of headgear (I couldn’t make it out). He also carried some sort of tall weapon on a pole (again, couldn’t make it out). In my relaxed state, I thought, Well, this is a little odd, but decided to just let my mind have its fun.

In my dream (or vision, or memory, or whatever you want to call it), I noticed that some sort of drawbridge had been lowered over a moat, and that two more guards stood on the other side. The doors to the building on the other side of the moat were open, so I crossed the bridge. The sky was gray, and the inside was dark when they allowed me to enter. I approached a man seated at a table. The table had some thick papers on it, as well as a bowl of food and a few small weapons like daggers. He, too, was dressed in a colored tunic. He appeared exhausted and saddened; his head was resting on a palm, his elbow on the table. I sat across from him. I knew I was there to try and persuade this man to give over lands to a monastery because someone in his family was near death. I also felt that I was interceding on someone else’s behalf, but I don’t know who.

Meanwhile in 2014, I watched all of this in my head with some sense of curiosity. So, I idly wondered, what year is this? And I immediately got an answer. In my dream, I remember feeling sad for this man, although at the time, I wasn’t sure why. I also had a feeling this had been during an important time for whoever this man in whose eyes I was watching everything. I completed whatever business I had to complete, and the dream went dark. I opened my eyes.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread Please help. I'm confused and a little scared.
Ten minutes later, I thought, what the hell? and Googled “[year in my dream] + Ireland”, wondering if anything, by chance, significant had happened that year.

That year, a queen of some sort had died and left all of her lands specifically to M’s monastery. Not only that, but shortly thereafter, all of the houses and buildings around the monastery had been burned to the ground by invading forces - the monastery was not damaged, but everything else was gone. I realized that the man I had visited may have been her husband, the king, although the thought of someone like me meeting a king seems completely ridiculous. I also realized that that year would have been important to M, not only because of the land donation, but also because of the invading forces which burned much of the land around him. In all of the Irish chronicles, those two items were the only things recorded for that year in Irish history. I cross-checked with another Irish chronicle written around the same time, and read the same thing.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread Please help. I'm confused and a little scared.
I do have one more thing to report. So, in my first message, I said this:

LeoCairo said:
I also felt that I was interceding on someone else’s behalf, but I don’t know who.
I found a chronological list of the abbots for M's monastery. I'm thankful, at least, that this information is available to me. In the year that was given to me in this "vision", M was not yet abbot of the monastery. So, I'm left to wonder - was it on the abbot's behalf that I was interceding for lands to be donated to our monastery? Perhaps it was a political move, especially if the abbot was old and/or ill; perhaps M felt that if he could persuade a queen to donate her land holdings to his monastery, it would better position him as the successor of the then-abbot (who died 2 years later, and M did succeed him as abbot). I know that there have been times in my life when I've taken it upon myself to independently improve a work situation, because I knew that it would benefit me in the long run - not in any unethical or greedy way, but showing those above me that I was capable of that sort of work. I would assume that those same sorts of inclinations existed even several hundred years ago.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread Please help. I'm confused and a little scared.
For over a month now, whenever I meditate, I almost always fall into a spontaneous "past life" recall.

My meditation will be completely normal for about five minutes, but once I start slipping into the deeper levels, I'm suddenly staring at a scene unfolding in my mind - I am fairly sure that I am not guiding these scenes, as sometimes I "see" things that I don't fully understand. All of these "scenes" are being played out from the same "life." Never the same scene twice, and each scene seems to hold some sort of significance for the life of the person whose memories I seem to be recalling.

So far, in the past month or so, I have recalled nearly a dozen verifiable facts that I have been able to match with available historical data.

This post and discussion is continued in the thread I fall into spontaneous regression any time I meditate. Why?
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