Soul Survivor

June 9th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized

I saw an amazing news story this morning that was very touching.

I will share the video with you at the end of this story so be sure to watch it.

It reminded me of something eerie that happened in my life about 5 years ago.

I received a call from this mother who asked what was the youngest age she could have her son start guitar lessons. I asked her, “how old is your son”?

She said “4”

I thought out loud “hmmm” that is young, but I have a massive success story at my studio named Zack Morris that started at 6. He was so short his feet couldn’t reach the floor on my stools in the studio. He has studied with me for 6 years and is now 12. He is so good that it is funny.

Seriously, all kidding aside, I have seen people break into laughter when they see and hear him play because they don’t know what else to do. It is that stunning to see something like that.

So she brings the kid by, he was so small that they had bought him a ukulele. A regular guitar was just too big. He did not care, he went right for my guitars, all of them and wanted to play them.

Since he was so young, I decided to just let him be a kid and not try and corral his curiosity in any way. I just let him take over my studio with his desire to explore. This is an approach I like because I believe we learn best when we don’t know that we are learning.

This approach was the cornerstone of one of my favorite composers and educators Carl Orff.

At the end of the lesson the Mom and Dad asked me what I thought they should do and we discussed his history with all of this.

They shared with me that from the time he could walk and mutter words he began to ask for a guitar.

He was relentless and very adamant about it. He would play air guitar constantly with anything that resembled a guitar in the slightest degree.

I asked if the Mother or the Father had any musical background. They replied none whatsoever and that they were both in the medical field and that no one in any of the extended family did either.

He was not adopted and he was an only child and the first child to be born into this family.

I said to them, let’s do it. I see a lot of potential here and I myself was curious to see what he was capable of.

What I saw over the next few months shattered every paradigm I ever had about what and where we come from. It affected me spiritually and surprisingly to me who was always a skeptic concerning reincarnation.

What I was witnessing solidly convinced me that reincarnation was not only real but I was experiencing it first hand in my home. I get “goose bumps” as I write this it was so damn convincing.

The first few lessons he would just tell me all about the guitar. This was what I was supposed to be doing and I have a 4 year old kid that supposedly knows nothing telling me all about the guitar.

He would say, these are the pickups, I don’t like the ukulele my Mommy got because it is just a toy. He said the pickups have magnets in them and that is how the sound comes out on a real guitar.

He also explained to me that his Mom and Dad do not understand that he needs a real guitar and asked me if I could explain that to them. He said I cant play that thing it is just a toy.

He also told me he misses all his guitars and asked me if I could help get them all back. This was crazy.

I have seen a lot of “wyrrd” things in my life and any of my close friends will tell you that I have led anything but a “normal” life.

This was starting to completely intrigue me and i just couldn’t explain it, everything i showed him, he would do the same thing.
He would immediately sing it, the pitch and rhythm were exact every time.
Then he would flesh it out on the guitar. I say flesh it out because he never looked at the guitar at all. He would close his eyes a lot and feel around till he found the pitches. He found them fast as well.

After 4 weeks I told his mother, buy him a real guitar and also don’t take this the wrong way, but there is something spiritual going on here. I think your son was a musician in a previous life.

She started laughing hysterically.

You ever notice people will do that sometimes when they are uncomfortable?

She says are you trying to say my son is reincarnated? I explained to her that is the only explanation I could imagine possible, because I myself am starting to believe that is the only way he could have such a skillset.

You could see the frustration in his little body and hands. He knew exactly what he wanted to do but was trapped in a 4 year old body without the motor skills to do it.

I developed a major precept of my approach of not looking at the guitar and learned it from this kid.

His mom finished nursing school and got transferred to a hospital in Austin. So after that summer he no longer was able to come for lessons. However this was such a trip I am glad I met him.

This morning I went for a walk in the woods and came home got an apple and watched the news before I started practicing. The following story was on the news and all I could think of was how much it reminded me of my own experience a few years back.

This story is about a 6 year old boy James Leininger.

Here it is, and as I alluded to earlier, make sure and watch the video at the end.

I also think it is awesome how his father’s faith was only reinforced by this. The same thing happened to me.

James Leininger says he’s thinking of becoming a fighter pilot — and that’s not surprising, since the 11-year-old and his parents believe he was one in his past life during World War II.

“I think reincarnation is very real, and people should open their eyes,” the Louisiana schoolboy said yesterday during a visit to New York. “It’s not a lie.”

In a new book co-written by James’ parents and former journalist Ken Gross, they detail how the boy, at age 2, began having recurrent nightmares, and when asked to describe them said,

“Airplane crash. Little man can’t get out.”

Gross — a self-described, “built-in skeptic” — said James then recounted amazing details about the flier, and “I couldn’t disprove his story.

“He was still in a diaper, and he knew things about World War II that scholars did not know,” Gross said.

“He named the aircraft carrier, the flight characteristics of a Corsair. He named his shipmates.”

The book, “Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot,” tells how Bruce and Andrea Leininger researched all the startling things their young son told them — and determined he was reliving the memories of James Huston Jr., who was killed at Chichi-Jima in 1945.

When his dad asked the toddler, “What happened to your plane?” he replied, “It crashed on fire.”

Asked who the “little man” was, the boy said, “The little man is me.”

“Our hair stood on end,” his mother told The Post yesterday.

When asked why his plane was afire, he said, “The Japanese shot us.”

James no longer has the nightmares, and yesterday told “Good Morning America” that “I don’t remember the dreams at all.”

Pretty amazing isn’t it?

Much Much Much Love,


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