Sellers, Peter – 01 from Out on a Limb – Past life recall
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Shirley MacLaine – Out on a Limb
… Eventually I was to learn that a very accomplished actor, and one with whom I had had wonderful professional experience and a warm personal relationship, was certainly one of these people-Peter Sellers. And an experience he lived through, which he confided to me, helped to confirm his belief to himself that his soul was in fact separate from his body.
I have made two pictures with Peter. One was called Woman Times Seven, in which he played a supporting role as one of my seven husbands, and the other was Being There, in which I played a supporting role to the most brilliant acting job of his entire career.
Peter always became the characters he played, off screen as well as on. In my opinion he was a genius, but he suffered personally from what he called a lack of knowledge of his own identity. He said he knew the characters he played better than he knew himself, that he felt he had been those characters at one time in a way that could only be described as "having lived them in the past."
One day toward the end of filming Being There, we talked about it. We had returned from location in Asheville, North Carolina, and were shooting some interiors on the Goldwyn lot in Hollywood. When I arrived on the lot that morning, I was struck with the feeling that something was wrong. I didn't know if it was because memories of the films I had made there flooded back to me - Irma La Douce, Two for the Seesaw, Children's Hour, and The Apartment - or whether something was actually going on that I'd learn about later.
Peter wasn’t in great form that morning. Probably because he was tired, I thought. He was working ten hours a day with a pacemaker in his heart and he had never been a candidate for the marathon. We sat together in the back of a mock-up limousine waiting for the lighting to be set up.
Suddenly Peter clutched his chest and grabbed my arm. It wasn’t a huge overt lunge or anything. Actually, it was very insignificant as far as anyone else could tell, but I knew something was really wrong. I casually called over the production manager and whispered to him to have a doctor stand by. He nodded and went away. Peter went on talking about acting and parts and how he felt he knew all the characters he had played. In fact, he was quite specific about feeling that he “was each of those characters at one time or another."
At first I didn't realize what I was hearing, but as he continued, I understood he was talking about having lived those characters in some of his own past life incarnations.
"Oh," I said casually, "you mean you feel you are drawing on those experiences and feelings that you actually remember living in other lifetimes?" I was very matter-of-fact. "That's probably why you are so good at acting. You just have better past-life recall on a creative level than most people have."
His eyes lit up as though he had finally found somebody he could talk to, to share this belief of his.
"I don't go into this with many people, you know," he said, "or they'll think I'm bonkers."
"Yes," I said, "I know. Neither do I. But there are probably more cosmic closet believers than we are aware of."
He seemed to relax a bit.