Bernard Werber: a man of rebirths

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Interview with a writer who shares, over the course of his novels and his lives, the great adventure of human consciousness.

Why did Buddhism appeal to you?

I started with yoga. When I was thirteen, I met a boy at a summer camp who introduced me to raja yoga and taught me to do everything consciously, to breathe, to fix my gaze, to realize that I had a beating heart. I found it extraordinary, so I tried to look for other places where I could do similar practices. I couldn't find any. So I started looking at anything that could come close to this teaching, Zen, meditation, etc. In this vast exploration, I discovered “The Third Eye” by Lobsang Rampa. So, from there and from Tibetan Buddhism, I became interested in Buddhism as such.

How does Buddhism help you live?

Buddhism taught me to accept the world as it is and to live in the moment. When we live in the present moment, we come to be clearly aware of what we are doing. Another aspect also brings me a lot, letting go. Everything that is wrong comes from myself, I am solely responsible for what happens to me, the only person on whom I have a margin of action is myself, so I don't want it to no one. It gives me the will to perfect myself, to be more conscious. I know that most of my pain comes when I cling to something, to a belief. It is enough to question, for example, a belief to let life be like a flowing river. Everything passes, nothing is fixed. So I don't have to try to block things by wanting them to be different than they are. When we realize that life passes through us, we are in a form of acceptance, and not of tension or fatalism. Fatalism is saying to yourself: "Something bad is happening, it's awful, but I'm gritting my teeth". Acceptance: “Something bad happens, it contributes to my development. »

While Buddhism encourages living fully in the present, thinking about past and future lives sheds another light on your present?

Yes, a lot. my latest book, Pandora's box, is about past lives. I myself practice regressive hypnosis: closing my eyes, then opening the doors of past lives and visiting them. I make others do it if they ask me to. I can't guarantee it's true, but there's a story out there, and it's filled with detail. In one of the recent lifetimes that I explored in regressive hypnosis, I found myself in Latin America before the arrival of the conquistadors in a small village of four hundred people. I was trained by a master in herbalism, healing people with potions and herbs. There was a whole spirituality around the energy of trees. My master had told me that before dying, I had to find a disciple so that the teaching would not be lost. But I haven't found any. So I did not complete my mission. I received knowledge that I was not able to pass on myself. So I had a feeling of frustration and I think I still have it. That's why I write books. Everything I learn, I have to spread. I believe in Reincarnation, because it opens up a perspective. Thanks to reincarnation, each life is an episode of a soap opera to follow.

In your opinion, how could Buddhism be a pragmatic philosophy for our time?

I do not claim Buddhism, but life. There is a message of peace, of life, of harmony, of respect for nature, of awareness that I perceive in this tradition that interests me. Buddhism is not the solution, it is one of the ways to go towards the light. Indeed, of all the philosophies, it is the one in which there are the most people who are non-violent and in harmony with nature.

“In one of my recent lives, I found myself in Latin America before the arrival of the conquistadors. I was trained by a master in herbalism, healing people with potions and herbs. »

Buddhism seems to me like a tool that needs to be modernized. It would therefore be necessary to think differently about this ancient philosophy. I think that our time absolutely needs spirituality. Spirituality should escape the ego will of human beings. I believe we need a spirituality that teaches us to reveal our true nature. Buddhism is the spirituality that seems to go the most in this direction.

What is the spirituality, religion or philosophy that most resembles you?

There is a place, a place where I feel good: it's a philosophy that seems ideal to me, the Pythagorean school. Pythagoras who invented the word "philosophy", the word "mathematics", the scale of music and heliocentrism. All this five hundred years BC! He established schools in which he accepted foreigners, women and slaves. He was an open and modern mind, who understood everything in all areas of science and spirituality. He was also a vegetarian, a musician and played sports. The Pythagorean school seems to me a very good compromise between Eastern and Western philosophies. Socrates and Plato were pupils of pupils of Pythagoras. He is therefore the source.

What are you ultimately looking for?

My goal is to diffuse light, but also to put light back where there is shadow. Dark forces can be diverse: materialism, fanaticism, terrorism, violence, machismo… And all those people who tense up, who believe they are right and think they can impose their point of view through violence. To go towards the light is to turn towards an energy of life, which must be nurtured. We must not, for our human comfort, destroy forests and oceans. I try to develop all this through my novels so that people become aware of it. We are crossed by an energy of life and connected to all the others. There is a sap of light that runs through us all. I am convinced that there is an invisible energy of life, it is necessary to become aware of it, to maintain it and to diffuse it.

What are your practices?

When I wake up, I write down my dreams. Then I make “unlocking” movements. Sometimes I do sun salutations. To stretch, to extend, to realize that I have a body and that I am lucky to have one. I am also increasingly vegetarian, because eating an animal who suffers is unbearable to me. I also do guided meditation with Christophe André's method, three minutes. I practice it by doing the full lotus. It's the only slightly "yogi" thing I know how to do.

“I am convinced that our spirit is like a driver who drives a car and that after death the driver changes vehicles. »

I'm happy to be alive, to be a writer, to be in this world, this life. I'm not optimistic, I pay attention to what's going on around me, how lucky I am to be in that world, and what's wrong. I think what goes wrong will go from bad to worse. Perhaps it is necessary to go to the end of the errors to begin to understand? Nevertheless, I hope that the next generations will be educated with respect for nature, life and others.

What is living for you: an illusion as some Buddhists think or a great opportunity to evolve and learn?

Why do we live? To experience matter. Living in matter is an experience of the five senses. The survival of our thought can only take place in matter. In my book From beyond, I write: “You have to take care of your body so that your mind wants to stay in it”. I am convinced that our spirit is like a driver who drives a car and after death the driver changes vehicles. In my opinion, one can experience mysticism while being in the world. The experience of matter is also the experience of the collectivity.

What is the main message of your latest novel?

Do you really know each other? If you really want to know yourself, maybe you could ask yourself if you had past lives. And how do they explain that you are you now. For me, it's obvious that there is something before that explains why we are like this now. This book seeks to show that each individual is part of humanity, but all of humanity is fumbling to find the best formula. We are at a crossroads where choices are being made for the survival of the planet and perhaps even the colonization of another planet.

From book to book, we follow your personal quest. Did you find the answers you were looking for?

In each book, I learn something. And, at the same time, I seek to share it with my readers. It is my evolution of soul that we see through my books. For example, thanks to my latest book, Pandora's box, I learned to practice regressive hypnosis even more. Each book allows me to better use the intuitions I had before. I try to ensure that my works do not leave readers untouched: they are not mere entertainment, but an experience that must change the reader. In From beyond, one of the highlights is: "I am not speaking to convince people who do not agree with me, but for those who already agree with me so that they know that they are not alone ". There was the adventure of life, then the adventure of intelligence, now there is the adventure of consciousness. I am on that path. I don't know where this will end up. Only the few seconds before dying will tell me if I have gone in the right direction, in the heart of this adventure of consciousness.

This desire to promote more awareness is also the wish of Buddhist News. What can media like ours bring to the general public?

The message of the Buddha, articulated around these three concepts - to be in the moment, to accept the world and to let go - is so difficult to integrate that the more it is said and transmitted, the more it will be interesting.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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