My Journey Through Time: A SPIRITUAL MEMOIR OF LIFE, DEATH, AND REBIRTH by Dena Merriam

My Journey Through Time is a spiritual memoir that sheds light on the workings of karma— the law of cause and effect that creates one’s present circumstances and relationships—as we see it unfold through Dena’s vivid memories of her previous births. We travel back in time as Dena learns of a life in early 20th century Russia, ranging from the overthrow of the Czar through Nazi Germany; then it’s back further to a life in early 19th century America in the Deep South, and before that to a time in Africa in the early 18th century. Her lives in the East—in Persia, Japan, and India—go back to the 15th-17th centuries. Wth each past life, we can see the way in which it has impacted her present life, how it has stemmed from the end of the previous birth, and how it will influence her next life.

Dena Merriam is the founder of an interfaith organization, the Global Peace Initiative of Women. A long-time disciplined meditator, Dena’s access to her past lives brings a clearer awareness and purpose to her present life, and also overcomes any fear of death. The memories are triggered when Dena meets a new person or visits a new place in her current life. The memories bring remembrances of past suffering, but also recollections of spiritual teachers and wise guidance. She has not used and does not advocate past-life regressions or hypnosis as a way to prompt memories to return. Dena has decided to share her story, despite being a very private person, in hopes that it can provide comfort and awaken the inner knowing of your own ongoing journey through time.


DENA MERRIAM is the founder of a women-led interfaith organization, the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW). In 2000, Dena Co-Chaired the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, held at the United Nations General Assembly in New York for more than 1500 of the world’s religious leaders. Two issues emerged from that Summit: the lack of women’s voices and the lack of voices from the Dharma or Eastern traditions.

So in 2002 Dena convened a second summit, called the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders, at the Palais des Nation, the U.N. in Geneva, Switzerland. That summit gave birth to the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW). She is still the Convener of its programs. In its early years GPIW organized peace dialogues: in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan; during the Iraq war with Iraqis in collaboration with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Institute of Peace; during the crisis in Darfur with Sudanese from all parts of the country; with Afghans, bringing a delegation to Dharamsala, India, to meet with Tibetan leadership, including His Holiness the Karmapa, to learn non-violent practices; and between spiritual leaders in Pakistan and India and with various sectors of civil society in Kashmir, India. Delving more deeply into the suppression of women, Dena organized a 2008 conference in India on the theme of the Divine Feminine. GPIW also began work on climate issues and ecological destruction. Dena has led delegations of spiritual leaders to the U.N. Climate Summits.

A GPIW program, the Contemplative Alliance, works in partnership with all those seeking to uplift, transform, and evolve the human community, while loving and caring for Earth’s vast intercommunity of life. Dena has a Master’s Degree in sacred literature from Columbia University, specializing in the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita. She has served on the boards of the Interfaith Center of New York, AIM for Seva, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, and the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan. She is a former member of the board of Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. Dena was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2014 for her global interfaith work.

Dena Merriam: “We Need an Evolution in Consciousness”

“A significant shift is needed,” says Dena Merriam, a founding member of the Contemplative Alliance, “and for that shift to take place we need a growth in consciousness.”

Merriam spoke with Lion’s Roar editor-in-chief Melvin McLeod about what contemplative practitioners can bring to political, social, and environmental discussions to transform their relationships with each other and the planet.

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