Written by: Michelle Belanger
What is Reincarnation?
Reincarnation is the belief that the soul does not live just one lifetime. Instead, the soul incarnates into a body, usually around birth, but sometimes later, in order to experience a life. When the body dies, the soul moves on, sometimes taking a break from life in the Between, but eventually incarnating again in order to experience life once more.
Who believes in Reincarnation?
Christianity is the only major world religion without a belief in reincarnation. Reincarnation is a fundamental part of the Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, New Age, and Neo-Pagan belief systems. Although it is not widely talked about, even Judaism acknowledges the concept of reincarnation. They call it gilgul, or "the revolution of souls".
Why is Reincarnation marginalized in the West?
Western culture is inextricably tied up with Christian ideals. As far as Christianity is concerned, we get one life to fail or succeed, after which we are then judged to be "good" or "evil". The notion that we have multiple incarnations and that there is no absolute, final judgment calls into question the fundamental Christian concepts of damnation and redemption, Heaven and Hell, and even what defines "good" and "evil".
Those Westerners who are not influenced by Christian beliefs tend toward materialism or scientism both of which reject the very concept of a soul.
Why is Reincarnation important to me?
The first significant thing is the knowledge that you are notnew to existence. You have lived before, and you have probably learned a number of life lessons already. A great deal of knowledge and wisdom is being carried on your soul, and under the proper circumstances, that information can be accessible to you, and you can use it to help forward your purpose in this life.
Is there an overall purpose to Reincarnation?
In the Christian system, the ultimate goal is to prove in one lifetime whether you are worthy of either punishment or reward. In systems which accept reincarnation as valid, things are not so simplistic. There are no absolutes in behavior just experiences and the lessons that come with them. The purpose of the soul then, is to grow through various lives.
How do I integrate past life memories into my current life?
First, you want to avoid getting too wrapped up in your past lives. You must always remember that you are living here and now for a reason. The past is the past there are things it can teach you, but if you fail to apply those lessons to who you are now, you've missed the point.
The best way to integrate past life material into your current life is to simply learn what that memory has to teach you about yourself and the choices you have made, then to let the memory go back into the past where it belongs.
Is there a certain order I'll remember past lives in?
It is common to remember backwards that is, you will recall most recent lives first, and generally the first memory of a past life that will occur to you will be connected to that life's death. However, this really varies from individual to individual. The general rule is that you will remember lives when you are ready for them. If a very recent life has some traumatic memories attached to it, you may not recall that life at all until you have achieved the emotional and mental maturity in this life that will enable you to deal with these traumas and the issues they represent.
Are certain life memories more important than others?
Some lives are karmic parallels to this one: a lot of lessons in this life parallel lessons from that previous one, and you have a chance to do things over. Remembering those past lives can help you see where you went wrong so you can pass the test with a better grade. Lives that are karmic parallels to this one are often the most easily remembered, although many times you will only remember portions of those lives as they become significant to where you are now in your current life.
How do I reconcile past "me"s with who I am now?
It's important to remember that each life is unique. Each personality is different and the lessons are different, or presented in different ways. Because it is all you, there will of course be similarities between the selves of various lives. But you should never feel guilty or upset about things you did in a past life, or even things that happened to you. You are here now, and the events of the past are done and over. Learn what you can from them and move forward.
So what connects all these different "me"s?
This is the Higher Self. The Higher Self is the unbroken thread of identity that connects all of your past lives. It is the immortal part of you that is greater than the sum of all your lives. It is the Higher Self that chooses the lessons you are to learn in each life, and it is the Higher Self that integrates and retains the lessons for each succeeding life.
What are the benefits of knowing your past lives?
If you have access to your past life memories, you can remember skills that you've learned in the past. You can recognize mistakes you've made in the past before you make them again in this life. You can realize who in your current life has played an important role in your previous lives, and you can come to better understand what that role is and how your two souls are interconnected. You also get a much wider perspective and understanding of human history.
Are there dangers in remembering past lives?
Some lives had very traumatic events in them. Unless you are emotionally and mentally able to deal with those traumas, it's not a good idea to try and force those recollections. Some past life memories can be so vivid that it's as if you are living the experience over again, and this can scar you. Furthermore, the personality of a past life can be very strong, and sometimes it can come to the forefront and dominate the personality you have now. This is a process known as "aspecting" and it is comparable to multiple personality syndrome or even possession. If this happens outside of very controlled circumstances, it can create a severe identity crisis and you may even lose who you are now to who you were then. Finally, some people wind up feeling very nostalgic for certain past periods, and they really cannot let them go. Always keep in mind: if you live in the past, you cannot enjoy the present.
How do I recall memories from my past lives?
Chances are, you already do and you're just not consciously aware of it. Do you have any phobias that cannot be explained through childhood experiences? Are you fascinated with a particular place or time period for no clear reason? Do you have knowledge or skills that you just seem to know? These probably all stem from unconscious memories of past lives.
The trick is moving the memories from the unconscious to the conscious part of your mind. There are a number of different techniques for this. Past life regression, which uses either hypnosis or guided imagery, is probably the most common technique. Individual meditations can be directed toward uncovering this material. And interestingly enough, energy work such as Reiki, massotherapy, and even acupuncture have been known to somehow stimulate the spontaneous recollection of past life material.
How do I tell a memory from my imagination?
First, be familiar with your style of memory. If the recollection is in keeping with this, chances are it's valid. Even so, remain objective. Decide what meaning the memory holds for you. Can you learn something from it? Does the emotional content seem valid? Very few past life memories will be the sort you can run right out and research in order to prove, so ultimately the decision to believe always rests on you.