Believers in reincarnation say we are the sum of all our past experiences, whether they lie in our current life or in another incarnation, and that what is important is the learning gained from these experiences. It is certainly true that the more knowledge and understanding we have of past experiences and how they affect us and our reactions to others, the nearer we are to true freedom. We can accrue this knowledge by working on past issues within our current life, or we may delve deeper to see if the original causes of unwanted repetitive behaviour, habits, phobias or desires lie in a former one.
Critics believe that past life recall is a phenomenon called "crypto amnesia", or hidden memory. It is the theory that one must have read the information before, or seen it in a movie, and tucked it away in the back of the mind. Then, when the information surfaces the person claims it as a past life.
But what about young children who spill out data that is irrefutably verified? Or find their way around places they have never previously visited? What about that small percentage of people who are somnambulists who go so deep into hypnosis that they speak fluently in another tongue?
Reincarnationists believe that cellular memory in different parts of the physical body may provide clues to past life experiences. For example, being hanged in another life may be the cause of a stiff and painful neck in the current one. A fear of enclosed spaces was resolved for one person through the discovery of a previous death by entrapment inside a submarine that went down suddenly with no means of escape. Many a person with ongoing financial hardships will reveal from their unconscious, memories of lives as a beggar, or an outcast living on the fringes of human society. They may have unconsciously carried over the belief that they are poor and impoverished into their current life, thereby maintaining that condition. Or they might do the opposite, compensating by an over-accumulation of food, money and material possessions.
Past Life regression is a means by which we mentally journey through time, allowing our subconscious/unconscious to release memories of other incarnations into our conscious mind. Past Life recall provides insight into current life trauma, passion, fear, compulsive behaviour and unwanted conditionings.
People sometimes ask why past lives are always so traumatic. They're not. We enjoy many lifetimes that are peaceful, love-filled and drama-free. But it's the traumatic ones that cause the negative emotions of fear, guilt, self doubt, anger and shame which block the flow of progress. So these lifetimes are more often accessed in order to facilitate the healing required for our soul's evolution.
An example of this happened to "Deidre". Deidre had two major problems - one, she was overweight - two, she believed she was unconsciously sabotaging herself from singing to her full potential, thus stalling her future as a professional singer. She shared a flat with "David", who was a member of a leading metropolitan opera company. Her singing problems stemmed from an irrational reluctance to practise her singing at home within earshot of David, despite the fact he was a kind and easygoing person to live with. Since she had also donned the extra kilos since shifting into his flat, she wondered if the two problems were somehow connected.
Undergoing past life regression, she relived a distressing incident in which she was verbally abused and physically threatened by an employer in a previous incarnation. The abuse was not an isolated incident. It recurred regularly. When asked if she recognised her past life boss in this present lifetime, Deidre burst into tears. She felt certain her flatmate David had been that person.
In the previous life, her boss had been a theatre producer back in the days of Music Hall in the early 1900s. A frustrated stage performer who lacked the natural ability to earn a living as a professional entertainer, he reluctantly resorted to producing shows instead. Deidre had been his star soloist, his principal soubrette. Though jealous of her talent and success, the producer was dependant on her to draw the crowds and fill his theatre. Occasionally, patronage waned, and it was at these times he flew into uncontrollable rages, blaming his young star.
Deidre's fear of practising her singing in front of David now made sense. And it was easily assumed that the extra weight she had gained since shifting into his flat had been an unconscious creation of protection. Fortunately, David was open minded, even eager to explore further himself. They agreed it was now probably karmically essential that she allow David to encourage and assist with her singing.
Deidre eventually became a member of the same opera company and she and David, though no longer sharing a flat, are currently composing music together for a madrigal choir they both belong to.
As Theodore Reich once said, "Nothing said to us, nothing we can learn from others, reaches us so deep as that which we find in ourselves."
A 'Food for Thought' Past Lives Questionnaire
1. Describe any physical weakness that has persisted or recurred.
2. When you are under stress, what part of your body is affected?
3. Are any of your five senses keener than the others? Which one?
4. Do you use your sixth sense?
5. Are there any typical physical body types that you are either attracted to or repulsed by?
6. What type of movies are you most attracted to?
7. What outstanding physical skills do you have?
8. Mental skills?
9. Creative skills?
10. What habits do you have that others complain about?
11. What characteristics/traits/habits do you dislike in others (or make you feel uncomfortable)?
12. What physical ability or success do you wish you had or strive to achieve?
13. What creative skills do you wish you had?
14. What other skills do you admire or wish you had?
15. What, in other people, frightens you the most?
16. What makes you really angry?
17. What makes you more excited than anything else?
18. Is there any particular physical injury you would dread to have?
19. What is your favourite food?
20. Favourite music?
21. Favourite country?
22. Is any particular country reflected in your home/decor etc?
23. When going to a museum, what section do you look for first?
24. Have you ever attached great sentimental value to a particular object? If so, where does it come from?
25. Do you especially like or dislike any particular religious activity?
26. Is there any particular type of countryside/environment that appeals to you more than another?
27. As a child, did you have a strong affinity or love for any particular books, movies, countries, cultures?
28. Did you have a recurring dream as a child?
29. Are you affected by any particular fragrance or smell?
30. As a child, did you ever feel as if you came from somewhere else?
31. What is your favourite hobby?
32. Have you ever been instantly attracted to a person? Who and why?
33. Have you ever been instantly repelled by a person? Who and why?
34. Have you ever had an experience/thought/dream that could indicate a past life to you?
As a result of completing this Questionnaire, what past life (lives) do you think you may have experienced? Answer this final question freely, without editing, questioning, censoring or judging. Then sleep on it.