Reincarnation Memories and Recalling Past Lives
He who binds himself to a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sunrise-.-William Blake
Article by By Craig Hamilton-Parker
Many of us have spontaneous reincarnation memories. Reincarnation is the progress of the soul through many lives. It enables you to grow to your full potential and eventually attain cosmic consciousness. The earth is the schoolhouse where we come to learn our lessons. We live many lives on earth, just as we go through many grades in a school before we graduate. Walking among us are many souls at different stages of development. Some have been here many times before, whereas for others, this is their first lesson in a human incarnation. We graduate when we our spirituality is developed enough so that we no longer need a physical body to continue our spiritual work.
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The problem with earthly life is that it is easy to become spiritually lost and forget the reason we came here. We have no reincarnation memories. Every time we come to earth we develop new imperfections and new desires. These desires draw us back to the earth plane until they are fulfilled, or we attain enough wisdom to let go of them. As the Buddha has explained, these desires are the cause of our suffering because we cling to them yet they can never be gratified. It is the nature of desire that each time one “satisfies” it, the craving to repeat the experience returns. In this way we become trapped in an eternal wheel of desire and the satisfaction of desire.
Sigmund Freud has shown us, however, that the repression of desire, particularly sexual desire, can be unhealthy and in some cases lead to serious psychological problems. If we force desire from our consciousness, then otherwise small desires will return in a stronger way. Persistent repression will create anxieties and odd behaviour. The eastern way is to let go of desire rather than repress these forces. For example, the best way to stop smoking is to gently let go of the craving rather than wrestle with the problem and thereby increase its grip on you. Yoga teaches us to root out bad, selfish habits and replace them with good habits. With this gentle self-discipline, we gradually free ourselves from craving and eventually from the animalistic desires that can chain us to earthly incarnations.
People who have used their earthly life for spiritual progress and emulate great men and women find it much easier to adjust to the next world and can progress to the higher planes of being. Similarly, when the time comes to return to earth for more experience, they have a greater degree of choice about the life they will lead. Instead of being drawn by the need to gratify desire, they make conscious choices based upon what they know to be best for the soul.
PAST LIFE EXPERIENCES
Most of us are not saints or hedonists. Our path falls somewhere between the two extremes. We are sometimes motivated by our desires, but also have a degree of control. In the final analysis it’s “who we are” that decides the path ahead. At the beginning of this book, I explained how our character today will determine what happens to us after death. Similarly, our character also determines the new birth we shall take when our time in the afterlife has concluded. The wonderful thing about all of this is that whatever happens to us in this material life, the afterlife, or in future incarnations, it is all under our control. We can have a better future simply by becoming a better person.
You will carry your present state into the next life and not become an angel just because you die. Unless you have used some of your earthly life to quicken the spirit, you will not progress. However, if you use your time on earth to conquer yourself and improve your nature, you will achieve a better state in the afterlife and an auspicious birth when the time comes to reincarnate. This is why earthly life is so important. In a human incarnation, we are given the opportunity to make great spiritual progress. Better to check your words, actions, thoughts, character, and heart than to waste a life in pursuit of ephemeral earthly goals. This life is a spiritual opportunity.
As the time approaches for you to reincarnate, you will begin to feel an increasing attachment to your natural tendencies. For example, if you had been a powerful person in your previous incarnation, you may be filled now with a feeling of ambition. You may also feel a tendency toward certain sensations. If you lived in a tropical climate. you may be drawn to incarnate in a hot place again or to seek out its opposite. If, for example, you lived a life as a seaman, you may again be drawn to incarnate near an ocean. You may be drawn to incarnate in a situation that provides you with the opportunity to fulfil creative desires unfulfilled in past lives or to apply new things discovered while in the spirit world.
Sometimes people incarnate almost immediately after death and do not get the opportunity for self-healing and reflection that the afterlife provides. Their bodies may show physical marks that hint at what happened to cause this instantaneous rebirth. For example, I have met people who believe they were burned as witches in their former life. Today, they suffer from skin complaints. The most evidential proof for reincarnation comes from people who have been reborn within a generation and have met friends and family from their former life. In these cases, the memory of the former life remains fresh and can be substantiated.
In future lives, you may have hazy memories of this life. If today you live in New York, you may in your next life want to be born in the bustle of the metropolis of the future. If you live in Alaska, you may seek a life of adventure exploring the cold reaches of outer space. Maybe, at some distant date, you will recall dim memories of America as it was in the twenty-first century, in the days before global warming when you could walk outdoors without protective clothing.
Preparing for Rebirth
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Your unfulfilled desire will draw you once again to the earth. Your heart holds a promise to yourself and to God to develop your spirituality. Your time spent in the afterlife has refreshed you and now gives you the vitality and enthusiasm you need to again journey the paths of life. The pull towards the earth is irresistible, just as the pull towards the afterlife was irresistible when you left your body. And just as you were guided towards death by your guardian angels, so they return now to guide you to your new earthly life.
A blueprint for your new life will unfold as your tendencies manifest and you recognize the needs of your soul. The path you plan may not be one of all joy. Your outline for the future will include opportunities for happiness, but also opportunities for suffering. Together with your guardians, you will look for the combination of qualities that will enable you to spiritually evolve. In addition, your future life will be designed to share a common destiny with the people from your group soul.
The above procedure sounds very complicated, but it is, in fact, a spontaneous process. The blueprint for your destiny is subject to natural law. The details manifest according to the karma to be actualised and the love you have for others. Love seeks itself. Because of this, the people you love incarnate along with you to continue and advance the story of your group soul. Similarly, the people you have had problems with in your past life may be drawn into your life again, so that the difficulties can be resolved and you learn the lesson of forgiveness. For example, a troublesome ex-partner may incarnate as one of your children.
When the moment comes for you to be born, you will again be drawn into the light of the divine. Just as when you entered the afterlife you became aware of the greater purpose of your life and were asked if you were ready to die, now you are asked if you are ready to be born. This will happen on an abstract level that is impossible to describe. The closest simile is that you merge with the light and momentarily become one with God. You have free will, but will inevitably accept your new birth unconditionally. You will see that, suffering included, it is the right path to take–one that will bring you, eventually, to a happy completeness.
When you are ready, you will let go of all your memories of your previous life (the one you are living now as you read this book) and of your time in the afterlife. You will accept that this is necessary and understand that you will regain all of these memories when you return to the afterlife the next time you die. You will recognize that life is an ever-changing show, made up of different acts. With each art, incarnation, you are given another chance. By forgetting your previous lives, your baggage drops away from you. The slate is wiped clean. However, those with whom you have shared love in previous lifetimes will be drawn to you by the power of natural law so that your love can be perfected. Our memories of one another, however, are clouded for a time so that we do not become clannish, and are more easily able to expand our love to include new people, eventually realizing that all is one in love.
PLATO AND REINCARNATION MEMORIES
You will forget the universal knowledge before you return to the life of the body. One of the first stories about this comes from the ancient Greek philosopher Plato who, in The Republic, records the experiences of a soldier called Er, who was allowed to return from death. He is, perhaps, the first recorded case of a near-death experience.
Er describes how the souls who were allowed to return to earth had to first drink of the waters of the River of Forgetfulness. Some of them “who were not saved by good sense” drank too much. Er was fortunate enough to remember his visit to the afterlife as he awoke, on his funeral pyre just before it was to be set alight! It is interesting that, even in this early account, the forgetting is shown to be voluntary.
With your memory now gone, or greatly diminished, you return to the earth, tumbling again down the tunnel of light. Gradually, you lose consciousness and slip into a deep sleep-like state, ready to slowly awaken in the waters of your new mother’s womb.
References and Works Cited
Hamilton-Parker, Craig (2010) What To Do When You Are Dead Sterling imprint Barnes & Noble ISBN 978-1-4027-7660-1 (Languages: English, Dutch, Portuguese) BUY THE BOOK HERE (Includes more about Reincarnation Memories)