...on Past Lives and Reincarnation Q: Can everyone remember their past lives? A: Potentially, yes. The memories are in you, and you are fully equipped to access them safely. Ordinarily, to start, I suggest considering the answers to two simple questions. First, what mode of dying do you prefer least? The answers to this question may suggest ways in which you have died before. And, second, is there a period in history, or a geographic location to which you are inexplicably drawn? These answers may suggest when and where you might have lived before.
Now, in meditation, focus on one of the answers that came up. Keep yourself open to images, feelings, sensations, scents, sounds, etc. that might come up. If a scene comes up, see if you can move around and look for clues. In meditation, you are in control, so if your anxiety rises ever so slightly, without halting the process, consciously remind yourself that what is being viewed is from the past, unchangeable and harmless – that you are safe, and simply wanting to learn. Ego is very childlike, so repeat this as often as needed. It won't take long for Ego to “become prepared," and your meditation will move anxiety-free to the next level.
Q: I was wondering since my other friend was told she was crushed in a cave in her past life and now her body remembers that by being asthmatic in this life - can that happen? A: Yes, it can, and often does. Memories can definitely be stored in the body. For example, as far back as I can remember, I have feared heights in this life. Then, in my thirties, traveling around the country, I came into an area where, in a previous life, I’d fallen from a cliff – visiting the area triggered the memory… no wonder, height made me uncomfortable!!
Q: A friend of mine had a past life reading done by a psychic. Can we access past life memories ourselves or do we need someone to do it for us? A: With regards to accessing a past life, know that the answers you seek are already inside you in the form of a past life memory (PLM). You don’t need anyone outside yourself to access the information. While you’ll hear people talk about having a “past life read”, I’m not big on third party readings, simply because by definition a third party reading leaves a lot of room for doubt – and past life work can only be effective when the information received is owned. In order to dispel the inherent doubt of a third party reading, the information received must be translated into the first person ((I am/I was) from the second person (you are/you were). This is the only means to gain benefit/understanding of the lesson of such information. Since it’s much more effective and efficient to leave out the middle man in past life work, meditation is the most effective means by which past life workers access and process the information that is already inside them.
Q: Is meditating a way to get started [discovering my past lives]?
A: Yes, meditation is the method most advised by ancient writings. My teachers said if one learns to meditate well, then everything else follows almost without effort. The depth of that truth is something I am still learning and opening to, so yes, IMHO, meditation is the way to go. For those who might be interested in exploring CD facilitated meditation I strongly recommend the Hemi-Sync series from the Munroe Institute, who developed a unique recording technique, based on the left-brain, right-brain research. This recording technique greatly increases the efficiency of the brain. As such, their recordings are superior in effectiveness and efficiency. Here’s a link to their website. Their search engine is in the upper right hand corner of the page. Just type in "meditation" then hit 'go.'
Ancient teachings cite meditation as a most efficient means to access past life memories, which are usually kept from conscious recognition by the present life Ego. Ego’s purpose is two-fold: to survive, number one, and second, to act as a stop-gate mechanism against past life memories flooding into the present life. By practicing meditation, one’s mind is prepared to open Ego’s stop-gate without triggering its survival mode. This “alarm system” is the cause of anxiety that beginning past life workers must learn to subdue. It’s natural for the unprepared Ego to experience anxiety. After all, under its prime directive to survive, Ego sees death as death – there is no past vs. present involved. Remember In meditation, you are in control, so when your anxiety rises ever so slightly, without halting the process, consciously remind yourself that what is being viewed is from the past, unchangeable and harmless – that you are safe, and simply wanting to learn. This changes your perspective from participant to observer. Ego is very childlike, so repeat this as often as needed. It won't take long for Ego to become comfortable as observer, and your meditation will move anxiety-free to the next level.
Q: I am wondering [if dreams could be] considered a starting point [for past life work]. A: Absolutely. Dreams are viable past life tools, yes. In addition to meditation, I also work in the dreamtime, but for me, dreams are closely related to moon cycles so they’re not always reliable or even available (for example: one of my teachers totally disregards "full moon dreams"). Also medication can blur dreamwork. A note about dream work that’s worth mentioning: try to recall dreams immediately upon awakening, before moving the physical body. I learned this from my teachers who said that, after awakening, dream memories dissipate rapidly with physical body movement. If you remain as still as you can, it becomes possible to access and recall many more details of your dreams. Once you have brought these details into your conscious mind, then you can journal them.
Q: I had a very vivid dream that felt like more than a dream in which I saw myself as another person in another place and time. Could this be a past life? A: Meditate on the details on the dream. See what comes up for you. Pay attention to images, sounds, smells, etc. Especially pay attention to what might seem inconsequential, as these are often powerful triggers that reveal further information in later meditations. And pay particular attention to your feelings. Be aware that a valid past life memory (PLM) will cause a deeply personal "shift" in self-knowledge that cannot be faked. Should your emotions get too intense, or should you begin to feel fear, and you want to quit, simply remind that you are safe, and that you are meditating. This practice allows you to adopt the perspective of witness, rather than that of participant, where our emotions will no longer stop the process of remembering. Of course, as in any spirit work, take whatever precautions beforehand as may be dictated by your tradition or beliefs... for example, a Christian might commission angelic protection.
Q: How can I know that I’m having a past life memory (PLM) and not some fantasy? A: IME a valid PLM typically ends with an “ah-ha” moment – by “valid” I refer you to the process of discernment, discrimination, and detachment, (see: Reincarnation 101) A valid PLM nearly always leads to a profound, deep and personal shift in one’s self-knowledge … hence, the “ah-ha!” moment. This shift is like seeing one’s face in the mirror – which certainly can be denied, but denial doesn’t change the fact. And further, acceptance brings untold healing and self-understanding. Of course, hesitation is common before the “ah-ha!” happens – IME, with valid PLMs, obsessed with accurate discernment, (and much to the consternation of my guides and teachers), I’ve had to arrive a number of times to the same moment before I’ve accepted the healing salve of the “ah-ha!” moment. In the end it is this “ah-ha!” moment which raises any reincarnation “controversy” out of the intellectual realm and deposits it firmly and squarely into the individual’s experience, heart and soul. The truth is when one comes face to face with one’s own self, the question of reincarnation, cell memory, imagination, etc. falls deftly away in the explosion of one's consciousness rising into the stratosphere… To those who have experienced a valid PLM, it becomes exceedingly clear that the “controversy” of reincarnation is markedly, purposely, and solely between the individual and his Maker. Sure, it’s quite impossible to deny what one sees in the mirror… but it’s equally impossible to deny the shift that occurs in one’s self-understanding when one stands naked, and face to face, with oneself.
Q: How do you tell if [it’s] (like in meditation you see something) an actual past happening, rather than your imagination hard at work? A: IME, with a valid past life memory, something deep inside always shifts, or at the very least, is touched profoundly. The shift is easily recognizable by the sigh that almost always accompanies it. This shift is very powerful and resonates with a new self-knowledge that manifests into the present lifetime. (for example: after discovery of a previous death by drowning, fear of water is "mysteriously" dissolved.) Sometimes this being touchedprofoundly is so deep inside that it is only recognizable by discernment. Oftentimes something insignificant triggers this sense of recognition – one member mentioned her mother cooking potatoes triggering her memory. This being touched becomes a foundation on which to gather more memory information through further meditation until ultimately a shift does occur. I guess the simple answer is: after exploring through meditation, applying discernment, discrimination, and detachment, if you still have to ask, is this real, then it probably isn't. That deep shift inside leaves no doubt. I am usually left stunned with clarity. The being touched, however, can be missed if not discerned, and if nothing else, could be a signal that further investigation might be helpful. But then, OTOH, human beings are never simple, and there are those so committed to “know for sure,” that they don’t/can't/won't respect their own instincts and intuition. IMHO, past life work goes much, much easier for those who trust their instincts and intuition.
Q: [Are] the feelings and awarenesses [of remembering a past life] … true, or fantasy? A: Admittedly this is the most difficult part of past life work, separating fantasy/imagination from a valid past life memory (PLM). It’s difficult because the work is hindered by one's own ego. There are two very helpful tools for past life memory workers to use in mastering recognition of the ego: discernment and discrimination (again see: Reincarnation 101 thread). The trick is to stay focused. When you’re meditating, keep ego subdued and distanced from the images that come up. By doing that one recognizes that refocusing on discernment and discrimination easily placates ego’s demands. Also, be aware that once you start meditating in search of a past life memory, you'll want to pay attention to your dreams as well... some people find dream journaling and such helpful.
Q: ...[I have had] odd and powerful memories… I later on wondered if it was a very deep imaginative experience I concocted. A: Meditation can lead to validation of past life memories. Steep yourself in what you know. Seek more clues. ‘See a landscape? Try to move around in it to discover maybe a building, or a landmark. ‘A face? Listen for a name to it or try to sense the relationship that person might have had to you. ‘Know the time period? Check out literature, art and music of said period, all powerful memory triggers. Is it a location? Search online travel agencies for images.
Spirit always puts into my path exactly whatever I’m seeking. How do I recognize it as such? Discernment and discrimination.
Q: I guess I have trouble understanding how somehow a soul may CHOOSE suffering, especially if the personality didn't sign up for it. A: For the sake of explanation, think of your soul as the “higher self” or the wiser part of you. Then, armed with the idea of free will, the “personality” part of you is okay with what your higher self chooses.
Q: What are people to do in such situations? Suffer for the good of mankind's karmic debt? Is there no hope for them at all? It seems like an enormous thing to ask of innocents A: First of all, no-one asked the “innocents” to suffer for mankind – of their own free will, they chose to do that from their enormous love and compassion. They are not victims. In fact, for those who "have ears to hear...” they are our teachers on love and compassion. To view them as victims denigrates their gift to us. To understand their gift to us, meditate on the implications of free will and love and compassion.
Q. … [I don’t understand how], through no fault of my own, I was destined to suffer to pay for the karmic debt of others A: If you accept that your Creator endowed you with free will, then who else’s fault is it, if not your own? The idea of free will allows that each individual is responsible for his/her choices. You can’t blame your karma, good or bad, on someone else’s choice.
Q: And if we say that everything works out on a macro level, it almost suggests that there is divine justice but that this may not always happen for each individual's soul. Meaning, someone's soul might come out a "net negative" in order for someone else to end up with a "net positive.” A: Karmic debt cannot be assessed in banking terms, like net negative or net positive, because love and compassion negate need of any net, positive or negative. To understand karma, one must first integrate love and compassion along with free will into the formula and ultimately into one's life. Until that is accomplished, the intricacies of karmic debt are simply beyond mortal understanding.
...on research to "jog" on past life memories Q: Should I investigate the period [I’m drawn to] further or would this "contaminate" my recall? A: While some might consider investigation “contaminating” recall, IMHO, because a past life memory is such a deep, personal event, just as it can’t be faked, neither can it be contaminated. It just is. Research is analogous to an archaelogical dig. So personally, I invite students to research. Why not jog the memory, if there’s one to jog? Discernment and discrimination will determine a memory’s validity. Absolutely, investigate. At present, my favourite means of research is visiting virtual museums. That’s a trip, especially for those who’ve had past life memories already, and even for those who only suspect, to check out relative online museums. In addition, I suggest reading the literature and studying the contemporary art of the time period. Art, music, literature, these all touch the emotions, and emotions are very powerful memory triggers. From the research process, I have seen unexpected surprises happen many times. Spirit will bring things together for the focused seeker through synchronism and/or “coincidences.” When that art book just happens to fall open to a portrait of a familiar face, or a piece of classical music catches your ear and you’re suddenly on the Danube, a place that heretofore had never interested you, these are often pieces of art which had touched you before and by Spirit’s providence now, they are reaching out to you again … you reaching out to you, really.
Q: Is my interest in [particular time] periods and particular people enough to assume I may have lived in these times? Is this a starting point for identifying times and places you may have lived before? Where do I go from here? A: While others might surely disagree, my own experience has shown that yes, such interest and feelings are enough to suggest a previous life. It is definitely a starting point for a search. I search by meditating on information that I already have, to see what else comes up. I will also work in the dreamtime for more information. f I encounter a block, and nothing comes up, if I still continue to feel very strongly about it, before I abandon the idea as imagination, I will submerge myself in research – check out library books or visit virtual online museums of the area. Lots of ways to research. Research jogs not only memories, but oftentimes synchronism as well. Almost always, Spirit has synchronistically led me to where I need to go in order to find whatever information I’m looking for... which oftentimes I don’t even know what that may be until I find it. (I know when I’ve found it because something deep inside shifts… (see previous posts)
Critics say research “creates” memories – but that’s why the Ancients taught discernment and discrimination. As very essential tools for past lifework, discernment and discrimination act as safeguards against creating false impressions and memories, in order ensure against misconceptions and “created” memories.
Q: What happens after death and before our next life?
A: In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a book called The Bardo Thodol, or translated, The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is a funerary text that describes, and intends to guide the newly deceased soul through the experiences of the consciousness after death during the interval known as bardo (between death and rebirth). The purpose of such ritual is to assist the soul in making choices to achieve enlightenment and avoid reincarrnating altogether… This is the goal of all souls, to liberate from what Hinduism refers to as The Wheel of Death and Rebirth. This is why Hinduism teaches the importance of dying consciously -- to make choices for the purpose of freeing oneself from the causal effect of karma… Typically though for most of us, we live a lot of lives before we gain enough wisdom to liberate ourselves.
Having said that, and based on the Bardo Thodol I was taught that during the bardo, we take stock of the life we just lived, then after we rest and recover, together with our teachers/guides, we closely analyze our just-past life for our failures and our successes. From this analysis, we construct a skeleton for our next life with focus on fortifying our successes and amending our failures. I say, skeleton, of course because of the x-factor in the law of free will. Some have likened this period to one big school. Others have expounded on that idea by suggesting that each planet is a different classroom for its own peculiar vibrational energies –
interestingly, these “classroom energies” correspond to astrological data. For instance, for a person working on processing emotions, his classroom might be Venus, which astrologically rules emotions. Or for a shy person working on, say, acquiring aggressiveness, his classroom might be Mars, the planet of energy, and so on. I think that’s an interesting take… ‘might explain part of the UFO phenomenom. A chuckle: in an early regression study in reincarnation, the regressed subject was instructed to move beyond birth until she found herself “without a body.” When she replied in the affirmative, and the researchers asked how it felt to “be dead,” to the amusement of all present, the subject responded quite vociferously, “I’m not the dead one. You are!!”
Q: Do we cease to exist once we have reached the highest place of conciousness? Or do[es] our soul then move up in rank? Like do we then become angels or something like that? A: I am sure most are familiar with what the French Geologist, Priest, Philosopher and Mystic, Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) wrote: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. If you substitute the word divine for spiritual, it underscores what one of my own teachers often pointed out, that all sorrow comes from not remembering our divinity, and that all longing comes from our desire to reclaim and establish the consciousness of our divinity.
Reconnecting with that consciousness is enlightenment. And when that is done, according to my tradition, we enter what most religions describe as paradise, heaven, nirvana. This paradise, of course, would be reflective of a person's belief system. My vision about how it all ends? In one huge, celebratory, masquerade ball, where we all get to unmask ourselves and reveal to each other all the lives and characters that we each created and contributed to mankind's history!