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Monday, August 14, 2006

Past Lives – What Are They Really?

New age culture has embraced the Hindu philosophy of reincarnation with abandon. Many people eagerly relate stories about their ‘past life’ experiences. I, for one, am certain that we have many incarnations, and therefore we have some lives which may genuinely be our past lives. But there are charlatans and Tom foolery afoot, so not all past life experiences may be valid examples of the principles of reincarnation. More interesting than recalling past lives, however, is the recollection of future lives. Where are the anecdotes for these experiences? For if we have past lives it then stands to reason that we have future lives as well.

Past Lives – What Are They Really?

Past life experiences have become a commonplace in our culture, particularly among the ‘new age’ crowd. Skeptics rightly note that far too many people are claiming to have been noteworthy historical figures, or are being told by psychics that they have been someone famous and easily recognized from the past. This strongly suggests that there may be a great deal of self-delusion and flimflammery going about.
Information that might bear out many claims regarding past lives is typically unavailable or unconvincing and we must listen to such accounts with an open heart and open mind because regardless of the truth of someone’s account of a past life they deserve respect and our due consideration at the very least. Often they may have some cryptic message to impart which, once understood, may prove valuable either to their audience or to themselves.
What is the mechanism by which we are able to recall or relate to past life events?
One theory maintains that past life memories are inherited through our DNA, but I think the metaphorical use of the concept of DNA as a way to make past life experiences appear to be scientific may be flawed.
The model of spirituality which sets the context for reincarnation describes each of us as an eternal spirit. Our eternal spirits are said to choose incarnations for the purpose of growth and experience. Our eternal spirits stand outside of space-time as we are familiar with it; our linear concepts of time do not apply when referencing our eternal souls, therefore from the point of view of our spiritual essence all of our incarnations take place concurrently. Any division in time or space between these lives is something our limited conceptual skills apply to these phenomena, and this warps our understanding of the subtle reality underlying the nature of our various incarnations.
From the spirit point of view all of our incarnations are in the present moment. So those of our alternate lives which we may describe as being in either the future or the past are equally real.
Quantum physics has demonstrated that all of creation is intimately interconnected, such that a change in state of any single part results in a change of state in all parts instantaneously, no matter how far apart the parts may be in space-time. This is because at the most fundamental level all parts are but aspects of a single entity. These connections between every part of creation transcend the limits of space-time and are able to share information.
When considered in regard to our understanding of quantum physics our past or future life experiences are more likely to arise from direct communication between two incarnations of a trans-mediumship nature, rather than from an inherited memory. Unfortunately, it remains impossible to clearly state whether these two incarnations share a common soul or spirit. They could be entirely unrelated to a common soul and still communicate. However, it seems likely that we would have a better chance of accessing other lives which share our soul in common because we would naturally have an affinity for such. So many experiences of past lives may be genuine, while many more may be examples of clairvoyance or mediumship.
The memory argument still has one leg to stand on. The vast majority of experiences in which other lives are related to our own seem to flow in only one direction in regard to time, from the past to the present. The accounts of future lives are rare or nil unless we consider that prophecy may be based on experiences of future lives.
However, the memory theory regarding how we learn about our past life experiences may only have arisen because of our limited experience in discourse upon these matters. Our ability to talk about anything is limited to the concepts we hold in our minds. Since we have a strong belief in the concept of time as a linear experience which can only move from past to future, and because we have a conceptual model for memory that may be used to explain how our minds apprehend information, it is natural for our culture to have evolved a belief system based on memory to explain how we can relate with our other lives’ experiences.
If we discard the memory theory which appears to be an artifact of how our minds and cultures work rather than a genuine explanation of the mechanics of relating to past lives then the way is open to consider whatever communications we may receive from our future lives.
The messages we receive from ourselves in the times ahead of us may be the most important ones of all.
My conclusion would be that we all have many lives and that contrary to popular belief these lives all exist concurrently, rather than distributed across space-time. That we communicate with something beyond ourselves is often very clear, although whether these are our own alternate incarnations we share experiences with or we are sharing experiences with the incarnations of other souls is not clear. This issue of the lives of a single soul vs. the lives of two different spirits is probably beyond the philosophical capacity of our ability to know in a dialectical manner. However it is possible for us to resolve each related instance of this issue independently in our hearts where we may always know the truth if we remain clearly centered and free of any investments our egos may have in the matter.

Perhaps we've met already in another lifetime, warm regards, Greg