This is the paper I presented at the Gratitude Festival on Black Friday at Angel Fire Reiki Touch. I appreciate any comments, thoughts, and suggestions. I hope you enjoy it.
My world view of reincarnation has been largely formed by my life experiences, as it is with any person’s world view. Today, I would like to tell you how the idea of reincarnation presented itself to me, what sort of personal experiences I have had, and share studies that I have pursued that have also influenced my ideas of reincarnation. I do not wish for you to form your own ideas around mine, but I hope this talk inspires you to explore more of this mystery of existence for yourself.
Since I can remember, I have been fascinated by the idea of reincarnation. Growing up, I remember having a more complex ideation of the afterlife than most of my peers, and even some church teachers. Going to either Heaven or Hell for all eternity just did not make sense to me at age 10. You could say that my personal karma led me to an early awareness of reincarnation, which I might have explained at a young age as getting a do-over with life, in order for our Soul to learn what it needed to learn. Although young children are frequently reported as having knowledge of their past lives, we don’t retain that memory because the human consciousness needs concrete sequences of time in order to function in the 3 dimensional world.
Being raised in a tradition that taught against reincarnation, I would often wonder: how could one life time be enough compared to all eternity, for the human soul to get it “right” by accepting Christ as Savior? The teachings of Jesus seemed to point to a return of certain consciousness, such as in the passage from Matthew: “For all the prophets and the law have prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who was to come (Matt. 11:13-14).” The idea of experiencing sequential lifetimes as a chance for the soul to progress and learn and teach resonated with me in studying passages such as this.
Surely everyone has journeyed to some place they have never been before in this life, to find smells, textures, sights, and sounds, that evoke very old emotions so deep as to be indescribable. Have you, too, experienced this? Have you ever met a person, that when you looked them in the eye for the very first time, you felt a connection akin to what you share with people you’ve known your whole life, or even something surpassing that? Or maybe, as you started a conversation with a person, you felt yourself and this person naturally open up, with a feeling of being on familiar turf with a total stranger? Conversely, have you ever met someone and disliked them even though you had no good reason to, and gone on to have inexplicable conflict with this person, even in a situation where it would be much more beneficial (not to mention easier) to just get along? But no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to agree on certain things and you set off each other’s temper.
I believe that these sensations are subjective proof that we live for multiple existences. Objective proof of reincarnation exists, as well, in the form of recorded instances of small children talking about their previous home, family, and life, and even being able to identify people from their previous life, before passing of time fades the memory away. On the 22 of September, 2002, the Indian Tribune published an article entitled: “Can Science Uphold the Belief in Rebirth?” The article describes the case of six-year-old boy Taranjit Singh of Alluna Miana village near Payal in Ludhiana. Forensic scientist Vikram Raj Singh Chauhan learned about the boy and claims to prove the theory that rebirth is possible on the basis of handwriting comparison of Taranjit Singh in his previous and present births. Taranjit Singh reportedly met his parents from his previous incarnation, and was able to provide details surrounding his death that his previous birth mother was then able to verify.
According to Hindu belief, human souls accrue Karma through actions and choices that act toward the progress or delay of Souls in their journey to Nirvana, enlightenment. The result of choices is a practical system of consequences. There are many misunderstandings of this Karmic Law, conceiving of Karma as punishment, or Good Karma almost as something trite, quaint, or materially based. I have encountered in many sacred texts reasonable evidence that no such thing exists as an objective Right or Wrong. I have seen people draw Karmic debt to themselves, for choices that obviously worked toward benefit of all, through engaging in guilty or prideful energy around that choice. In Hinduism, a sort of psychic conditioning from past life experiences causes reenactments of preexisting life event patterns.
A concept closely related to Karma in Hindu belief is Darma. The Darma of the soul is the Soul’s purpose, or calling. Darma is the specific part we each can play in the grand production that is unique to us, that completes the Divine Wheel of Samsara, which literally means “Continuous Flow” in Sanskrit. If Life is merely a stage, and we are all merely actors, Samsara is the Divine Narrative being enacted. Everything flows together because it’s all interwoven in a divine tapestry. To me, Darma is the potential we all have within us in this incarnation to fully harness our gifts of service to others. Meditation on what service means to us is a very powerful personal vehicle to reach spiritual understanding.
Ancient civilizations across the globe, and all modern day indigenous Earth-centered traditions that I know of, view time as a Wheel. The Spiral is a prominent visual theme both in Prehistoric cave art and modern tribal art, and a spiral marks a progressive wheel. A wheel is intrinsically whole unto itself. There is no missing link. A spiral continues inward and outward eternally, no beginning, no end, it simply is. Such is the nature of the Soul’s existence: we are Eternal Beings, made of an eternal substance, and I have personally found sufficient evidence for me to conclude that reincarnation is more than belief, but an undiscovered and as yet immeasurable science.
Edgar Cayce, in one of many recorded interviews, says: “I can read reincarnation into the Bible, and you can read it right out again!”. In Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation, Noel Langley discusses Biblical references to reincarnation in both the Old and New Testaments, citing instances indicative of a pre-existence of souls. Langley also points to the work of the Christian scholar Origen, whose teachings on universal restoration and transmigration of souls were abolished from the early Roman Catholic Church by the power-crazed duo Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora, circa mid 6th century, C.E.
Edgar Cayce gave clear and accurate information to people regarding their physical state of health and added relevant information from seekers’ past incarnations. Cayce and his supporters were not aware of this aspect of his readings until a printer named Arthur Lammers sought Cayce out to answer questions about reincarnation, which Lammers had studied extensively. Cayce, a Presbyterian Sunday School teacher, had previously discovered his gift through a psychic reading he gave for himself to cure his own case of laryngitis, with the help of a local osteopath named Al Layne, and was shocked by the information he channeled about reincarnation.
As for my personal experiences, I have definitely visited places that felt familiar and where I knew my way around. One of my earliest such experiences was in travelling to Cherokee, North Carolina. I travelled to Cache Valley, Utah, in high school and sensed an amount of unresolved business. When I was 19 I visited England and felt at home in the older and more run down districts of south London, and experienced an odd disorientation by all the houses that should have been wild woods or farmland. In my mid twenties, I lived in Berkeley, California, and Initiated with an eclectic group there, and discovered many people I felt a past life connection with in that generation of Initiates.
In closing, I would say that reincarnation provides a path of learning and progress for our eternal Souls, and that past life regression offers a means of increasing our understanding of our Higher Purpose and the information it yields can be readily applied in our lives through action to become wisdom.