*Deep breath* Reincarnation happens.
In any case, it happened to me.
My whole life I’ve had a collection of feelings, thoughts, opinions, ideas, psychoses, mystery scars, and inclinations that didn’t really fit my set of experiences. I never thought much of these things, until a few years ago. Suddenly the feelings, thoughts, and sensations were culminating into something palpable, something that I couldn’t just brush off. So I sought out some deeper insight, both from myself and others. From there I discovered that there is a rich tapestry of history that I have been picking up on. Suddenly things that had previously been mysteries made so much sense!
Talking about reincarnation can be hard. It is hard talking to others who have wildly different beliefs about our origins and our destinations. Some of these beliefs may even be completely hostile to the concept of reincarnation, which doesn’t help. But it is even harder not to talk about these things. It feels as though I am being told I am not allowed to talk about my childhood, because childhoods do not exist and to bring the idea of childhood up makes people uncomfortable. It’s my past, it’s who I am, it’s where I came from. Ignoring it is being dishonest to myself.
However, even within the past life exploration community, it can be hard to talk. I find that my experiences, again, conflict with others’ beliefs about how this all works and what the purpose of it is. I find myself treading lightly when I really just want to come out and talk freely without worrying about hammering out the theology first.
So what is reincarnation really about?
I don’t think about reincarnation itself as a theory or a belief that I selected out of many other possible options, because in my experience it happened to me whether I agreed with its implications or not. I mostly wish to talk about how this all happened to me and what of my history I have managed to remember. That said, to clarify my interpretation, I’ll state my beliefs about how I have come to understand it. (I will be speaking as though we operate on a linear past-present-future timeline for the sake of convenience and clarity, but keep in mind that I’m not suggesting reality actually works this way. When I say “past” lives, I may also be referring to future, parallel, alternate, or otherwise lives as well. There may be no time, as it were, but since we experience it as linear I will keep to that language for ease of communication.)
I view reincarnation through the perspective of an author writing a novel. Each lifetime is a story that we have written, and in each story, we typically forget that we are the author and that we know (more or less) what might take place, in order to fully absorb ourselves in the adventure of our story. At the end of it, we can either write another story (perhaps similar in some ways to the one we had just written, perhaps entirely different) or we can stop writing and experience something else in a higher plane. I do not view reincarnation solely via the school model, wherein each lifetime presents a series of lessons –like a grade in school– and if we pass we can move on but if we fail we have to repeat. I see it as being like reading books: the more you read, the more well-rounded and experienced you are. Perhaps there’s a concept (lesson) you need or want to understand better, so your stories focus on that for awhile. That may be why some choose to read many, many books, often in the same genre, while others read only a few or dabble in genres. Each soul knows what is best for them, and from our perspective as physical beings, it is hard to know what we and others need for their soul to experience.
Reincarnating, to me, means incarnating to a particular density (physical in our case, although I assume there are denser or less dense states that we can also incarnate into) with a body-vehicle to experience that density. It means that we can incarnate in any form we choose–as humans, insects, trees, extra terrestrial life-forms, anything. When we are finished reincarnating, we no longer have a physical vehicle to use on this plane. We can’t access it in the same visceral way as when we were physical, although we may connect to it as non-incarnate guides, explorers, ghosts, whatever.
One of the most upsetting ideas in reincarnation theory to me is the anthropocentric view many people seem to have. They suggest that humans are the highest level form a soul can be in the physical, and that the goal of all souls is to “graduate” to the human level before they can hope to ascend to the higher planes. This means that other animals, plants, and life-forms (if they are even allowed souls in this viewpoint) are lower spiritual forms and must strive to reach the human level. Proponents of this view also state that, as a consequence, a human could never reincarnate as one of these forms after having been human.
The biases of this stance are many, but namely, every being I’ve ever heard make this claim were humans at the time. Of course they think they are the most valuable vehicle! A wolf or a wasp might think otherwise! I will not disagree that a human being is a very complex, dynamic form to take. But we would be completely discounting just how complex or dynamic it is to be something else when looking at it from this perspective. I do not believe there is a hierarchy of spiritual value regarding life-forms. That would be like saying that science fiction is inherently better than historical fiction! In the end, it’s all a matter of the soul’s preference.
I also do not agree that the goal of being physical is to eliminate attachments or the ego. The ego, while keeping you in character and blocking your higher understanding as the author, is your character and the role you chose to play. If the purpose was to eliminate your being an active participant in your story, why did you bother to incarnate? The real end goal, I believe, eventually becomes to remember and access our higher perspective. Although doing this does change our Earthly perspective, in other words our ego, the point of accessing our higher perspective while still incarnate physically is to remember that we are more than the character we are playing in this story. It isn’t that we should stop being this character, or that living this story is bad. It’s just that perhaps we’ve forgotten this is just one option, or perhaps we’re unable to move on because we believe the reality of the novel a little too strongly. That is what we need to keep in mind when talking about exiting the karmic cycle and ceasing reincarnation into this plane.
So what, to me, is the goal of the soul reincarnating? To experience. What is your goal when reading a book? To learn something new? To lose yourself in an interesting story? To take yourself to new worlds; to gather a new perspective? Exactly!
I’ve heard it said that exploring past lives is at best indulgent, and at worst distracting and harmful to our current lives. “If we were meant to remember our pasts, how come hardly anyone remembers their past lives?” people ask. The truth is that we do remember, even if only on a subconscious level. Our past has shaped what we are today, and our lifetimes all across the universe come out in little bits and pieces of every life we live. I agree that not everyone needs to explore their past lives at this time. If you are meant to, you will know. Often you will know because memories will start coming to you whether you want them to or not. They can come in the form of strangely vivid dreams, emotions, thoughts that are out of context, and many other ways!
If you are interested in past life exploration, start off by asking yourself what things, events, time periods, ideas, places, people, or otherwise have drawn you, repulsed you, or brought out any meaningful thoughts or emotion. That will give you a clue of where to start looking and where to focus on in your meditations.
One thing is sure: once you’ve come to this understanding and realization, you will not be able to go back to your story with the same limited perspective. You will know now that you are also the writer, even if you don’t quite understand what that means.
There is so much I am only beginning to learn about in regards to my own history! I intend to post some of my memories and thoughts about my past lifetimes, as well as my thoughts about reincarnation in general.
Some of my lifetimes are a little more fleshed out than others. Some I am not ready to talk about at all. Some I only have tiny snippets of.
For the most part, I will separate the memories into categories based on which lifetime they are about. They will, for obvious reasons, not be in any sort of chronological order as my memories come to me on the basis of what is most affecting me in this life.
It is my belief and experience that while we may be able to access all of our past memories, it tends to be only a handful of lifetimes that stand out or make themselves apparent. The reason is that these lives have bits of unfinished business or that we need to heal from/understand something.
This is my healing and my discovery. It isn’t easy at all but having a place to talk about my memories makes a huge difference. Hopefully they will help you understand your own greater context as well. 🙂