Although I’ve had past life memories since I was a baby, I did not come to know about reincarnation and my past lives until I was about 19 or so. At this point, I’ve only told a few close friends and family my “secret.” The ones I have told have been very open and understanding, but still I hold onto fear to come out and be honest about myself. I believe in reincarnation. I know about my past lives. I know about your past lives. I died in the Holocaust. I was someone in recorded history. I’ve had lives as insects. I’ve been to other planets, planes, dimensions.
I wanted to go through and address some common thoughts and misconceptions I’ve heard from believers and nonbelievers alike, in the hopes of thinking through these things for when I do decide to come out. More importantly, I want to assist others to come out as well!
Most people don’t remember their past lives.
Most people do remember their past lives. They just don’t realize that is what it is! Ever have an unexplainable positive or negative reaction to something for no obvious reason? Have talents or fears or strong opinions that seem to come out of nowhere? Have unexplained body ailments? Oddly specific, emotional dreams? Preferences or aversions to certain time periods or cultures? Everyone does, and these are clues.
People don’t remember past lives because we’re not supposed to.
Again, people do remember, on some level. As for conscious memories and past life exploration, I agree that not everyone is at a place in their spiritual development where exploring their past consciously is the best thing for them. That does not mean, however, that past life exploration is not highly beneficial and deeply meaningful for those who choose to explore it!
Remembering past lives is at best indulgent and at worst a distraction from our current lives.
It shouldn’t be any more indulgent or distracting than therapy and other forms of healing are. It is true that some may feel stuck in their past, but this indicates a need for them to heal something from it. (Similar to how some people can get stuck in victim mode from something that happened in their childhood.) I have yet to meet a person so obsessed with their past identity that they failed to connect with their present life, as most understand our need to be here and present is as important as understanding our pasts.
Remembering past lives, if even possible, is dangerous.
No more dangerous than remembering our childhood! Yes, there may be deeply traumatic events that we have buried, and bringing these to light is difficult and often painful. But it is all a part of our healing to do so, and the soul knows what we need to see and what we are not ready to face yet. What we are allowed to remember and access is guided by our higher sources for our best interests. (Like anything, though, our free will can override and in this case one should always use their highest judgment when delving into heavy stuff.)
Past lives aren’t real, and people who believe in them are just indulging in fantasies or using them as coping mechanisms.
Even if you do not believe in them, you have to admit that one’s fears, preferences, aversions, dreams, and memories are very real to them, regardless of whether you can personally prove their literal truth. What matters is that the issues are very real, and the healing that takes place is very real as well.
Reincarnation doesn’t make sense. We don’t just zip from body to body in a linear fashion, because time doesn’t really exist! What about future lives? What about parallel lives?
This one is interesting because it assumes that my belief in reincarnation and other spiritual topics translates to my complete and total understanding of the nature of reality. I agree that “time” as we know it does not exist, and that discussing lives as happening in a linear sense is only for us to make sense of them while discussing and analyzing them. As to why/how/what, this is something I am still learning for myself. It is something I hope we can come to understand better by shared communication about this topic!
Reincarnation is uncomfortable to me because it threatens my sense of self! I’m me, not some other person!
I used to feel this way once. I felt that reincarnation somehow took away my me-ness and made me less who I thought I was. But in coming to know my past lives, I have discovered a much richer sense of me that is timeless. I have come to know myself on such a deeper level, and this, to me, is one of the huge benefits of past life exploration.
Everybody I’ve ever spoken with about reincarnation claims to have been Cleopatra or some famous figure! Don’t people ever just incarnate as farmers or peasants?
Yes! Most assuredly, the vast majority of our lives will never even be recorded in any historical sense. And there are a great many who do latch onto famous figures and get an ego thrill out of claiming to have been a big name, but we have to realize that famous people in our history and culture have souls too. Someone played those roles and claiming to have been someone famous does not necessarily mean the person in question is wrong or just looking to get their ego stroked. On the other hand, famous people are very easy to latch onto because we are familiar with them, we hear a lot about them, there’s a lot of information about their lives made available. Oftentimes that triggers something and a person may mistakenly believe they were that individual when instead they were someone connected to that individual, culture, or lifetime.
Also, as cool as it is to say you were Einstein in a past life, to him it was just a life.
What do you hope to accomplish by admitting your experiences with reincarnation to others?
I hope that they will understand it is a huge part of who I am and how I understand the world. I hope they would let me share my thoughts and feelings without judgment or fear towards my belief. In no way do I hope to convert anyone, but I do hope they are willing to keep an open mind.
A very dear friend of mine once said that hiding this part of ourselves away from others in order to protect their feelings and biases is completely unfair, as many with more mainstream beliefs have no qualms about stepping on others’ toes. Not being able to talk about my past lives feels like not being able to talk about the first 20 years of my life!
It is my hope that someday in the future I will feel comfortable coming out and admitting this to my wider friends and family. But if in the meantime I have assisted someone else to do the same, all the better!