Myths-Dreams-Symbols

Reincarnation
What Are the Possibilities?

Reincarnation gives a person a reason to behave better knowing what they do in one life has an effect on a different life. It also gives comfort in the idea that the soul never dies


Reincarnation Central

A Case of Reincarnation

Shirley MacLaine & Past Lives

L. Ron Hubbard & Past Lives

Reincarnation, The Collective Unconscious, and Individuation

Children's Past Lives

Skeptic's Dictionary: Reincarnation

The Case Against Immortality

What is Reincarnation?

Shirley McClain Reincarnate Reincarnation suggests that the energy that makes up the soul never dies, but is merely recycled into other forms. {soul, Greek for psyche - the eternal energy that sustains your form or body} Much as the felled tree becomes paper, or the dead plant becomes compost, so do we become something or someone else after our physical death in this lifetime. Reincarnation is a cycle of death, birth and rebirth, a transformation of the soul to another physical thing with a new life. The soul itself never dies, only the physical form that shelters the soul energy.

The Eastern belief is that we are reincarnating only until we achieve godhead, or total enlightenment to a spiritual state, without duality and conflict. We obtain this through a process of death and rebirth, reincarnating to a different form according to our past lives until we get it right. The goal is to progress with each life, and with each life having a dependence on the past life, yet different from that life. It is a bit like the flow of a river. This flow of each life is made of five 'strands': physical matter, sensations, determinate perceptions, intentions, and consciousness. Each has its own flow, each constantly changing. Working with this fivefold flow we superimpose for everyday practical purposes a singular identity, called by a name like 'Archibald', or 'Fiona' {an egocentric identity}. This identity that is imposed is govened by Karma. By actions, thoughts, and words, the superimposed form is releasing spiritual energy to the universe and it is in turn affected by influences coming in his direction. It is therefore the sender and receiver of all these influences. The entire circumstances surrounding this form is karma.

The Buddhist view of the cycle of reincarnation is rebirth is seen as the curse of the individual who must keep returning to earth to struggle through life, learning lessons and paying back their karmic debt. The goal of the student of Buddhism is to achieve enlightenment and break the cycle of reincarnation.
Karma is a Sanskrit word from the root "Kri" to do or to make and simply means "action." It operates in the universe as the continuous chain reaction of cause and effect. It is not only confined to causation in the physical sense but also it has moral implications. "A good cause, a good effect; a bad cause a bad effect" is a common saying. In this sense karma is a moral law.

From a philosophical point of view, reincarnation poses some interesting problems. What is it that is reincarnated? Presumably, it is the soul that is reincarnated, but what is the soul? A disembodied consciousness?

Reincarnation does seem to offer an explanation for some strange phenomena such as the ability of some people to regress to a past life under hypnosis. Also, we might explain child prodigies by claiming that unlike most cases of reincarnation where the soul has to more or less start from scratch, the child prodigy somehow gets a soul with great carryover from a previous life, giving it a decided advantage over the rest of us. Reincarnation could explain why bad things happen to good people and why good things happen to bad people: they are being rewarded or punished for actions in past lives (karma). One could explain déjà vu experiences by claiming that they are memories of past lives. Dreams could be interpreted as a kind of soul travel and soul memory. However, past life regression and déjà vu experiences are best explained as the recalling of events from this life, not some past life. Dreams and child prodigies are best explained in terms of brain structures and processes. And since bad things also happen to bad people and good things also happen to good people, one might well suppose that there is no rhyme or reason why anything happens to anybody.

Finally, since there is no way to tell the difference between a baby with a soul which will go to heaven or hell, and one with a soul which has been around before in other bodies, and one with no soul at all, it follows that the idea of a soul adds nothing to our concept of a human being. Applying Occam's razor, both the idea of reincarnation and the idea of an immortal soul which will go to heaven or hell are equally unnecessary.


Past Live Healing
Interview With Roger Woolger, Jungian Psycologist


Sounds True: Your audio study program about past lives is called Eternal Return. What inspired the title?

Roger Woolger: It’s actually a phrase from Nietzsche that was taken up by the great historian of religion, Mercia Eliade. It refers to the cosmic cycles of being: that cultures come and go, peoples come and go, whole eras of human history come and go, really. What it suggests is that when we are in our bodies we are subject to cycles that are greater than we are. And on the spiritual level, the soul also comes and goes through cycles of change and evolution, and that there is a process of learning that takes place in the various stages of the cycle.

ST: Are you talking about reincarnation here? Do you believe in reincarnation?

RW: There’s no question in my mind that when we die we pass something on to other realms – the spirit realm if you want to call it that, or what the Tibetans called the bardos – and some aspect of what is passed on comes back into the world again.

ST: What is this “something”? How do you define it for yourself?

RW: I look at it as a type of consciousness, or a collection of fragments from the personality and memory that are somehow bound together. There is not necessarily a very evolved sense of identity involved, but in some sense we can call it a "soul." The Hindus call it a subtle body, an energy bundle if you like, that is beyond the physical. I think that somehow this subtle body has so much energy that it tends to continue in some way. I think of it as a cosmic version of the law of thermodynamics: the soul energy is not dispersed, but is transmitted into another form. This reincarnational view accepts the existence of a force or dynamic that directs the soul back to earth again. We don’t just go to higher planes of existence and get purified. No, the soul must return to earth for reasons that are not made very clear in any of the world’s literature, sacred or otherwise. Now, Hinduism does teach that our fates are tied to our karma – the idea that everything we do on the earth has an effect. Because of our karma, we may create a moral or a psychological situation which must be played out to the very end. And if it is not played out in one lifetime, it must be carried over into the next.

ST: What does the imagination have to do with past lives?

RW: What is the imagination but that connection to the vast store we call the “collective unconscious”? I challenge my listeners to let their imaginations go a little bit. To play. To use the magic words "as if." When we were children, every one of us had a very rich imagination. And if we can just remember how we used to play as children, we’ve made a major step into past-life awareness. I believe that as children we were often quite unconsciously playing out our past-life stories – playing with toy soldiers, nursing a doll, exploring in the woods, building castles. And the truth is that imagination is the most misunderstood faculty that we have. There isn’t a single college in America that teaches the psychology of the imagination. Imagination is only taught in the literature departments, and then it’s part of literary theory. The only people then who know anything technical about the imagination are actually psychiatrists, and what they know all comes from the study of hallucinatory fantasies of psychotic patients. So it’s not even a psychology of the normal. It’s a psychology of the abnormal. Fortunately, we have Jung and, to a degree, Freud, who tried to return imagination to the realm of the normal. They gave us permission to connect to these vast stores of imagery that we have within us.

ST: What are some of the typical symptoms people experience that are successfully treated with past life therapy?

RW: Here’s a typical example. You are experiencing a deep and unaccountable fear of water; I’ve seen this several times. In regression, you remember a past life where you drowned. One session of remembering that lifetime, and seeing your spirit leave the body, brings a profound sense of relief and release. You know that you don’t have to die by water again. It’s already happened. It belongs to the past....more from this interview and Past Lives Healing


There are three "psychological" ways to gain an awareness of past lives.

1. Dreams - It is possible in dreams to get glimpses of previous lives. If you're in a dream, but with a different body, it could be one of your previous incarnations. Dreams are an interesting way to relive past life events. While dreaming, you temporarily lose touch with your worldly life. This is the time where your buried past life memories have a chance of surfacing because you're more free to experience them.

2. Hypnosis or Past Life Regression - With this method, you are put into a hypnotic state in an attempt to free past life memories and identities. Under hypnosis we are more relaxed and able to look back at our past lives; we don't have the inhibitions that normally keep us from having such memories during regular consciousness.

3. Meditation - If we are able to meditate deep and to a certain level, we can access past life memories. Again, by meditating, we lose our worldly concerns and inhibitions and are more receptive to the complete truth.