A Complete Guide to Past Lives

Have you ever had a memory that’s not your own? A seemingly “random” fear or phobia that isn’t attributed to an experienced trauma? Do you have a strong “pull” or affinity for another culture, a place, or a specific activity? 

These are some signs that you are connecting to who you were in a past life. If none of those match your experience, don’t worry, there are other ways for you to learn about your past lives.

To back-track a little here, reincarnation simplified is the belief that death is not an end. At death, living beings change forms from one body to being born (reborn) in another. From my understanding, different “Eastern” traditions have different views of the birth, life, death, rebirth cycle. Buddhist representation is a wheel with sections or realms. The wheel is a mandala that reflects the principle of impermanence. 

Depending on your life’s actions, you may be reborn into any of the realms (like the animal realm, human, or “hungry ghost” to name a few). Some beings may dwell in particular realms for many lifetimes before learning or fulfilling their purpose. Part of the purpose or “dharma” is acknowledging suffering. To acknowledge it brings you closer to breaking its reoccurrence. I’m pretty certain the realm you are reborn into reflects how close you are to enlightenment, the highest possible state.

Hinduism also believes in reincarnation, but the symbolism and afterlife are different. Still, karma is involved and helps (or hinders) the path to ultimately reaching Nirvana. I know much less about Hinduism, so I’ll leave it at that. I will say, when I reach Nirvana in however many lifetimes it takes, I hope Kurt Cobain is there.  

In a similar way you’d hear stories of spirits and paranormal, past life recall is an extraordinary otherwise difficult to explain phenomenon. It’s more common for young children to have explicit memories of a life they just departed. This might be in the form of obscure knowledge they would have no way of knowing. For example, a piece of history, a fragment of foreign language, or even details from a trigger (i.e. “My other mom hated bananas”) are pretty good indications. I’ve seen stories of parents piecing together the details and realizing they align with an archived event or were confirmed by a relative of the departed life. 

Ways to Remember a Past Life

Dreams are a great method for past life recall. Parapsychologist and renowned dreamwork practitioner Dr. Stanley Krippner has a fantastic book on extraordinary dreams. It includes instances of past life dreams and how to identify them. Dreams may bring us to distant times and places and offer glimpses of other lives. Personally, I’ve had past life dreams before, and for one of my classes the final project was to analyze one.

I dreamt I was 11 years old in 16th century UK. I ran along the wet, grim streets in my worn laced up brown shoes and a dirty white dress. My father was in trouble with his business and people were after him. We had a close relationship. He gave me a necklace before we parted ways. I feared for his safety.

These types of dreams are extremely vivid and feel different in an unexplainable way. Certain recurring dreams might be past life memories too. Recurring dreams are naturally more memorable because of the repetition. They imply something needs our attention or an unresolved issue. Setting intentions before sleep to experience a memory or clue is also helpful.

Past Life Regression Meditations are a popular option for actively seeking insight. These meditations are deep and usually guided. I highly advise you use a guide, professional if possible, when attempting this form of meditation. There are different techniques for evoking sensory memories. When I tried it, my guide had me visualize a mirror. Consciously looking down at your shoes in the meditation is a great trick. Shoes give so much information about who the person is, their occupation, the time period, etc. In dreams too, it’s good practice to lucidly check your shoes.

Notice, Compile, Research are the basic steps for making sense of potential memories. You’re your own investigator paying close attention to all triggers in this life. Triggers are like this post’s opening questions. They may be “random” fears or phobias that are unrelated to a learned experience or trauma. Triggers could be good things like specific passions and drives towards places, cultures, or activities. One of my favorite movies Burn the Maps is about a little American boy who feels deeply connected to Mongolian culture. He longs to be a goat herder there. I have a friend who feels certain she once died hit by a train. My mom used to talk about a certain spot on her back hurting and felt certain she’d once died from being stabbed there. Sometimes there is an vague yet certain intuitive knowing. Notice your triggers, compile the clues, and research for confirmation where you can.

There are risks worth noting doing this work. Past life investigation often surfaces traumas from other lives. Traumas are easy to remember and leave marks for healing in other lives. No one wants to reveal more hardships for themselves, but they’ll likely explain some of the challenges you face in this life. Making peace and healing it is powerful and will change the course of your present life and lives thereafter. As with other traumas, however, they are delicate sore spots. People often remember how they died in other lives since it threw them into transformation. Ensure you have support to work through it. Similarly, people may feel grief, and grieving even a happy past life with a wonderful family is emotionally taxing. People may also become obsessive of their other lives, fixated or stuck in the past. Take care of yourself if you decide to take this on.

Letting go of time constructs is as mind-bending as it is helpful. We live according to linear time, but to me a better concept of time is a spiral. Past lives are in the “past” with linear time. Some understand these lives as parallel instead. Parallel time to me might also explain why some energetic forms (souls) continue as ghosts of their “former” selves rather than join again with matter (a body).

I am continuously mind blown by concepts of time. If these lives are more parallel than past, might we be able to “recall” memories of future lives? I’ve come across some people who have used past life techniques to discover aspects of their future lives. I haven’t tried it yet, but wow.

 Within some spiritual circles I keep up with and engage, people have not only discussed the transformative impact past (or future) life exploration has had on them, but have gone beyond that. They claim they can recall lives lived as nonhumans or on other planets. I keep an open mind, but this warrants further investigation for me.

I accept the universe/multiverse as more vast than I can comprehend. Because of this, I suppose I don’t rule out the possibility of other life forms. Since I feel pretty certain about each of us as an expression of a greater energy force (consciousness), then sure, maybe I have been something else somewhere else! What good is it to remember lived experiences on other planets? People have reported that they come to more definitively know their purpose on this planet. They feel at ease with the greater galactic life system. Plus, it’s cool! The thing is, the theory isn’t necessarily debunked if you can’t recall it for yourself. Your incarnates may have never been off planet. Okay, spacey. I’ll bring us back to Earth now. 

Changing land, boiling eroding
Yellowstone National Park

Benefits of Recall for This Life

Recall is important to resolution of past issues and learning about your purpose of this life. Some people realize they have always been healers or explorers incarnate. Past lives can serve as a guide in direction for you now.

Past lives allow you to change your story, cut karmic ties, release traumas. For example, you don’t need to be a victim in this life as you were in others. You can break the pattern, free yourself in this life, and free yourself for the next life. Pattern breaking could be considered a sole (soul) life purpose for all of us. Otherwise we get more of the same until we learn and evolve. Sometimes physical ailments are an indication of a past life trauma. The same way our bodies hold stress they can hold whatever we bring from “elsewhere” particularly if what we bring is stressful. Already, we carry a heavy burden of familial traits passed down from our ancestors. Now add baggage from past lives and lineage in those lives too! There’s a lot to work with and a lot to let go.

Finally, past lives help us to understand ourselves more deeply. It’d be a pretty fun fact to share if you have played the trumpet in hundreds of lives. But really, you could more deeply understand your present behaviors, joys, and sorrows when explanations from present experiences don’t suffice. The bar for self-development has just been raised.

The changing of colors, temperature, and seasons always reminds me how to be more comfortable with death–changing form, changing bodies.

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