Do Spirits Have "Past Lives?"
Of course they do! At least for spirits of the recently deceased people, which is what people generally mean when using the word "spirits." We live, we die, then as spirits we inhabit the spirit world for a time, then we are born again, and the cycle repeats again, and again—time after time.
We journey through many life times, both while incarnated in the physical body and then onward in the spirit body, and incarnate again in another physical body to learn new lessons. As spirits we digest the lessons of the last life and integrate them with those of other lifetimes as we prepare to be "born again," becoming more whole through our varied experiences.
Reincarnation is a "fact of life." We are born into the physical world in order to learn the lessons that only physical experience can provide, until we have completed our "lesson plan" and then move on to higher worlds to learn more lessons and to continue our growth and evolution to "become more than we are."
We live in a physical body, and then in a spirit body. We so often confuse our terms and use the word "spirit" interchangeably with the word "soul," but soul and spirit are different. The soul stands behind and above that "spirit" who lives in our physical body and then moves on into the spirit world. The "spirit world" is also known as the "astral world" and the spirit body as the "astral body." But, the astral body is not the spirit, nor is it the soul. That which we call the "spirit" of a person who has passed on from the physical body continues in the astral body, and eventually when the astral body has completed its journey, the spirit moves on to the "mental body" to complete that part of the plan.
To clarify a really difficult concept: The soul sends part of itself—the spirit—to incarnate in a complex made up of physical, astral, and mental bodies. To complicate it a bit further, the physical body includes the etheric body and the mental body includes the causal body to make up the physical/etheric, the astral, and the mental/causal unity serving the incarnating spirit sent from the soul to learn the lessons of a single life-time. Then the process is repeated with the soul sending another part of itself—another spirit—into incarnation.
Past Lives are Memories
When we speak of remembering past lives, it really is the memories of those lives as recorded in the Unconscious that we re-experience. When we "die," the physical body returns to the earth, and shortly thereafter the etheric body releases its substance. The astral body continues for some time before releasing its substance, and then the same for the mental/causal bodies. The spirit returns to the soul, and the immortal soul sends another spirit into incarnation. In truth, nothing dies, for everything returns to its source: the substances of the five bodies dissolve, and the spirit becomes part of the soul.
In some lives—both while incarnate and while in spirit—we may have to "pay for our sins" for the harm we’ve brought to others, for the missed opportunities to advance in our live, and in helping others through service to all the life we share with all other people. That’s Karma! From the Beginning—the point of creation—our goal is to grow and to "become more than we are," always progressing to "become the whole person we are destined to be."
While our existence is broken up into many lives as discrete beings, it is really very much like the many chapters we write in each life time. Are you the same person at age twelve that you were at age six, or that you will become at age forty or age sixty? The answer is both yes, and no. At age twelve you are vastly different than you were at age six, but at age sixty you are more like you were at age sixty—but you can barely remember being age six and know that you are vastly different than you were, so much so that the 6 year-old is nearly lost in the larger person of the sixty-year-old.
So it is with our past lives. As a soul, we have lived many times before, and the more distant the past the smaller the increment that is present within us now. Just as a primitive person from sixty thousand years ago would be bewildered if suddenly transported to a modern American city, and neither he nor we would find much in common. Nevertheless, like the six-year-old child is present in the sixty-year-old adult, that sixty-thousand-year antecedent is also present in the present-day incarnate.
When We Die, How Soon Do We Come Back Again?
Sooner, or later. There is no fixed formula, although some have asserted that from one birth to the next spans exactly 144 years. Yet others assert that some people—particularly those that die as young children—incarnate almost immediately to finish a life cut short. Still others assert that the time between lives may be hundreds and even thousands of years, depending on the extent on the last life’s lessons that must be integrated prior to the starting again, and particular opportunities that may open up for the entity in the spirit world awaiting incarnation.
Why should you expect it to be otherwise? In your current life, you don’t expect to die exactly at age 62, or 72, or 102, or 144. During the twentieth century, the average life expectancy nearly doubled; longevity scientists now predict that life expectancy can easily double again in the twenty-first century. The more we learn about our bodies and about our cells, about the energies of the physical and etheric bodies, and about nutritional science (and are able to extend cellular life through specific supplements and biological management, along with particular interventions that replace disease with health), the greater our ability to control our own biological destiny.
Does That Mean That the Time Between Lives Will Have to Increase in Proportion?
No, not necessarily. Just as your ability to learn and integrate a year of lessons is much greater at age twenty-four than it was age twelve, we also integrate life’s lessons faster as we grow as souls. And as we advance in soul growth we have greater choice in when we incarnate again. With growth, comes responsibility. And with greater responsibility we have greater self-determination.
We incarnate in the physical world to learn particular lessons only possible on the physical plane. If we can extend the length of healthy life, perhaps we don’t need to die to regain a healthy body and can continue on until the lessons of the physical world are finished. Then we graduate into a higher world to learn those lessons, and so on.
Don't presume that from the limited perspective of physical life you can see any more than a tiny portion of the Greater Universe continuing in dimensions beyond the physical. Your soul lives forever, and there are no limitations placed on your future destiny.
If we integrate past life lessons during "Life Between Lives," what is the reason for Past Life Regression? What can we learn that isn't already integrated?
This is a good time to clarify a generally confusing point. When we discuss the nature of and necessity for incarnation into a physical body, we need to realize that YOU ARE NOT THE SOUL. Only a portion of the soul incarnates, depending on a great number of factors. For the person referred to as an "old soul"—meaning one who has experienced many physical incarnations—the soul injects a greater portion of consciousness into that incarnate being. But the soul itself remains "above it all." And, generally speaking, during the lifetime of physical incarnation, the soul pays no attention to you. Your body and your personality were shaped at birth "according to plan" through the genetic code and similar "codes" shaping your etheric, astral, mental, and causal bodies—all of which, along with your physical body, makes up the total person.
Everything in the Greater Universe (not just the physical universe you see at night) is inter-related, and the total person you are is a projection of the energies of the moment, which can be "pictured" in an accurate birth horoscope drawn for the exact time and place in space. That horoscope can provide you with a great deal of self-understanding and awareness of potential opportunities and difficulties.
The "person" you think of as yourself is a projection of the soul, and not the soul itself. Again, contrary to most religious teachings, YOU ARE NOT THE SOUL. And once incarnation takes place, your soul is at most an observer—except under very rare circumstance (and I mean very rare) a direct appeal from the person (actually, the spirit) to the soul may bring a response. That is what prayer is all about—but you can pray all you want and the only response you are likely to get is from your own Higher Self (and that's another subject I can'y discuss here).
Why Remember Your Past Lives? The Answer Is in the Details!
The main value of "remembering your past lives" is found in the details, and as past life lessons are integrated into the Soul's being, those details may not necessarily be part of the "lesson to be learned." In other words, the experience of the previous life is "abstracted" for the overall meaning, and the details are left behind.
When we re-experience a past life through a self-hypnosis regression program we have the opportunity to view details that may be helpful in the current life, and in some cases those details are not only helpful but their conscious remembrance may accelerate our spiritual growth as well.
Sometimes recalling your past life with a person you know in your current life may add new meaning to the current relationship. In other cases, past-life mistakes may be rectified in the current life. Certain skills developed in the previous life may be of practical benefit in the current life—such skills as knowledge of another language, of particular scientific applications, of music, or familiarity with a geographic area.
Your past lives are a repository of details, some of which may be helpful to your success and happiness in this life time—and your remembrance of them could be as valuable as an amnesiac recovering a lost memory of a particular interlude in this lifetime.
How Our Opening of "Doors to Past Lives" Works
(The material in this section is largely abstracted from previous writings of co-author Joe Slate, based on research conducted at his direction at Athens State University.)
The basic goal of past-life regression is twofold: to acquire new knowledge and to use it for the greatest good, including your own evolvement as well as that of others. Here are a few examples of the many rewards of past-life knowledge:
Many of our adult conflicts and anxieties have their origin in early childhood experiences, buried but still active in the subconscious mind. Once these repressed experiences are retrieved and resolved, our lives can become enriched and empowered with new insight and growth possibilities.
Like early childhood experiences stored in the subconscious, our past-life experiences are forever with us. They are an integral part of our totality as evolving souls—they cannot be erased. Furthermore, they are all relevant, and like forgotten childhood experiences, they can be retrieved and if needed, resolved. They invite our attention and await our probes from present life to past lives through the inner doorway of consciousness.
The Past Is Prologue to the Future
To return to the thoughts I expressed at the beginning of this article, remembering past lives is integral and important because the past is a prologue to our future; it’s not a "fated" future but one that you can shape during your "life between lives."
While the lessons of history can help us not to repeat mistakes, it is our own "remembrance of things past" that empowers that ability to identify those historic mistakes and brings the enabling knowledge, and the wisdom, so that we can choose not repeat them, again and again.*
(*There is a thought-provoking short novel written by the Russian philosopher P. D. Ouspensky, titled The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin; in this short novel the protagonist, in life after life, faces the same choices and makes the same mistakes because he can't remember in time to change. But, real life does allow us to remember through Past Life regression, and not make the same mistakes—again!)
"No man is an island," and every lesson learned contributes to the betterment of all humanity.
History is not only "external" facts, but with its study those "remembered" experiences are incorporated into our own memories. History then empowers us to grow as if the historic experience was our own, but unburdened with the actual trauma and emotion associated with past events. Those memories are abstracted into the lessons fundamental to our personal growth and the development of a better culture and civilization.
By retrieving past-life experiences, you can bring them into your conscious mind to understand the lessons thus learned, and apply your expanded knowledge and self-awareness to resolve present problems and thus create better future lives.
As souls, we live in a continuum of past, present, and future—inclusive of our time in the spirit world of life-between-lives. As conscious spirits incarnated in physical bodies, it is to our every advantage to tap as directly as possible into the historic details and the actual skills of previous incarnations. Even though we are not the soul it is through our intrinsic connection with it that we have access to those past-life memories, which are themselves "deposited" in our personal subconsciousness, and in the collective unconscious accessible through our subconscious mind.
Joe Slate and I make it possible for you to regress and consciously access chosen past lives, and even lives-between-lives, through professionally developed self-hypnosis programs contained in our new book, Doors to Past Lives & Future Lives: Practical Applications of Self-Hypnosis.
Think about it: Through your subconscious access to your immortal soul you can bring historic details and practical skills from past-lives into your conscious mind today. No memory is lost, but you need to learn both how to access past-life memories and selectively "filter" for you those beneficial to you today.
You Are Not Alone!
Through these safe and proven techniques you are able to bring together, "under one roof," the learning of many lifetimes. You are not alone but have the support and resources of your "personal family" of many lives stretching back over many thousands of years. You are the master of a vast corps of personal antecedents dedicated to your success—awaiting your command.
Without understanding, and the empowering technology of self-hypnosis applied in specific programs, all of these resources have been unavailable to you. Now you can bring them into your current life. Yes, it will take a little time and effort, but it is all part of the Great Work that is the purpose of your life. The sooner you can begin, the sooner will experience the benefits of your extended awareness to include that which is rightfully yours.
With Best Wishes,