This is from a recent discussion in another forum on reincarnation. The subject focus jumps around into other topics and back. Edited for context.
When I was younger, I went through a period of questioning my odd life circumstances. At that time, old memories began to surface and it gradually became apparent that my current circumstances were directly related to resolving a past life. I was living the opposite of a difficult decision made then. Once the door was open, I could follow the threads back.
I found it made my life make a lot more sense and it gave me a sense of the continuity of life and how we’re interconnected with many others. There were also periodic things that would come up that could be cross-referenced with history, like events or documents. It became very clear it was not imagination nor some random other life.
However, It also became apparent that it was the past. Knowing the past was very useful so I could move on and not make the same old mistakes. But it was important to focus on the moving on part and leave the past in the past.
On karma. Karma is best understood as action or energy. It is not good or bad. It’s mechanics are to seek equilibrium, what some might call balance. And thus it seeks resolution of resistance, unresolved traumas, and so forth. Many experience karma through emotions (energy). This seeking resolution can give rise to various life experiences until we learn to work with the energy more directly. Then we don’t have to live it out. The word Dharma, often translated to mean purpose, more deeply means that which sustains. That which keeps the equilibrium. Hence, dharma teaches codes of right action, and so forth.
I agree there is a process of learning or growth taking place also. But this is taking place on a different level than the field of karma. The field of karma is what we’re growing out of, to be liberated from. This is to discover our true nature as that which underlies the field of action.
So there is 2 processes for us. Learning how to be in the world more effectively and resolve the past. And learning how to grow and discover our deeper reality and to live from there. Healing and growth.
Later, the 2 come together in Unity, but that’s another stage.
I raise this point because it is a common trap for modern seekers to get caught up in seeking astral experiences (flash) and not connect with the deeper divine level. “Romance of the Astral” is a way this is described.
The astral is significant on the path as it’s where many of us carry our baggage and have the most healing to do. But this means the astral is what we want to heal rather than achieve.
I fully agree on discernment which is why I make these points.
The question of past lives is interesting. For some, their discovery is a revelation and a great healing. For others, pretty much irrelevant. They reach high levels of spiritual development without ever going there. Perhaps it depends on what needs to be healed and the best way for that to happen.
The mind is a curious thing. Having a conceptual barrier to past lives can get in the way of the potential healing they might offer. But on the other hand, having some idealized thing about them is just as bad. In a sense, belief – either for or against – can be a barrier to their awareness. So the important thing is just to be open. See where life takes us. In fact, this is a key for the spiritual journey. The mind likes its concepts and certainty but a real journey requires us to be willing to continually update, revise and sometimes toss out our conceptual map of what is and who we are. The hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell described it.
So yes, open is ideal.
Yes there are other explanations for past lives and I have explored some. But when you experience the sequence of lives and the growth stages and see the literal energetic threads that connect the lives together and the energetic nodes we carry for a time and resolve and the interrelationships with others life sequences… you see the magnificent tapestry of life and the vast cycles of time.
Then there is no other explanation.
Of course, this is not how it begins. It starts much more basically. It’s worth noting that at first, the strongest connections to past lives are usually old traumas. If you’re unwilling to go there, that door is unlikely to open. But these are also possible keys to healing the present.
Some traditions talk of vast cycles of time where “group consciousness” rises and falls. In a low cycle, people live short, difficult lives and are more caught in their experiences. As the cycle rises, people live progressively longer and happier lives. In the highest and longest part of the cycle, you have a golden age where people live as-if in basic enlightenment. The vast majority of time is smoother and easier ages. But due to the tendency for us to get sloppy and take things for granted, the knowledge is slowly lost and the next fall begins. Seasons on a grand scale.
These cycles correspond to the Great Year of astronomy and the precession of the equinoxes – not to mention the Greek and astrological ages. (Age of Aquarius, not quite yet)
Our historical Dark Ages were the low point of the current cycle. You can plot historical events to it remarkably. We’re now in a rising cycle, in the energy age, with a unique opportunity to have a kind of mini-golden age sooner. Those more perceptive than I describe a tricky point in the last decade where there was some danger of missing the mini-cycle but apparently we got past that hurdle. Now we see consciousness rising surprisingly quickly and real awakenings happening throughout the world. Not yet common, but vastly increased. And the growth continues exponentially.
It’s useful to note on this that this rise in consciousness is an inside-out process. We see changes in the world around us last.
A lot of the negative response I hear is a result of misconceptions and there is indeed a lot of nonsense out there around these subjects. It’s kind of like people thinking astrology is bunk because they’ve seen the daily horoscopes in the paper. There is certainly a share of people out there who idealize their past and an excess who claim to have been Cleopatra.
“The mere recognition of the connection brings about the healing, not who one was or how many lives one lived.” That’s an excellent observation. It is just simple awareness, from where we are now, that allows the unresolved trauma to be completed and released. The only relevance of the details is in the minds ability to then put current life circumstances in context. As in ‘That’s why I was stuck in that unsuitable job’. And if we resolve it, the need is no longer there to live it out. It’s complete.
Agreed, the energy has to be released. And it has to be deeply to fully clear it. However, if we’re open enough, we don’t have to live through the traumatic experience emotionally. We can simply allow the energy/emotion to wash over us and it will be done. A few seconds. But this does require allowing it fully. And that can take a bit of practice. But it makes it faster and easier and we can move through a lot more once we see it’s safe.
This is much easier if we have a deep grounding in spirit. When we have an unshakable platform that is undisturbed by the dramas, it is much easier to to let go and allow the release.
And some of those big ones – it’s like unloading a heavy pack off our backs and opening up new energy. It’s amazing how much energy we use suppressing our traumas. Keeping a lid on it, as they say.
To me the real issue is that people living as-if enlightened in a golden age have no motivation to establish it. So over time, they get sloppy and the number awakening drops so the number of awake teachers drops and there goes group consciousness. And the fall of ages begins.
A similar thing happens with great teachers. For a few hundred years, the direct experience leading to enlightenment is cultured. But then the knowledge dilutes a little, direct experiences drop and with it enlightenment. The teaching shifts into rules and then dogma. The light lasts long after the teacher but just for a time.
I would agree with why the age rises again, as now. Not because of a few teachers but because the many are turning back towards the light. At least enough to move it along.
It’s true both Rama and Krishna showed up as the age was taking a turn down. But the drop didn’t happen because they left. It was already in play. They came to help smooth the transition, restore a little light. A similar thing has happened in recent decades with millions learning to meditate or otherwise connect to source. It’s made a huge difference in the smoothness of the transition that’s underway. The momentum is astonishing.
The ease with which individuals are shifting has changed a lot even in the last 5 years.
Young boy sitting on a couch with an old man. Boy says “Yeah, well, I didn’t believe in reincarnation when I was your age either.”
Doormat outside “Centre for Reincarnation Studies“: Welcome Back.
Past life traumas are simply energy blockages. They can be healed by coming back to the source in the past or in the present. It is not necessary to believe in them to heal them. And they also have prominent present traumas as well. So the key is in showing them ways to process and release. Remember emotions are energy, so it’s a key doorway. Forgiveness is very powerful for that and I’ve found gratitude really helps come to that. They’ll be unable to be grateful for much but showing them the silver lining, those things they can be grateful for, can shift the attention incrementally off what draws them down. Teach them that what they dwell on grows, so if they dwell on the past it will amplify it.
But this is not my field. I’m just sharing from personal experience. Adam the Dreamhealer uses visualizations to help heal and has had excellent results. Meditation can also be very beneficial. I’ve heard of the Warrior Wellness program for soldiers – meditation to help PTSD – it’s evidence-based and helps cover costs. Google either for more.
Well – in one sense, Self Realization is a “personal betterment” but that is not it’s function. And in fact, someone experiencing that shift will find there is no person to better. This is the shift from being a personal me to being the cosmic Self (recognizing we always were).
Some people have the impression that we should seek enlightenment because it will solve our problems or make us better. But in fact, it is a shift away from a me, better or not. I know a compulsive liar who woke up. She saw it more clearly and stopped, but this was just a side effect. Those things may fall away or may simply continue. It’s surprising what does and doesn’t. A recent discussion of awake teachers concluded we should fix our bad habits before awakening. Otherwise they may just continue. When we are not the me, there can be little impetus to fix it.
So yes, get people in alignment first. And unload the baggage that keeps them small. Realization and Oneness will unfold naturally from there. Neither is anything we do.
And yes, there are many adopting concepts for a different stage of being than they are living. This is actually a barrier to progress, called spiritual bypassing or addiction. It’s a technique to use spiritual ideas to avoid life and stay ungrounded in the upper chakras.
After Self-Realization, the I has been seen through and the illusion is recognized directly. The point of the teaching is to know what is coming, not to make a mood of it now. Although some teachers do encourage that. But pretending is just another illusion. That’s not the way out. Nor does it help us live life fully now.
It has been my experience that the awakening process is organic. It is not black and white. When the ego identification falls away and we recognize ourselves to be cosmic Self (or whatever term you might use), this is a permanent change naturally called Self Realization. This is not an experience but a change in our very being.
The core of the ego is then gone but there is typically what I jokingly call “shrapnel” remaining to be processed through simple life experiences. It varies widely how much and depends partly on the work already done. When enough of that baggage is cleared up, we can say it is fully established. However, this is not full enlightenment.
There is a great deal of confusion in spiritual circles that equates inner oneness with Unity. That Self Realization is Unity consciousness/ advaita/ non-duality/ Vedanta. While it is an important step in that direction, Unity or non-duality means just that – a complete unity of inner and outer. We are one within and with the world and all beings. All is one, right on the level of being. But that is actually not full enlightenment either. There is still what the Vedas call the “Great Awakening” to that which is beyond consciousness.
As for habits, I can point to a very obvious example. Nisargadatta was a renowned teacher with a powerful presence who continued to smoke heavily and died of lung cancer. He was not in denial. He simply never dropped the habit. I have known a number of very enlightened people and almost all had personal flaws. All had distinct preferences. They are still humans living in the world. It takes quite a bit of time living there to clear the decks from lifetimes of tendencies and the mere momentum of sprouted karma.
This is not to say liberation is not worth it. Only it’s not a solution to problems in the world but rather an end to suffering. We live with the same problems (more or less) but are now with them quite differently.
Perfection is possible and a lofty goal, but is found more in the divine and the recognition of the divine in all things. The world in itself is a messy place where it’s very difficult to stay clean. That will change as group consciousness evolves, but we’re not there yet.
It’s worth noting here than an ego is a necessary function of being embodied. The key thing for the average person is balance – not too hot and not too cold, not inflated nor repressed. Our culture doesn’t give us good role models for egos. It’s not uncommon for spiritually-inclined people to see the ego as somehow evil and discount a healthy expression of it. But yes, there are also new-age people who shamelessly self-promote around concepts of deserving good.
Fascinating to me is that even a fully enlightened person has an ego. Some do indeed experience a form of “ego death” in the awakening process. But what is actually dying is their attachment to the ego and sense of separate me. All aspects of the person still remain and continue to function. There are still preferences, a full range of emotions, habits, and so on.
The key for awakening is thus not demonizing or killing the ego but rather recognizing it. That essence of identification with a me is a fear-driven desire for control and dominance. Very primitive. However the ego knows that if this is seen, it will be seen through, so it does everything to distract us from seeing. And that is the dance some people go through as they approach awakening. Always a sneeze, or an urge, or something to arise when there is any clarity cast that way.
It’s also worth noting that the identification is in 3 layers that are usually released one at time. Those releases mirror the stages of enlightenment so are pretty central to the process. Big subject.
I welcome any questions you may have on all this.
The prior Q&A series