With last week's post on the Akashic Records, I naturally received a lot of questions about past lives. I was planning on writing on them pretty soon, anyway, so this was a great opportunity to do exactly that. 🙂
There are so many views about reincarnation out there. Some I agree with, at least somewhat, and others I do not at all. Of course, what I share here is only my own opinion, born out from personal experience and conversations with my own spirit guides and deities. But, I hope that I can clarify some questions around past lives and why we should really be concerned with them.
The Basics of Reincarnation
Before getting into some of the more specific questions about past lives, I'll first give a general overview of what exactly they are and how reincarnation works.
What is reincarnation? It's essentially the belief that you have more than one lifetime. Once you die here in this life, you are not done. You have a period of rest (see my podcast on what happens in the afterlife for more details on that), and then you return in another body.
Choose Your Own Afterlife
I've believed in reincarnation for most of my life at this point. For me, it makes the most sense.
I see the possibilities of the afterlife as follows:
- There's nothing after death but oblivion
- After death, there's judgment, and then either heaven or hell for eternity
- After death, there's no judgment and everyone gets heaven for eternity
- After death in this particular lifetime, there are many more lifetimes to follow
Option #1 doesn't really make sense to me. Knowing what I know about consciousness, it goes against everything I have learned to say that life could just end. I find it goes against our very nature to believe that.
Option #2 is the traditional Abrahamic view, but again it makes no sense. You live here on earth for maybe 75-80 years, and then you have eternity, judged based on how you lived those comparatively few years. Imagine 1 trillion years from now, and you're still living the consequences for how you spent those measly 80 years. It makes absolutely no sense when you increase the scale to absurdity.
Option #3 takes out the judgment, which is nice, but we're still left with this scale of 80 years of living in the physical world, vs. a trillion years of eternal bliss. So, what was the point of those 80 years to begin with? Why not just skip them and get right to eternal bliss? It can't be a test, because there is no judgment. It can't be for growth, because that isn't nearly enough time, and for what reason must we grow when the end result is all equally the same?
Option #4 is the only one that makes sense. Of course, there are many varieties of it, some of which resonate with me more than others, but still it is the most sensible.
It resolves the issue of the point of life. It's not just 80 odd years and then eternity. It's potentially thousands of lifetimes all aiding in our growth and expansion. The more specific point of all of it I'll discuss later. But to me, it feels more meaningful.
Also, it gives us infinitely more time to grow and expand. It's just impossible to have all the experiences you'd like to have in one lifetime. I've often thought that I need to have at least 10 different lifetimes just to do all the things I want to do. I could see myself having lives as an accountant, a programmer, a lawyer, a pilot, a concert pianist, someone who learns a bunch of different languages to mastery, and probably more I can't think of off the top of my head.
So, for me, the belief in past lives answers many of the big questions about the purpose of life and what happens in the afterlife. Below, I'll answer some of the specific questions that often arise around past lives.
How Many Past Lives Have You Had?
This question seems pretty straightforward at first, but unfortunately it can quickly become complicated.
It depends on two things:
- What do you define as “your” past life? And,
- Does it need to have happened on this particular timeline?
This might seem like nitpicking, but I promise it is not.
Firstly, what do you mean by “your” past life? Because above all, what you are is a stream of energy, which has branched off from another stream of energy, which has branched off from another stream of energy, which has branched off from another stream of energy, basically ad infinitum.
Your higher self is essentially just one branch along this chain, only one part of a larger consciousness. It's turtles all the way down, as the saying goes. Or, it's energy all the way up. 🙂
If you mean how many lifetimes have you had as a direct descendant of your higher self, then the answer would be, generally several thousand.
But then we have the second complication:
Which timeline are you referring to, exactly?
As I mentioned last week in the post on the Akashic Records, we are just a blip on one single timeline within a whole tapestry of infinite timelines. I know of people who seem to remember events from years ago which absolutely could not have happened, and are verified to not have happened—at least on this timeline. But somewhere along the way, they switched timelines and their memory is no longer true.
If that can happen within a single lifetime, then what do you think can happen among thousands of lifetimes?
So to get to a real answer, or as close as possible to one: I think that your higher self is a little piece of Infinite Consciousness, which incarnates into probably thousands of different lifetimes throughout many, many different timelines, dimensions, and universes.
Why Don't You Remember All of These Lifetimes?
This is a question Christine used to ask me when she was just being introduced to the idea of past lives. “Why don't I remember them?”
To me, this is essentially part of the agreement. You go in to this dense, physical world, lose much of your connection to the other side, and your task is to find your way back to that connection to the best of your ability.
In other words, it's part of the challenge.
What kind of expansion could you have if you could say, “Oh yes, back in the year 1368, I had an experience just like this one!”
But in addition, it keeps things fresh. Let's say you could remember back to that similar experience in 1368. That doesn't mean that you should handle this experience in the same way, though.
It's often true that the older someone gets, the more set in their ways they become as well. We think we know the best way of handling things. Sometimes we're right, but many times we're not.
Can you imagine that effect spread over thousands of lifetimes?
Coming into this life without remembering your other experiences allows you to develop a fresh perspective that perhaps you would not have gained otherwise.
I also think it is a safeguard. Often when someone has a traumatic experience, it can haunt them even until the end of their life. But can you imagine all of the traumas you must have lived through over thousands of lifetimes? You must have been beaten, raped, killed in wars, tortured, and more.
Would you like to have all of those memories for eternity, when in a body that doesn't allow you the full broader perspective on those experiences?
When we start over in each lifetime, we have that opportunity to start with a blank slate, at least as much as possible. Often recent experiences will carry over, which is why children often have irrational, inexplicable fears, or on the other hand, why they often have some kind of natural talent. We still do hold a vague memory of those past experiences, just not in their full detail.
You can often even draw on the wisdom gained from those experiences. Some people, it's said, just “have a head for business”, for example. Why is that? Could it be because they were a successful businessperson in a past life? i think so.
What About the Increase in Population?
One common way people try to debunk the idea of past lives is by pointing to the huge growth in population over the past century or so.
In the year 1900, the world population was just around 1.6 billion (source). Just 100 years later, the world population was 6,126,622,121. Now in 2017, we are over 7.5 billion and growing.
How can reincarnation account for this massive growth? Where did all the souls come from? If there are over 7 billion souls today, were there just 6 billion sitting around doing nothing 100 years ago?
There are three answers that can help resolve this dilemma.
First, souls aren't really countable objects, like you might say you have 3 cookies. Souls are, as mentioned, energy streams.
It's like water. If you fill 5 glasses with water, can you say you have 5 “waters”? What if you divide one of those glasses into two, smaller glasses? Did we create more water? What if we pour all that water into one big pitcher? Now do we have less water?
Souls are energy, and there is literally no end to Universal Energy. They can divide themselves as many times as they need to in order to incarnate into all necessary bodies.
Second, humans aren't the only ones around with souls. There are countless animals and plants. And, at least in my view, even rocks, mountains, minerals, and crystals are imbued with consciousness.
It's not unusual for one life form to evolve to another, spiritually. An animal soul becomes human. A plant soul becomes an animal.
Third, there are infinite dimensions and universes out there. In this weekend's podcast, we'll be talking about other worlds that souls can come from. Today these are called starseeds. There are countless other souls currently living in these other dimensions or worlds, and souls can easily move from one to another between lifetimes.
Can You Have Parallel Lives?
Do your lifetimes necessarily have to be linear? Absolutely not!
Remember that time doesn't exist in the same way on the other side. I fully believed that if you intended it, you could return in the 16th century. And, it wouldn't mess up the timeline because technically, from our perspective, it's already happened.
But on top of that, your higher self can split itself into multiple incarnations at once. It doesn't happen all the time, but it can definitely happen.
Why would such a thing happen, though? I don't think there necessarily has to be a reason for it. Perhaps both incarnated selves are supposed to meet and have some purpose together. Or, perhaps they will never meet at all, and lead completely separate lives.
This concept of parallel lifetimes is commonly referred to as twin flames. However, unfortunately there are often many misconceptions around twin flames.
No, you don't always have a twin flame. No, your twin flame is not always your romantic partner. Christine is not my twin flame, for example. We are in the same soul group (more on those below), but we are not from the same higher self.
If you meet your twin flame, it'll be like seeing a carbon copy of yourself. Of course there may be characteristics that are different, but they will have many of the same interests, many of the same talents, etc. There's no mistaking it.
A better word for twin flames, and one that will aid my upcoming metaphor, might be “soul siblings”. You come from the same “parent” higher self. As such, you're naturally going to share a lot of the same characteristics, but there will be differences as well. However, you come from almost identical energy wavelengths, so to speak.
This isn't discussed much, if at all, but there can also be, say, soul cousins, and so on. What if another soul isn't necessarily from the same higher self, but their higher self's higher self, for lack of a better term, is the same as yours? You still have very similar energy, but not nearly as close as in twin flames.
At some point, all souls are “related”, using the above metaphor, in the way that all souls come from Infinite Consciousness. Every soul you meet, you're going to share some spiritual ancestry with. Maybe you're connected, 3, 4, or 5 links up the chain. Maybe it's many more. But, you're always connected somehow.
Above I mentioned that Christine and I are from the same soul group. What exactly does this mean?
There are certain groups of souls that tend to incarnate together into subsequent lifetimes. It doesn't have to be in every single lifetime, but quite often, you will incarnate with several members of your soul group. They will play different roles in your life each time, but it'll always be somewhat similar, too.
The moment I met Christine, I just knew we were in the same soul group. There was an instant recognition. Even just a few months after we met, it felt like we had known each other forever. That's a common feeling for members of a soul group.
If twin flames are like your soul “family”, you can see your soul group as your friends. You enjoy playing a part in each other's lives, or else one soul might want to be a catalyst of growth for another.
That is, these relationships don't always have to be positive. If you have that one person in your life who is always pushing your buttons, and whom you just can't seem to get away from, they, too, could very well be part of your soul group, here to teach you some lesson or allow you to experience growth.
But more often than not, members of a soul group have positive, beneficial relationships. They can be family, friends, or coworkers in your current lifetime.
Just think about all of your current relationships, and ask yourself whom you seem to have a deeper than usual bond with. That person could very well be in your soul group.
How About You?
I hope that this post was able to answer your questions about past lives and reincarnation. It's a complex subject, and there's much more that could be said on this matter. If you have more questions, or would just like to let me know your thoughts, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.