Over the years that I have investigated, researched and written about the varying elements of the paranormal there have been some interesting aspects that have come to my attention. One particular being that of past lives or even reincarnation. Initially this was a part of the paranormal that I pretty much stumbled upon whilst talking to spiritualist mediums in connection to the Royal Oak case.
It was during the investigation of the Royal Oak and through my discussions with those involved with the case that the concept of past lives became of greatest interest to me. Some of the locals at the pub believed that the strange activity was potentially related to some of the past residents, but also believed that a few of the key people were directly connected to the pubs history. They believed that their own past lives were that of the previous residents of the Royal Oak, the very same ones now potentially haunting the pub too.
This concept of a connection to the past fascinated me at the time and still does to this day; could a past life related to the location possibly influence the people there today?
Often in these situations I end up looking further into them in order to understand it better, which often involves a little deep research to get lost in. On this occasion the research lead me to find out more about children that recalled events from someone else’s life, people who believed they were reincarnated and most importantly how this information might be transferred from the past to the present.
Reincarnation could be defined as the return of the soul, mind or consciousness to another physical body following death. Beliefs in reincarnation are present in various belief systems and cultures across the world even today, but may have ancient connections. We are extremely lucky to have access to considerable data regarding reincarnation today thanks to the research originally started by Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia back in 1961. Stevenson and his colleagues worked on studying past-life cases across the globe and by 1966 they had over 200 cases. However, this was only the beginning of the research. Stevenson continued to publish both books and papers on reincarnation, covering well over 300 cases. As of 2013, Stevenson’s research division, called the Division of Perceptual Studies, grew continuously. They now have around 2,500 cases with around 68% having identified previous persons. Which Stevenson and his colleagues called ‘solved’ cases. In the past when I have discussed gathering data, this is exactly what I meant. Stevenson has gathered a huge amount of data on reincarnation that allows us to gain an interesting perspective on the subject.
The research also presented some interesting information too. Surprisingly this was in relation to physical evidence in the form of birthmarks. As many birthmarks in the reincarnation cases would reflect fatal wounds or perhaps healed scars too. The data gathered by Stevenson and colleagues supported this interesting link. So, could there really be connections to the past, could consciousness really pass from one physical existence to the next? As I read through some of the research on this one thing that became apparent to me on many cases was that often there would be a delay between one person passing and the consciousness making an appearance in the new physical body.
Interestingly about 20% of the children that recall past lives also talk about events occurring between lives, the research calls it ‘intermission memories.’ These memories were broken into stages; 1) transitional stage following death; 2) a more stable fixed location; 3) a stage which involves choosing parents; 4) gestation in the womb; 5) birth into the new life. Of course, this is not confirmed and there are variations to these perceptions, but subjects everywhere talk about interaction with various spirits.
Whilst there is, through Stevenson’s research what I may call compelling evidence to support the potential of reincarnation, it remains inconclusive in my opinion. It also raises for me more questions and also ideas around how this may all work. Now if it was information alone then this might be simpler to explain or at theorise on, but we also have that added element of birthmarks appearing where others scars were previously. A probable physical representation from the past life. How could there be a physical link transferred only by the transfer of consciousness?
However, it was the research of Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Resonance and Fields that now comes to mind as a probable explanation. As I understand Sheldrakes research, this would provide a probable explanation regarding why information could be transferred from one person to another, including physical attributes too. Sheldrake states that within the same species this information could be available in order to assist with that species evolution. Of course this is a very vague top level view that I am applying to this scenario. Although if you read Sheldrakes work on Morphic Resonance, then let me know if you agree or see where I am coming from on this.
Equally, there is of course the possibility that a Zero Dimension could come into play on this too, something I have previously mentioned. Let me explain a little. So, when one person passes away could their details, their consciousness or perhaps blueprint if you will, transfer to this zero dimension. Then once the circumstances become correct that very same consciousness is added back to a physical body within our three dimensions and one of time. Using the zero dimension allows us to explain elements like the physical signs such as birthmarks, but also the intermission between lives. Within the zero dimension there is no time so if the consciousness registers such a transition it would likely feel instant – passing from death into life. Although when arriving into life, a number of years or even decades may have already passed. Hence the intermission is observed.
There is of course one more possibility, especially if we accept that the physical elements could either be coincidence or something that occurs due to this link to a past life. That is one of telepathic interaction. Whilst there is a certain amount of romance and joy that the concept of reincarnation provides – it gives us that warm feeling of there being something more beyond this life. A second chance for some perhaps. We must equally look at the possibility that these cases are due to the individuals having access to information telepathically. An instant argument against this is often that the individuals with knowledge of past lives have had no way of knowing the individual they remember, they were too far away, not connected to the persons family or location, simply inconceivable really. However, Jung gave us the possibility of a collective consciousness and William James a Reservoir of Consciousness I believe. Gaia Theory suggests connections amongst all things on Earth too. And Sheldrake a Morphic Resonance amongst our own species. Think about it for a moment, there are new programmes hitting our TV screens details how certain famous people have looked into their past with the help of DNA – a quest that also identifies beyond just a family name, but includes the probable migration of their people. Incidentally it is something that connects us all. Should it be so much to suggest that the information accessed by those with the knowledge of past lives could be telepathic access to fragmented information that resides in the minds of many, allowing them to formulate a patch-work of a former life? I don’t think it is. Whilst it is not quite as romantic as surviving death, it does provide us with a greater understanding whilst we navigate this life. The simple fact we are all connected, something which should really provide us with good reason to work together and respect the fellows of our species and others much better.
Whilst Stevenson’s work suggests the possibility of reincarnation, its yet to prove it, which means we only have one life to live the best we can. To learn the best we can, to achieve the best we can and to love the best we can. Sometimes new areas of thought come from the strangest of places at the least expected moments. Moments that should be cherished. I recently read a book, that stated to the reader; ‘remember where you were when you finish this book.’ It is something the author likes to practice with all the books he reads. It may just be something I start doing too now, as there is no better feeling than closing the cover of a book knowing that you have just learnt a great deal and now with even more questions you move onto the next book. Remembering where you are when you turn that final page weaves that experience that knowledge into your life story. Perhaps a life story one day that will be picked up and presented as someone else’s past life.
2 thoughts on “Past Lives, Reincarnation and Collective Consciousness”
Interesting theories. Morphic resonance has often fascinated me and if you look along historical lines you can see it in action. If you listen to Sheldrake & McKenna discuss this theory (& the many others they explore) you cant help but feel your mind light up with little recognition pulses.
Although I love all the theories, as someone who has experienced very deep past life regression (whilst being studied) I definitely “know” with a very full experiential understanding that I have experienced past lives and also had them factually proven. But beyond the facts that conveyed, the information I was told, by a fathomless “light” about life and why we incarnate repeatedly has utterly changed my life and opened me up to much further exploration…as with morphic resonance, once something is known & absorbed into your essence it automatically takes you to the next step and so on….ever expanding :).
Thank you for your interesting article and fascinating blog.