The Unmistaken Child is a documentary about a young monk whose teacher is a great Rinpoche. His teacher dies and this young disciple is assigned the task of find his masters reincarnation so the teacher can return to the monastery. They begin by looking for signs in the ashes and in the smoke at his incineration. They have a system of divination which could point to where the Rinpoche will reincarnate as a new born baby. It is said that Buddhist lamas can choose their reincarnation. The monk draws a map based on the ashes and smoke. He later has a dream where he sees the Rinpoche dead and the new young Rinpoche coming out of the corpse. They then consult an astrologer, who determines the father’s name will begin with “A” and there is a “th” in the location the Rinpoche was reborn. The astrologer narrows it to a specific valley where the Rinpoche has a retreat hut. This valley was also the young disciple monk’s birth place. After a long search he finds a child who shows signs of being the Rinpoche. Later the child identifies all the Rinpoche’s prayer tools correctly and claims the items to be his. The small child shows many signs of being a Rinpoche and thus is brought into the monastery as a Rinpoche and his disciples are happy to see him again.
This story is a common occurrence in Buddhism in Asia. This same type of scenario was documented in the popular film created by Martin Scorsese called Kundun which tells of finding the current Dali Lama’s reincarnation. There are many cultures around the world which believe in reincarnation for example the Hindus, Buddhists, Sufi, Native Americans, Amazonian shaman, Taoism and aborigines to name a few. There is accumulating evidence being collected by western scientists, psychologist and anthropologists that seem to suggest the possibility of reincarnation being a legitimate phenomenon happening universally across humanity. Many highly respected westerners have said they believe in reincarnation. Examples include Plato, Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, William James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry Ford, Carl Jung. Here I will present some examples of western evidence for reincarnation.
It seems there is a phenomena of children remembering previous life times. These past life memories fade in time. Much of the research accumulated comes from studying children who remember past lives. Above is an example from the Buddhist tradition where the reincarnated child was sought out. It was revealed that the child remembered the objects from his past life and the final approval of his identity was confirmed. But here is an example from the USA straight from Christopher Bache’s book Life Cycles.
“Romy Crees was born in 1977 to Barry and Bonnie Crees of Des Moines, Iowa. Romy was charming little girl, a typical whirlwind of curiosity and mischief. Her parents were devout Christ Catholics and so were completely unprepared for what happened when Romy began to talk. Mixed in with the usual childhood chatter were details about her previous life as Joe Williams. She had grown up, she insisted, in a red brick house in Charles City a town 140 miles from Des Moines. She said that she had married a woman named Sheila and that they had three children together. Both Joe and Sheila had been killed in a motorcycle accident that Romy described in considerable detail. “I’m afraid of motorcycles,” she said. Among many incidents she recalled from Joe’s life was a time Joe had started a fire in his home; Mother Williams had burned her hand throwing water on the flames. “Mother has a pain in her leg-here,” she pointed to her right leg. “Mother Williams’ name is Louise. I haven’t seen her for a long time.” She often asked to be taken back to Charles City because she wanted to reassure Mother Williams that “Everything was OK.”……..When Romy was brought to Charles City to meet her previous mother the woman exclaimed. “Where did this girl get all this information?” she asked. “I don’t know you or no one else in Des Moines.” She explained that she and Joe had lived in a red brick house, as Romy has said, but this house had been destroyed by a tornado that had damaged much of Charles City ten years ago.” Joe helped us build this house and insisted we keep the front door shut during the winter.”…””Mrs. Williams was able to confirm many details of Romy’s narrative about Joe, including his marriage to Sheila, their three children, the names of other relatives, and the fire in her home in which she had burned her hand. She was also able to verify Romy’s precise description of the motorcycle accident in 1975, two years before Romy was born. Despite this confirmation, neither she nor Romy parents were prepared to accept the possibility that their daughter was the reincarnation of Joe Williams. “I don’t know how to explain it,” observed Romy’s mothers, “but I do know my daughter isn’t lying. “
There are many other stories which are similar to the one above. These stories happen all over the world and in some cultures such as Buddhism it is integrated into their traditions. A researcher Ian Stevenson has compiled amazing amount of evidence involving children and past life memories. The truly remarkable thing is that he was able to verify the factuality of the information given by the child in many cases. Also he was able to trace down the autopsies and find a direct correlation between cause of death and birthmarks and aliments in the children. For example if someone drowned in a past life they may have incurable asthma in this life or if one was stabbed in the chest they will have strange makings where they were stabbed in a previous life.
Here is an example from the case files of Stanislav Grof where the re-experiencing of a past life death cured a lifelong symptom which was resistant to all medical treatment. She had LSD psychotherapy with Stanislav Grof and all symptoms were inexplicably healed. Here is the Case study:
“Tanya, 34 year old teacher and divorced mother of two children, was undergoing LSD psychotherapy for depressions, anxiety states, and a proneness to fatigue. One of her LSD sessions brought an unexpected solution to a severe physical problem which had been considered purely organic in nature. For the previous twelve years she has been suffering flare ups because of allergies. The sinus troubles had started shortly after her wedding and represented a severe inconvenience in her life. The major manifestations were headaches and strong pains in the cheeks and teeth, low grade fevers, heavy nasal discharge, and bouts of sneezing and wheezing. On many occasions she was awakened by a coughing attack; some mornings these symptoms lasted three to four hours. Tanya has numerous tests for allergies and was treated by many specialists with anti-histamines, antibiotics, and flushing of the sinuses with disinfectant solutions. When all this failed to bring any therapeutic results, the doctors suggested an operation of the sinuses, which Tanya declined.
In one of her LSD sessions, Tanya was experiencing suffocation, congestion and pressure on her head in the context of the birth experience. She recognized that some of these sensations bore a close resemblance to the symptoms associated with her sinus problems; however, they were greatly amplified. After many sequences that were clearly of a perinatal nature, the experience opened fully into a reliving of what appeared to be a past incarnation memory. In this context, the experiences of oppression, choking and congestion that had earlier been part of the birth trauma became symptoms of drowning. Tanya felt that she was tied to a slanted board and was experiencing emotional abreaction associated with screaming, violent choking, coughing, and profuse secretion of enormous amounts of thick greenish nasal discharge, she was able to recognize the place, circumstances and protagonists.
She was a young girl in a New England village who has been accused by her neighbors of witchcraft, because she was having unusual experiences of a spiritual nature. A group of villagers dragged her one night to a nearby birch grove, fixed her to a board, and drowned her head first in a cold pond. In the bright moonlight, she was able to recognize among her executioners the faces of her father and husband in her present life time. At this point, Tanya could see many elements of her current existence as approximate replicas of the original karmic scene. Certain aspects of her life, in suddenly appeared to make sense, down to the most specific detail.
This experience of the New England drama and all the intricate connections Tanya made, convincing though they were on the subjective level obviously did not constitute proof of the historical validity of the episode and of a causal link between the event and her sinus problem. Nor could her conviction that she was dealing with a karmic pattern be considered evidence for the existence of reincarnation. However, to the astonishment of everybody concerned, this experience cleared the chronic sinus condition that had plagued Tanya for a period of twelve years and had proven completely refractory to conventional medical treatment.”
Another psychologist Brain Weiss has done extensive work with hypnosis and took an interest in past life remembrance. His books One Soul Many Bodies, Messages From the Masters, Many Lives Many Masters; Weiss creates a picture of reincarnation based on the hypnotic regression sessions he conducted. He believes, past life experiences are important for healing trauma. He paints a picture of reincarnation where the person is reborn many times and has a certain choice about where they are born. He also states that it seems that souls come together life after life. For example, a lover in one life could be your mother in another life. In Tanya’s LSD session described above her murders in one life were Father and Brother in the next. It seems that true love, in Weiss’s view, does transcend death as lovers come together again and again throughout the cycle of death and rebirth.
If we take reincarnation as fact then it opens up a whole new worldview for many societies. In a worldview that includes reincarnation a piece of our consciousness travels through many lifetimes and dies many times. It also seems that what occurs in previous life times has an effect psychologically and physically on one’s current life. Past incarnations could also affect what we do in life, who we know and what we accomplish. It opens up to possibility of having numerous life times to complete our personal evolution. We would have a great deal of time to heal our wounds and to experience the relationship on Earth.
Whitton’s research is showing that trauma can be from intense experiences in previous lives. He states, “Physical and psychological tragedies of all kinds can be attributed to karma…. Moral deficiency and unresolved and repressed emotions are conferred on future incarnations in the form of disease, trauma, phobias, and various other manifestations of difficulty. “
It is reasonable to conclude that knowledge of our previous lifetimes and knowledge of what occurred in those previous lives can be a great asset in our understanding of who we are. If lifelong problems are psychosomatic (taking place in our mind) and the initiating event was in a past life there will be a number of defenses, behaviors, illness, tendencies which originated due to trauma in previous life times. It is amazing also that people can remember previous life times in such great detail in non-ordinary states of consciousness. However, those same people have little access to those memories in normal waking consciousness. This could be explained as a separation created culturally between our current life and previous lives.
Between our reincarnations
We may have a choice about our reincarnation at some point in or between lives. Bach summarizes the in his book lifecycles. “Dr. Helen Wambach reported in life before life, published in 1979. In this book Dr. Wambach summarizes information gathered from 750 subjects who had been hypnotically regressed to explore the conditions leading up to their present life. She reports that 81 percent of her subjects were conscious of having chosen to reincarnate, although 67 percent were apparently reluctant to do so. Most of the 81 percent reported being helped in planning their life, though they tended to report a broader range of figures who advised them than Whitton’s subjects. They describe an assortment of beings variously referred to as councilors, guides, teachers, soul guardians, and personal friends. …approximately ten percent of Wambache‘s subjects report planning lives in concert with significant persons from their present life- parents, children, husbands and wives, relatives and friends.”
This seems to suggest many of us plan our reincarnations and sometimes we plan using multiple lifetimes with guidance from other beings who are alive in this space between life and death. Many reports have been made about the space between life and death. In near death experiences people travel through tunnels toward the light or see ancestors and deceased loved ones. Many people report a life review where they see and re-experience all the actions and emotions of their life. In this review they can feel the reactions of the people they affected in their life time. They report feeling all the pain and suffering they had caused people in their life. Many times they come to a place of peace. People describe the space between lives as being blissful. A place where everything is realized the reasons for all the conflicts and the reasons for all the suffering become clear. They feel untied with the ultimate state of being and feel liberated from their suffering and have all knowingness. From there it seems many people are given the choice to reincarnate and if they choose to do so. They even can choose their reincarnation to some degree. In the hypnotic regressions they find people remain in the in between space for varying lengths of earth time. The longest time recorded being 800 years and the shortest 40 days.
In Hank Wesselman’s books he goes through a spontaneous initiation into healing when he had a long and detailed vision of a man in the future. Over time these visions come to him and he was able to view a narrative of this future man’s quest through the future landscape of America. The future man came from Hawaii. Hank begins to learn a great deal about Polynesian world through visions and connections with the future man. He realizes this man is Hank Wesselman’s descendant. Hank goes on to be recognized by the last Kahuna and receives teachings. Wesselman opens to experiences with this teacher and wrote the book Bowl of Light to describe his insights.
The Kahuna discusses with Hank the relationship the Polynesian people have with their ancestors. The Kahuna himself communicates with the ancestors regularly in conversation for advice about what to say. The Kahuna also reveals that the past and the future are intertwined, although we experience time as happening at different times it is all occurring in a timeless continuum. He discusses the idea of an oversoul located in the spiritual heart. Our current embodiment is just one part of this oversoul the whole of all our lives together make up a part of the oversoul. We are part of a soul which exists in eternity beyond time and space. We even are existing in that space between life and death. The Khuna states the gateway to the oversoul is through the heart.
Many conclusions can be drawn about the validity of subjective data and reliability of material gained through hypnosis. Many of the cases above occurred spontaneously against the beliefs of the researchers. Many of these studies have been reproduced by other researchers adding to the need for further investigation. Spiritual leaders all over the world have said past lives exist. It is possible in the course of life to have memories or dreams related to past lives. We even have tendencies and phobias related to past lives. There is also some evidence to suggest that it is possible to re-obtain skills from a previous lifetime. The path we choose in this life is heavily influenced by past and even possibly future lives as well.
The integration of reincarnation into our worldview could lead to a greater potential for wholeness. It could also lead to an expanded understanding of ourselves and what it means to be human. Although this topic seems far out, it is a topic which has gathered enough evidence to prove that complete dismissal of the possibility of reincarnation is based purely on a priori beliefs and or ignorance of the evidence gathered. Even the evidence doesn’t prove the existence of reincarnation but considering the nature of the topic it would be difficult to prove beyond doubt. The inclusion of reincarnation to our worldview can add greatly expanded vision of humanity and can open the way to a better future, perhaps this is the new mystery which is forming in the world today. A human that lives many life times would need to be more conscious about their current actions. The relationship with the Earth and others held during our lives impacts the future lives. This awareness could lead to a more respectful approach to all life.
By Transpersonal Spirit
Bache, Christopher m. Life cycles reincarnation and the web of life. Paragon house new York. 1990.
Baratz, Nati, Unmistaken Child A Tibetian monk’s Search fot the Reincarnation of His Beloved Teacher. DVD Oscilloscope. 2009
Grof Stanislav, albert Hoffman, Andrew weil. LSD Psychotherapy, Maps Publishing CA. 1980, 1994, 2001, 2008.
Grof, Stanislav When the Impossible Happens 2006 True Sounds Inc. Boulder co 80306.
Weiss, Brian L. Regression through Mirrors of Time (Audio CD). Hay House Inc. 1994, 2008.
Wesselman, Hank PH.D, The Bowl of Light: Ancestral wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman, Sounds True, Boulder Colorado, 2011.
Woogler, Roger. PH. D., Healing Your Past Lives Exploring the Many Lives of the Soul (with Audio CD). Sounds True Co. 2004.
Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga sadhana guidelines 2nd edition creating your daily spiritual practice kundalini as aught by yogi bhajan. Kundalini research insititue. 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1996, 2007.