While our souls are still closeted in a powerless body in the womb, memories of the past cause the baby to move around with activity; it incessantly tries to get out remembering breath and not being able to breathe. The baby struggles to free itself from the prison in the womb of the mother’s body. Just before the time of birth, powerful thoughts of prayer leave that soul. This is why you see some baby’s hands folded like in prayer when they are born. The newborn baby first cry is the declaration of will power announcing it wants the feeling of discomfort removed from the first painful activity and opening of its lungs. But the moment the infant is born the memories of the past are forgotten.
Past memories can be preserved only when your consciousness is highly evolved. As death approaches you enter into a state of coma or unconsciousness and everything is forgotten. Your mind does not remember anything but your soul retains everything. If you are highly developed spiritually your consciousness remains awake (Continuity of Consciousness) from one incarnation to another.
Because of our identification with this current life and its struggles, it appears to us we are just mortals. Only the physical body is mortal. The soul, our real self, is immortal. To have direct understanding about reincarnation, during the transition period at death you need the Continuity of Consciousness during the after death state and then through the prenatal state in the womb of the mother from incarnation to incarnation. Paramahansa Yogananda had this continuation of consciousness and he talks about the confinement, frustration and helplessness he felt being trapped in the body of an infant. Here you have an awakened developed soul rebelling against its limitations in the mother’s womb. This is mentioned in detail in the first chapter in the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.
If this is it, only one life with no continuation hereafter, then what’s the point in mounting any effort greater than gratifying our self-indulgent fancies of the occasion? Is this why we feel so mortal. We lack Continuity of Consciousness that makes us feel mortal. Wouldn’t you love to have this consciousness?
There is a thought I would like you to keep in mind. You would not care to remember about your past lives without God realization. Least you would want to remember the terrible happenings that have taken place in those past lives. Do you really want to think about the pain and heartaches from the past? I would hope not.
So You Want To Retrace Your Past Live. Better Not
There are those who want to retrace their past lives out of curiosity and there are some who may have seen fragments of their past lives in dreams and seek understanding. However only a true master can see our past lives in detail but they will never reveal them to you unless they have an inner prompting from God and only for a good reason. The past is veiled in complete mystery and secrecy for a reason. You may have amassed a mountain of bad karma from past indiscretions and knowing this could paralyze your willpower with despair. The past is kept from you for other reasons as well mainly to keep you free from past attachments to previous mates, parents, friends and enemies.
Think of the sorrows and troubles you have had in this life and now think of your many past lives. Do you think for one moment that you have not had similarly painful or worse experiences in past lives. Who would want to remember many troubled past experiences from the time they were created? No one. To remember would so discourage and depress you that you would have no will or strength to keep going.
For example, imagine in your last life you died of cancer. What good would it do to remember the suffering now? You could become paralyzed with fear that might produce the same condition in this life. Suppose you committed murder in a past life you would worry the rest of your life thinking you may be murdered yourself and a hundred other what if’s.
I don’t know anyone who’d want to be haunted from the past to remember unpleasant or evil things. This is the reason nature obscures our memory with amnesia from lifetime to lifetime. On the other hand if you were wonderful in your last incarnation, you might want to remember. That is why people run to physics, clairvoyants or fortune tellers to feel better and be flattered. They want to be told they were special or famous.
It is true that some psychics or hypnotists may be able to see glimpses of past lives or even regress you under hypnotherapy. This is not advisable to do and could be dangerous and never let oneself be fooled or open to messages from so called mediums or Ouija boards coming from disincarnate souls which is an ideal opportunity for possession from lower forms of tramp spirits seeking experience and expression in human transports.
Consider, when someone dies and they are reborn as a neighbor to his prior home, his previous dearly loved family would look and treat him as a stranger who moved in next door. These are the lessons and mysterious workings of reincarnation. All of us are guests of this world, but you have caused yourself to be an unsuitable guest by taken possession of a tiny chunk of it as you very own. This is my house, my children, my husband and my wife. But the instant your body drops, your money, your home, your family and everything else disappear! Why should you wait? Learn this lesson about attachment before death comes.
Why should any of us be interested in reincarnation?
Don’t you think that a single lifetime is enough to be concerned about? To think we only live once is good in one sense, and if it be true we must live every hour beautifully and splendidly.
How can you know if something is true without direct perception? Comparatively speaking if we are born only once why do we observe in nature a heartbreaking and iconoclastic process. We see babies die after a short time or are stillborn totally deprived of an opportunity to enjoy life. Heinous crimes are committed by villainous souls that cause afflictions to their fellow human beings and invisible virulent microorganisms silently move around our environment lurking like ravenous insects causing illness, injury, the terrible pain of disease and premature death. Bacteria, parasites, pathogens, plagues and viruses threaten to clean out the harvest of human beings.
Plants and animals with no karma or free choice of their own are infested and infected by countless diseases. Death by famine, floods and cataclysms where tens of millions of people are destroyed it seems impossible that bad karma could have caused this much sufferings and for this many to be wiped out at one time. There is no guarantee with life.
Look what happened in Detroit when every year new car models came out, there was always some that came with mechanical defects which we call lemons. Is life this way as well that somehow in the course of life some souls are, by accident, born with strong minds and bodies and some with deficient brains and feeble bodies? Are we essentially just factory assembled with no control over what comes to pass? If this is just the beginning of the end then you can say it is a horrible unfairness and this is nothing but God’s zoo if He intentionally made specimens that have poor mentality and some have amazing talent or are good looking or beautiful while others are born malformed. If that is the case, there is no justice and no use for religion.
Some Say I’m Never Coming Back To This Earth Plane
I hear people say that. That’s what they think. Even the spiritually advanced have to come back here if they have any attachments. Desires, attachments, likes and dislikes will bind you to this creation. You love things that feel and taste good but if you don’t control your five senses they will make you explore the very things that are not good for you creating habits and attachments. Do you constantly fight with yourself when you want to indulge in something that is bad for you? Strength of will and reason has been given to us but few use it.
Do you think this world will be responsible for your actions or have your back when you are in trouble or over indulge? Don’t give all your energy and time to this world and earthly pursuits. Close your eyes and stop viewing the little puppet-show of this world and dive behind the toy show of inner darkness with a deeper effort to meditate. Your primary responsibility is to please God first, not this world or those in it. The hardest things to get rid of are the things you think you cannot do without. Can you pass that kind of test? You can classify yourself and measure your level of detachment.
There are people who refuse to let themselves be swung back and forth by the pendulum of emotion and moods of likes and dislikes. It is very difficult for those who allow themselves to be swung backward and forward with these emotions to understand the steadfastness of those who have the state of mental poise that stay in the middle and are in this world but not of it. What does that mean? You do your part in this creation as more of an observer and are less affected by it. All the spiritually advanced do exactly that. Start by doing this a little at a time and you will feel better handling disappointments. From the SRF teachings of Yogananda.