Question: Would you discuss past life memories and how to deal with them?
Answer: So many sincere and well-intended seekers are fed poor information. As a result, they become confused or self-judging, and in some cases, become self-righteous. If I had a nickel for every person who said they were Buddha reincarnated I’d be a wealthy man. Similarly, if I had a nickel for every person who felt terrible about themselves because of a past life they seem to recall or were told about, I’d be a wealthy man. In India, there is a saying: “Reincarnation is for failures.” But the most relevant meaning here is: Don’t sort through the garbage. The fault is not with those seekers, but with the people who have misled them, even if well intended.
There is an approach to personal process where we imagine past lives and allow them to become symbolic of dynamics in our psyche that relate to this life. However it is so often misused, that it is best forgotten.
Carl Jung, a foundational figure in psychotherapy, spoke of the different archetypes within an individual. For example, the Inner Sage, the Inner Fool, etc. If used properly, that can be a worthwhile tool to explore your own inner dynamic. Similarly, if you believe in past lives or not, imagining they exist and pretending you remember them, is another effective tool for exploring your inner psychodynamics IF DONE PROPERLY.
Unfortunately, the way past lives are generally approached is so unwise that it is better left alone. Some people use “past life memories” as a justification. Someone who is chronically depressed insists they remember being imprisoned in the Tower of London for decades. A number of people who go to psychics for a ‘past life reading’ are hoping to learn of a time when they were a great person in hopes of finding what actually amounts to a psychological crutch. I have seen past life explorations misused far more often than I’ve ever seen a healthy relationship with them. So, past lives are for failures is probably your healthiest attitude towards them.