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.
Woww great blog, and if you was a buddha than you would be very wise i think it wouldn’t go unnoticed.
And pretending to remember past live(if done properly offcourse) can help you, i wouldn’t have expect that.
So its a fake memory?
I remember hearing many different things about past life’s or others giving me insight in my own, for example a great story of courage and strength etc.. It was one sentence from Bramarshi that actually helped me the most, what about this life?
I’ve heard people, too, claim that in a past life they were Cleopatra or someone else great. To me, it had the feeling of “I did something great so now I can take it easy.” It always felt quite unhealthy and this blog explains what’s going on. I love his words,”Past lives are for failures.”
I appreciate you talking about the various uses and dynamics that can be involved in looking at past lives. It is a subject that can come up frequently, especially when on an evolutionary path.
Like everything, it goes back to having a healthy ‘relationship with’ the notion… in this case, of past lives. If it offers a useful insight into your psychodynamic make up then it can have value, if it is a ‘fake memory’ or not. Rarely is the relationship people have with past lives healthy. It is usually an attempt to self aggrandize, rest upon ones past life laurels, justify ones sense of victimhood, etc.
I had one come up about a month ago. Lets just say, it wasn’t the nicest past life. Got a good laugh outta me though.
Great blog, I was having a problem with someone and couldn’t figure out why I had such an extreme reaction. I talked with a Counselor associated with the school, discovered a past life connection and after that exploration the relationship completely changed. It can be a helpful tool if used properly and if that is the reason for the problem. It involves many of the principals you talk about to be used properly.
I am so glad someone asked this question! I have seen many people who are stuck in the emotions associated with past life memories. Great blog! Thank you!
I have tried to figure out past lives to help understand some of the dynamics of this life. One thing I felt I discovered is I do not want to keep making the same mistakes over in new lives. I have tried to forgive myself and others for some of the actions taken in this life, but now an wondering if even the new actions taken for “corrective” or karma clearing are actually enforcing or creating more karma. Other than meditation are there other ways to clear the past or is there a need to attempt to clear what I feel May have been past mistakes?
Meditate, cultivate discernment, come to classes and retreats, come to Mount Soma, and do what you feel is your best in life.
I love it, “Reincarnation is for failures.” I guess we all just keep on going failure after failure. As Dr. Mamas says, “forward, forward, always forward.” Here’s to the next failure…
So far I’ve met three Cleopatras… I’m sure there are more.