Do You Believe In Past Lives?

05/10/2010 01:59 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Have you had the feeling of deja vu? A feeling like you know this place, or know that person, or have had this conversation. It is like a hazy memory of a far away place, but where? Have you had dreams where you know its you, and yet you look nothing like you do in this life? Have you met someone for the first time and for some reason you feel an instant affinity? You wonder, "Why do I feel like I've seen them or somehow know them?" Many have had such experiences and yet many do not admit it. Past lives is not a subject you discuss with people who do not believe. However, even the believers are skeptical, although are more open to the realm of its possibility. Let's think about it for a moment, why would the idea of past lives be so off the mark? Why would the idea of living in another time and place be so threatening? When viewed from this lens, would this idea not explain some of the inequalities, injustices and suffering in this world?

Personally, I've had many over the years. I've been given glimpses through dreams, simple clues that have allowed me to make sense of the many scenarios in this life. The idea of past life exploration is really to understand this life not for escapism purposes or evading responsibility of lessons needed to be learnt. Many use past lives as a crutch to dismiss or ignore what this life is trying to bring forth. Its use must be approached in a responsible manner and not out of a desperate attempt to justify lack of personal evolution by declaring 'It must be a past life thing'. To declare that everything is a result of the past is to miss the point. No doubt, that the past has created your present and your present contains all the lessons from the past but you need to address, explore and put them into a meaningful context.

Many have asked me over the years if they should explore past lives through regression and my reply to them has been: "You can't even handle this one, why add to your troubles'. If you are on a journey to develop yourself, your soul will send the clues and give glimpses because it's the result of personal development. You receive it in order to increase your understanding and heighten your awareness. Do not pursue it because you are curious but because you truly want to understand the mystery of your soul.

Your soul chose the circumstances of your current life and its the best clue you've got. Explore the reason and purpose of the family you were born into, the characteristics that you exhibit, the friends you love, the career you have chosen, the tensions between you and a parent or a sibling, your likes and dislikes, places you'd like to travel or that resonate with you, languages that you love or would like to learn, foods and cultures that that appeal to your imagination. All this reveals your greater life and being, perhaps even your past life. You need to dig, investigate and explore the clues given to you. Upon a closer look, many of us have traits and abilities that are not found within our family tree, in fact, we are completely different. This may cause angst for many because they are acutely aware that they do not belong or that they are different, but rather than taking this stance, they need to look at it as a clue that those talents and abilities they have are in fact carried over from a previous existence. The soul through time and space developed and refined these talents and abilities to such an extent that in this life it needs to express them in the world of form.

Henry Ford believed in past lives. He was convinced that he had lived before as a soldier killed at the battle of Gettysburg. A quote from the Interview in the San Francisco Examiner (26 August 1928) described Ford's beliefs:

'I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was 26. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilise the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan I realised that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men's minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us.'

With each lifetime, our spiritual nature has a chance to take root, our attachments and desires for earthly pleasures to be transformed into altruistic work and purpose. The intent is no longer to serve the desires of the human self but that of the Divine Self. Hence, the spiritual quest or search for higher forms of meaning and happiness become the central theme for each successive lifetime, thus preparing our consciousness to attain enlightenment.