Each life influences each other life, and some portions of the personality retains memory not only of past lives, but of future lives also.
When reincarnational studies are embarked upon, on occasion people remember some instance of past-life experience, but conventional ideas of time are so strong that so-called future memory is blacked out.
The inner self is aware of all of our existences, in other words. It sees where and how our many lives fit together. It is only because we are so oriented outward from birth that this inner self can sometimes seem alien or distant and unrelated to the self that we know. It would be impossible to be consciously aware of all of the infinitesimal details that exist in even one life; our consciousness would be so full and cluttered up that we would be unable to make choices, or to use free will.
It would be even more difficult to try to handle the information of many lives at one time. In our terms, “it” takes time to think, and we would be so caught up in thinking itself, that action would be impossible. The inner knowledge of all of our lives, from our point of view, is in the same category as those automatic processes that underlie our existence.
That is, we know about our other lives, basically, in the same way that we know how to breathe or digest our food. A different kind of knowing is involved.
This does not mean that all conscious knowledge about our own reincarnational existences forever beyond us — for through various exercises we can indeed learn to recall some of that information. It does mean, however, that we are innately aware of all of our existences, and that the knowledge gained in one life is automatically transferred to another, whether that life be present, past, or future.
We may therefore be trying out many different kind of experiences, sometimes endowing ourselves with super attributes and strength, relying upon the body’s powers above all other considerations, while at the same time in another life we use and develop unusual mental abilities, enjoying the triumphs of creative thought, while largely ignoring the body’s agility and strength.
I do not mean to imply that we necessarily deal with opposite kinds of behaviors, for there are endless variances — each unique — as consciousness expresses itself through physical sensation, and attempts to explore all of the possible realms of emotional, spiritual, biological, and mental existence.+
I want to stress that within each life full free will operates once the conditions of that life are set.
That is, if we have been born in poor or depressed circumstances, then free will will not alter the conditions of that birth.
It can help us become wealthy in adult life through the choices that we make. It should be helpful, and certainly somewhat comforting, to realize that even unfortunate birth conditions were not forced upon us by some outside agency, but chosen at inner levels of our own reality.
The same applies to almost any situation. Religion holds some ideas that are in complete opposition to each other in regard to the nature of suffering in general. Some believe that suffering is a punishment sent by God for past or present sins, or even omissions, while other religious schools insist that suffering is sent by God as evidence of his particular love for the individual involved: “Good must love you very much, because he sent so much suffering.”
That remark, and similar ones, are often made to ill persons. The idea is supposed to be that suffering is good for the soul, is a way of atoning for one’s sins, and in some fashion the implication is made that such suffering in this life will be more than compensated for in heaven.
Such concepts encourage individuals to feel like victims, with no control at all over the conditions of their lives.
Instead, it should be realized that as uncomfortable as suffering is, it does somehow have a meaning in the context of our entire existence — again, that it was not thrust upon us by some unjust or uncaring exterior force or nature.
To some degree, that kind of understanding can help alleviate suffering itself to some extent. I am not advocating a fatalistic approach either, that says more or less: “I have chosen such and such an unfortunate condition at some level I do not understand, and therefore the entire affair is outside of my own hands. There is nothing I can do about it.”
For one thing, again, almost all situations, including the most drastic, can be changed for the better to some extent, and the very attempt to do so can increase a person’s sense of control over his or her own circumstances. This does not mean that those adverse situations can be changed overnight in usual terms (though ideally that is also possible), but that the sense of control over one’s life encourages all of the mental and physical healing properties.
In terms of “starting over” at such a point, the main thing to remember is not to expect too much too fast, while recognizing that instantaneous cures are indeed probabilities.
Again, mind games, the insertion of humor and diversion, are extremely valuable, so that we are not trying too hard. Some people try too hard to be spontaneous, while others are frightened of spontaneity itself. The knowledge of reincarnational lives is spontaneously held, and we can receive profound insights from that knowledge. This occurs when we are not looking for it, but when we are familiar enough with the entire concept, so that we realize such knowledge is available.
The reincarnational heritage is rich, however, and it can have a tendency to assert itself under certain conditions.
I am not speaking of usual, but fairly unusual events, when, in one fashion or another, reincarnational memory seems to bleed through to the present life. Again, this is not usual experience. It happens infrequently. On some occasions — sometimes in periods of poor health or seemingly senility — such instances may occur. They are more apt to happen in adolescence, though I do want to stress that we are speaking of extraordinary cases.
Old people often begin to exercise their own consciousness in ways that they had not done earlier. There may be less diversions to take up their thoughts. They may be lonely, and then quite surprisingly find themselves casting about for different kinds of experience — experience seemingly most difficult to achieve in the physical world under their present circumstances.
Since they are often frightened and unsure of the future, they are more apt to cast their thoughts backwards into their early childhoods, reaching for their earliest memories, and mentally try to gain comfort from the remembered sounds of beloved voices, only to mentally glimpse other images than they expected, to hear other voices than those for which they yearned.
In fact, fragments of many episodes from many other lives may rush into their consciousness, and in most cases they are, of course, quite unprepared for the experience. On the other hand, usually such episodes are highly reassuring, for along with them rides the inner assurance that life has been lived before , many times.
The individuals involved may then return to normal consciousness, but if they talked or muttered while the affair was happening, any observers might take it for granted that delirium was involved. Drugs should not be prescribed under those conditions, unless the patient becomes highly restless and confused, and requests them. In most cases, however, the experiences do not leave detrimental side effects.
The same kind of event may happen in periods of poor health, or in over-drugged states. They are less easily handled, however, under drugged conditions, since the consciousness does not have the full agility to depend upon in periods of stress — unusual stress. The same can occur in adolescence, and easily be misinterpreted as a schizophrenic episode.
This happens perhaps more frequently than other cases mentioned, but usually such events are not repeated. They remain only as memories, having opened up the person’s mind to larger visions of life than he or she may have entertained before.