Do you believe in past lives?
This is a question many of us have probably pondered on at some time point. Is it really possible that our soul long existed before our present physical body did? That you could have been around during the ruling of the Roman Empire, or perhaps you were Hollywood screen siren from the 1920’s, or served in World War One. It’s interesting to imagine what our personality quirks, secrets and habits were. And whether we were better or worse people in our previous life.
Depending on faith and beliefs, views on past lives and the possibility of reincarnation vary considerably.
In Buddhism and Hinduism for example, samsara, which is the cycle of reincarnation, is a fundamental belief. The journey of this cycle is dependent on how you live each life – with good behavior warranting good karma, and bad behavior bringing you bad karma. So what characterizes good and bad karma?
According to Buddhism, it isn’t based on the judgement of a God or Buddha, but is an automatic response to your actions. It relates more to the Newton’s Law Of Motion, whereby every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Reincarnation continues occurs until you have extinguished all negative traits and transcended beyond bad karma and moved to Nirvana – a state of higher being that breaks the samsara cycle.
Civilizations throughout history have also favored reincarnation, ancient Egypt, for example, believed the human soul to be imperishable, and when someone dies, their body enters into another creature that is ready to receive it. While in Italy and Greece, Pythagoras and his disciples believed that the soul was eternal.
The belief of reincarnation can also been seen in Plato’s philosophy, which states:
“Soul is older than the body. Souls are continually born over and over again into this life.”
More modern theories have also hinted that reincarnation explains the diversities in children, and why there have been cases where children have displayed powers or genius traits. Take Mozart for instance, he wrote his first sonata at the age of four. Or other cases throughout history, where children have solved some of the world’s greatest mathematical or geometric problems that scientists had unsuccessfully dedicated their lives to solving. Were these children just exceptionally talented, or were their traits carried on through from a previous life?
The medical world has also questioned the existence of past lives as a result of the past-life regression therapy; where hypnosis is used to take patients back in time to early childhood, and to their previous lives. This is not only used to provide insights into who they were, but to also treat fears and phobias they may be carrying from a previous life.
So what are your views on past lives?
To continue on with this curious topic, next week we’ll be looking more closely at past-life regression, and how effective it really is in tracing who you were in a previous life.
Do you believe in past lives, and if so, who would you like to imagine yourself as being in a past life? Or do you feel once your physical body has left the world, so does your soul? Share your views below.