Reincarnation is usually discussed within the ideological framework that states our soul has lived within a different body in a previous lifetime on this planet. The belief in reincarnation suggests that we return repeatedly until we choose, or are ‘allowed’ to, depending on the particular belief system, leave the wheel of birth and death, of what the Hindus Samsara, which literally means “A wandering through”. This was how the idea of reincarnation was first presented to me around the age of twelve or thirteen.
I did not find the idea radical or strange because it answered a number of questions about some odd experiences I had earlier in my life. There were two experiences in particular that supported this idea. The first was when I was in second or third grade. We were taught about slavery in the United States. As one would expect at that time, the topic was not delved into too deeply. We were asked to write a report on what we had learned. At best, my academic achievements were dismal. I had little interest and rarely knew what the teacher was even talking about. But, this time was different. When she began speaking of slavery, I had a sense of knowing about the subject. The ‘knowing’ was so strong that the report I wrote was an elaborate description of the slave ships, the underground railroads, the slave markets and even the knowledge that the slaves were often betrayed by their own leaders in Africa, a fact that was certainly not taught in school, ever. The words were just coming out of me as effortlessly as if I was describing summer camp. The hardest part of the report was drawing or finding the pictures I had in my mind to support my descriptions. I remember experiencing joy in being able to share what I ‘knew’, but I was also deeply disturbed by what I was writing – so much so that it terrified me for some years afterward. I couldn’t shake free from the feelings of fear, anger, and helplessness that arose during that time.
The second experience I had, around the same age, was my obsession with the sound of the city “Buenos Aires”. I would chant the name like a mantra, and with each chant I felt connected to a freedom and a beauty that one can only find in a dream. I had a map of Argentina on my wall and I would stare at the words “Buenos Aires” in big, bold letters. Although not as intensely I was also fascinated with the word “Argentina”. I had no interest in learning anything about these places, their history, or culture, although I did go to school dressed up as a gaucho in Junior High School.
At age twelve the idea of reincarnation seemed a reasonable explanation as to why I had these two experiences, so I accepted it as valid. This ‘standard model’ seemed to continue to work as I began to have more and more past live memories reappear over the next twenty years but quickly began to break down when, in my thirties, I began to remember other people's memories, and dream other people's dreams. Some of these ‘other’ people were still alive, and when I began having explicitly detailed and lucid “memories” of a previous life that was not on earth, and in the future rather than the past, I questioned what I believed about reincarnation and past lives in general.
The challenge then was to build a theory that could explain what I was experiencing. This theory is an attempt to describe how a phenomenon works so that we can have a working understanding of the reality we are navigating. Like most theories it is designed to be predictive, to describe a system, and, like many theories, if may be completely wrong. Take of it what you will.
When we call Past Lives and Reincarnation are five types of experiences that we tend to lump together:
Hazrat Inayat Khan describes this best, so I will simply quote him.
“The entities or souls which shoot forth from the Spirit into these three spheres have in each of them the experience of meeting those souls which are returning from manifestation. It is just like a person going from the United States to the Far East and another going from the Far East to the United States, and both meeting in Europe. They give each other whatever they have. The one coming from the Spirit gives magnetism, electricity, intelligence, freedom and freshness, love and life; and the one returning gives experience, knowledge, impression, expression, desires, wishes, thoughts of the wickedness and goodness of the earth, all that he has learned and earned and done and wants to accomplish. All these things are exchanged. It is like the way in which one man may come from Europe with an introduction to the United States which would take him into the best society, and another one who has not received any introduction might go to quite the wrong people.”
In short, we can pick up other people's experiences on our way “down”, as they are on their way “up”.
I remember one past life memory I had that I could apply this idea too. It was the memory of being a scared nineteen-year-old boy in Italy during WWII. I was sitting in the back of a truck with my comrades as we were being shipped off to the front, from which this boy never returned. This was clear and strong, but, oddly, it was the only memory of that past life I ever had. The other odd thing about this memory was that I was not seeing the experience through the eyes of the boy, but rather looking at him from a raised angle about forty feet away. This may be an indication that I was picking up his memory, rather than remembering ‘my own’ experience.
This might also explain why I felt shocked, along with a deep sense of injustice at the very early age of 5 or so when I was told that the Brooklyn Dodgers were, in fact, the LA Dodgers, and had been since I was one year old. I had no interest in sports of any kind, and certainly none in baseball, yet something about the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles seemed so very wrong. I had that same experience, along with an unexplainable sadness, when I later learned that Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, a place I had never been to, or ever heard of before, had been demolished and replaced with apartment buildings. I can only assume that I picked up some residue from a devout Brooklyn Dodger’s fan on my way ‘down’.
The idea of Resonant Memories depends first on a couple of other ideas. The first is the idea that all that has ever happened in the past, or will happen in the future, is actually happening in the present, but simply not yet manifest. As radical as this sounds, it is not unreasonable. A very simple way to think of this is like a 3D ball moving through a 2D reality. As the ball moves through the 2D reality it starts out as a dot, grows to a wide circle then shrinks to a dot and then disappears. To the being living in the 2D world, this 3D object is perceived as a 2D observation over time, but it is easy to grasp the understanding that the past, present, and future for the 2D inhabitants is one 3D reality that exists in the present. In the same manner, imaging the past, present, and future of 3D realities as a 4D reality existing in the present, ‘passing through’ our 3D reality.
This idea has been explored by the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Proclus, Christian theologians Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas and Islamic philosopher Averroes. More recently, physicist David Bohm has corroborated the idea with his Implicate/Explicate Theory, MIT’s Dr. Bradform Skow with his Block Universe Theory, Albert Einstein with his Relativity Theory, and many, many more.
In short, this is not a new and radical idea, it is an old and proven one – just not one that is compatible with our day-to-day linear view of time, space and reality.
On a more philosophical front, the difference between the past and the future is that the future represents all possible paths, and the past represents the one path that was chosen. The present is where that choice is made, in each moment. Living in the present is like standing at the crossroads where an infinite number of paths come together, but you can only choose one. Our tendency is to keep choosing the same ‘straight ahead’ path.
The next idea is to imagine this aforementioned universe where all things that ever happened, or will happen, are happening simultaneously, and expand that universe to include not only what science tells us about, but the entire spectrum of reality that extends far beyond what we know, including the non-physical realms that we call astral, causal, etheric, etc.
Within this greater universe exists not only the explicit manifestation of physical reality but the realities formed by consciousness and the realities of beliefs and emotions which are strengthened by the will and passion of the consciousnesses that support them.
Imagine their existence much like way drops of water fall to earth to form creeks and streams which come together to form the great rivers which ultimately flow to the sea, only to be picked up again and dropped back on to the earth. These great rivers are the pillars of how we choose to perceive reality, such as our beliefs about gods and kings, heaven and hell, crime and punishment, justice and freedom, etc. And, like the great rivers, they wear deep canyons into our collective psyche. These are the rivers of vibration whose frequencies together make the symphony of reality as we know it.
From these rivers come the ancient myths and legends, and the stories of those who best personified those myths, such as Alexander the Great or General Patton who were personifications of Achilles; Cleopatra or Marilyn Monroe as Aphrodite/Venus/Inanna; Caesar or Hitler as Zeus/Hercules/Thor.
Each of us, as an individual expression of the greater whole, have our own vibration, our signature frequencies that are core to our essence. We are constantly ‘tuning’ these frequencies in ourselves while here on earth with our thoughts, desires, actions, expressions, etc.
Just like tuning forks that start to sing in resonance when one of them struck, so too are we resonating with these rivers of frequency. By drinking of their waters, so to speak, the frequencies of these rivers of vibration and our own energy merge in a symbiosis.
Here, finally, is the critical point: When we resonate with, drink from, these rivers, when we are in resonant harmony with these archetypes, we become one with that energy, and by doing so, have access to all that that energy and vibration has. As all that exists, exists now, this means we have access to all that this frequency ever did, is, or will be manifesting. When that happens we can ‘remember’ a past and, due to our erroneous concept of time and reality, we identify with that memory as if it was our ‘own’ and we call it a ‘past life’.
This is why so many people remember their past lives as someone great, like Napoleon, or Henry VIII. The more effective way to think of this is that when a spirit resonates with (for example) the Zeus/Hercules/Thor frequency, that spirit is by default resonating with all the expressions of that frequency (i.e. Caesar, Hitler, Napoleon, etc), but naturally that spirit’s ego will identify with personalities that his culture provides, so he will identify with Napoleon before Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty in 220 BC.
This can cause all sorts of social and psychological difficulties because if someone thinks they were once Alexander the Great or Jesus Christ they are immediately labeled with a ‘complex’. It would be much healthier for everyone f we recognized that it is the ego that is responsible for this corruption, and not the spirit that is resonating with these archetypes.
Modern psychology aside, this is how we have access to memories, on the Akashic level, of expressions of the archetypal frequencies we are part of.
But there is a far more profound idea that comes out of this model, and that is, if one can change their vibration, they can change what energetic ‘river’, or archetypes they will resonate with, and by doing so, change what expressions they resonate with, and consequently, their memories of what they will most likely perceive as ‘past lives’.
When someone changes their vibration they may well begin to recall new past lives they had no awareness of before.
There is another phenomenon associated with this idea; prophecy. Just as we can see the past expressions of how this vibration manifested, we can also see the future of how it will manifest… because both are happening simultaneously. All projections are valid only within the scope, the ‘frequency range’, of that particular reality associated with that frequency. Where one person sees the end times of judgment and punishment approaching, another sees humanity ascending to a new level of understanding. Edgar Cayce is a good example. Some of his prophecies came true, some sorta did, some failed completely. This is because the collective consciousness shifted out of many of the frequencies they were in at the time he made the predictions. His predictions were true, but simply no longer applicable to us.
The idea of the oversoul, or collective unconscious, or global brain, or noosphere, or paramatman, or whatever, are ways to describe how we are connected to other souls. In my experiences, I have come to understand there is a hierarchical bifurcation of the One that becomes the Many. An easy way to think of this is to compare it to a tree. There is a trunk from which limbs split off and from the limbs grow branches and from one branch there are stems with leaves.
We, as individuals, are those leaves, but we are only one of those leaves on a branch that may have many leaves. This branch would be something like other ‘oversoul’ of these leaves.
When we can expand our awareness to the oversoul level from which we sprang, we have the awareness of all of our manifestations, including their memories.
The traditional concept of past lives, past bodies, is one instance of this type of experience.
Astute readers may have noticed the parallel between the metaphor of the ‘rivers’ used to explain the idea of ‘Resonance’ and the metaphor of the tree used to explain the ‘shared’ concept. They are similar in structure: Trunks to branches to leaves vs crooks to creates to rivers. This is a classic pattern of life one can find in many places. From a higher perspective the idea of "resonance" and "shared" is really the same thing, the difference being similar to the difference between how rivers flow and how trees grow (hint: one is how the energy of life is distributed and recycled and the other is how the energy of life is expressed)
In my mid 40’s I had the extremely vivid experience during an ayahuasca ceremony where I tapped into memories that were stored in my own DNA. These were memories connected to my ancestors but only my ancestors that followed the mother's path. There is much more to this idea which I elaborate on a bit later. For now, suffice it to say that it is via the path of the Mother that we preserve the connection with our earthly ancestors, and it is through our Mothers that we inherit genetic karma.