|Belief in reincarnation has existed throughout history. It is a standard aspect of most forms of metaphysics and is found in virtually all religious systems. It is a part of the Kabalah, the mystical side of Judaism, and it was also a belief of early Christianity. The majority of religious people in the world today believe in reincarnation.
If we accept the idea of reincarnation, it follows that there should be some method to illuminate the darkness of the death-rebirth period and learn about our past lives. Many techniques have been developed to do just this. One famous occultist called remembering past lives "developing your magickal memory." Today, the various systems of recall are known as past life regression.
But why investigate this at all? Other than being an interesting curiosity, what good can you get from learning about your past lives?
First, we must accept the possibility that our remembrance of past lives may not be related to any real past lives. The experiences people have may be the result of a message that the unconscious is trying to send to the conscious. For some reason the conscious refuses to listen to the inner mind, so when the inner mind has an opportunity it sends a symbolic message in the form of a past life impression. Unless a past life experience is sheer fantasy, it is probably caused by either a message from the unconscious or from a real past life.
But whether the past life is real or not, certainly the experience of past lives is real and happens all the time. We should ask ourselves, "what can we learn from a past life experience and how can we apply it to our lives today?"
The mere knowledge of a past life is nothing more than a curiosity unless you get something out of it and put it to use. It is believed by occultists that the reason for reincarnation is to learn lessons about life and consciousness, and to allow our consciousness to evolve beyond the need for incarnation.
If you believe in reincarnation, you should spend some time investigating past lives in order to discover what mistakes you have made in the past so that you don’t have to relearn these lessons in this life or in a future one. If you don’t believe in reincarnation, the idea that the subconscious is trying to send a message to the conscious should strike you and allow you to discover what the message is and react to the message. In either case, there are two important ideas you should understand about past life regression:
A belief in reincarnation is not necessary to make past life regressions valuable, and the value of remembering a past life comes only when the knowledge gained is put to use in your present life.
By its very nature, a past life experience is a very personal thing. The important knowledge that is obtainable from such an experience may be something you see, experience, or feel as you "relive" the past. To have a valuable past life experience, you must experience it!
There are some people going around today who claim to be going into a "trance" and then tell people about their past lives. "You were this person and you did that," they say. Whether or not they are correct in their assessment of your past life is not important. Your failure to experience the past life, on the other hand, is important. Avoid people who tell you about your past lives; go to those who will help you experience them yourself. If nothing else, the cathartic release you may get from experiencing a past life regression may free something which has been hindering you and holding you back from health, success, and creativity.
Another form of psychic fraud comes from self-delusion. Most people feel their lives are not as exciting as those of movie stars, politicians or professional athletes. So some people fantasize an exciting and romantic past life. Merely because someone believes themself to have been famous in a past life does not make it so. Furthermore, the famous occultist Dion Fortune adds that a famous past life does not so much add glory to this life as it does make one wonder what happened in between to bring you to this lower state!
This is a new life! You should learn from the past, not live in it. The only importance in whether you were Cleopatra or a maid is what you can learn from that past experience and put into use in the present.