The Evidence for Reincarnation

First of all let me say that I do not know for sure how the spiritual mechanism of reincarnation actually works. It is much like electricity. We know it by its effects and by the inner experience of ostensible memories of past lives. I say ostensible, because imagination and memory are difficult to separate from each other. We cannot create electricity from the ether and we cannot generate memories of past lives from the ether although we can generate fantasy. These are phenomenon which we can develop a working knowledge with however, and experientially they are not the same phenomenon, although they obviously affect each other and can be confused and manipulated.

Just in the shear numbers of believers, the concept of reincarnation is believed by well over half of the world's population. Even Christianity accepted it until 553 AD. No one I have worked with who was willing to look, has ever failed to find a phenomenological memory that they have had to label past lives, or very old, or a long time ago, or a "fairy tale" except for the case of the "first born", those that have not reincarnated in the earth plane before. Even the "first born" however, often have memories of previous states of existence, either extra-terrestrial, extra-human, or extra-dimensional.

Here I would like to depart the scientific model entirely. Although there have been a number of published studies, especially in India, of people being tested about their alledged past lives, and the Tibetan Buddhists have thousands of years of experience in actually testing their Lamas about their memories of prior existences as a prerequisite to proof of a certain lineage, there is no proof that would meet the demands of scientific rigor. Within the scientific paradigm, and I would ask you to remember that is only one of the paradigms for the acquisition of knowledge, one can always demand more proof. Such as in the case of the psi phenomenon, where in my estimation the proof is overwhelming, and still the skeptics can cry, insufficient evidence. Or even more disconcerting that they demand that it be proved again on the basis that the experimental model was faulty. Both reincarnation and the psi phenomenon are experiential, you don't really believe it until you have experienced it, no matter how overwhelming the evidence. And even when you have experienced it, it takes a great deal of meditation and experimentation to "get" it and understand and utilize it in a conscious fashion.

To me a phenomenon probably has validity when billions of people accept it, I have personally experienced it, many highly trained and technically competent observers have experienced it and written and verbally reported about it in much the same terms, and I can utilize the phenomenon to help people resolve their internal emotional problems in a predictable way. This I believe is the case with reincarnation. I have been asked to participate in psi experiments, specifically psychic diagnosis, but have refused. Why, because I don't need any more proof. I use it everyday, just like I use electricity. Perhaps, people have to stick their finger in the socket to experience electricity and reincarnation first hand. I have happily had that experience with both electricity and reincarnation.. I know what they feel like.

Another reason I believe it has validity, is that when remembering these past life events, people also remember and display vivid emotional experiences. Although a highly trained actor can imitate emotions, how untrained people would generate these sometimes unlikely stories and the emotional responses to the stories is baffling to me, although I know that the imagination is highly creative. What is even more baffling that two people, independently can remember the same past life experience and can talk about it to one another as if it actually happened. Which I have not only experienced but witnessed countless times.

There are those schools of thought that do not believe that such experiences are really actual historical experiences but ideosyncratic responses to certain archetypical/spiritual patterns to which all humans respond. Sort of like a genetically inherited subconscious ability to respond to certain universal vibrations in a way that are symbolically similar. These automatic responses seem to be occuring in the past. I cannot speak to the truth about this. The past life experience is phenomenologically very real, very vivid, very detailed, very personal, very emotional. The emotions seem real and often intense to the observer and the memories can often be verified by independent historical evidence.

I can only work with the phenomenon, I am sure that with understanding of a higher order paradigm, the phenomenological approach may seem simplistic. However my goal is to free people from fear and unwanted emotional and cognitive response patterns and the phenomenological approach is sufficient unto my needs. This does not mean that I am not open to a higher order paradigm that will explain reincarnation more fully.

Another experiential factor that gives validity to me in the phenomeonon of past lives is the information about reported historical events and historical periods. They are usually incredibly consistent, although I have not made a study of it, it is just an observation. More personally I have have had dozens of experiences that indicate to me that I have been guided to situations that trigger memories of places and people that needed to be resolved as part of my own evolutionary growth. These experiences never seem to be random or just acts of the imagination or curiosity. At one time, I believed that all this clearing of my own past life experiences was getting pretty nit-picking, but I later came to realize through experiences of hundeds of past life regressions of my own and others that we file all these seemingly insignificant events in our "best way to respond to this threat" files and that to truly be free of knee jerk responses, you have to purge "all" the files that are no longer useful.

And probably most convincing to me is the experience of what releasing the emotional energy around a traumatic past life experience can do in terms of symptomatic relief from physical illness, mental illness, depression, etc. If I did not believe that I understood phenomenologically the process of reincarnation, I would have to keep referring to God's Grace or miracles or divine intervention. A lot of things that weren't supposed to happen have happened. Miracles happen. Just like the Course in Miracles alleges.

To those of you who can't stomach past lives, I have no quarrel with you. For 31 years I lived with the scientific paradigm as my only way of judging the validity of knowledge and I spurned the "true believers" and the "mystics." I did not understand the mystic path, and if the Universe had not taken a cosmic club to my head, I too would have continued to count myself among the skeptics and unbelievers. Death, this case the suicide of my first wife, was an interesting teacher. It collapsed my scientific world view. Science was utterly bereft of any explanation for the necessity of this especially untimely, inexplicable death in a highly talented and creative individual. If you believe that death is terminal, then reincarnation is of course a fantasy. If however, you suspect that consciousness survives in some form after the death of the body, then reincarnation is one explanation of what might happen to consciousness. There are many other explanations, all of which are possibles and perhaps within their own context they are equally as valid.

Written by James M. Price, MSW, MPA

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One Response to “The Evidence for Reincarnation”

  1. Kenisha on January 7th, 2017 00:30

    This piece was a lifejacket that saved me from drowning.

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