I suppose in the world, today, there are really three approaches to the idea of
reincarnation. A two-fold one in the West, where the idea itself is almost
non-existent, either a belief in the transmigration of souls - that you could be a
human being in one life and an animal in the next, and therefore that there is
great danger in swiping flies and treading on ants because it could be your
grandmother -- or simply an interest in past lives. That is almost the sole interest
in the concept of rebirth in the West.
In the East, broadly speaking, people do believe in reincarnation and, correctly,
in relation to the Law of Karma. Unfortunately, even in the East, the Law of
Karma is seen from an erroneous point of view. Of course, here and there, both
in East and West, there is a correct interpretation and approach to the idea of
rebirth, and its close connection with the Law of Action and Reaction, Cause and
In the Orient, most people believing in the Law of Karma accept that they are
who and where they are because of their actions in a previous life, which is true;
but, unfortunately, they think they can do nothing about changing their particular
situation, which is not true. In the West, we tend to think that we are totally in
control of our destiny, which we are to some extent, but that there is no greater
law governing our destiny, which is not true.
The Westerner tends to reject the idea of a future life. It is an idea which is
only just beginning to engage people's minds. If he thinks about it at all, he really
thinks about it in terms of: If I have a future life, I must have had a past life; and if
I had a past life it is interesting to know who I was. The popular literature in the
West about reincarnation is almost exclusively about previous existences.
There are now many techniques, authentic or otherwise, advertised and used to
take people back into an experience of their past lives: hypnosis, rebirthing, and
so on. Of course, there is also much serious research on the subject going on in
several countries. The work of Professor Ian Stevenson and others is adding
much evidence pointing to the likelihood of the fact of reincarnation.
The Danger of Knowing our Past Lives
Is it of value to know our past lives? After a certain point: yes. Before that point,
not only is it not of major value, it can actually be dangerous. There is a
little-known law that when we become truly aware of our past life we enter into
the karma of that time. Most of us have a heavy enough load of karma to deal
with in this life without an unnecessary load from some previous one, which
happily we are not yet called upon to resolve.
And it is irresponsible for so-called clairvoyants to tell people about their past
lives; even if they are correct. Particularly if they are correct! If they are wrong,
people will still create thoughtforms around...