An interesting thought came to my mind while I was thinking about the whole spooky-night frenzy. Is there any use of knowing who we were in our past lives and knowing what we did?
My Buddhist upbringing is not the only reason why I understood that there is existential seriality, or in plain English - continuation of the consciousness from one life to another. When I was a child, I was taught there is rebirth; that I had a life before and I will have a life after this one. For the most of my childhood through early twenties, I believed there is life before and after death. Then, in my mid twenties I realized that I can't just go on blindly believing something and need to have proof myself; that it will no longer be just a belief but it is something I know and understand. So I sat down and started analyzing the facts.
Though I was born to an average Sri Lankan family, I had quite a few different characteristics in me that set me apart from the rest of my family. I was not your typical, obedient Sri Lankan girl who will do exactly and as only as the parents say. I had a lot to say about a lot of things, all the time. I was the rebel. No one in my entire family had ever traveled outside of the country before (except for one of my aunt's husband before he was married); no one had the flare for speaking English; silly things like love for olives and olive oil. No one was very artistic in my family and I was a relatively accomplished artist with 2 solo exhibits under my belt by the time I was 22. And I was pretty much a self-taught artist (I must give credit to those few artists in SL who were kind enough to share a few tips with me). These were subtle hints that I did not inherit nor acquire these qualities and characteristics through my family or the environment that I was brought up in.
When I came to the US for the first time at 16, I felt that I'was finally home. I made friends with a guy I had such a strong bond with that felt I must have know this person before. Today, I have a group of friends that I am so close to and we share the strongest connection, I can only describe our relationships as we know each other from lives before. These reasons strongly pointed toward the existence of life before this life.
Then at the IAC educational center, I tried out a few techniques to have out-of-body experiences. That sealed the deal. I now know life exists beyond the human body and I have first hand experience to back my assumption.
There is extensive research done by Brazilian doctor Waldo Vieira, M.D. on OBEs. His books Projections of the Consciousness, a diary of various experiences he had with OBEs and Projectiology, a large book very meticulously documenting everything about and around the phenomena are a must-read. They are great because Dr. Vieira has managed to scientifically analyze the information about the phenomena at great depth, it really helped me question my beliefs about rebirth and seriality and separate facts from instill beliefs.
Anyway, getting back to the original question, is there any use of knowing who we were in our past lives and knowing what we did?
One can argue, what is the use of knowing if I was Cleopatra some lifetimes ago? Or what if I was a peasant? What if I was a reckless soldier who had taken many lives of others? Isn't this knowledge only going to make me feel really good briefly or make me feel really horrible?
Lets stop and think about some of the advantages. What if I can find out who I was and what I did in a past life? What if I am able to link some traits I have in this life that are similar to some traits of the past? I can now use this knowledge to work on my weak traits and to strengthen my strong traits. What if I had started some task in a past life that I could not complete before death and now I have the opportunity to see it to completion? What if I had done a lot of good things in my life before, and knowing that I am in a better condition to do even more and use that as extra motivation? And if I did not have a very productive, accomplished life before and realizing that I can't do the same thing again in this life and I must try harder and do much, much better?
There are four brilliant researchers who have published books on the topic of rebirth and retrocognitions, or past-life recall.
- University of Virginia's Ian Stevenson's Twenty cases suggestive of reincarnation
- University of Virginia's Jim Tucker's Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives
- Brian Wiess's Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives
- Wagner Algretti's Retrocognitions: An investigation into memories of past lives and the periods between lives