Past lives

After reading the Aleph, where Paulo Coelho writes about past lives, I started getting more interested in the subject. I have heard of people believing in such things before, and about the occasional miracle child that speaks fluent ancient Egyptian or whatever language when they are born, but in general always dismissed this as fantasy.

However, one day I googled ‘reincarnation’ and stumbled upon a book called ‘Children who remember past lives’ by Ian Stevenson. It is a sociological study into the topic and Stevenson presents some very interesting cases.

A lot of the cases have similar features. For example often the mother of the child has a dream before she gives birth, where she sees the previous personality who is about to be reborn through her who foreshadows they are coming to stay with the expectant mother to be.

Then when the child is born, it usually speaks about its past life only around the ages of 3 – 5 years, before he or she usually forgets it. The child often speaks of their ‘real mother and father’ and in some cases the old family can be traced and the child would recognise members of this previous family or remember incidents that only someone who knew the former family could have known.

Sometimes if the child is reborn into the same family, it will recognise photos of relatives or friends that the new incarnation had not yet seen. Or he or she would point to a picture and of its former self and say ‘this is me’.

Often the child would play at being whatever the previous personality’s occupation was. For example, if the child had been a shop keeper in the previous life it would play at being a shop keeper. One child played at being a barman and owning a nightclub because that’s what he did in his previous life or another child played at sweeping the streets as it had been a street sweeper in its past life.

Sometimes if the child was born into a family of lower status or standing than it had been in  its former life, he or she would comment negatively on his or hers new family’s house, food, clothes and manners and refuse to do certain things, like serve food to someone for example, commenting they have servants for this sort of thing. On the other hand if the child from a previously poor family is born in to higher class family, it would sometimes shock the family with its dirty habits.

Stevenson studied mostly cases from India, America, Asia and the Alevis in Turkey. He writes that many cases are missed because, parents often do not listen to their children when they talk about past lives and dismiss their talk as fantasy, or punish the children if they do talk about it, so eventually the children stop talking about the subject altogether and usually when they get older they forget all about it.

The book is very methodological, so not easy to read but it was very interesting and I found it gave compelling evidence about the existence of past lives.

Some of the individual cases Stevenson describes really make you convinced that the child could not have known some details if in fact he was not the incarnate of the person he claims to be.

Cases are mostly found in countries and cultures where the belief in reincarnation is prevalent, however Stevenson argues this is because people there  are more open to the idea and do not dismiss it outright as in cultures where this belief is not held.

It is an interesting and insightful read if you are interested in these things, although not exactly a page turner.

What’s your view on the subject? Do you believe in reincarnation or not?

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About Maia

My name is Maia, I live in London, UK, and I originally come from the Czech Republic. Maia's World is my blog where I write about life in general, personal development, and about ideas, beliefs and discoveries on how to live a fuller life.
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6 Responses to Past lives

  1. I think there must be something to it Maia, if children who have not yet lived a life, and therefore, in theory, should not really have any knowledge of life yet, know things such as old languages or nightclubs, and all this before becoming exposed to them. I’m thinking, there must be something to it….

  2. Eva says:

    Cau Mani ,jak jsem to cetla tak me pripomelo ze jsi jako mala rada vystupovala jako zpevacka kdekoliv na verejnosti,nikdy jsi se nestydela a zpivala jsi dlouhy pisnicky v hospode pred hostama a vubec ti nevadilo kdyz te nikdo neposlouchal a po nejaky dobe ani nechvalil. A umela jsi hodne dlouhych pisnicek, prave modernich, perfektne nazpamet. Treba kdyz jsme sli do kempu tak tam te hned vsichni rikali Marusko zazpivej nam a ty jsi si pred ty lidi stoupla a okamzite jsi spustila.

    Taky jsi se ukazkove starala o Lucinku a jeji stenata,asistovala jsi bez vyzvani kde se dalo ,nikdy jsem ti o to nerikala. Pak jsi i zorganizovala pohrby pro ruzny zviratka a psala jsi si porad deniky. To jsem te taky nikdy neucila.
    Tak nevim co by to mohlo bejt za minuly zivoty.X

  3. Pingback: Change is our destiny | Maia's World

  4. Chris says:

    I am reading Aleph right now and was compelled to Google the past lives phenomenon. I will have to check out this book you mention. I wonder if there really are techniques like he describes that will allow you to see back into the past that way. He certainly seems genuine and you never get a sense of charlatanism like with some “mystical” writers. Thank you for your post. It seems your site may have already closed up shop, which makes me sort of sad because, looking around it, you write about the kinds of things that interest me most. Maybe you’ll never see this but in case you do, thanks for the recommendation.

    -Chris

    • Maia says:

      Hi Chris, thanks for your comment and sorry for the late reply. Yes I have stopped updating this site, as I’ve lost interest to be honest in all these subjects after discovering my teacher Mooji. He points to what is here and now rather than speculation, which is what this blog was often about. So have been watching a lot of his videos instead and after hearing his words I feel there is really nothing better I can say, that is why the lull in activity. Wishing you all the best.

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