Reincarnation, Karma and Past Lives
According to the poll taken last week, a large majority of visitors to the Circles of Light website believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that we are reborn after death. Some eastern philosophies say that we progressively evolve from lower life forms (animals), though most western reincarnationists feel that human souls remain human. My experience with the subject has been primarily therapeutic, as I was a past life regression therapist for many years. The therapeutic purpose for exploring past lives is to locate old traumas or behavior patterns which may be causing difficulties in the present life.
The concept of karma is closely intertwined with any exploration of past lives. Although in popular terminology karma has come to be known as "punishment", that's not the real meaning of the term. Simply, karma just means "consequences", or in Christian terms, "you reap what you sow". Therapeutically, it's something entirely different from either of these definitions.
From a therapeutic point of view, all we're doing is exploring repressed memories. There's a very good reason for these memories being repressed, and it's sometimes known as "traumatic amnesia". The simple fact is that each life ends with a death, and that can be pretty traumatic. When this happens once or twice or a thousand times, it may seem highly advantageous to just eliminate any memory of the experience. It may seem easier to deny it ever happened or ever could happen to anyone.
Karma is often an expectation formed from a past life decision. An example of this might be as follows:
A young woman repeatedly involves herself with inappropriate partners, abusive or neglectful men that at a deep level she doesn't really respect. A bit of regression could unearth the fact that she suffered a terrible loss of a mate and found the grieving unbearable. A conclusion might have been reached that loving someone deeply was far too painful and "she'll never do that again". She could feel that she'd made a terrible mistake, even criminal, for allowing herself to be put in this position. Conscious recognition of this decision could enable her to change her mind, to make a new decision that a loving relationship is valuable and even if there may be pain in loss, it would be worth it.
Alternatively, this young woman could assume that it was her "karma" to attract only cruel partners, that she must have done something terrible in a past life which she's now being punished for. She may attempt to purify herself in good works and self-sacrifice until she feels that she's made adequate amends for her crime. This may take several lifetimes before her conscience is satisfied. Once she feels that she's been "good enough", and that she is now entitled to a loving relationship, she can then choose that for herself.
As you can see, both approaches achieved the desired result. Philosophically, one may be better for us than the other in certain circumstances, such as when there is an evolutionary need for soul development.
When I do a past life astrology reading both perspectives need to be taken into account. It's not uncommon for an individual to feel that only time will heal the errors they've made in the past. In this case, it's a matter of integrating the conscious mind's goals for the life with the soul's evolutionary requirements. In the example given above, the young woman might be better off just not doing romantic relationships in this life, but offering herself in charitable works instead. In this case, the realization that she needn't bow to peer pressure to be half of a couple could be a great relief.
Often the chart will show that this is the lifetime to get back on track. In this case it becomes a matter of exploring the planetary alignments which suggest the best means for resolution. Sometimes this will be a clinical solution such as hypnotherapy. Or, it may involve something as simple as participation in activities which attract more gentle men such as church groups or single parent organizations.
By far the majority of past life readings require little more than pointing out the afflicted area of the psyche. A simple indication of unresolved grief from a previous life could be enough to allow this young woman to change her perspective. She may then be able to make a conscious choice to allow herself the personal dignity to enjoy a rewarding love life.