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Rules #39a: "Hardwired into the Human Consciousness":
                     Skepticism About Past Lives and

According to Tom Shroder ("Old Souls") Paul Edwards in his book "Reincarnation: A Critical Examination" tries "to make (Ian) Stevenson (author of "Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation") look absurd for even raising the possibility that he may have uncovered evidence for reincarnation… Edwards says 'Stevenson will no doubt claim… (that he has) much better cases now. They do not even begin to overthrow what I call the formidable initial presumption against reincarnation.' What Edwards is really saying (here) was this: because something challenges the accepted understanding of the world, it obviously cannot be true, and therefore is unworthy of consideration. That is the position of dogma, not science…"
Tom Shroder (from his book "Old Souls")

WHY? WHY? WHY? Why Is It That People Cannot Accept the Evidence for Reincarnation?

After more than 40 years and 3,000 cases "suggestive of reincarnation", Ian Stevenson asked Tom Shroder, the journalist who followed him on three research trips, "why is it that people cannot accept this evidence (of reincarnation)?" The answer is because the process of reincarnation works to "hard wire" the "formidable initial presumption against reincarnation" deeply into the human consciousness.

Bleeding on the Edge of Ockham's Razor

We are born forgetting the long trail of our past lives and with a resilient skepticism that keeps us from wanting to explore them. In people where the skepticism has an exceptionally strong hold, it will prompt them to believe the most elaborate set of explanations that are "anything but reincarnation."

Even scientists would rather bleed to death on one of their own most cherished principles, Ockham's Razor, than let go "the formidable initial presumption against reincarnation". For you non scientists, Ockham's Razor is a principle of philosophy which - interpreted from the original Latin - means all other things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

The Powerful Force of Reincarnation Skepticism

Tom Shroder (from his book "Old Souls") described this "powerful force" best:

"It felt as though some force hovered above us, seeding these cases with just enough compelling evidence to make them impossible to dismiss but never quite enough for them to be proven beyond doubt. Still the logical gymnastics required to explain 'normally' any single case were enough to give pause. And going through those same gymnastics in case after case after case… Pretty soon, reincarnation began to seem like a less fantastic alternative."

"If I accepted even one of these cases as genuine, I had to accept many, if not most of them. If reincarnation were possible, even once, then it became a far simpler explanation for (what Shroder had seen on Stevenson's field trips) than was the strained chain of conspiracy and coincidence that I had to cook up to explain them all away. And I asked myself clearly… given all that I'd seen and heard, why couldn't I simply accept reincarnation as real? There was something stopping me, some factor that I could sense but not quite grasp."

That factor is the resilient, inborn, "hard wired" skepticism which creates "the formidable initial presumption against reincarnation". Reincarnation is it's own worst enemy. For reincarnation to work to set the stage for life after life of karmic lessons it, by necessity, it must work to obliterate any evidence of itself.

For the small percentage of the population who are ready for greater awareness at any given time, it must open the door to past life knowledge for their greater spiritual unfoldment. So only where the door swings open a hair for such individuals do the reality of past lives open themselves to examiners like
Ian Stevenson.

Why and How Reincarnation Works to Regulate Human Awareness

How reincarnation works is best summed up by this poem written by Sir Walter Raleigh: "Even such is Time which takes all in trust: Our youth, our joys, our all we have, And pays us but with age and dust. Who in the dark and silent grave, When we have wandered all our ways, shuts up the story of our days. But from this Earth, this grave, this dust, The Lord shall raise me up, I trust."

So when we have exited one life we are "raised up" in a new one, leaving the "story of our days" behind us in the past where it belongs. We come into a new life with new challenges, taking what we have learned with us in our subconscious mind to improve upon ourselves as "works in progress". As Gandhi said, "it is nature's kindness that we do not remember past (existences). Life would be a burden if we carried such a tremendous load of memories." So we reincarnate forgetting via enzymes released in the brain as we are born (which science is only starting to become aware of). Thus is our human awareness of past lives regulated.

Below are the reasons why we variously forget and remember our past lives. As you will notice below, there are far more reasons to keep the door to past lives closed than to keep it open. And the reasons for allowing the door to be open often result in it being open for a short time to resolve issues before it is shut again for good. Proof that reincarnation is extremely effective at it's job is that after millenia of reusing the stage of Earth, the very reality of reincarnation is not accepted and there is more of a "formidable presumption" against it than ever.


The Earth is nothing more than a gigantic schoolroom for learning the lessons of karma. Logically, if we are here to learn lessons - particularly if we are trying to correct past mistakes - it would seem to be easier if we remembered our past lives. That way we could "remember" what went wrong last time so we could do it right this time around. And yet the vast majority of people come to Earth agreeing not to remember their past lives at all (for more see "Rules of Life Contracts").

For only when we undergo our tests without the knowledge of where and why we have failed them in the past, can we honestly pass them in the present. We will continue to receive these tests until our lessons are fully learned. The lessons, the tests, and even what the answers are and how we have consistently failed those tests can all be discerned by looking back over the panorama of our past lives. Since the primary purpose of
reincarnation is the working out of past life karma, we are kept from past life knowledge so that we cannot "cheat" on present life "tests" by looking in the back of our book for the answers from prior incarnations.


Getting a fresh start is vital to learning our lessons. It is one thing for us to say to our guides when we are "between lives" that we have "learned our lessons and do not need to repeat them". It is quite another to "prove it". Before we came into this life, we agreed to walk along the path of all we needed to learn and to "forget" we did so. We "forget" to keep from "cheating" and from being overwhelmed by the totality of our past while making sure that we have really learned our lessons.

When you forget who you were and carry your character forward into a new life to meet new challenges, that is when you receive the truest test. What you have learned - or not learned - becomes painfully apparent. For example, having been a General in many lifetimes, I tended to treat others in a domineering manner. In this life, I put myself into my situations where humility would have served me better than being "the dictatorial General". Only when I finally overcame my "problem" and learned my lesson did I understand why I had put myself into those karmic places.


In any lifetime, it is easy to become "stuck in the past". Reincarnation ensures that we are constantly moving forward in our journey as Soul through the universe by putting an end to "dead men walking" and "dead men sitting" mired in the past.

"Dead men walking" are those people who cannot forgive themselves for what happened - what they did or did not do - in the past. They mourn a past event for the rest of their lives and become frozen at the stuck point unable to move forward.

"Dead men sitting" are those who "have achieved their dreams" and decide to "rest on their laurels" for the rest of their lives.
From a reincarnation standpoint, both "dead men" have stopped their karmic evolution because they are stuck in the past. Their stuckness dies with them: having forgotten about it, they become free of past baggage. So, in new lives, the tides of karma once again get them to stop mourning or rejoicing in the past… by fully engaging them in new experiences, so that they can move forward karmically.


Past life reversion occurs when people overcome the tides of karma to "revert" to comfortable patterns from past lives (for more see "Rules of Past Life Reversion"). Left to themselves, people will naturally gravitate towards "doing what they have always done". Reincarnation will eventually work to put them in situations and places "where they have not gone before". The most essential part of countering past life reversion is to implant unusually strong past life skepticism inside them along with a strong and overwhelming desire to go out and master the unknown.


One of the primary reasons that people agree to reincarnate is to see how they would react under ever more challenging circumstances. When we look back on our old lives to create new one, we wonder "was my success a fluke or could I do it again under even harder conditions?" An integral part of doing that is coming back as an "unknown quantity" and building your success all over again… without others or yourself relying on your past track record of success.

For example, in all my many military incarnations, my most satisfying victories were those where the odds were the most stacked against me. In other words, those where I was severely outnumbered, was terribly lacking in supplies, was outclassed by superior technology, or was caught in a situation that seemed "utterly desperate and hopeless" to others (but not to me - I never give up!).

To snatch a victory from the jaws of certain defeat is the greatest thrill a leader can experience because it is the ultimate test of courage, discipline, and leadership. It would have been less thrilling if I had known this was not the first life where I had meet and mastered such situations… it would have taken the challenge out of it!


The most important thing to remember about the past life exploration is that NOW - the present - is the point of all power. The central tenet of past life healing is to help one to be all they can be - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - now by healing blocks from past lives. Yet, in most lives, people do not spend their time looking back at past lives but instead they focus on living in the now.

To focus on now, it is utterly essential to wear the "veil of unknowingness". Simply put, if we knew the precise relationship that we have had with everyone we love, feel friendship for, work with, or meet even casually, we would live in a state of constant information overload. We would spend so much time trying to separate the past from the present that we would could not experience the true power of living in the here and now (see
"Healing Past Lives" for more about this).


Before we go on the adventure of our lives, we agree to come into certain relationships with others. These relationships are designed to help us resolve our problems with these people while at the same time helping us to work through our own issues. The primary goal of reincarnation is to open us to greater levels of love (see "Rules of Reincarnation"). This becomes both easier and harder when we reincarnate with the same group of people over time. Easier when we meet those we already love. Harder when we meet those we already hate.

It is our enforced forgetfulness that frees us to make different choices now. We can quite literally start over in our relationships with others because we are not carrying any past baggage. For example, if you had married someone in a past life, you or your former spouse might feel as if you had to do it again because you were "still married". Being clear of such previous associations, you are free to do what best makes sense for the person you are today (and not for your past self).


The ultimate baggage from past relationships are "grudges". For example, if you knew someone had killed you in a past life, you might not be able to forgive them or allow them to make it up to you. You might find yourself overwhelmed by revenge (as in "you killed me so now I am going to get even!").

Yet past lives are like the hall of mirrors. To understand why you agreed to be killed in one life, you would have to look back at another, back and back through the corridors of time. Since you cannot possibly grasp the whole totality of all your relationships with all others throughout time and space, you need to trust that the scales between you and others will be fairly balanced by the time all your experiences together are done (for more see the
"Rules of Free Will and Karma").

That is why "a little (past life) knowledge is a dangerous thing". For if you saw only a "piece of the past life puzzle", you might take actions that you yourself would label as being unfair if only you had seen the total past life picture. And so you agree to forget and to roll along the
train tracks of karma that were laid out for you before you were born. Particularly if a person has been famous or infamous throughout history, they would never be free to live another life unless they were freed of the past life baggage by escaping into a new life and another identity.


One of the greatest paradoxes of reincarnation is this one. As Tom Shroder ("Old Souls") quotes researcher, Ian Stevenson as saying: "In the West, people say 'Why are you spending money to study reincarnation when we know it's impossible?' In the East, they say 'Why are you spending money to study reincarnation when we know it's a fact?'" And the paradox continues when you realize that knowing about the reality of reincarnation in the East has done little, if anything, to lessen the violence and misery which breeds bad karma there like it is going out of style!

Unfortunately, karmic knowledge has instilled in Easterners a paralyzing fatalism: since they know that their past misdeeds have caused their present repayment, they are demotivated to change. They throw up their hands and say "it's my karma, what can I do?" Since they make no effort to learn their lessons, they cannot escape the inevitable karmic consequences of repeating past mistakes. Yet this is all proof of why past life forgetting is so essential to the process of present life learning.


And yet, the door to past life knowledge does swing open when there is no other way to break the past life attachment except by confronting it in the present life. If you notice, the majority of the cases that researcher Ian Stevenson encounters are those involving past lives cut short by tragedy where the person involved had a compelling reason to reconnect with family or friends of their "prior personality".

Often that is the only way to bring needed healing to the person's life now as well as assuaging the grief of family members who are comforted that their loved one was not lost. See the
"Rules of Past Life Carryovers" for the "Top 10 Reasons" of why past lives break through into the present and require healing.


When we reach a certain point in our spiritual evolution, we come to the place where we must come to total peace with ourselves… all who we have been through the trail of many incarnations. In the last few lifetimes on Earth, before we leave the cycle of reincarnation for good, we must "wrap up" the "odd bits" of karma that remain seeded in our consciousness. Often this means contracting certain rare diseases to force us to break through long standing, unresolved toxic past life pain. For a listing of the "diseases of the evolved" and advice on how to handle them - from a spiritual standpoint - see the Karmic Dictionary.


When we have truly connected with the greater totality of ourselves, can we accelerate our spiritual growth ending the cycle of reincarnation in that lifetime. For experience is the best teacher of truth. The purpose of all experience - human and spiritual - in all lives - past, present, and future - is to refine our character so that we may become better CoWorkers with God.

The ultimate lesson that reincarnation teaches us is all that we do at every moment is a choice - is our choice. Once we accept total responsibility for who we are, for what we have done or will do, for all our choices at every moment, only then do see through reincarnation and realize it has lead us to the heart of God: LOVE!

Credits: from channeled information and inspired by Tom Shroder's book "Old Souls".



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