I always felt off identifying as Pagan when the concept of reincarnation felt inauthentic to me. Everyone around me took reincarnation as a given and yet I could not wrap my head around it. I watched people have what seemed to be authentic past life experiences and something in me didn’t buy it.
I kept flashing back to the argument presented by comedian George Carlin, paraphrased: We now have more people on earth than ever before, all claiming to have souls. Where did those souls come from? Is someone manufacturing new souls?
There are no doubt scholars who have mulled this more deeply than I have and who have wiser points of reference to cite. I am never one to say that someone’s truth is less valuable than my own. Truly, I disqualify nothing, but I do know that linear reincarnation never worked for me.
But what does?
Here is what does work for me and is, for the first time in concise print, my “afterlife” theory. I qualify that label because in this construct, there is no “after,” there is only “during.”
I wrote a mini-book called “The Dance Card” several years back and wove the premise of this theory into a fictional story. It doesn’t sell, never sold well, and is a lost half-needle in a gargantuan haystack of insignificant little stories on Amazon.
The premise of my theory is that we do not live our multiple lives consecutively, but concurrently. We do not become someone else, we live our life repeatedly until we ace all of our personal challenges and lessons.
…And here we go
With each life, we are born to the same parents, at the same time, and possess the same DNA. There are certain key people we will always meet, and they are our soul tribe. Some of them bring us positive experiences and some bring us negative, painful experiences.
Those few points are the only given, immutable rules. Everything else is a direct result of the unfolding consequences of our choices, like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.
Sometimes, we marry this person, sometimes that person. Sometimes, we take this job and sometimes, a different one. In a seemingly infinite number of behavioral combinations, we make our way through the life experience. Sometimes, we die earlier, sometimes much later. Sometimes, we have these children, those children, or no children.
Here are some of the shared phenomenon that this theory effectively explains:
Experiences feel familiar, as if we have done this before, because we literally have done this before. We recognize places because we were there in our other versions of this life. Perhaps we finish our friend’s sentences because we had that conversation hundreds or thousands of times. We “recognize” people we have never met because we knew them in another pass through, which brings us to…
Instant interpersonal response
Why do we feel immediately drawn to or repelled by certain people when we have no logical reason why? Because these people are in our soul tribe, for good or bad. They hurt us in other lives, they were dear to us in other lives, and we respond to that spirit memory. Even our pets recognize us from our previous rounds through this life.
Near death experiences
“I’m going down a tunnel,” “I see a light,” “I feel peace.” These can all be related to the birth process from the perspective of the baby who is about to be born. While I never imagined that childbirth is at all a peaceful experience for a baby, the lack of adult worry, concern, and anxiety is an intoxicating thought. I would certainly equate that blank slate with peace.
A person picks up piano, art, dancing, or other talents because they spent countless lifetimes developing that talent. It comes easily to them due to something akin to “spiritual muscle memory.”
For some people, the veils between those lives are thin, especially if we are many, many rounds into living a similar life. Precognitive visions or dreams may be echoes of those previous lives that come forward into our current experience. I do believe that more often than not, our lives vary not very much at all, so those repeated experiences would most likely imprint and carry forward in a retained memory. Some people may be a bit more tuned into the many outcomes of certain choices and after an infinitesimal number of times reliving the same experience, those who are sensitive may be able to access that retained memory.
Common cultural afterlife beliefs
“You will see your loved ones again.” “Your loved ones will be young and healthy again.”
In the Bible, Jesus explains, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When he is pushed to clarify about the re-entry into a mother’s womb, he says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Visitations by newly dead people
Maybe, just maybe, the moment of dying and rebirthing into our newborn body is a difficult transition for some souls. When I worked around childbirth, I saw plenty of babies who were, putting it simply, not there yet. There are some seriously empty babies out there and it is absolutely spooky to see.
These babies have normal reflex responses and are by all outward appearances physically normal, but when you look at them, nobody is home.
I think it is possible that these babies experienced a death they could not reconcile, maybe a violent end or feeling that they left something undone. This kept them from transitioning on to the next birth and so they lingered, but guess what? Their physical body is dead and they are back in Mom’s body on the way out again despite their soul still hanging around in the life before. In this case, their souls could be walking around in the previous life, trying to figure out what is going on or how to take care of their unfinished business.
Or not quite as dead people?
Then there are people whose physical bodies are medically alive and sustained on life support, but their souls have already moved on and are living their newly reborn lives.
It’s weird, I know. The more I think about this – and I have been working this theory for around three decades – the more zip files extract into my brain about it.
Memories that did not happen
I can recall full conversations that I later learned never happened. I can remember going to places where I have never been. These, I believe, are overlapping memories from other lives.
But heyyy, what about all these past life memories?
Often, people ask me how I account for stark, undeniable memories of living in another time of place as a completely different person. This would include children who inexplicably know how to speak a foreign language or can describe events of which they should have no knowledge.
I think this is an unrelated phenomenon where some people are so psychic that they are unencumbered by time and can target other highly sensitive psychics and literally see through their eyes and feel what they feel. Past life regressions put these sensitive people into a trance state that opens them more fully to that psychic experience. It is real to them because they are seeing and living it from a first-person perspective.
Maybe it is just me
Not everyone is interested in the idea that life is just one long “Groundhog Day” experience, but it explains enough of life’s deeper questions that I am fairly married to the idea.
I could talk about this at length and likely will at some point. For now, those are the basic thoughts I wanted to wad up and throw out into the world.