Spontaneous past-life recall by children

“Ian Stevenson, from the Department of Parapsychology of the University of Virginia, is the international authority in the area of child case research. He has collected about 2,000 cases of apparent past-life recall. Of these he has examined more than 200 cases exhaustively. He has reported his findings in books and numerous articles. In northern India he examined 105 cases, in Sri Lanka 80, and a few dozen in Turkey, Lebanon, Alaska, Thailand and Burma.”

“Research into child cases may be compared with legal investigations. It is important to get as many precise and independent testimonies as possible. If a child has never been near the place where the past person lived, and has not met any people from there, it is possible to experiment on the spot.” … …

“Stevenson , who now has data on more than 2,000 cases, takes careful account of all alternative explanations of apparent recollection. … His opponents are less informed.”

These extracts are from ‘Exploring Reincarnation’ by Hans TenDam. Colin Wilson, a renowned writer on parapsychology, describes it as “ … the great definitive work on reincarnation.” “… he has written not as a believer, but as a detached observer …”

TenDam also states “In the cases Stevenson examined, the intermission between death in the previous life and birth in the new life is usually between 1 and 4 years. An intermission of more than 12 years hardly occurs. Between 25 and 75 percent of the past lives which children remember can be identified and verified, usually because the deceased person’s family is still alive. He found changes in sex in 6 to 16 percent of his cases. This differs according to region.”

Spontaneous recollection by little children can differ “… greatly in precision and detail, similar to normal recollection.” Acceptance by their families would reflect prevailing religious and cultural values. Christians would be the least likely to listen to a child talking about a past life. The implications for the existence of souls and a reincarnation process would not be consistent with God’s Will, as interpreted by His intermediary, the priest.

Staunch Christians, especially recent converts, are likely to be professionally sceptical about reincarnation, in spite of all the evidence for its existence. They would “… expect the process to exhibit certain recurring patterns or rules … expect indicators of the length of time between one life and the next ; also the sort of distances the soul or consciousness may travel in order to be reincarnated …” (Ian Wilson). Cultural differences are also apparently not allowed in this clockwork universe. As has been reported repeatedly, even professional scientists can reject findings (reached through strict research) which challenge the prevailing paradigm.

Those of us who have had personal experiences of life after death or have partners or friends similarly involved, simply ignore those who cannot accept reality. There is life after Earthly death.

Is reincarnation not real?

Many sceptics claim that there is no reliable evidence for the reincarnation process. However, there are many real experiences which say otherwise. One strand comes from reliable professional research on volunteered (that is, spontaneously uttered) past-life memories of very young children – usually aged between 3 and 5 (up to 7). Then there are my experiences; these I am unable to deny, although I tend to be a sceptic by nature. (I am not gullible.)

As well, there are tribal beliefs in every continent which accept the reincarnation process in one form or another. Most of the major Western religions also seem implicitly to accept the possibility of reincarnation (refer the New Testament); whereas the Eastern (Asian) religions accept reincarnation. The oldest version – in Hinduism – is based on the soul going through many Earthly lives on a path of moral purification.

The scientific method (based on the null hypothesis), has no role to play in this matter. How could it be applied? Any institutional religion based on authority and rigid control can have little credibility on this issue. I have read that, against the prevailing background of many cultures in the world holding a belief of some sort in reincarnation, the early Christian Church decided that control of the lives of its followers necessitated the rejection of reincarnation.

Indeed, reincarnation, with its cause-and-effect trajectory, can, according to Colin Wilson (a renowned writer on paranormal phenomena), be seen as reflecting free will. During each life, through free will, one could shape one’s future life. Otherwise, the reincarnation process is meaningless; that is, without purpose or direction. Unlike the early Church’s intention to interpret God’s Will, human free will may be less dependent on the Will of God or spirits.

Colin Wilson also refers to Hans TenDam’s book ‘Exploring Reincarnation’ as the great definite work on reincarnation. “ … he has written, not as a believer, but as a detached observer …” The back cover of the book (1990) states “Unlike some writers in the field, Hans TenDam examines, freely and frankly, the range of explanations of past-life recall – the many different hypotheses about body and soul. None fits the evidence, he concludes, as well as reincarnation.”

The most persuasive of the evidence for the reality of reincarnation comes from the extended and substantial work of Dr. Ian Stevenson. According to the great debunker Ian Wilson (refer ‘The After-Death Experience’), “Dr. Stevenson’s reports … are prodigiously detailed and, as such, undeniably represent the most authoritative and scientific approach supportive of belief in reincarnation available in any language.”

Not surprisingly, some of the professional debunkers did embark upon some strange means of studying the issue. One approach was to weigh a body before and after death to see if the alleged soul had weight! I am reminded of those scientists who measured the skulls and weighed the brains of Australia’s Aborigines: was that to see if they were fauna?

There will also be researchers who, being human and thereby holding religious views, cannot accept explanations arising from studies which challenge that religious position.

Here is what TenDam has to say in his extraordinary book.
“So a great many people belief in reincarnation. Why? The majority undoubtedly because they have been brought up to believe in it. But in the final analysis, belief is based on experiences, reflections, and arguments that convince people of its plausibility.”

“People having apparent memories of their own past lives is an area of experience like any other. We need neither doubt that these experiences are what they profess to be, nor believe that they are beyond sober analysis and criticism. I can easily accept past-life recall, because I have had such experiences myself, and have hundreds of times observed other people having them, but I don’t take them for gospel.”

I too have had intimations of an immediate past life, supported by a spontaneous vision by a seer; yet, I am far from convinced. But I have no doubt that life continues after Earthly death; the spirit realm provided the evidence.

Seeking to debunk the After-death experience

The after-death experience, also referred to as the near-death experience, occurs when a person is temporarily clinically dead. Some of those report flying, or otherwise moving, across a natural border of some kind towards a bright light and a few persons. One of these advises the sojourner to go back. Those who report an out-of- body experience of looking down at their own bodies have no out-of-Earth experiences to report.

Researcher Ian Wilson in his 1987 book ‘The After-Death Experience’ debunks “all varieties of claimed evidence for a life beyond the grave. He has checked out – and found wanting – the ‘past life’ memories produced by hypnotists … He has investigated mediums … He has inquired into the strange death-bed experiences reported … And he has exhaustively researched the stories of those whom, thanks to modern resuscitation methods, almost literally came back from the dead … “

“Yet, although Ian Wilson finds much that is both dubious and spurious … he presents compelling evidence that something of us might well survive physical death.” (From back cover of book)

Wilson also states (p.233) “But perhaps the real reason for the continued failure of all attempts so far to bring evidence for life after death within the confines of accepted science is something different … it may be that what truly constitutes ‘us’, a complex and evanescent set of memories and emotions, is simply not of an order to be isolated scientifically …”

The truth is that the scientific method requires repeatability of occurrences and observations. It is the most reliable method of researching the material realm, but not the immaterial, ephemeral, and insubstantial psychic phenomena of the ethereal realm.
This method is also restricted to processes of a mechanistic nature, notwithstanding the practice of some modern-day speculative scientific researchers offering hypotheses, as tentative explanations, which reportedly cannot be tested or mathematically reflected, even in the physical sciences. Where is the methodology for researching phenomena broadly categorised as psychic or paranormal?

Researchers whose religious beliefs deny the probability that each human has a soul; or whose path to knowledge is restricted to the methodology of science; or who rely on the visions of the dying; in order to explain away the real-life experiences (commonly one-off episodes) of some of those who were clinically dead temporarily, or who claim to recall some past-life events and relationships, may not be credible in some of their pronouncements.

Surely all clairvoyants and seers are not charlatans, or are easily misled. Surely academic researchers in parapsychology can be accepted as professionally competent, until proven otherwise.

The traditional boundary between the physical realm and what Ian Wilson refers to as “substance-less, space-and-time transcending something of us” may not be real. In a universe in which everything is somehow connected, the material realm may possibly be a ‘projection’ or emanation from the ephemeral realm; and that both realms are somehow intertwined.

In the latter circumstances, as in my own experience, reality will be physical, mental and spiritual simultaneously, and at all times; and remaining a mystery not yet penetrable.

 

Do out-of-body experiences indicate life after death?

Is there a realm in which previously-human beings reside? Do out-of-body experiences provide necessary evidence? There has been an avalanche of such experiences. These involve a place surrounded by light, with people (including a relative in some cases) advising return to Earth. Many have been investigated thoroughly.

Clever sceptics of a scientific mind have offered explanations which implicate: a subconscious characteristic of some human minds to project a subterranean expectation of a post-death state; or a potential for certain biochemical changes to occur in the brain during the dying process; or for a subliminal psychic need to unveil themselves immediately after death, especially after a traumatic experience such as a terrible death caused by accident, or by a prolonged painful illness.

But to no avail. Where is the evidence to back up such explanations? This is a favourite stance of modern scientists.

I had an out-of-body experience at age 18. I found myself floating horizontally at ceiling height. I had been suffering from dengue fever (that bone-crushing disease) for about 5 days, with increasing pain. Anyone touching my mattress would cause me terrible agony; I could not move. Seeing my body laid out on a different bed so frightened me that I woke up in my bed. I then sweated heavily, and began to improve.

That was an out-of-body event with no out-of-life implications. But, how is one to explain what happened? My imagination? Not probable. I am a sceptic. I doubt that my subconscious can over-ride that mental state.

Late in life, a senior citizen told me about her out-of-body experience when she was 13. She recalled walking along a bridge. At the end of the bridge, she could see a bright light and some figures. She recognised one of the figures as the mother who had died, leaving her 3-year old behind. When she reached her mother, the latter said to her “Patty, you have to go back.” The significance of this report is that no one had ever addressed her as Patty.

Another friend told me about her husband. He had proven himself as slightly psychic from time to time. After his near-death experience late in life, he discovered that his hands had acquired healing powers. Not every survivor of a near-death experience is so fortunate.

Those who were briefly clinically dead have reported experiences which are fairly similar. The general pattern is that they are outside the physical body, often floating near the ceiling. Or they experience flying or walking. They can feel the presence of others. They also experience a natural border which has to be crossed. They are then advised to return.

Could a ‘collective unconscious’ (possibly a past species-memory) explain the out-of-body experiences of some individuals? Why only some? Are these exceptions?

The experience of being sent back to life on Earth after an out-of-body event may be lit by a simple explanation; that the out-of-body excursion was an error, a mishap. Being temporarily clinically dead may have aroused some deep impulse (of unknowable origin) within the individual to escape life.

If Hinduism is correct in postulating that each of us is born with a broadly programmed trajectory of life, a life-path, a personal destiny, then a temporary hiccup cannot take the individual away from paddling on his river of destiny. That has implications for the cross-linkages of human destinies as time goes on. Is Hinduism correct in this regard?

One reality may not be deniable; that there is a realm or dimension which is home – temporarily or permanently – for those who have departed Earth. Near-death or temporary clinical death out-of-body experiences may reflect this reality.

Life after Earthly death?

Why not? Yet, there are those who say, with great certitude, that at death the body and everything associated with it – such as the mind and its memories – come to an end. Of course, they have no basis for that claim. How could they know?

Then, some church-attending friends told me that they do not accept that they have a soul, and which represents the core or essence of their existence. Indeed, in spite of their Bible offering eternal bliss in Heaven (by being with Christ), these genuinely good people do not know where they will go after death. A couple have said that an ‘essence’ of what they are may remain – possibly in the memories of their loved ones.

Those who have indicated that they fear death belong to a church which has threatened a location named hell for non-compliance with its teachings. Interestingly, it is decades since I heard reference by that Church to babies born in, or conceived in, sin; or to that location named ‘limbo.’

Yet, there are others whose religious beliefs offer – not damnation or bliss – but a continuity of existence after Earthly death; and which allows re-birth. The Western version of this belief – which I think of as ‘New Age’ – offers ‘guides’ in a location generally known as the Afterlife who – with or without any judgement about one’s past – either set a pathway for the next life or assist in choosing a pathway (always on Earth).
I have also been told of a faith whose members may move to another planet after life on Earth. Whether this offers a richer life than available after death through one of the ‘desert’ religions is not clear to me. This latter religion seems to offer pleasant surroundings and a pleasurable life.

The principal proponent of a sequence of re-births is Hinduism. Unlike some Western psychotherapists and ‘New Agers’ who refer to life between lives as something known, and who offer descriptions of the Afterlife as an abode (with some such abodes offering scope for self-assessment), Hinduism’s Afterlife offers (as told to me by a Western spiritualist) an opportunity to continue with my learning.

This may overlap another Western perspective of the Afterlife. Here one can purportedly have access to the ‘Akashic Record.’ This record allegedly covers every action ever taken on Earth by humans. Would this Record enable self-tuning of one’s next path on Earth?
So, we go nowhere after Earthly death. Or, we can, or do, go somewhere. That somewhere may offer pain or pleasure; or nothing specific. If ‘somewhere’ is a neutral place, the dead may choose their next life on Earth; or be guided to such a choice; or acquire learning; or just have a rest (slumber?) while waiting to commence the next life. For this process to be meaningful, through the principle of cause-and-effect, the next life would have, implicitly and autonomously, been shaped by one’s past lives (especially the most recent one), would it not?

How credible are those who provide descriptions of the Afterlife in both physical and sociological terms? As well, are modern-day descriptions more accurate than those going back 2,000 years or more? How would any of these writers know? If through revelation, how could one separate this from hallucinations or imagination?

The veil around Earthly life seems impenetrable.

Has science explained anything relevant to existence? (1)

A necessary prelude to unveiling this challenge is the reality that humans have only 5 senses of information, with their processor, the brain, obviously of a limited potential. As said by many people of competence, there could be many matters of relevance to human existence (such as mathematics waiting in cloudland to be discovered, or the evidently existing ephemeral realm, including the spiritual) which are beyond our comprehension.

Scientist David Bohm has introduced the concept of ‘implicate’ and ‘explicate’ orders, where the latter order represents the reality that we perceive as having been unfolded from an un-manifested state in the former order. But he has apparently not demonstrated the necessary causal or transactional link between them.

There is also an undeniable need to explain the reality of consciousness, and possibly other realities of existential significance, such as the manifestation on Earth of a spirit from the Afterlife. Such a spirit displayed to me (and a clairvoyant) his Earth memory, knowledge of events in my life after his death, and the ability to hear me while communicating psychically with the clairvoyant.

My reality is thus three-fold: physical, mental and spiritual. I accept that the study of the spiritual realm is beyond the capacity of the scientific method, which I studied during my training as a research psychologist. This method, quite correctly, requires repeatability. This is not available in the study of psychic phenomena, memories of past lives by young children of up to age 6, my own exposure to the spirit realm through clairvoyants of great reliability, and so on.

Yet, we have to rely upon the scientific method to investigate and tell us about our physical realm. Has it done that adequately? Is the mechanistic material paradigm underpinning this method adequate to this task?

While the structures, facets, and components of the physical realm are being investigated rigorously, subject to unavoidable human error, and some probable bias, there seems to be a reliance on speculative, unverifiable, theories to offer explanations. Such theories in science seem to evolve, or are modified, as more understanding of their limitations are discovered. Apparently, it is not possible to prove by experimentation some essential theories, or to express these on a sound mathematical basis. What then?

Could unverifiable speculative theories (tentative explanations), which are built upon one another, be relied upon to explain the more relevant realities of human existence? We need theories of creation and evolution which are more credible than the Big Bang Theory of Cosmology and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. See Parts 2 and 3 of my post.

As well, how many theories of potential value have been rejected because they do not fit the prevailing paradigm? Of the hypotheses rationally available following a finding of a relationship or conclusion, what criteria might be applied to select one to be pursued? Since a theory has to explain, as well as to predict, would not the selection be crucial?

Moving on, why not adopt speculative, unprovable theorising in researching the non-material, the ephemeral – especially Consciousness? Or the aether, analogous to the ‘Ocean’ of Consciousness of mainstream Hinduism? Opening the minds of researchers to probabilities in matters of human existence may be of greater value than seeking proof through the scientific method or mathematics.

An understanding of reality may be available only through glimpses of what now appears ephemeral, such glimpses being of a probabilistic nature.

Quotes from the Upanishads

All is change in the world of the senses,
But changeless is the supreme Lord of Love.
Meditate on him, be absorbed by him,
Wake up from this dream of separateness.
(Shvetashvatara Upanishad)

 

Fools, dwelling in darkness, but wise in their own conceit and puffed up with vain scholarship, wander about, being afflicted by many ills, like blind men led by the blind. (Mundaka Upanishad)

 

To the seer, all things have verily become the Self: what delusion, what sorrow, can there be for him who beholds that oneness?  (Isa Upanishad)