Here’s what “the Father of NDE Research” Dr. Bruce Greyson thinks about reincarnation:
“What is my personal view of rebirth? Many of the cases that we have are unexplainable in terms of western medicine, but they are also unexplainable in terms of the reincarnation hypothesis. Sometimes you will see two children who seem to remember the same past life. Sometimes you will see a child who remembers the past life of someone who died when the child was six months old, so the two lives overlap. So it is not a clear model that we can follow. When I talk to near-death experiencers, they always say — when they start out explaining their experience — they say first words cannot explain my experience. I cannot describe it for you. And then I say, ‘That’s great, tell me all about it.’ So we force them to tell us what they experience and we know that they are not telling us what they experience; they’re putting into words things that don’t fit into words. And I think the same is true of the rebirth memories. What actually happens is something that we — that our brains — cannot understand. So the models that we come up with do not really approach the reality. So if you ask me what I believe, I say that what happens after death is something that I can’t possibly understand while I’m in this brain.”
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And here are some comments from NDEr Howard Storm that echoes Bruce Greyson’s thoughts:
Part III: 11:44 – 16:16
In this portion of the interview Howard mentions that he didn’t believe in reincarnation, in spite of the fact that he remembered a life as a small girl living in a concentration camp in World War II. Based on his conversations with Jesus, Howard came to believe that the universe is not only teaming with life, but that a time will come when we can share the experience of beings living in other realms and worlds NOT by traveling to their worlds in space ships, but by sharing experiences telepathically. He felt a similar process was at work with reincarnation…
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To learn more about Emanuel Swedenborg, go here.
“The concept of reincarnation in its conventional form of a progression of lifetimes, running sequentially one after the other, wasn’t supported by my NDE. I realized that time doesn’t move in a linear fashion unless we’re using the filter of our physical bodies and minds. Once we’re no longer limited by our earthly senses, every moment exists simultaneously. I’ve come to think that the concept of reincarnation is really just an interpretation, a way for our intellect to make sense of all existence happening at once.
“We think in terms of ‘time passing,’ but in my NDE, it felt as though time just is, and we’re moving through it. This means that not only do all points of time exist simultaneously, but also that in the other realm, we can go faster, slower, or even backward and sideways…”
David Sunfellow writes:
While it is helpful to conceptualize reincarnation as a process in which we reincarnate from one life to the next, when you study NDEs as a whole this is clearly NOT what is happening. What is actually happening is that there is no time, and everything is happening right now. Moreover, since we are all connected, we have the ability to pop in and out of every kind of experience imaginable, including past, present, and future lives.
Even though reincarnation is not what is actually happening, it is still a helpful concept. The perception that we grow and evolve are also time-based illusions. But while we are in this world, we don’t get much traction until we understand that believing (and perhaps even knowing) we are perfect beings doesn’t instantly transform us into one. Instead, we grow, evolve, learn. We begin as babies, then become toddlers, children, pre-teens, teens, young people, adults, seniors. Everything in this world obeys these laws. From where I’m sitting, reincarnation is cut from the same cloth. It’s not ultimately true, but it’s a helpful concept. I think it also helps to loosen the vice grip of materialism that has been strangling western minds for ages. When children report a former life as another person and can tell you many important facts about their former lives, well, that can cause even the most die-hard skeptics to scratch their heads and wonder if there is more going on in life than they suspect.
On the other hand, there are plenty of believers in reincarnation who take it too far. Instead of working to be a better person this life, they claim that they were some exalted person from another life and attempt to gain credit (and sometimes money and careers) from living off someone else’s glory.
So, whether we are believers of reincarnation or not, there are plenty of potholes we can fall into. That’s why I think the best philosophy is probably the one that holds concepts like reincarnation loosely and focuses, instead, on the basics: becoming the most loving and caring person we can be in our current incarnation.
For those who might be interested, there is a resource page up on NHNE Pulse that explores reincarnation and current past life research in greater detail.
You can find more information about reincarnation on near-death.com.
More Food For Thought: