Have you ever been in a situation where you have felt that the event you are experiencing has happened before, and you seem to know what is going to happen next?
Maybe you have caught the eye of a stranger across the road, only to suddenly feel as if you know them intimately?
Or perhaps you have walked through an unknown street and seen a house that you feel you once lived in long ago?
Many of us dismiss these things as co-incidence, or a strange quirk of time, but for many others there is another explanation which seems to make a lot of sense. This explanation is founded on the belief that every individual is born more than once - in fact many times - in order to gain the necessary experience to reach perfection.
Some people have dreams, where they are the star player but in a time and circumstances that seem familiar, yet don't relate in any way to their present day existence. Others have strange irrational horrors, like fear of water or certain sounds that seem to conjure up images of uncontrollable panic.
Not all these things can be traced back to a hidden childhood experience, and for many there seems absolutely no rationality at all. Yet, those who believe in the philosophy of reincarnation say there is a simple explanation for these things - that we are reliving part of a memory that comes from another life in another time and another place, where events such as drowning or other such things have taken place.
The theory of reincarnation is not a new concept. The Hindu and Buddhist religions, to name but a couple, believe that we are all souls traveling through time, using as many bodies as is necessary to gain the right experience. They believe that it is totally impossible to experience everything, and learn all there is to know about life in just one incarnation.
It is deemed that we are all Divine Sparks, with a Spiritual Entity that lives for aeons of our time - an eternity to us. And that Spiritual Entity, in order to gain experience of the more earthly worlds, works through the vehicles of both the Soul and many incarnate Personalities, in order to achieve its purpose.
As the Earth Plane is extremely dense and heavy, the physical body wears out long before that of the Soul or Spirit, and therefore new bodies have to be reincarnated in order to finally complete the overall task. Incarnate Personalities come into life to learn the lessons they have to learn, and when that is done, they go, only to return when other lessons are deemed necessary to experience.
Why don't we remember all of our lives?
It has been argued by skeptics that, if this is true, why do we not remember all of the many lives instead of just snatches of them. Surely we would need to do this if we are to learn from experience?
However, it is thought that there is only so much a physical brain can absorb before it goes into overload. As we age we tend only to remember distant events and often forget those more recent, unless they are extremely significant. When we are old we have so many memories it is impossible to "store" them all in the "conscious mind", but they do remain dormant in the "subconscious" which remembers absolutely everything.
(These memories are sometimes drawn back into our "conscious awareness" by hypnotherapy, when used as a therapeutic aid to remember and deal with suppressed emotions.)
It is also said that, as we pass through death, the physical consciousness - which is our brain - dies, but the memories remain in the subconscious, which is not part of our physical body.
After death these experiences are processed, and valuable information only is then passed into Soul Memory (sometimes known as the Higher Mind). It is rather like the "all seeing eye" that observes and knows everything that we have learned so far.
And so the person travels into the next incarnation, taking both the subconscious memories and the accrued wisdom with them as they move slowly towards perfection.
A protective mechanism?
Thus we come into life with all past memories still in tact but "hidden" from our conscious mind. In a way it could be likened to a protective mechanism, stopping us from getting caught up in the horrors of, or even the hankerings for, the past which could prevent us from giving our full attention to the present task at hand.
Nevertheless, because of the strength of their impression, certain experiences make such an impact that they tend to infiltrate the consciousness of the new incarnation, and this could explain why we have these strange memories and reactions that don't seem to relate to our present life at all.
The philosophy of reincarnation encompasses, and seems to explain, many aspects of experience that have hitherto remained a mystery. Some would argue that these mysteries of life were never meant to be explained, but there are others who believe that we all have a responsibility to find out as much as we can about the seemingly strange, which means, perhaps, being open to examining all ideals and beliefs with an open mind?