Dreaming of Past Lives
Dream experts say that dreaming of past lives is even more common than dreaming of the future. Sometimes we don't realize we're dreaming of ourselves in another body doing something that truly happened a long time ago. Recurrent dreams often indicate that our souls are trying to get over the past. For example, if you keep dreaming of a woman who falls down a flight of steps—and you wake up right before she dies in the dream—dream experts say this could have been you in a past life. Your soul still remembers the loss.
Some past-life dreams are simply brief hypnogogic images that sometimes deal with death. In the following dream, Michael glimpsed a past life during a relaxation session at the end of a yoga class. This dream is called “Revolutionary War”:
Dream experts say that choices and fears we had in past lives can, in fact, carry over into this one. Someone who has a fear of water, for example, could very well have died in a previous life by drowning. Pay close attention to your dreams. When you're looking for these clues, you will find them.
I was drifting off to sleep when I saw myself as a soldier with several other soldiers. We were all carrying rifles. The uniforms were from another time. I sensed it was the American Revolution. I'd no sooner glimpsed the image than an explosion of some sort ripped me apart. I watched the scenario dispassionately, even though I knew it was “me” who was killed. It was really vivid, a movie of the mind, and it ended with my death.
In Michael's case, the dream of being a soldier was startling, because in his current life he had refused to serve in the Vietnam War and had even been tried and convicted for his belief that the war was immoral. “Maybe my war experience in that other life affected my decision to avoid involvement in war in this life,” he says.
Bernard, a librarian residing in South Florida, recorded the following past-life dream. It provides a brief glimpse of another time and place. Pay attention to the detail. This dream ends with a provocative scenario regarding access to reincarnation dreams. Bernard's dream is called “A Trip to Nineteenth-Century London”:
In the dream, I found myself on a street with horse-drawn carriages moving past me and sewers running down the edge of a road made of stone. The road was bordered by sooty brick buildings. I was dressed in heavy dark clothing of another era and wore a brimmed hat. I was definitely in another time and place and sensed it was mid-nineteenth-century London.
The dream faded, but I didn't wake up. Instead, I found myself in front of a panel with a horizontal row of red buttons. Although there was no writing, no instructions, I knew that each button represented a life in a different time. When I held my hand near one of the buttons, I knew instantly when and where the life took place. One was in ancient Egypt and another in Rome at the time of Christ. Still another took place in France during the Renaissance. All I had to do was push a button and I'd be there. I grew excited by the possibilities and that was when I woke up.
Bernard was skeptical about reincarnation and thought his dream might relate to his own interests. He maintains a strong interest in world history. Yet, when it was pointed out to him that his interest in history could be related to his past lives, he admitted that was a possibility. Bernard remains on the fence about the reality of past lives, but he is looking forward to dreaming again of the control panel and pushing the buttons.
Bernard's skepticism isn't surprising. Reincarnation has not been widely accepted in the West, despite a growing interest in the concept. The reason is at least partially related to the prevalent Judeo-Christian heritage. There is passing mention of reincarnation in the Old Testament and more references in the New Testament.
The turning point in Christianity's relationship to reincarnation appears to have taken place in the Second Council of Constantinople (the Fifth Ecumenical Council of the Church) in A.D. 553. One of the Council's fourteen anathemas, or denunciations, stated: “If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows it, let him be anathema.”
A devout Christian who popularized reincarnation in the United States in the early twentieth century through his clairvoyant readings, Edgar Cayce refused to debate whether the New Testament endorses or rejects the belief. As he put it, “I can read reincarnation into the Bible and you can read it right out.”