Tag Archives | Reincarnation

Memories of a past life can trigger PTSD

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Unexplained Mysteries:

Children with vivid memories of a past life may be vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson, a psychologist at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik who has been researching cases of children with memories of a past life, has documented multiple cases in which the actual recollection of dying has led the child to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

This phenomenon is thought to be most prevalent in cases where the death being recalled was traumatic, such as in the case of a soldier being killed on the battlefield or the victim of a plane crash.

Haraldsson found that children with the most vivid past-life memories frequently exhibited behavioral problems including difficulty concentrating, outbursts of anger and an intense fear of the particular situation in which they had allegedly perished during their previous existence.

The results of these studies, as always, remain both controversial and inconclusive.

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Why a Young Boy is Claiming To Be Reincarnated Marine

via Discovery News:

A four-year-old Virginia boy is claimed to have had a past life as a Marine killed in 1983, prompted by his parents and a new reality TV show called “Ghost Inside My Child.” The boy, Andrew Lucas, made comments to his mother suggesting to her that he’s lived in a past life and died in a fire many years earlier.

Many people believe in reincarnation, from Shirley MacLaine to the Dalai Lama, but there is no scientific evidence for past lives. Usually, alleged memories of past lives emerge during psychotherapy or hypnosis when people are encouraged to fantasize about other lives they may have led (often of famous or important people such as Cleopatra or Caesar).

It remains scientifically unproven, however, because those who claim to have had past lives are unable to give historically accurate, provable details from other eras. Other times people glean information from films and television shows and unconsciously incorporate them into their memories, in a process psychologists call confabulation.

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Did Carl Sagan Believe in Reincarnation?

Death FirstbornNeurologica’s Dr. Steven Novella writes about Carl Sagan and whether he believed in reincarnation:

Off stage I found Raymond Moody to be a very nice guy. He is a philosopher of logic, and in general seems to understand a great deal about skepticism. He rejects the pseudoscience of ESP and other paranormal claims. Yet – he seems to have a soft spot for claims of the afterlife. Not surprising since he wrote the book on NDEs in the 1970s.

via NeuroLogica Blog » After the Afterlife Debate.

Eben Alexander was also very friendly, as I expected given his interviews and everything I have read about him.

Although interesting, debates are terrible venues for carefully dissecting the evidence. There is no time to look up references and check claims. Two times Eben Alexander and I came to an “impasse” and had to simply move on.

One such impasse (the one that seemed to generate the most internet discussion) was when Alexander cited Carl Sagan as believing in reincarnation.

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Ken Wilber: Death, Rebirth and Meditation

Grey-Dying500A classic Ken Wilber essay, covering what the great traditions have said about the process of death and reincarnation.

This information page gives an overview of Kenneth Smith, links to many resources, and posts scans of his classic run of TCJ columns. The scans contain his most essential writing, but there is a Tumblr blog and a Gaim library that provide quotes from longer pieces. Here are some choice fragments.

via Integral Life:

Some type of reincarnation doctrine is found in virtually every mystical religious tradition the world over. Even Christianity accepted it until around the fourth century CE, when, for largely political reasons, it was made anathema. Many Christian mystics today now accept the idea. As the Christian theologian John Hick pointed out in his important work Death and Eternal Life, the consensus of the world religions, including Christianity, is that some sort of reincarnation occurs.

Of course, the fact that many people believe something does not rank it true.

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Reality TV Show Planned Focusing On Children Who Recall Their Past Lives

My spin on this would be a Maury Povich-style “my bad kid” episode focusing on children who are the reincarnations of Nazi officers, bloodthirsty cannibals, et cetera. Via the Huffington Post:

A Los Angeles production company is currently holding a nationwide casting call for children who claim to have, or have had, past life memories for a new reality series, “Ghost Inside My Child,” scheduled to air on the Bio Channel later this year.

A pilot episode of the series aired a few months ago, with three kids who had gone through various steps of recovering memories of their alleged past lives.

One case from the first show concerns James Leininger. At the age of two, Leininger reportedly started having terrifying nightmares of his death. Ultimately, the family came to believe that he was the reincarnation of James Huston, a fighter pilot who died in World War II at Iwo Jima.

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Reincarnation as a Plausible Explanation

One of the things that surprised me most about attending the Parapsychological Association conference in Durham, North Carolina this year was how areas of science that receive the most criticism for being 'pseudo-scientific' are, in some cases, areas where the very basic elements, the most elegant elements, of the scientific method can be explored. Dr. Robert Almeder, Georgia State University, wrote the introduction to Chris Carter's new book Science and the Afterlife Experience, from Inner Traditions/Bear & Co., and he speaks here of the Dr. Ian Stevensen's research at the Univ. of Virginia on cases in which the data seems to point to reincarnation as a plausible explanation. Rather than scoffing and dismissing this outright, Dr. Almeder presents a provocative argument for why such investigations fit very soundly within the scientific milieu.
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Living With The Jesus Of Siberia

The Church of the Last Testament is equipped with solar energy, vegetable gardens, and trampolines, money is meaningless, and children sing pop songs and chase after adorable animals. As far as 21st-century Jesus reincarnations, this has to be one of the most convincing:
Deep in Siberia's Taiga forest is Vissarion, a cult leader who looks like Jesus and claims to be the voice of God. He's known as "the Teacher" to his 4,000 followers...who [possess an] unflinching belief in UFOs and the Earth's imminent demise.
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The Little Lama from Columbia Heights, Minnesota

SamsaraAllie Shah writes in the Star Tribune:
It's morning time and a little boy with a shaved head and a face shaped like the moon chants a Tibetan prayer. His high-pitched voice echoes inside the Columbia Heights bedroom that his father has transformed into a lavish prayer room. In here, the 4-year-old forsakes his cartoons and toys to study scripture and learn to pray the Buddhist way. Big for his age, he looks bigger still perched on an ornate chair draped in crimson and saffron robes. "Only for lamas," explains his father, Dorje Tsegyal, sitting cross-legged on the floor at his son's feet. Jalue Dorjee, you see, is believed to be no ordinary boy.
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Inside Australia’s Reincarnated Jesus Cult

Alan Miller is an affable young Aussie who claims to be Jesus Christ returned to Earth. (And his girlfriend says she's Mary Magdalene to boot.) Miller has amassed several dozen worshipers, "television soap stars" among them, who have moved onto his sixteen-acre woodland compound in Queensland to be closer to their prophet. Being the son of God, he naturally has some entertaining life stories up his sleeve, including the time he gave relationship advice to Gandhi (in heaven). Add in a George Harrison hairdo, and you can see the appeal:
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