Ah, the cyclical nature of being. I’ve always been fond of philosophizing about concepts like soul fragmentation, reincarnation and the nature of existence. I’m quite at home in my beliefs, open to changing them should my experience dictate that they’ve become irrelevant, but I’ve never been interested in debate or in proving that I’m right and you’re wrong.
Belief and truth are fluid and subjective in my world, and to me that fluidity is the mark of mature psychology, although I’m aware that the culture at large views it quite differently.
The work I do definitely revolves around the belief that reincarnation and past lives are ‘facts’ of existence. When it comes down to it, I’m not too concerned about whether or not it’s Absolutely True, but instead concerned with the healing that can come from such a perspective and from tools that help us to engage life that way. Add to that the fact that so many of the world’s spiritual systems point towards cyclical phases of being, as well as my own experiences in alternate realities, and again I’m at home with my beliefs and can hold space for yours, too.
The Tibetan Buddhist understanding of death and the afterlife inform the kind of regression work I do. In short, it says that there are certain traumas that survive death, traveling through the various etheric bodies in between and throughout incarnations (I highly recommend watching this video for a compelling look at the Tibetan Book of the Dead).
My summary of the idea is this: when a person does not die consciously, they do not know what happens as they are transitioning out of the body. They often die with a phrase or ‘complex’ running through their head. That complex (e.g., “I always have to do it alone” or “If I don’t get away I’ll die!”) chases us through the bardo states as a demon or demons, and we jump into the first cave to hide. The cave, then, is the womb, and we burst into the world with the same complex active within us. I suppose this gives some credence to the idea that we’re born with PTSD.
There is one component of my belief system that I’m sometimes hesitant to approach or convey, especially to clients. I do believe that we choose at least some aspect of our experiences in each life — the parents we are born to and the time and place we arrive.
I don’t have an allegory for how this works, and I don’t have any ‘direct’ experience of it, as none of my bardo state memories include that component — although I’m quite familiar with the state of being confused and stuck in the afterlife — but it’s what rings true for my soul. If time is a sphere, and fragmentation is a natural state, perhaps part of us is somewhere in the clouds deciding on experiences while other parts are fleeing and still others are stuck, or happy and at rest. I’m sure there are plenty of texts on the subject.
The belief that ‘I chose this’ has brought me great solace at times. It allows me to make meaning out of events, particularly the difficult ones. I’m able to center myself in the knowledge that there is a lesson my soul is trying to learn. I’m able to imagine some aspect of myself, and perhaps the other that I am interacting with, floating in some other realm, looking down and laughing at the predicament we’ve gotten ourselves into in the great cosmic game called Humans Incarnating Unconsciously. It’s a framework that gives me perspective both in immediate situations and over the long view.
There is conflict, however. It is tremendously insensitive, and perhaps even detrimental, to convey this belief to someone who is currently experiencing grief or trauma, or someone who has experienced a nightmarish childhood, especially if it’s outside of their range of conceptualization. Victimization is such a complex thing and its processes need to be honored on whatever timeline they develop.
It is while pondering these things that I remember how important it is that experience play a central role in defining truth, and the importance of holding space for contrary and different beliefs while remaining grounded, although perhaps not entrenched, in our own. I suppose that’s where the Sagittarius-Gemini axis comes into play: Sagittarius being associated with Truth, and Gemini with curiosity and mapping and dialogue for the sake of dialogue (rather than winning). In any case, I’m looking forward to delving into these topics more in the months and years to come. There is so much to learn…and experience!