Dr. Raymond Moody on the Cycle of Reincarnation & Past Life Memories

Raymond Moody on the Cycle of Reincarnation Past Life Memories

Final Episode – Courtesy of Gaia – Dr. Raymond Moody’s Near Death Experiences Series explores decades of his research into a place that many people call the afterlife. If we can believe that consciousness continues after the death of the body, what about existence through multiple lifetimes? Personal memories of reincarnation and past lives can provide powerful proof of the persistence of the soul. Dr. Raymond Moody shares stories of people who have found their own connections to previous lives. The commonalities of their tales reveal a conscious process for selecting the next life. From spontaneous memories to hypnotherapeutically induced experiences, he shares ways that people have come to realize that they have lived many lives.

(Guest Post by Dr Raymond Moody) I am Raymond Moody, and these are my thoughts on reincarnation. Where I’ve come to in my life is… I expect that something like reincarnation is true and the reason I came to it is very unusual and it has nothing to do with parapsychology and so on because my ideas about it come from two sources: number one ancient greek philosophy because in the United States there’s this myth that ideas about reincarnation first came into the west through India back in the 19th century, but that’s just simply not correct, because reincarnation was present as an idea at the very beginning of western civilization and Pythagoras, for example, who was the person who coined the term philosophy was a reincarnationist and he claimed to remember eight of his past lives.

Pythagorean Training to remember past lives and choose better a new life.

And he had some techniques that he was able to get his students to have that experience as well and as part of their Pythagorean training, when they woke up in the morning before they got out of bed they would have to retrace their steps of the day before like go through the entire day, step by step before they got out of bed, and then, if they mastered that, then they would have to go back one day further than that the day before and the reason for this training was they felt that if they could so exquisitely train their memories, then when they got into the situation of choosing their next life, they would remember what they had picked up in this life to be able to augment It, so you see, reincarnation was there at the beginning.

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Plato and Reincarnation – An event Boundary

Plato was a reincarnationist and had some very brilliant perceptions, I think, about the reincarnation process, one of them being that he made an articulate statement about why we don’t remember our past lives, and what he did was that he formulated it in terms of an experience that every one of us has had and it’s called in Psychology an event boundary.

What an event boundary is as an event boundary has to do with the fact that the mind puts things into little packets for processing, and when you get out of that packet, you may not have access to that information, and the most common example is that you’re in the living room and you think of something you want to get in the kitchen, so what happens as soon as you go through the doorway into the kitchen? What you forget, what you came in there for and that’s an event boundary and Plato articulated how that is involved in the reincarnation experience.

Children and Past Lives

So that was one input to me and the other has to do with my wonderful adopted children, and I should explain that my wife and I don’t attend religious ceremonies. We don’t take the kids to any religious things, and also we don’t talk about life after death, what we talk about is what’s for dinner, what’s the kid’s homework, and so on, so these kids have really been raised in isolation from this, and the way they found out, eventually that I had anything to do with life after death was looking me up on the Internet, so that’s the background.

Now, when Carter was five years old, he and I were lying on the bed watching tv and I was flipping through the channels, whereas carter became very anime and said dad that’s my village. What? so I turned it back. It was a documentary about village life in china, so carter said to me: yeah, that’s my village, and he could tell that. I was confused and he said yeah like you know before I came to you and mom.

I was in china with my other mom and dad and my brothers and sisters, and you know, and then he could tell I was still confused so then he said yeah and he said then I was up in the trees. Looking at you and mom down lying in the grass – and I knew exactly what he was talking about because five years before he came along my wife and I were on a tour of eating of Greece and we went to this archaeological site and the attendant could Tell we were just exhausted from our trip, so he said, lie down in the grass over there and take a nap well, there were trees all around us, and so what we were talking about was adopting a baby.

Okay, now my wife and I just didn’t, follow it up, it’s like you know. If you had gone on and asked questions, then you had a danger of shaping the story right, but we just don’t talk about this, but what this means is that carter sometimes brings it up even now, just like a couple of years ago, I was walking into The foyer of our house and he sort of purposely, took me aside, he looked at me, he said dad, you know I came here for you, don’t you? and I said yeah yeah.

Now my daughter Carolyn is blackfeet native american. Again we adopted her at birth. No religious background: we don’t talk to the kids about stuff like this, so she took these long walks to me and about I guess, eight or nine years ago, walking along our route and there was this old wooden bridge, she just loves to sit there and talk. So this one day out of nowhere, she said I don’t like this place and it was obvious that what she was talking about was the world. 

So I was sort of shocked and she said yeah and she said you know she said when you die, you just go up and you be with God, and he keeps you there till all the people you know while you’re alive have died, and then he sends you back as another person. So I said well what makes you think that and she said I just know in my mind and then she said, and I was with god and god pointed you out to me and he said you got to go down to be his daughter and I said Well, how did you feel about that and she said: oh, I didn’t want to do it.

I wanted to stay with my Gotti, but she said, but he pushed me down to be your daughter, and so I said well, are you glad you came anyway and she said yeah sure. Now again, I know we don’t follow these things up, but what that means is eventually when I went took my daughter to Japan about a year ago – and I heard her at another table holding forth about this – and she told this to the people on the Table so um I think that there’s reincarnation because that’s what my kids told me and I really believe them because believe me, when you have kids when you’re in your 50s, you observe, you know, it’s… you really do.

past life course

Who we really are?

It’s very difficult to define the essence of what we are, that inner thing that we identify as ourselves, and maybe because it’s so basic to us that there are not many words for it right.

I mean it’s just that rock bottom. You can’t get much further down in your analysis than that basic rock bottom sense of self-identity. You have and there aren’t any good words for it. I think of it as an um that what I consist of is a conscious locus, as it is a sort of locus of intense personal identity that I regard as and that it is the subject that I am talking about.

When I say the word, I, for example, and that it is the entity that is persisted through this life story – that I’ve lived, however, to get it beyond that becomes more confusing because granted, let’s say that I’ve been reincarnated, then what is the relationship between that? The conscious self that I am now and the conscious self that inhabited some other life in some previous century, so I mean – I just don’t know the answer to that.

But I mean I’m constantly grappling with it and trying to figure it out, but um. You know some of the greatest philosophers have said that it’s entirely an illusion. I think that’s what they think in Hinduism too.

Isn’T it that our sense of self is just really illusory, if it is an illusion that it’s the most persistent illusion, because even when everything else kind of turns out to be a dream or illusion, at least you feel like that? You are you that was the whole point of Descartes, you know like he was trying to find a premise that nobody could deny. So what he found in is “as long as I am thinking, I think I am just like if I’m thinking I am” but then to try to define in simple terms what that thinking is or that conscious process is very difficult.

Past Lives and Near Death Experiences

What Plato says is that, after you leave your body on this existence, then you go into some other realm and, after some length of time, has elapsed on this earth plane. For some reason you choose to go back and according to Plato anyway, there is a conscious process in selecting the life that you’re going to lead and that you consider different alternatives, and then that you choose someone that I gather that you would feel you would learn something from on rare occasions, people who have near-death experience will see something that relates to a previous life, and incidentally, the first thing I want to say is that it doesn’t have anything to do with the people’s religious training, because it happened that the first two of these I heard were from people from Georgia who were southern baptists, okay, so this was not in their training, but this wonderful woman.

I got to know very well who had a very profound near-death experience. This woman had lived in the same house all her life, and I knew her father and her two older sisters, and a lot of her relatives and friends when this woman was three years old, she ran out in front of her house, this would have been in the 1930s. She ran out in front of the house, and this was the era where before seat belts, right and so there was a car coming along and when this woman ran out into the street the car slammed on brakes and in that event, a three-year-old child who was standing in the front seat was dashed down and killed, and this was an event that took place in her life that I talked about with her father and her sisters, because you know this could be what a horror, you know, right now she said and her life review, that appeared, but there was this like filament that attached it to an event in some other place.

She said she doesn’t know where this was, but that in this version of it she was a child sitting on the book board. I guess they call it a carriage going along the street and the child who she recognized as the child, who had been killed in the car, ran in front of the horses and the driver pulled back on the reins and she was killed. And you know that’s extraordinary that it should be so literal a recounting until you get to thinking well. Of course, the only way you can really ever understand yourself is to see the effects that your actions and thoughts have had on other people.

So in the broader scheme of things, it would make perfect sense to me that we review every event in our lives from the point of view of other people too, because only by that process can we understand it once in a while.

Flash Forward and near-death experiences

Somebody tells me of a flash-forward. They say that as part of their near-death experience and maybe in connection with their life review, they get a run-through of what the rest of their life is going to be like and sometimes these come through in a very, very revealing the way if I’m allowed a license here to change details a little bit to not embarrass a living person, I will describe a woman who an executive in a very big organization who, let’s say at the age of 22, was involved in a car wreck during which she went through and met somebody and got married and had five kids, okay, so then she’s drawn back to the hospital and trying to tell the doctors I can’t be here: I’ve got a husband and five kids right, so you know so she withheld this, for a long time until she met somebody who was a philosophy, professor, so she told the story and then he said well, you should read Raymond Moody’s book, and that was the connection, but  in the real event, all those things happened and she married, the guy and then she had children and then there were other complications too, which had been foretold in this event.

Do we choose tragedy in our lives?

So yes – and that’s not the only one I’ve heard of I mean that’s just one that comes to mind but yeah, occasionally you hear people say that they get a flash-forward of their life, and Plato had an opinion about it. He said that you go around these cycles of life, but then you eventually get to this point where you can step off that wheel and go up to another level. I ask people all the time, I say “Let’s say that you were diagnosed with a horrible infection that required that you be isolated all by yourself on a desert island for 10 years, and let’s say that they took you out there in a cargo plane and there was plenty of room in the cold for all the food and water and medicine. You were going to need it for 10 years, but there was some extra room where they could have to say a DVD player and, let’s say 3,000 DVDs”. So what I ask people is, “would you choose all comedies right now of the years?” I’ve been asking this question, I have only heard three people say yeah most people say no, of course, I wouldn’t choose all comedies and then I say well, would you choose some Tragedies too and they say well sure, and then I say well when you were on that desert island watching those tragedies. would you be crying and they say of course because that’s the experience of watching a tragedy. 

Now what I’m getting at is that analogously? Let’s say: there’s some state of existence outside of this one, where I choose to come from that one into this one for some purpose.

It would make perfect sense to me that I would choose all kinds of suffering I mean just because you would want to know it from within. You would want to know how that feels, and so it’s perfectly plausible to me that from the framework outside of this one, we would choose to come into it, knowing that we were going to be having a certain kind of suffering because we know from that framework That it’s time-limited that you’ll be out of it.

But then, once you get into this framework, see that knowledge is blocked so that you’re faced there with the raw suffering without the insight, maybe the event that you chose it in the first place, but also that it will be over. I’ve done a lot of those past life regressions with my students, not because of my own interest actually, but in 1985, when I was teaching in this university, there was a sort of fad about that and my students wanted to know how to do it.

So, over a period of years I gathered, I don’t know how a couple of hundred people I guided through these past life regressions and I will say number one that it really set me back on what I thought about because you know what people say is that number one: these are all very hysterical and suggestible people and number two. this is everybody is always either Napoleon or Cleopatra. Those are the things that I thought about this, but then, when I started doing it, it’s really interesting because all the people I guided through nobody was ever about anybody, exceptional or historic.

These were just very workaday playing lives and different cultures, and so on, and I had my friend who does this guided me through it, and I was completely startled by it because I just it was totally different from what I had imagined. This was like hyper photographic. This was more clear than in a photograph, but also I had this really interesting, double perspective like I could look at these images and I could say well now I’m going to go into that and see how it was like from the character’s point of view, But then I could switch out and I could watch that character who identified as me doing it so it was like you could come in and out.

I gather that there must be ways that you can tap into these memories of past lives. However, I do it respect the Tibetan tradition. That says, you probably better leave it alone, and the reason is at Plato said a similar thing.

You know if at every moment, in our waking life, we were flooded with all this information from past lives. It would make it more difficult to concentrate on this task at hand. My research and thought over 50-plus years suggest to me that, basically, what a human being is, is a conscious entity that really appreciates narrative and story.

Because what are you but your story – and I think the essence of the identity of a person is that person’s life story. I sure hope that my children remember me favorably, that’s what I want to be remembered as a good father and with all my failings in it.

But to me, it’s entirely personal. My kids are in my grandson is what how I would like to be remembered in terms of professionally. I would like to be remembered as a scholar is that I would say that this guy Raymond Moody took 2 300 years of assumptions about nonsense and turned him around and showed that meaningless unintelligible language is not something to be reviled and debunked, but rather is something that can be a key to the understanding of consciousness itself. So I would like to be remembered as a student of philosophy because I don’t like to call myself a philosopher, a student of philosophy who figured

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