Who Were You?

There is a saying that if we do not learn our history, we are doomed to repeat it.  As someone who believes that the whole meaning of life is to learn, I like this saying.  Just as politicians and world leaders should know the history of their countries, so we too should know our own past.  All of those lessons, successes, failures, small victories, and great sorrows add up to make us who we are.

What if we added an extra layer, though?  What if we considered past lives?  Many cultures and religions believe in reincarnation, and for today’s post, I ask you to entertain the idea too if you already do not.

I believe that we each go through many lifetimes, gathering experiences and memories and skills, so that we can grow.  I also believe that those experiences and skills carry over into each successive lifetime.  Think of it this way: each life is like a lab class where we put different theories to the test.  Hopefully, if you’ve done your homework well, you don’t have to keep doing the same lab exercises over and over in each lifetime.

So take a good inner look at yourself now.  What are your strengths, weaknesses, tendencies?  If you look at those as a whole, who might you have been in a past life?  For those wanting to comment, come up with a brief sketch of  a single past lifetime and share it here.

Me?  Well, I know that in this lifetime, I love Japanese art, have studied several forms of martial arts, and very much value things like honor, strength, and  balance.  So I am going to guess that there was at least one samurai lifetime in my past.  I can definitely see myself in 16th-century Japan, serving a shogun with pride and working hard to uphold the samurai code of honor.

Now, how about you????

6 responses

  1. Before I begin, let me state that, while I do not follow any organized religion, I do respect them and those who do follow them. I may say a few things here that will seem insulting and disrespectful. Please be assured that that is not my intent. Also, I will be using the word “soul”. It is the best word for what I mean and it is not meant to convey any other meaning than the one I intend it to mean.
    On occasion, I have spoken with Christian friends of mine about this topic. I have been told that in Christianity, there is no room for reincarnation. It is believed that our souls are sent to Earth to learn about and understand some weakness or flaw.
    Notice that I said weakness or flaw and not weaknesses or flaws. I cannot see that humans are so close to perfection that we only need to learn one thing. To me, it only makes sense that we go around a few times and work our way to perfection.
    Now, as far as individual past lives are concerned, I have no idea how a person can know what or who they were in past lives. I guess if you look at yourself and reverse the good qualities about you, you can come up with a general idea of what’s been learned, but there is no way to know how many times you’ve been reincarnated to learn it.
    For instance, I could say that I was probably not a nice person, especially to women, at some point, and that I was very impatient. Did I learn all I need to know about those two attributes at the same time, or was I a rapist in one life and a spoiled prince in another. Maybe younger souls learn many lessons per go-round and as they age, they fine tune themselves.
    I have one more question in this reply. Do physical traits count as lessons? What I mean is, does a soul get to wonder what it’s like to live as a short person, or a person whose index fingers are longer than their ring fingers and then live in a person with that trait? If that’s the case, then the number of reincarnations would be near infinite.
    I don’t know who, or what I was in past lives, but then, I’m not sure I know who, or what I am in in this life. I can only hope my soul does.

    • This is a wonderful response, and it shows great thought and wonder, two of the most important qualities for this blog! Of course, there is no way for anyone to know the answers to these questions; I think we can only find the theories that work for each of us. To answer your question, I do think that physical traits count as lessons. I think we have spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental lessons to learn. I would also have to think that you are right. . . the number of reincarnations would be infinite.

      Thank you so much for taking your time to think about and reply to this!


      • To take my last question even further, do souls get to make up traits, and thus create abnormalities in their human body?

      • Again, just my opinion here, but I believe they do. I picture a kind of “Cosmic Coffeehouse” where souls hang out before reincarnating. There, souls can mingle and ponder (kind of the way we do here!) and decide what sort of relationships, issues, and traits they will have in their next lifetime. . .

  2. To go even further, taking into account the above arguments, wouldn’t it stand to reason that we humans cannot be held accountable for any of our actions in that they can all be called “lessons”? Egads, between infinite reincarnations and fault-free living, I’ve just reasoned away Heaven.

    • Well, as for accountability, I think we are definitely accountable, just not necessarily within the one lifetime. It may take two or more for the scales to balance. I imagine a partnership between soul and earthly self. Our mission is to get those two on the same page. In other words, the soul is like the teacher, and the self is like the student. We physical beings are charged with learning our lessons set forth by the soul.

      By the way, thank you for putting so much thought into this! I am happy that you are participating in this blog’s “salon.”


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