Searching for proof of reincarnation and consciousness beyond our brains

NPR on Sunday morning had an interview with Jim Tucker, a psychologist at the University of Virginia who has studied hundreds of cases of potential reincarnation in children.

You can listen to it at this link. I can’t find any written text / a story that accompanies the interview, unfortunately. But one thing he said that resonated was the idea that our brains may be conduits or receivers for consciousness, which sounds right in line with Vedanta thinking. It also seems that these memories fade: one child he talks about had very strong memories around age 2 that they were able to trace to the death of a pilot in World War II; by age 5, the memories were more or less lost.

I searched for a little more on Tucker and found this and this:

In many parts of the world, some young children, usually between the ages of 2 and 5, speak about a previous life they claim to have lived. At the same time they often show behavior, such as a phobia, that is unusual in their family and/or not explained by any current life events but that seems concordant with the child’s statements about a previous life. In many cases of this type the child’s statements have been shown to correspond accurately to facts in the life and death of a deceased person; in many of these cases the families concerned have had no contact before the case developed. Some of the children have birthmarks and birth defects that correspond to wounds or other marks on the deceased person whose life a child remembers. In numerous cases postmortem reports have confirmed these correspondences. Older children may retain these apparent memories, but generally they seem to fade around the age of 7 .

The Division staff have been investigating these cases since 1961 and have published numerous articles and books about them. There is also a list of books on reincarnation which includes one book about Dr. Stevenson’s work by an editor at the Washington Post. The young subjects of these cases have been found most readily in certain parts of the world, such as South Asia. They are, however, also found in other areas of the world, and the Division has studied many cases in Europe and North America. We are interested in hearing about cases with any of the elements discussed here. See Contacting Us.  If you are a parent seeking advice about your child who seems to remember a previous life then see Advice to Parents.

Along with having traces of Vedanta, the whole endeavor of applying science to the ineffable is firmly of the Indian tradition, from my experience and study.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Searching for proof of reincarnation and consciousness beyond our brains”

  1. I LOVED reading this! I’ve heard this before, and often wondered about my past. When I was 3-5 I had an imaginary friend that I called Helgen. I told my parents that she lived in the linen closet in the hallway (haha). Anyway – when I moved away from St. Louis (5yrs old), I left Helgen there. I actually have very little memory of any of that… I just know it was a thing. I often wonder if I was speaking and acting out from a past life. I also have really realistic dreams of people that I am close with that I don’t know and have never met, and when I wake up, I am sad that they don’t exist. I really miss them dearly, and it was all just a dream. I often wonder if that was also a time from a past life seeping into my consciousness. What do you think? Do I sound silly, or do other people have these thoughts too?

  2. “Modern science tied up the two realms, Res Extensa and Res Cogitans and made us to understand that they are not independent and cannot be completely studied independently. Within the establishment of modern science some of the aspects of nature that did not strictly adhere to the realm of Res Extensa, which were therefore earlier condemned as unbecoming of scientists to talk about have become respectable. Reincarnation falls into this category Reincarnation is a very old belief and a large fraction of the world population believes it. For example Rene Descartes’ statement “What I have said is sufficient to show clearly enough that the extinction of the mind does not follow from the corruption of the body and also to give men the hope of another life after death” in 1641 confirms his belief in reincarnation. About 20 percent of those in the Western World whose religions shun reincarnation nevertheless believe it. According to opinion polls this percentage is rising. Lisa Miller, Religion Editor of Newsweek says that Americans are becoming more Hindus. According to 2008 Harris Poll 24% of Americans say they believe in reincarnation Steven J Rosen writes in The Reincarnation Controversy, Uncovering the Truth in World Religions (New Age Books) that belief in reincarnation allows us to see ourselves as architects of our own future. Rosen raises certain queries,‘ what is it that reincarnates from one body to another? Is it the soul? the mind? the intellect? To understand this we should suggest answer to these questions. We all know that there are four fundamental forces in the universe viz., gravitation force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. I have written a paper entitled ‘Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator’ and presented it at the 1st International Conference on Revival of Traditional Yoga held in Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla in January 2006. In this paper I have defined soul (individual consciousness), mind and body. According to this every point of action of Gravitational Force Field is individual consciousness or soul, electromagnetic force as the force of mind and weak and strong nuclear force as the gross material force which constitute physical frame of body. Consciousness is All Intelligent and pervades everywhere. Although all other remaining three forces are also intelligent but they are subordinate to Gravitational Force. THIS DESCRIPTION WILL HELP TO UNDERSTAND ‘WHAT IS IT THAT REINCARNATES FROM ONE BODY TO ANOTHER. According to Buddhism this is not the supreme atman or soul that ties one life to another, instead it talks about past lives as evolvement of consciousness, emergence of a new personality from the same stream of consciousness. Reincarnation is not an exclusively Eastern precept. It is contained in some form in almost every major religion and mystical philosophy. Research indicates that it was an accepted doctrine, at least in some quarters, at the time of Christ, and is still an integral part of some sects of the Jewish tradition. The Bible contain no condemnation of the principle of reincarnation, and in fact, when Christ was asked when Elijah would return, he answered that Elijah had returned, referring to John the Baptist. Sakina Yusuf Khan writes in an article A Night Of Forgiveness published in The Speaking Tree: “It (Shab-e-Barat) is also a festival associated with the dead. It is believed that the souls of the dead are set free on this night to visit their relatives.” What this indicates? This is a belief in reincarnation, of course in subtle body. Unaccomplished activities of past lives are also one of the causes for reincarnation. Some of us reincarnate to complete the unfinished tasks of previous birth. The is evident from my own story of reincarnation: “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state of mine. This was sort of REVELATION. HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth of Spiritual Head Radhasoami Faith. Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.” I am one the chief expounder and supporter of Gravitation Force Theory of God. This is most scientific and secular theory of God. This is the Theory of Universal Religion.” “

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