Past Lives: A Reason to Believe
by Carol Bowman
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show us that reincarnation is true. When my two children were
young, they both told me of their past lives and, as a result,
were healed of chronic problems. It changed my life forever. Their
experiences taught me that reincarnation is a real phenomenon
and that our souls really do return to Earth to live again in
a new body.
other evidence for reincarnation, up to that point, was as convincing
to me. Since reincarnation was not something that was taken seriously
while I was growing up, it was something foreign, taboo, within
the realm of superstition. In our Western, Judeo-Christian culture
we are taught that we live, we die, then we spend eternity in
some cloudy heaven or flaming hell, depending on our conduct in
life. End of story.
even as a child, this only-one-life paradigm never made sense
to me. I wondered, ‘why are some people born into good lives
with loving parents and plenty to eat, while other children are
born to poverty and suffering.' That didn't seem fair. Why would
a loving God play favorites?
in college in the late sixties, I was swept into the current of
Eastern mysticism. To my delight, I discovered the philosophy
of reincarnation and karma. What a revelation! In this new context
of multiple lifetimes, I realized that life is a continuing journey,
so the inequities of a single life made more sense. Yet it was
still too abstract. I still couldn't see how reincarnation affected
years later, I began to understand.
1988 my five-year-old son, Chase, developed a severe phobia of
loud noises. We first noticed it at a Fourth of July fireworks
display. This hysterical fear of loud booming sounds seemed to
come out of nowhere. I couldn't attribute it to anything in his
short life. But when I calmed him down and asked him in a non-judgmental
way about his fear, he recounted in vivid detail his life and
death as a Civil War soldier. He told his story from the realistic
perspective and with all the appropriate emotions of an adult
who had actually been in the confusion and terror of battle. There
was no way that Chase, with the limited experience of a five-year-old,
could have known what he knew. I was stunned. And even more amazing,
after he spoke of his harrowing ordeal on a battlefield, his phobia
of loud booming sounds - and a chronic physical problem - immediately
disappeared. Until that moment, I had no idea that children could
remember their previous lives. And soon after, my daughter had
a similar experience. In both cases, I was surprised to see how
remembering a past life could heal. Suddenly, reincarnation became
something very real, personal, and practical.
by how much this had helped my two children, I began my research.
I first started talking to parents in my own community of Asheville,
NC. I found parents with similar stories of their three and four-year-olds
telling them that they remembered "when they were big before."
the research of Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia.
This eminent psychiatrist has been documenting cases of spontaneous
past life recall in children for forty years. I was amazed to
learn that he has hundreds of verified, meticulously documented
cases from cultures all over the world which confirmed what I
was finding in my own community - young children have real past
with this news, I started to look outside my own community for
cases. They are everywhere. The past life memories surface totally
spontaneously between the ages of two and seven, without prompting
from anyone. Generally, after the age of seven, the memories fade.
life memories manifest in different ways. Perhaps the most visible
way is when children make specific statements. In addition to
speaking of their previous lives, children may have specific behaviors,
phobias, talents, and even physical characteristics that correspond
to a past life. From what the children are showing us through
their memories, there are aspects of the soul that transcend death
and manifest in future lifetimes as distinct personality traits.
example, one two-year-old, Tommy, seemed to know everything about
flying propeller planes. When his mother asked him how hew knew
so much, he described a former life as a kamikaze pilot in Japan
who remembered his death when he flew his plane into a ship. Tommy
grew up, joined the Navy, and was stationed in Japan! In Tommy's
case, there are many ways his past life memory continued to manifest
in this life.
I began to understand more and more about the phenomenon, I realized
I needed to write a book to share what I had been finding. I wanted
to reassure parents who find this in their own children that it
is safe. It is a natural part of a child's spiritual development.
And it can be healing too.
1997, Children's Past Lives was published. I began receiving e-mails
from readers around the world sharing their own stories. One of
these e-mails changed my thinking about reincarnation. It was
from Kathy, a mother in Chicago, who believed that her first son,
James, who had died of neuroblastoma in 1980 at the age of two
had been reborn in 1992 as her fourth child, Chad. She knew it
was true - there were physical marks on Chad's body which exactly
corresponded to a surgical scar and tumors James had. Chad also
had an uncanny knowledge of James's life and death, details no
one in his family knew except his mother.
other cases like Kathy's in which people reported that a deceased
loved one had returned to the same family as a new child. I collected
these remarkable, true stories in, Return From Heaven, my second
book. Most of the people who contacted me had no prior belief
in reincarnation before they witnessed the signs in a child in
the family: the specific, idiosyncratic personality traits - behaviors,
attitudes, abilities - that match those of the loved one who passed
away, the reported specific statements made spontaneously about
events in the life of the deceased that the child could not possibly
have learned, and, in some cases, a birthmark or birth defect
on the present child that matched a fatal wound, surgical scar,
or disease of the deceased - something that could not be attributed
to heredity, as in Chad's case.
girl in California, for example, suddenly burst into song one
day singing ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo' in its entirety. This
had been her deceased grandmother's favorite song. And, as she
grew, the child began to show many more signs that convinced the
family that she really was the grandmother reborn.
another case, three-year-old Peter remembered details of a house
fire that killed his uncle and grandfather some twenty years before.
No one in the family ever talked about it. And Peter's mother,
who had been only two when her father and brother had died, had
no memory of that horrible night. Yet Peter knew all about it,
and he described it as if he had been there. He also had a phobia
stories are amazing, and they're important. They present us with
a unique window on how reincarnation works. By comparing the personality
of the deceased with the new child, we can see what specific qualities
of the soul pass from one lifetime to the next. We see that reincarnation
is not a random roll of the cosmic dice. Instead, there are discernible
reasons why a soul chooses a particular family—and sometimes
the same family - to be born into.
past life memories give even rational people a reason, based on
physical evidence, to believe that the soul does not die after
death, but can continue again in a new body. This is a great source
of comfort, meaning, and hope in this world of suffering and death.
Bowman is a world renown researcher studying spontaneous past-life
memories in children. Carol's books, the groundbreaking,"Children's
Past Life Memories," and her newest book, "Return from
Heaven," share this fascinating research. Unsolved Mysteries'NBC)
aired a full segment on Carol's work; the segment is now in constant
rotation on the Lifetime cable channel. Carol was featured on
the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1994 and is frequently appearing on
radio talk shows all across North America. For further information
check our www.childpastlives.org And www.ReincarnationForum.com
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