..The Intuitive Times


Children's Past Lives: A Reason to Believe

by Carol Bowman

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Children 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.

No 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.

But 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?

When 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 me personally.

Twenty years later, I began to understand.

In 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.

Inspired 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."

I discovered 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 life memories.

Fortified 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.

Past 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.

For 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.

As 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.

In 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.

I received 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.

A two-year-old 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.

In 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 of fire.

These 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.

Children's 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.

Carol 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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