Saturday, March 24, 2007

Old souls ....

Last night, we had some interesting discussions.

I suspect most of us want to believe we are "old souls". It implies a certain wisdom and experience that will place us just a bit "above" the unwashed masses. We want to believe we come here with something extra that will make our lives more meaningful and more fulfilling because we have an understanding of our purpose here.

Personally, I believe that is a very western concept. It's competitive. It's a way to feed our egos by believing we have an advantage over most others.

I've studied this stuff for a long time and am very, very aware ~ sometimes painfully aware ~ that I am a new soul. It's not too likely that I've hung around this neighborhood very many times before. I still get lost too easily. If I had to make a wild, wild guess, I'd say I've had perhaps four lifetimes.

Not all of them were in the East, unless Poland would be considered "East". I once had a past-life reading that indicated my most recent life before this one was spent in Eastern Europe. I was a very ordinary person who died in the Holocaust, specifically at Auschwitz. This makes some sense to me because as a young kid, I used to weep inconsolably whenever I heard about it. It wasn't empathy crying. It was keening, weeping, uncontrollable tears that would cause me to lose my breath. That held true until my mid-teens when it somehow resolved and I was able to discuss it and hear about it with some semblence of rationality.

Some theories of reincarnation would say that is not possible because my birthdate is too close to the end of WWII. They say there are at least 100 years between incarnations. I don't subscribe to that particular theory because time itself is a linear concept, invented by us for our convenience. In the spirit world, there is no time. I believe we cycle when we're meant to cycle and it could be 100 years or 2 days. It depends on the soul's lessons and needs.

In another lifetime, I was a selfish, inconsiderate, horrid person who likely used others and discarded them with some abandon. I don't know the specifics or the location of that lifetime but I believe much of my karma in this lifetime is tied to that one.

Most likely, my first incarnation was in Thailand (or Siam, as the case may be). That is why it is "home". It is where my soul's tentacles feed into the earth and remain planted. When I was in Khon Kaen, I met several people whom I believe to be "soulmates", people I've known in that and perhaps other lifetimes. These are the souls who cycle with us each time. We always find them. (Ajahn S., as an example, is one of those people. My mother is one of them. There's no guarantee that a "soul mate" is a positive influence. It's easy to confuse this term with the romantic concept of "soul mate" but it actually means anyone who comes into our lives that contributes to our growth. That means a completely toxic person could very well be a "soul mate".)

The Balinese believe we are each born with "four brothers", four guides, who are always with us. They name their "brothers" and talk with them. That's just another twist on the guardian angel belief that seems to hold in most of the world's religions.

Thai people actually build a little house for their spirit guides and ancestors called San Phra Phum. I have done this as well and find it kind of comforting and familiar. That tells me that it is something from "home". Our first lifetime is very much like our earthly childhood. That is where we learn the basics. Most of the choices and patterns we develope come from our soul's "childhood", too. Just like an earthly lifetime, we continue cycling as we grow, change, develope and confirm certain beliefs and ways of life.

Well, at least that's my take on it. It would be interesting to hear what you believe, even if it is that I am full of baloney. Do you have an affinity for a particular time in history or a particular place?




Julie Pippert said...

(Note, after this, I'm going down to some older topics of yours that I finally finished processing and want to finally add comments to. Just a heads up. :) )

This is an very interesting topic...and another one of my buttons. LOL

My mother and her new agey friends did the past life readings. At one, the man insisted I was an old soul who had lived often.

He said my part as "daughter" in this life was a huge break in tradition for me. I was usually "matriarch."

He said my mother was usually my daughter (my only daughter, that I often suffered much loss of children) and my sister usually my grand-daughter (who also tends to die young).

Well wasn't that all the joy.

Allegedly I have lived often, tragically, possibly badly and apparently have not learned my lesson.

The weird bit is that our entire lives together, my mother has ALWAYS deferred to me. He couldn't know that---he never even met me or saw us together. He couldn't know that by age 5 I felt in charge of the family. The other weird bit is the conception grief I subsequently suffered, and the sometimes suffocating anxiety I have always about my kids, losing them.

I am inexplicably intrigued by certain points in history (spend more time looking back than forward) and have very strong opinions (oddly) about certain events---certain parts of the Roman Empire (I mean really, what an unreasonable hatred of Constantius II---he's like Bush to me), ~18th century New England, and some medieval times.

Why is any of this? I don't know.

I'm torn on this topic. The new agey stuff annoyed me endlessly; I basically rejected it---it frustrated my practicality. And yet, I study Sufism. And yet, my mind is open to it.

I don't think old soul should imply any kind of superiority per se. It might just mean "slow learner." Cite: self. LOL

But I agree it could be one more vehicle for competition, as you said.

It could also just mean "jerk who hasn't finished or possibly even started repenting."

For an alleged old soul, Chani, I am too often lost, as well. I have the smarts to know there are times to be assertive and times to let go and let God. I often lack the wisdom to distinguish between the two, though.

For an alleged new soul, Chani, you display remarkable wisdom. :) (Did all of that just come out demeaning or condescending? UGH not my intention.)

I think any of this is possible.

I do think that regardless of how and when and where our sould experienced its childhood (this life...or another possibility) we do imprint certain patterns that we often need to confirm or deny.

Anonymous said...

The universe is really, really, big. I think it's unlikely that you only existed on this planet, in such a narrow time frame, and only in a human body. I believe we've all been around for a while.

We are stardust
We are golden
We are billion-year-old carbon
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden…

meno said...

It's funny you should write about this today, as i was talking about it with someone yesterday.

If i had to guess about such things, i think i am a new soul too.

Gobody said...

Chani, I was under the wrong impression (obviously) that you didn't believe in reincarnation. I have already mentioned something about my feelings/experience with reincarnation on my blog "finding home". I think I was a German pilot/working with rockets during WWII in my last life. (I hope that wouldn't make us enemies :)). I also "feel" that I have been more than once in Holland, at least once as a man and once as a woman. Both might be in 18th-19th century. I don't have any feelings to anything earlier than that, but I had emotional reactions to Belgrade (in the most negative way), and to a monastery in Greece (just a fleeting feeling). Both might be linked to an earlier life but I am not sure.

I never had a reincarnational reading, but that would be interesting.

MsLittlePea said...

Funny you should mention Auschwitz. When I was about 4 or 5 I used to have really horrible nightmares about being lined up with a few people and shot with a gun. We were all killed with one bullet because we were forced to stand so close together. In this dream I was an older, very skinny,bald man. I used to scream for my parents and when I told them about my dream, they would look at me as if I were crazy. The dreams stopped around age 10. I never forgot about it but when I learned about the death camps and all the other autrocities in Europe in school, I never thought about that dream. Until that movie Schindler's List came out. I saw that scene and couldn't breathe. It still gives me goos bumps. My parent's still remember and we talk about it all the time because it's a little odd for a child whose only tv experience consisted of Tom and Jerry to have such vivid dreams like that. I'm not sure if I beleieve in re-incarnation, in fact I'm not even sure what I believe anymore. But whenever anyone talks about re-incarnation, I always think of that dream.

People think I'm a New Agey crazy person when I tell this story so, of course, I don't tell it very often.

Laurie said...

Sometimes in my sleep, I speak a strange sounding, singsong language. A friend taped it once and a few of the words were determined to be Polynesian. I imagine it is from a previous incarnation, although I don't have any other recollections of that life.

Like Mspea, I don't talk about it very often.

Anonymous said...

When I was young I used to dream of a cobblestone road. I can still it. It was dark, night time and it was raining, there were street lights, but old fashioned ones that had to be lit by hand. I used to have this dream quite often, not anymore though.
Who knows?
I would like to think I'm an old soul but judging by my behavior and my life, I have no basis for that belief. I have a lot to learn and I glad about that, gives me hope for old age. I don't want to ever stop learning.

jen said...

ah. so glad you wrote about this....i've wondered about this, and with no real understanding have to think i was homeless, or responsible for others losing their homes (i shudder) in another lifetime. probably in another country... i can't figure it any other way.

Anonymous said...

A couple of people have mentioned dreams.

I've dreamed of the same city all my life; the same streets, the same buildings, the same people. I've even drawn maps of it, and asked people, "Does this look familiar?" So far, no.

But I never thought of it as a someplace I've been, I've thought it was someplace I'm going.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the American Dream's features have changed: would it be that you all have exhausted its ancient resources and need other dreams?

Suzy said...

Dear Chani,

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my post about my daughter. I always read your comments at Potato Prints.

I loved this post; it is something I think about a lot. I think more in terms of my daughter who died, than those that are living. But it makes me curious -- what is my relationship to my living daughters, on a deeper level? On the surface it sure is different for each of them!

I chuckled at the concept of old soul/new soul as a competition. Nyah, nyah, nyah -- my soul's older than your soul! I can hear my two daughters now...

I have to go back and read some of your other posts now. This one certainly spoke to me.Thanks.

Stephen Newton said...

Old souls, new souls, found again soulmates. Yes, it's all true. When I landed in the mountains, I discovered a host of people I've known before. They were all too familiar, too willing to accept me. Apparently our spirit circle is never too far away and life opens up to let us find each other again.

Pam said...

This is a topic that I have discussed with friends for as long as I can remember. I don't know if I believe in reincarnation but keep an open mind. There have been so many moments when a new place or person seems like home, and there are dreams of situations that have never been a part of my life.

It is a vast and mysterious universe and in spite of the answeres given to us by science, there is much we do not understand.

As for being a new or old soul, I have felt like both so perhaps I am a teenager. =)

Thailand Gal said...

Julie, I've never heard a New Age reader dare to tell a person he or she might be a new soul. Seriously. Never.

In the long run, this seems to be the only thing that makes sense. It explains with logic why some people have (seemingly) seamless lives while others suffer more than their share.

Not that it absolves us of any responsibility to make it better.

With you on Constantius II. Completely!

I have more to say on this but I'll put it in another comment template. :)


Thomas, that's a good point. It is very possible that there are other planet systems that can sustain this human life form. I believe humanity is a different lesson set, mostly because we are the only life form with self-consciousness. (At least that I know of at this point. If I'm wrong, correct me. :)

Transspecies reincarnation just doesn't make sense. What would be the purpose. If you reincarnate as a slab of marble, where's the consciousness?


Meno, I believe many of us are new souls ~ and there's certainly nothing wrong with it. It's the western twist on it that turns it into a hierarchy. It's actually a continuum.

And it's not a race.


Gobody, it is a very interesting experience. There is a woman here in Sacramento who wants to do more readings on me. It's up in the air whether I'll do it any further. Some of her fundamental beliefs are very different than mine and it could influence her read.

All that to say, find someone to do it who has a similar approach and fundamental belief set as your own.


MsPea, it would only make sense that in this time span, there are many souls who died at Auschwitz (and the other camps) coming back over the past 40 years or so.

It's too bad the people around you would take it that way. I run into some of that, people thinking I'm a woo-woo wacko. That is until they get to know me and discover that I'm quite sceptical about most of it.


Laurie, that's fascinating! It's too bad you can't record it and have it translated! You can also tell your guides to translate for you and have you say it in English.


Deb, very true. I don't mind being a new soul. Sometimes I get really annoyed at not knowing things I feel I should ~ but there's not much to be done about that except to .. well... learn it! :)

The old cobblestone road sounds like China. Take a look at some pictures of Lijiang, China and see if any of that is familiar to you. :)


Jen, take it a few layers deeper. It might not be that direct. In the past, homeless people were considered to be nomads.

*Clue* :)


Thomas, last night I listened to a radio show and the guy was talking about lucid dreaming. I tried it and this morning, wham!, I woke up with a message. I only remember part of it ~ that being "pay attention or you are going to miss what I'm telling you."

It could be a dream of coming ~ or of going. Hard to say without context. :) What does the city look like? What does your map look like? Do you get any sense of the language?


G, I can't comment on the American Dream. It's a f***ing nightmare.

As for needing or wanting something deeper and more meaningful, you betchum!


Suzy, I'm so glad you came by. I absolutely love your blog! Seriously! It blows my socks off.. and that's a good, good thing!

As for your daughters and your different relationship to them, it would be awesome if you'd blog about it. It could be that perhaps you have only had past lives with one of them ~ and the other is a new soul ~ or so many possible configurations.


Stephen, would you blog about that? It would be fascinating to read!

I experienced that in Thailand. It was the most amazing thing. I felt like the Prodigal Son! I remember sitting there in Khon Kaen, being simultaneously so grateful and also scared spitless! LOL


Pam, I feel like my development is very "teenage" sometimes, too. I'm growing, inch by inch, but it is very hard sometimes. My own developmental stages were rather stunted because of the isolation I experienced. Sometimes I wonder why I don't have pimples! LOL

I love science.. no doubt.. but there are so many things it can't explain.




Bones said...

Hmm... Fascenating. I think I’m going to enjoy reading your blog. I’m not a believer in re-incarnation; at least not in the Buddhist sense. More along the lines of the Christian sense; I certainly believe our souls are transcendent but you’d have a hard time convincing me of anything other than a single incarnation.

I completely agree, however, with what you said about time. The idea of time actually being linear is ludicrous- time is simply a construct we made to try to understand the bigness of it all. If I ask a person how far away they live from, say, the closest major city, they give me the answer in Hours, not Miles. We can’t conceive of distance because it is too big. We can conceive of time, though, because we’ve experienced it. So we try to cram everything into time. If I asked somebody how much a billion was, they’d have no clue. It’s simply too big of a number to grasp. If I tried to help, and say a billion 1 dollar bills would reach the moon and back 7 times, it still would be inconceivable because we cant possible comprehend how far the moon is from here. But if I said your heart beets a billion times every 39 and a half years, a light bulb would go off.

So we use time to understand what we can’t comprehend, but even time is a crappy unit of measure. A year lasted much longer when you were 7 than when you were 30.

Anyway, I’m going to enjoy reading. I’m sure of it. Sawadee Laew phob gan mai.

Thailand Gal said...


Kap koon kaa. Dee jai thee dai phob gan.

I stopped by your blog and laughed out loud at least three times! The idea of Holiday Inn in Baltimore is enough to make me shudder!

It would be interesting to know what you mean by "the Christian concept". My understanding is that any reference to reincarnation was removed from the Bible. I don't remember the details but have no problem believing it. :)



jen said...

um...perhaps i need another clue. not quite comprehending?

signing off now as the dorkorama.

Julie Pippert said...

Chani, have you any knowledge of the Gnostic Gospels? Sufism? Wackadoo woo woo beliefs? (LOL)

If yes, stop reading or I'll be preaching to the choir. :)

If no, I'll try to summarize a really long thing as briefly as possible.

There a sort of concept that I think was once universal, spanning across many religions in the old forms, but not so much today (when, I think, in some ways, society is younger) except in areas of "woo woo" LOL.

You can think of it thusly:

One can experience many levels of life in one lifetime. You have one incarnation, and within that you can raise through many levels through gnosis.

The modern preacher of this is called Maslow.


On the woo woo side, it means, through whatever means (openess, meditation, etc.) you can tap into a broader consciousness and let gnosis flow through you.

So (sort of picking up on a little of what Bones said so very interestingly) the idea is sort of what is was and will be, and vice versa, and with the right mental and spiritual place in self, you can find this and expand from it.

It's not all your personal experience, but you can breathe from it.

Do I make any sense?

Usually not LOL.

When I was about 8 I tried to draw it to explain it to my father, to show how time flowed around in and out of itself, and how we had a corporeal and spiritual side, with the former living in the physical side, and the other free to move in different ways.

I count myself lucky to not be on meds in some padded room somewhere. You can be sure I never, ever brought it up again. LOL

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have no idea if I am an "old soul" or not. It isn't really relevant to me.

I share your belief that there is no specified "time" for returning in another body. In Buddhism, I believe the time is considered quite short, and in locating "tulkus," returned high souls, the turnaround is often immediate which is why learning to have a "good death" is so important.

Many souls who were murdered in the Holocaust are thought to have returned as non-Jews, often born in the 50's, because their experiences as Jews during that time were so horrific. They often have a great sensitivity to that era with no plausible reason from their present lifetimes.

Soul mates, popularly thought of in our culture as the fated romantic partner, can also be anyone who helps us to learn the life lessons we came here to learn.

I believe that we make those arrangements before our rebirth, and that we do travel in groups which agree to facilitate those teachings for each other. By being so very difficult, your mother has helped you to experience certain things that your higher self knew you needed in order to learn your chosen lessons, even though they were often unpleasant. It's all part of the process of building a better Chani. (If that can be imagined.)

I am positive that certain people I have known in this life have been with me before; this is why we sometimes experience the shock of familiarity upon meeting them, as I'm sure you did with Ajahn S.

Since early childhood, I have been drawn to Tahiti, and to Asia, particularly Japan, Tibet and China. I have always assumed that I lived in those places before, although I have never had a past-life reading. I suspect that I was a monk more than once because I am actually drawn to the idea of meditating in a cave. (Sometimes.) I do not rule out the possibility of having lived in other planes, perhaps in other life forms, as well. It doesn't make sense that in all the universe, there would be life only on Earth.

Sorry this is long. It is a subject that has fascinated me my whole life.

QT said...

Chani - I love that you wrote about this as it is something I think about often, and I have said I think our soul's reward is to not have to come back to this physical plane.

As for prior incarnations, I have no idea what or where I may have been. I am very drawn to the wilderness and wild spaces and have always surrounded myself with animals of all kinds. I have never had a past life reading, but I love to participate in things like that so maybe I should.

Ba said...

IT was King Constansnoble (spelling way off) in the 5th century who
ordered everything in the bible about reincarnation taken out. He felt
he was losing control over his people, they were not giving enough
money to the church. He ordered ANYONE who believed in
Reincarnation to be either put to death or excomunicated.

Thailand Gal said...

Julie, I have read the Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagel and I've also read Maslow. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is premised in this cultural model and extrapolates from egocentrism to ethnocentrism, etc.

My personal belief system isn't correspondent to it because western philosophies are so dualistic.

Man v. God, God v. Man, Nature v. Man, God v. Nature, God v. Nature and so on.

I don't believe we can reach enlightenment in that model.

"God", in my view, is a name we give to transcendence. The myths are a metaphor. The western God is kind of a scary dude with a pretty bad temperament.

I believe the way we reach transcendence is through reaching oneness with All That Is... which, to me, is "God".



Thailand Gal said...

Susan, this seems like a logical time for souls to recycle, those who were killed in the Holocaust. It is probably that logic, along with my personal experience, that leads me to believe that reader was probably pretty right on.

I would love to hear more about the connections you've made. If you have such a strong affinity for those places, it is hard to imagine you didn't live there at one time.

Who would have thought we'd come from these experiences to end up writing blogs in the 21st century? :) Maybe that will be explained to us during transition times.

Absolutely on life in the multiverse and you're right on target about Buddhism.



Thailand Gal said...

QT, you might be surprised what you've experienced.

I agree that eventually we stop cycling. I think that's what enlightenment is all about. We no longer need to cycle.

Darned old Samsara bites us every time. :)



Thailand Gal said...

Thanks, Ba. :) I didn't know you had studied western religion. You never cease to amaze me! LOl



Nancy Dancehall said...

All my life, I've run into people I 'know'. I can look at someone and 'recognize' them. There's an instant connection.

When I was six, I asked my mom what a checkpoint was. I'd had dream where I was a French teenager who was trying to sneak through a forest with a group of people, around checkpoints. We were trying to get to a boat on a river. We were caught by German soldiers and shot in he back of the head. I still remember that dream vividly.

And when I moved to Colorado, I started having dreams here. I'd wake up and ask my husband, 'What's a kachina? Is it a type of doll?" I was dreaming I was a native girl being raised by her grandmother. I did some research and figured out I was Hopi in the dreams.

And yet I still can't quite believe that there's _anything_ else.