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Past Life Memory

W. MacNeile Dixon    The Human Situation

. . . What man remembers every day of this life?  And lost memories, as the psychologists will tell you, are recoverable.  For the memory appears to be a palimpsest, from which nothing is ever obliterated.  If we have forgotten most days and incidents of our present lives, it is natural that memories of previous lives should fail us.

C. J. Ducasse    Nature, Mind and Death

. . . continuousness of memory, rather than preservation of a comprehensive span of memories, is what is significant for consciousness of one's identity.

Sholem Asch    The Nazarene

Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition of existence.

. . . it sometimes happens that the Angel of Forgetfulness himself forgets to remove from our memories the records of the former world; and then our senses are haunted by fragmentary recollections of another life . . . . They assert themselves, clothed in reality, in the form of nightmares which visit our beds . . .

Aristotle    Eudemus

Our Lethe of what we beheld in our previous lives is only a temporary interruption and obscuration of our memories and of the continuity of our consciousness.

Benedict Spinoza    Ethics

. . . the mind is sensible  no less of what it understands than of what it remembers . . . . Although . . . we do not remember that we existed before the body, yet we perceive that our mind is eternal . . .

It is impossible for us to remember that we had existences prior to the body, since the body can have no vestige of it, and eternity cannot be defined in terms of time or have any relation to time.

Sir Walter Scott    Guy Mannering

How often do we find ourselves in society which we have never before met, and yet feel impressed with a mysterious and ill-defined consciousness that neither the scene nor the speakers nor the subject are entirely new; nay, feel as if we could anticipate that part of the conversation which has not yet taken place?

Charles Fourier    The Passions of the Human Soul

Some exceptional individuals . . . remember their past existences.

Arthur Schopenhaur    The World as Will and Idea

What sleep is for the individual, Death is for the will . . . . It would not endure to continue the same actions and sufferings throughout an eternity without true gain, if memory and individuality remained to it.

A. Bronson Alcott    Tablets

Vast systems of sympathies . . . absorb us within their sphere . . . . Memory sometimes dispels the oblivious slumber, and recovers for the mind recollections of its descent and destiny.  Some relics of the ancient consciousness survive, recalling our previous history and experiences.

Charles Kelsey Gaines    Gorgo

[Socrates speaking] . . . some care only for their bodies, and that, perhaps, is why people do not remember all at once, but very slowly and not clearly, just as one would see things through a thick veil . . . [or a glass, darkly]

J. B. Priestly    I have Been Here Before

. . . Certain men, at the moment when they find themselves on the threshold of their drama, remember confusedly their previous misfortunes and find in this memory the strength to thwart destiny by a free action which breaks the fatal chain.

Gustaf Strömberg    The Searchers

Our real selves, our souls, belong before our birth, during our organic life and after our death to the non-physical world . . . . All the memories of our . . . previous lives can be reviewed [there].

Gustave Geley    From the Unconscious to the Conscious

The permanent subconscious individuality retains the indelible remembrance of all the state so consciousness which have built it up.  From these states . . . which it has assimilated it constructs new capacities.

G. Lowes Dickinson    Is Immortality Desirable?

. . . suppose that in none of these repetitions is there any memory of the previous cycles, for everyone . . . would agree that the repetition of a life, every episode of which is remembered to have occurred before is a prospect of appalling tediousness.

John Ellis MacTaggart    Some Dogmas of Religion

. . . the mere accumulation of knowledge, if memory never ceased, would soon become overwhelming, and worse than useless . . .

. . . If  memory does not survive Death, it will be impossible for love to occur in any life in which people do not meet.

Mohandas K. Gandhi    Letters

It is Nature's kindness that we do not remember past births.  Where is the good either of knowing in detail the numberless births we have gone through? . . . A wise man deliberately forgets many things. . . .

H. P. Blavatsky    The Secret Doctrine

. . . the book and volume of the physical brain may forget events within the scope of one terrestrial life, but the bulk of collective recollections can never desert the divine soul within us . . . The shadow of events that were, just as much as the shadow of the events that are to come, is within its perspective powers, and is ever present before its mind's eye

W. R. Alger              A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life

. . . if absence of memory of having existed at a certain time proved that we did not exist at that time, it would then prove far too much; for it would prove that we did not exist during the first few years of life of our present body, nor on most of the days since.

Aristotle  History of His Development  by Werner Jaeger

When men fall ill they sometimes lose their memories, even to the extent of forgetting how to read and write; while on the other hand those who have been restored from illness to health do not forget what they suffered while they were ill.  In the same way the soul that has descended into a body forgets the impressions received during its former existence, while the soul which death has restored to its home in the other world remembers its experiences and suffering here.

G. Bruno  The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast

We depart, and do not return the same; and since we have no recollection of what we were before we were in this being, so we cannot have a sample of that which we shall be afterward . . . .

G. E. Lessing  Education of the Human Race

. . . is it that I forget my former life?  Well for me that I forget.  The recollection of my former state would enable me to turn my present condition to but poor account . . .

J. W. Von Goethe Letter to a Friend

How well it it that men should die, if only to erase their impressions and return clean washed.

. . . human genius in a lightning flash of recollection can discover the laws involved in producing the universe, because it was present when those laws were established . . .

Gustave Mahler Personal Diary

We all return; it is this certainty that gives meaning to life and it does not make the slightest difference whether or not in a later incarnation we remember the former life.  What counts is not the individual and his comfort, but the great aspiration to the perfect and pure which goes on in each incarnation.

Gustaf Stromberg The Searchers

. . . The memories of the cruel acts we have committed against men and animals follow us through eternity.  The victims of a tyrant are all there, and the memories of their suffering haunt their oppressor. . .

Gustave Geley  From the Unconscious to the Conscious

Remembrance but plays a secondary part in normal psychology; forgetfulness is habitual and is the rule . . .

On the other hand, . . . the subconscious memory  --the infallible memory of the true and complete individuality, . . . is indestructible as the being itself.  In this essential memory there are engraved permanently all the events of the present life, and all the remembrances and conscious acquisitions of the vast series of antecedent lives.

Herbert Fingarette The Self in Transformation

. . . one eventually achieves the power of remembering past lives . . . . The greater the spiritual progress, the greater the ability and the easier the task.  Knowledge of one's former lives is [in Buddhism] one of the "five kinds of superknowledge." . . . Spiritual knowledge and spiritual freedom are born as one. . .

H. Fielding Hall           The Soul of a People

Many children, the Burmese will tell you, remember their former lives.  As they grow older the memories die away and they forget . . .

Sir Edwin Arnold           The Light of Asia
 . . . In the third watch . . . our Lord attained Samma-Sambuddh;
He saw by light which shines beyond our mortal ken
The line of all his lives in all the worlds,
Far back and farther back and farthest yet,
Five hundred lives and fifty.

Dalai Lama XIV           The London Spectator (Oct. 20, 1973)

The disguised leader was wearing a rosary round his neck . . . . Promised to give it to the boy-child if he could guess who he [the leader] was. . . . He proceeded to name them all correctly . . .

Ethel Beswick           Jataka Tales

. . . .It is not a new idea that some people can recall their past lives on earth (though much so-called memory is wishful thinking or imagination) for Pythagoras, whom no one could accuse of wishful thinking or embroidery, gave instances of a few of his own past lives.

Edna Ferber           A Peculiar Treasure

I can only venture to say, at the risk of being hooted, that somewere in Egypt a couple of thousand years ago I probably had a very tough time of it . . . . Perhaps, centuries and centuries ago, I was a little Jewish slave girl on the Nile . . .

Diogenes Laertius       Life of Pythagoras

. . . . he knew the former lives he had lived [a gift from Mercury, the god of wisdom].  And . . . [thenceforth] he commenced his providential attention to others, reminding them of their former life.

Philostratus           Life of Appollonius of Tyana            Trans: F. C. Conybeare

[Iarchus] asked Appollonius the question: "Will you tell us . . . about your earlier incarnations, and who you were before the present life? " And he replied: "Since it was an ignoble episode, I do not remember much about it."

J. G. Herder           Dialogues on Metempsychosis

Have you never had remembrances of a former state, which you could find no place for in this life? . . . Have you not seen persons, been in places, of which you were ready to swear that you had seen those persons, or had been in those places before? . . . we . . . have sunk so deep and are so wedded to matter, that but few remembrances of so pure a character remain to us.

William Blake           Letter to John Flaxman, the Sculptor

. . . . You, O dear Flaxman, are a sublime archangel, my friend and companion from eternity.  I look back into the regions of reminiscence, and behold our ancient days before this earth appeared and its vegetative mortality to my mortal vegetated eyes . . .

Charles Emerson           Notes from the Journal of a Scholar

. . . when a lively chord in the soul is struck, when the windows for a moment are unbarred, the long and varied past is recovered.  We recognize it all.  We are no more brief, ignoble creatures, we seize our immortality, and bind together the related parts of our secular being.

Henry David Thoreau   From His Journals

July 16, 1851:  As far back as I can remember I have unconsciously referred to the experiences of a previous state of existence.

Edgar Allen Poe           Eureka

We walk about, amid the destinies of our world-existence, encompassed by dim but ever present Memories of a Destiny more vast -- very distant in the bygone time, and infinitely awful . . . . We live out a Youth peculiarly haunted by such dreams; yet never mistaking them for dreams . . .

Charles Dickens           Through Bologna and Ferrara

. . . . If I had been murdered there, in some former life, I could not have seemed to remember the place more thorougly, or with more emphatic chilling of the blood; and the real remembrance of it acquired in that one minute is so strengthened by the imaginary recollection that I hardly think I could forget it.

Gustave Flaubert           Letters

. . . . And I possess memories which go back to the Pharaohs.  I see myself very clearly at different ages of history, practising different professions and in many sorts of fortune . . .

Dante Gabriel Rossetti   Sudden Light   --Collected Works
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before --
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall --I knew it all of your.

Lafcadio Hearn           In Ghostly Japan

. . . . To every ripple of melody, to every billow of harmony, there answers within him [soul], out of the Sea of Death and Birth, some eddying immeasurable of ancient pleasure and pain.

                                   Gleanings in the Buddha-Fields

Hopeless . . . any attempt to tell the real pain of seeing my former births.  I can say only that no combination of suffering possible to individual being could be likened to such pain --the pain of countless lives interwoven.

Jean Sibelius           An Article in the New York Times  by Howard Taubman

Millions of years ago, in my previous incarnations, I must have been related to swans or wild geese, because I can still feel that affinity.

George Russell           The Candle of Vision

. . . . Endlessly the procession of varying forms goes back into remote yesterdays of the world . . . . Are they not . . . memories of the spirit incarnated many times.?

                                      Merely Players   by Claude Bragdon

. . . he found recorded . . . those very stories which he thought he had invented --even the names of the characters were the same.  This forced him to the conclusion that his imaginings were recovered memories of things learned or experienced in some antecedent life . . .

Arnold Bennett           The Glimpse

. . . I saw the endless series of my lives, recurring and recurring . . . . These lives flashed up before me one anterior to another, mere moments between the vast periods that separated them . . . . And one life was not more important to me than another . . .

Jack London           The Star Rover

. . . . I . . . remembered that once I had been a slave and a son of a slave, and worn an iron collar round my neck.

. . . . I am man born of woman . . . . I have been woman born of woman.  I have been a woman and borne my children.

Dr. Arthur Guirdham       the Cathars and Reincarnation

The pain was maddening . . . . I didn't know when you were burnt to death you'd bleed.  I thought the blood would all dry up in the terrible heat.  But I was bleeding heavily . . . . The worse part was my eyes.  I hate the thought of going blind.

Jalalu L-Din Rumi       Mathnawi

I am but one soul but I have a hundred thousand bodies.  Yet I am helpless, since Shariat (exoteric religion) holds my lips sealed.  Two thousand men have I seen who were I; but none as good as I am now.

Jane Roberts         Seth Speaks

Your beliefs and feelings support and structure your perceptions about what you experience with your past-life memories, and will help you understand both the process and purpose of reincarnation and the immortality of your soul.

Gloria Chadwich         Discovering Your Past Lives

There could be a few terrible things lurking in the shadows from the past just waiting to haunt you . . . . It is of utmost importance that you protect yourself from past-life pain or trauma.

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