"personality" of souls from life to life?

Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by michaldembinski, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. michaldembinski

    michaldembinski Senior Registered

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    The immortal soul has many aspects of our body's unique characteristics stripped out of it. Biological traits, inherited from our parents, do not follow us from life to life.

    Take for example Asperger's Syndrome, a spectrum of mild autistic-type disorders. This is encoded into our genetic make-up. One life you have it, the next you don't. Yet having an 'on-spectrum' disorder defines your character.

    Whether you can be charaterised as generous, obsessive, jovial, soft-hearted, prim, etc, are to a great degree predicated both by nature and nurture.

    So when born again, are there any personality traits that follow us down the ages, from life to life? Or are they karmic responses to how we lived our past lives? In other words, are we assigned particular traits on the basis of punishment/reward?

    Let me know what you think.

    Michal from Warsaw
     
  2. bishopk

    bishopk Senior Registered

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    Hi Michaldembinski - the example you give, Asperger's, is of interest to me as both my husband and daughter probably have it to some degree. A friend asked a lifelong friend of hers, a professional psychic, about Asperger's (I didn't know she would do so) and the pyschic felt it's due to past trauma and fear - the soul fragments and isn't entirely present in a future incarnation. Thus, emotional and social interactions are affected.

    I don't know if this is true but it makes for an interesting theory anyway. The psychic described my husband's PL death that created the trauma, a death that seems to resonate with a fear he still has in this life. So who knows?

    Well, that 's just one side of the coin - I'm sure others here can come up with other instances of how they think personalities have carried over from one life to the next, or else why they're so different than how they used to be.

    Aimee
     
  3. Kimba W. Lion

    Kimba W. Lion disguised as a human

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    I don't hold with the punishment/reward theory of karma largely because of the past-life amnesia we have--you have to know the cause of the reward or punishment for it to be effective.

    I definitely do go along with the idea that if a soul is afraid of social interactions, this could cause the person to develop a syndrome that limits social interactions.

    It is very difficult for one person to judge the intrinsic personality of another, because the expression of that personality can be influenced by any number of factors, from brain damage to what the person had for lunch. Also, circumstances in one's life can lead a person to emphasize some characteristics and suppress others, and certainly one can learn to change, as well.

    Change may be the key idea here: A person will only retain the same personality as long as he is not changed by life's experiences. Thus, the personality may not be the same from life to life, but this would be the result of carrying things with us from life to life, not losing parts of the personality, as Michal's question seems to imply.
     
  4. michaldembinski

    michaldembinski Senior Registered

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    Past life amnesia; autism

    Aimee rather implies that souls are assigned to bodies which will acquire pre-destined characteristics. This is an interesting point of view.

    Last night I chanced upon Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's Shadows Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. The book is evolutionary biology, tracing human behaviour back through three billion years of evolution and looks at the notion of 'pecking order' and how humanity has tempered the behaviour of its 'alpha males' through civilisation.

    This leads me to another question - Kimba mentions personality based on experiences; it's one thing being born a leader, another spending life or lives being put upon, repressed, used and abused by leaders.

    Is one's place in the human pecking order also pre-destined?

    Most interesting is Kimba's point about karma and 'past-life amnesia'. Kimba - you're right - if you are punished for something you can't remember - what's the point? Reward, however is a different issue, which rather points to the loving and forgiving nature of God.

    I am more inclined to believe that you grow spiritually from life to life by overcoming the burdens that you were born with.

    (From the handful of lucid dream or flashback insights into my past life, I can safely say that I was a worse person then than I am now, less harmonious with society, more selfish, though probably more energetic and driven.)

    Michal
     
  5. catalina

    catalina Senior Registered

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    michal
    oh absolutely!! just the way we bring fears we also bring our personalities back. i believe that it is because our souls, being unique, have their own personalities. so therefore why wouldnt we be without our personalities?
     
  6. michaldembinski

    michaldembinski Senior Registered

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    Up to a point. Many traits are pure-and-simple biology, a cocktail of things we simply inherited from our ancestors on acquiring our current bodies. Some are positive, some negative; it is our duty to work on overcoming the negative.

    However, consciousness stripped of all the encumberances, all the complexes that we bear, is the immortal soul; you are in touch with it when you shrug off your fears and self-absorbed introspection. This can happen in dreams, flash-backs, unbidden thoughts ('inspirations'), moments of extreme joy, moments when your biological self does not interfere with the purity of consciousness.

    Why are you as you are?

    Here is the Hand of God; in selecting bodies (with their generations of genetic baggage) as suitable new receptacles for our souls as they progress through Time.

    Suitable in a karmic sense, reward and challenge for the immortal soul, reward for progress towards ever-higher states of spiritual awareness, reward for overcoming challenges in the past life; new challenges to overcome that will determine how your next life will appear.

    Past life memories, are to me anyway, being in touch with your old body's pure consciousness, rare moments; otherwise every single human would have already accepted reincarnation as a scientific fact. If it would be that simple - the purpose, the challenge, would be gone...

    Michal
     
  7. michaldembinski

    michaldembinski Senior Registered

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    One aspect of personality that is a characteristic of the soul rather than 'biological baggage' is preference.

    Why does a certain person like that particular colour, that style of clothing, that period of history, that sort of music? Why is that person drawn to a particular place?

    Last year, I was out on the town with two friends, one of whom, Brian was with his girlfriend, Magda. My other friend, Andrew, had never met Magda before, yet both of them had one thing in common - they were mad keen on sea shanties. So we headed to a club where, by chance, a sea shanty evening was going in. Although this was 2003 in the centre of Warsaw, the atmosphere was more like Liverpool or Bristol in 1853. The band, complete with accordeons and fiddles, played raucous music that would have gone down well with the sailors, dockers, ladies of the night and assorted ne'er-do-wells hanging round the port.

    Although not my bag (at all), I could see a place seething with kindred souls, people who'd lived the nautical life before and were merely getting in touch with their past lives...

    My immediate past life was spent in the US between the 1920s and 1950s; this predicates my taste in dress (sharp double breasted suits, baggy, double-pleated trousers with cuffs), musical taste (blues, jazz, swing, country and folk of that period), life-long interest in cars, planes and trains from that time and place. This was not inherited - merely a reflection of the soul.

    Michal
     
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  8. Goldenage

    Goldenage Senior Registered

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    Regarding past lives. What one says one remembers (at a superficial level of everyday consciousness) and what is remembered at deeper levels are two different "things".

    One has an affliction, let us say, and cannot immediately recall what it derives from (in past life terms) fine, two options are available: 1) claim the affliction to be due to "bad genetic" luck or some such; 2) realise that there is a true karmic cause and dig for it via meditative techniques.

    In the first case this is just a lame excuse for remaining in the somnambulant state as far as samsara (the cycle of life & death) is concerned while the second points to an eventual awakening. Think of it this way, afflictions are physical "post-it-notes" we set for ourselves in order to "twig" our superficial consciousness into entering into the meditative process which will eventually set the soul and the self free by enabling one to remember who and what one really is.
     
  9. michaldembinski

    michaldembinski Senior Registered

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    I like the Jewish metaphor for reincarnation; a flame passed from one candle to another. The candle dies, the flame lives on. The candle may be beeswax, or some other material, it may be blue, or red, or yellow, or white; it may be fat, or tall; to some extent the characteristics of the candle affect the flame, but when the flame is passed onto another candle, it acquires the characteristics of the new candle, while still remaining the same flame - just fuelled by another source.

    Michal from Warsaw, Poland
     
  10. Goldenage

    Goldenage Senior Registered

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    The candle-flame analogy is good as far as it goes but it is somewhat limited in that there are two seemingly separate elements involved, as though the flame is one essence and the "substance" of the candle - the support to the flame, is another. The image rather suggests that the candle represents some form of "solidified" reality within which, as a disjunct construct, the flame "moves" as it were from place to place (time to time). It furthermore suggests a geographical-physical state (the world), remaining with its own dynamic, that is visited from time to time by the flame (even if the flame depends on the world, more or less, burning now yellow and “later” red).

    But this is not necessarily an accurate portrayal. The world (the candle) IS karma. More completely, so called material existence and the circumstances arising there from is karma. Karma is not a blind physical externality – karma as effect is the response of overall consciousness to “past (life)” influences resulting in an affect. That is, karma arises in response to previous behaviours (whether deemed good or bad). For the “candle & flame image”, it is the case that the world and the ego-self are “imagined” separate – but this is in fact a delusion for one consciousness (termed “overall” above) expresses both the candle and the flame. For want of a better term “overall consciousness” can be called the “Higher Self”- it is both the source and the cumulative experience of all past ego-selves. The candle sticks are not separate from the flames, they are the exact same thing differentially expressed by the source of the flame in order to satisfy the flame’s requirements, which have been (karmic-ally determined or “induced”) by previous lives. This relationship can be summed up by the phrase “we are not in the world – the world is in us”.
     
  11. AthenAltena

    AthenAltena Senior Registered

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    Hmm. I personally think that Karma is somewhat of your own higher self deciding things. In my experience the only one who really punishes you in the afterlife is yourself.

    That's a good point. I find it interesting that oftentimes people refer to the world as if it is a seperate thing, but in fact we really are it, and can never seperate from it.
     
  12. Goldenage

    Goldenage Senior Registered

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    Yes, well regarding the 2 above what I mean to say is exactly that the Higher Self and the World are one and the same, without changing anything of what I already posted above. But the extension as below:
    is only true as long as the mind is in the deluded state and one continues to cycle (unwittingly) through birth & death. But still the world presented to the ego-self even so, is "unreal" since it is a product of karma mediated exactly by the higher self but really, belonging to the deeper reaches of the personal self. As such it is exactly the delusion embraced by the cycling ego - based as it is on its own shortcomings. When this is properly realised then and only then can the delusion be dropped (in Buddhism, the path of the Arhat {Arhan} - Hinayana) or entertained (in Buddhism, the path of the Bodhisattva - Mahayana - & the Buddhas). But of course the terminology is name-only and not the states indicated.

    Although it is sometimes also held that the world is only an appearance (like a dream) within the Higher Self and the meaning can be stretched to cover both
    .
     
  13. ssake

    ssake Senior Registered

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    Re: "personality" of souls from life to life?

    Michael,

    You would get a clearer understanding of the issues behind this question from reading "God Speaks" by Meher Baba. There are too many underlying issues here to respond to in a post. But here are a couple of observations/comments:

    1) It would be a contradiction in terms for an immortal soul to have characteristics that it could ever be stripped of. An immortal soul must also be infinite. An infinite soul must be without limits. An unlimited soul could never have characteristics that it could be stripped of.

    2) We do not inherit biological traits from our parents. We inherit them *through* our parents.

    3) The record of past-life actions and experiences, some of part of which expresses itself in our current lifetime to form our current personality and biology, is stored in our mental body (causal body). The mental body does not die from incarnation to incarnation but continues uninterrupted.

    4) In a new incarnation, a somewhat different set of records is released for expression, for the new set of situations that are to come. None of the records have been stripped, they just aren't all (normally) accessible. Some of the traits will overlap from incarnation to incarnation, just as some of the situations will repeat. Some of the traits will be different (often, opposite), just as some of the situations will be different (often, opposite). This combination allows for growth, for a new set of challenges and learning; for hitherto covered-up weaknesses to be exposed, and for new strengths to emerge.

    5) The entire set of all the records is always stored in the mental body. The number if incarnations is very large, eventually reaching a few million. We could not possibly (in our current state of spiritual preparedness) consciously integrate all of them, even though many of them are repeats on a theme. What we experience in any given incarnation is a small portion of the whole.

    6) Everything you ever experienced and learned from past lives is present now in your current life in digested form as intuitive wisdom. If you are presented with a tempting situation and you have the "been there, done that," feeling that you just know better and don't want to "go there", that is an example of intuitive wisdom from past-life learning. That means for that particular scenario, you have, in past lives, already experienced the entire cycle of naivete, through experience, through suffering and disillusionment, to wisdom. So you intuitively know you don't have to go through that cycle again for that scenario.

    Take, for example, intoxication. Intoxication, that is, bliss, is already inherent in your soul, but you don't know that consciously. So in the naive state, there is a dampened down reflection of that in the world in the form of various intoxicating substances. The first stage is to experience that. Then comes suffering and disillusionment--because these are not the real intoxication, only a poor reflection. Eventually comes wisdom, and that wisdom is to consciously start seeking the real, original intoxication in the soul (and to leave the poor imitations behind).

    So this world is like a mirror that wakes us up one lesson at a time. We see something in the mirror and we hurt our hand on the mirror trying to grasp it, until we realize that it was a reflection and the thing we were trying to grasp, we already are. This happens with each aspect of life and on deeper and deeper levels, because there are actually mirrors within mirrors.

    Turning and experiencing reality in our own soul, consciously, is only possible with the help of someone who has already done it. You can't see yourself without a mirror, and yet that is the end of the whole business, for the soul to experience itself without the mind-mirror. All the spiritual disciplines are designed to make the mind and heart (the heart is the deeper aspect of the mind) like a clear, undisturbed mirror so as to reflect the soul. But the final goal is to know yourself as the soul without recourse to the mind at all--for which the mind itself must die. This is the real death, and it is only possible by the help of one who has already achieved it.

    Steve S.
     
  14. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Registered

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    Personality & reincarnation

    Do you think we have the same personality from life time to life time, or is that something attached to the bodies we inhabit? Can we choose whether or not to carry over the same personality or pick another one?

    I ask this because I had an odd dream last night, in which a man that I have known for about a year was in. I have feelings for him, but he's been rather ambiguous towards me. In the dream however, it was still him, but he didnt have the shy personality he has IRL. He was rather forward actually, but there was still a catch. To be with me in the dream, he would be cheating on his girlfriend and would be going back to her. I dont know if this was a past life dream or not. It could be or it could be my mind just being over active with this problem for me and going through different scenarios in my dreams now with it. I have no idea why I'm so attracted to this man.
     
  15. Next Life

    Next Life Deep Thinker

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    Well, I think that our personalities are a combination of things. Prior to accepting the notion of Reincarnation, I believed our personatlities were based on only our genetics, and our environment. Now I believe in three different things, the genetics, environment, AND the actual soul of the person.

    However, it appears that the soul can often get covered up by the other attributes, thus making it appear that from life to life, the same person may be totally different, based on the other factors that were different, from life to life.

    It is my thought, that when presented with a particular situation, a person reverts back to their basic personality that carries on from life to life, in which is a part of their soul.

    For instance, perhaps Adolf Hitler was a holy person in another life, and showed no signs of being an evil murderer in WWII. However, if he was presented with a Jewish person, when he was a holy man, it would not surprise me if he felt some sort of hatred toward them, even though in his life of holy living, he never had a problem with a Jew.

    So, perhaps memories of our past lives come with our souls, and are a part of our personalities, just getting covered up every time, only surfacing when something reminds us of an occurance in a past life.

    Just a thought.
     
  16. curious_girl

    curious_girl Curious Member

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    I thought that the person I was in the past and the person I am now were totally different. But the more I learn to know about his life the more I realize that we have a lot in common.

    Curious Girl.
     
  17. Lux Imperium

    Lux Imperium Senior Registered

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    Oh dear yes. Though the personality might manifest in an entirely different way I do think the basics will remain the same.
    Since Hitler was being used as an example earlier let's drag him out again so that I can explain what I mean a bit more clearly.

    Let us say that Hitler was a very driven man with a great deal of charisma. As Hitler, he used these things to very evil ends. Were he born today, as say an American, he might just have a take no prisoners need to succeed in politics. He might be someone with iron determination and a strong controlling streak, someone who can present himself well before the masses, he might be...just like MARTHA STEWART!

    If, as a child someone gave him gymnastics lessons and he had the body for it he might, given that drive and will, become an Olympic contender!

    You see, he needn't be "evil" this time round and his ambitions need not even take the same direction they did last life, but the drive, the force, the...I don't know, would you call it the essence (?) for want of a better word...would be just as strong.

    This is one of those things it would be hard to know unless there was some way of finding out about who you were in a past life.
    As one of the people who has some memories of a "famous" person I am repeatedly blown away by the similarities in how I deal with situations now, and how they dealt with them then.

    Our basic mode of operation is much the same. Only the outward trappings (language, culture, upbringing, education, etc.) have changed.
     
  18. dark rosaleen

    dark rosaleen Senior Registered

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    I think self is constant, but personality develops according to the circumstances of each life. For instance, I might be different if I had grown up in a big city instead of a small town. Or if I were 5'2" instead of 5'8". Even the smallest change would provide different experiences that would shape the personality.
     
  19. KimD

    KimD Senior Registered

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    We have many different "faces" even in this life...

    People fascinate me and I think it's important to note that even in our current lives, we have the capabilities of being many different "types" of people. While a person may have the basic tendency towards shyness, for example, that same person might be outgoing if the situation warrants it, or the circumstances are right. People are rarely always uniform in how they behave in the world. They always surprise you, which is why all people fascinate me and why I'm an avid people watcher.

    But you have an intriguing question because we still don't know what makes up "personality" in a person. I think that shyness might be partially a factor of genetics and also family circumstance (a person who comes from a very quiet family, for example, might be more quiet just because that is the atmosphere he or she is used to. But the same person, placed in a loud atmosphere--with everyone having to yell to be heard, etc.--might become less shy out of necessity), but I can't deny that people are born with a nugget of true disposition, for whatever reason. I have children and one of my sons, for example, when he was a baby, never played with toys and crawled only towards buttons and knobs and mechanical things. He was obsessive, even as a baby, and crawled over and over and over to the mechanical things he wanted (I know all babies do this to an extent, but he was excessive about his interest in knobs and buttons). Now he builds and invents things all day long and is obsessed with various topics at school. He won't talk about anything else except the latest obsession--the solar system, turtles, sharks (he's seven). He eats, drinks and sleeps his obsessions, just as he always had. And top that with the comment he made when he was four, when we drove past some hotrod type car (he doesn't get it from me) and he suddenly said, "Hey! There's my car!" I have to think his mechanical penchant has to do with where his soul has been in the past. And then we have my twin daughters, who at birth, had the most demanding, shrieking cries I had ever heard. My husband and I looked at each other in shock. And from day one, they shriek if their socks are too bunchy, and they are both wound tight as banjos. They have been this way since birth--genetically or spiritually, or both. I spend my life as a parent trying to teach them to calm their little jangly nerves.

    But then, one of my high-strung daughters will calmly, cool-as-cucumber, tell me the bathroom door is locked and they left the water running and it's overflowing, etc. Or "that car just ran into the mailbox, just thought you should know." Or my obsessed son will suddenly break away from what he's doing and help his siblings with something, when 99% of the time, he's wrapped up in his own world about turtles or whatever. And I think to myself how complex people are, how unpredictable. And this is just in one life. Imagine how we can change from one life to the other. But still, I want to believe that at the core, we have a basic personality that constantly moves forward. If that makes sense.

    Kim
     
  20. Casiopea

    Casiopea New Member

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    Do you keep your personality through lives?

    I am new to this forum. I am having my first hynothery regression on Thursday, as I would like to be able to drive a car and I panic about it. I have always dreamt of dying in a car accident or running over somebody since a was little so I want to do a past life regression to see if this is the root of the problem.

    I am a bit nervious about the regression in case I discover a was a very bad person in other life. I am scared of having been a murderer or somebody who has done lots of damage. Will it be more detrimental than helpul? what if I can't live with the guilt?

    I try not to be a bad person in this life, but do you keep your personality through lives? If you are loving, are you always loving, or you can be cruel and evil?

    Thanks for your advice
     

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