Sara H wrote:
I feel like I have something I may be able to add to the discussion here.
Past lives coming up during training, is something I've experienced, as has my spouse, and other laypeople and Monastics that I know personally.
It is, can be, a normal, if irregular part of training.
For me, this sortof thing comes up maybe 3-4 times a year.
Very, once in a while, maybe more than that.
A good example would be my transgender thing that I have talked about on this forum.
In my experience, my reason for being transgender is due to Karma.
I've had several past lives come up in my training regarding this.
In one case there was an Indian girl (from India, not native american) who was very much in the prime of her youth and sexuality as a woman, and was doing drugs in what appeared to be the sixties or seventies. She died of an overdose, and, believing in reincarnation, (not rebirth) she simply believed she could choose to be reborn as a woman and try again.
It didn't work out that way. Much to her intense frustration.
In my case, I can say that my Gender Identity is directly related to Karma and Dependent Origination, that there are consequences for people's actions and choices, that carry over from life to life.
though I can only speak for my own experience, and not for other people.
This is not the only thing that has come up regarding a particularly intense behavioral tendency, or other such thing coming up in my training.
Intense fear, intense aggression, anger, and other things,
in certain situations I've had past lives come up regarding these that helped explain them and helped me better learn not to repeat their mistakes.
In some cases it was through no fault of their own, simply something happened that was done to them by other people, or circumstances.
It can be a very helpful part of training, if, not a particularly normal one, in the sense of it happening every single day.
The best thing I have been taught is that if these things arise, to remember that you are not them, what is left of them is apart of us, and just to love them and bow to them and see what's really good to do, and not just get caught off-center by the emotional pull or intensity of things.
They just want love and help and to go back to the Eternal by way of our sitting. That's why these things come up.
And so that we can learn from them.
I'd be happy to talk about this with anyone if one wishes.