In dream circles, the theory of reincarnation is frequently used to interpret what is happening in our dreams when we experience being another person living a different life from the one we went to bed with. I also took the idea of past lives for granted, before my dreams led me to Christ, and I actually began questioning the concept. I've come to believe that filing such enigmatic experiences under the labels of past, future or parallel lives (theories of modern physics have been seamlessly grafted onto the concept of living more than one physical existence) constitutes a "fast food" attitude to the banquet of our dreams and their possible significance.
Irenaeus, the first century bishop, martyr and saint of Lugdunum, France (now Lyon) “used his understanding of dreams to refute the idea of reincarnation or transmigration of souls. ‘Since the soul can receive knowledge directly and communicate it to the body after a dream has occurred, there is no reason that the body should make us forget a former life of the soul if it had one’.Morton T. Kelsey – God, Dreams, and Revelation: A Christian Interpretation of Dreams
It was hard for me to give up my life-long fantasy that I had lived at least one lifetime in ancient Egypt, for I had always believed my intense fascination with this culture, from a very early age, could only be explained by reincarnation. Because of its thousands of years of history and its countless tombs, ancient Egypt is highly prized karmic real estate. I understand now that my childish reasoning was self-centered and superficial. Nevertheless, I made it into my fifth decade of life before finally coming to understand that. And even after I wholeheartedly embraced a personal relationship with Christ, my Lord and my God, I saw no reason to think this needed to interfere with my belief in multiple lifetimes experienced by my immortal soul. This wasn't the first liberty I took with Christian doctrine, feeling that as long as I believed in Jesus, I was essentially on the right track. But not being properly educated leads to erroneous ideas and conclusions which, in reality, are fantasies woven in with threads of fact in only superficially convincing patterns of reasoning.
“Christian hope in the after-life is not limited to the soul’s immortality but involves the entire person who is called to be with God as an embodied spirit. In other words, Christian faith sees the body as inseparable from the soul, whereas in reincarnation, it is the soul that repeatedly advances to a new body, offering no salvation to the old body and simply leaving it behind at each new reincarnation.”Thomas Ryan, American Magazine.org
“Christ never said that the spirit is good and the body evil. True Christian belief has always affirmed the goodness of God’s creation… The body shares in our dignity as persons, just as much as the spirit. Our bodies reveal us, giving form to our innermost being and unique personality. Our bodies are sacramental—they make the invisible visible. The body manifests the spirit. It expresses the person. Through the ages, many philosophers have spoken of man as though he were divided into two distinct parts: soul and body. This is not the Biblical view.”Excerpts from Theology of the Body in Simple Language by Pope John Paul II
Lucid Dream of March 6, 2013: I'm in a pub, and I'm lucid. Looking around me, I consider asking one of the many smiling, relaxed people what the name of the pub is, but that seems silly. I see a door I know leads into a bathroom, and entering it, I head straight for the sink to look at my reflection in the mirror. But instead of Maria Isabel Pita, I see a completely different woman. This does not surprise me, and I lean toward the glass to better examine the dark circles beneath my/her eyes. Wow, they are really black! This woman is not well. The skin beneath her eyes is not only black but very finely wrinkled. I reason it must be some kind of makeup she has applied to accentuate her eyes which is caking and beginning to crack. I study her short black hair, which she has artfully pinned up in what's considered a fashionable retro style. Her features are small and delicate. She's very slender and still attractive although she's definitely past her prime. She is resigned about this but still proud of her appearance. On her/my way out of the bathroom, we pass a man, and she/I immediately warn him, “If you come near me again, I'll call the police!” Outside the pub now, she/I join a stream of pedestrian traffic. It's night time, but the city is brimming with life. I walk quickly and purposefully, sensing my destination is not too far away. I'm very conscious of my tight jacket and pants, high-heeled boots and my confident, sexy stride. I still have a really great figure, even if I am a little older now. Suddenly, I pass the man in overalls again. He appears to be fishing through a garbage can. I, Maria (not the woman whose body I'm inhabiting) senses this man's hostile focus on her, and the danger she has put herself in by angering him. She's very sure of herself; she believes she can fight him off if he ever dares lay hands on her, but I'm worried for her because, somehow, I know he plans to follow her, and if he catches her alone in the dark it will be very bad. As she/I keep walking, we delight in being surrounded by people who are all out for a good time. This pedestrian walkway is well lit, and I clearly see the pale face of an attractive blonde man, which somehow confirms my impression of being somewhere in Europe. It's a nice change from living out in the country, and I, Maria, am enjoying visiting a city for a while. I begin waking up. End of Dream Wondering about this dream, I felt I had perhaps picked up on this woman because she was in danger. I was consciously myself the whole time, and yet I was also this other woman. Looking straight into a mirror, and seeing another person's reflection while lucidly retaining my conscious identity, is an uncanny experience I'm becoming familiar with. In such dreams, I am unconsciously obeying the second half of the greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If the woman in the mirror had appeared to be living in another historical era, I would immediately have wondered if I was experiencing a past life, but in the dream I knew, and could see, that she lived in the present. Yet part of me still clung to the idea of reincarnation, so I decided to begin tackling the issue head-on by asking the dream space about it. Lucid Dream of February 8, 2014:
I find myself standing in a sunny apartment, facing away from the glass doors and looking across the living room at a white kitchen counter cluttered with miscellaneous items. Realizing that I'm dreaming at the same time I remember the intent I set myself before going to sleep, I approach the counter, hoping to find something on it I can use as a question-answering tool. Almost at once, I spot a pair of large dice like ones I own in waking reality, except in the dream they are dark-blue with black circles instead of bright red with white circles. Picking them up, I ask, “Is reincarnation real?” and roll the dice. . . They land on the counter in a very surprising way—the dice to my right is poised on one edge, and has somehow succeeded in attaching itself to the other dice with one of three star-like yellow shafts radiating from one side of the single black circle in its upward facing surface. The two intersecting dice add up to the number five—four black circles on the dice to my left, which landed normally, while on the dice to my right, there is a single black circle, from which emanate three long triangular golden rays. I am struck by this strange fusion of the dice. The roll doesn't look or feel complete, but instead appears suspended. I'm wishing I could photograph it as I begin waking up. End of Dream Rolling a pair of dice seems to have enabled the dream space itself to respond to my question and, in this case, I received a very intriguing answer. The dice that landed poised on one edge had a black circle with three golden shafts of light emanating from one side of it, and one of these rays had penetrated the dice that landed normally. As a consequence, there were now no more possible rolls, because the dice were fused together. This detail strikes me as extremely significant. In the dream, I could only roll the dice once, which may seem to imply that we are born into flesh only once.
The dice with the four circles might represent what physicists call space-time—the three dimensions of space combined with the fourth dimension of time. The fact that no more rolls of the dice were possible seems a wordless but clear response by the dream to my question—There is only one roll of the proverbial dice, we live only one physical life. The roll felt incomplete, suspended, which is in keeping with the Christian belief in Judgment Day, and the resurrection of the dead in glorified bodies in the new heaven and earth.
I promptly emailed both of the above dreams, along with my accompanying notes, to my mother, and she replied:
“It’s fascinating to imagine all the mysterious factors that might trigger such trans-temporal and trans-personal experiences. Reincarnation is essentially a materialistic interpretation of what happens, with lucid freedom, within the realm of the loving and empathic soul.”
I can't begin to count how many times in dreams I have found my awareness inhabiting the awareness of other people, experiencing events through their eyes and emotions, often not remembering my own identity. I sometimes observe the experience from slightly above it, like a movie I'm living while also watching. The following is a brief example of such dreams:
Dream of November 13, 2015—The Attack I dream I'm in a large public place sprawled on my stomach trying to crawl away from gunmen aiming directly at me and others around me. It's horrible! I feel so weak, I can barely move. Lying on my belly, I inch my way toward some concrete barrier, trying to take refuge behind it. Then at last I see some other men run into the theater who I know are on our side, and I dare to hope my companion and I might make it out alive after all... Early the next morning, I read about the violent events in Paris, a series of coordinated attacks that occurred on Friday, November 13, 2015. The terrorists killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan Theater. It seems my dreaming soul didn't just perceive but also partially experienced a few mysteriously intimate moments of this breaking news story before hearing about it in waking reality. When I shared my dream with a friend of mine who lives in France, he said it sounded very much like the situation that night, with hostages trying to escape any way they could. Then he reminded me of a similar dream I had when the German Airbus Flight 9525 went down in the French Alps. It had been my final dream of the night, from which I woke at around 6:40 EST. Because our Daylight Savings Time started early, France was five hours ahead of us, so 6:40 here would have been 11:40 there, which was shortly after the crash. At the end of the dream, many of us were being led toward the safety of home which took the form of a Cathedral. In these dreams, and in many others, I have experienced being other people who were obviously not me in another lifetime. The reincarnation card wasn't even on the table.
One unforgettable night after I had lain awake in bed for some time, as I distinctly sensed my awareness consciously crossing the threshold between waking and sleeping, I silently asked in my mind, “Lord, is reincarnation as we conceive of it real?” Immediately, I saw a woman dressed like the Virgin Mary in white and blue robes. She was squatting in an empty white space as she gave birth to a baby, who instantly growing up and becoming an old man promptly dove back into her body through her mouth to be born again. And as this selfish ghastly process was repeated over and over again, I received a reply to my question which did not come from my own mind but from the mysteriously sentient Presence of the dream space itself: