Reincarnation: Everything You Need to Know

Michael commentary about what reincarnation is, how it works, and more...
Life After Death


Have you ever had the feeling that you lived before? Have you experienced deja vu after visiting a new place? Have you met someone new and felt that you had known them your entire life? These are common indicators of reincarnation. If you find yourself obsessively attracted to a particular country or culture, or even more extreme, dreaming in another language, then reincarnation has left an indelible mark in your consciousness.

People in places all around the world believe in reincarnation. It can be found in ancient Egypt, the eastern religions (such as Hinduism and Buddhism), and now in the western world, where past life regressions are routinely conducted by trained psychologists. It seems the spiritual journey undertaken by so many not only encompasses the development of the soul gained over a lifetime, but an entire series of lifetimes, sometimes hundreds or more.

As I have now done with several other spiritual topics, I asked the Michael Entity for their thoughts about reincarnation. Their answers to my questions are listed below.


What is Reincarnation?

What is Reincarnation?

Reincarnation is the process through which the soul is born into a physical body, dies and returns to spirit form, only to be born again in a new body. The cycle continues for thousands of years, with the soul gradually gaining wisdom and experience over the journey. Thus, reincarnation is a pathway that allows the human soul to continually evolve.

Think of reincarnation as the crashing of waves -- again and again -- against a shore. True to the brevity of existence, the briny surge that intermingles with the sand gets a brief respite on land before the undertow draws it back into open waters. This eternal to and fro is how the sea, the body, and the soul breathes. Reincarnation represents this cycle of life.


How Does Reincarnation Work?

How Does Reincarnation Work?

In the ongoing expansion of the Tao's desire to grow in awareness, a creative process exists that divides all-knowingness into unlimited copies of itself. This occurs at all levels of life, from spiritual beginnings to physical plane manifestations. The closest approximation we can make for this process is cellular biology, a form of spiritual mitosis, if you will, that divides itself into a new cell, thus multiplying its opportunities for growth and expanded awareness.

To help explain, after essence is cast from the Tao -- another example of mitosis at work, but on a grander scale -- essence divides into an identical version of itself that includes the same spiritual DNA. The main difference is that only essence is endowed with the gift of collective spirit, and spiritual DNA is specifically encoded to only respond to those with this gift.

The collective body of essence remains on the astral, but these purer forms of essence, its sub-personalities (as they are sometimes called), incarnate into physical bodies on earth. The new soul, a fragment of essence as essence is a fragment of the Tao, is essentially a version of essence incarnating with a blank slate -- although the replicated spiritual DNA allows the new personality access to learned skills, latent talents, and other predilections from the previous lives of essence.

Following the death of the incarnating fragment, the soul returns to the astral. In a familial sense, essence resonates like a parental figure to the fragment, and the parent/child bond is strong and compelling. Eventually, the fragment returns to essence and is brought back into the fold.

Absorption is one term used to describe the process, but essence is not a blob-like creature that digests the fragment and absorbs its nutrients (or in this example, experiences). A better term would be coalescence. The fragment is coalesced with essence, meaning a unification of the two energies that creates a sense of oneness yet allows for an individuation of spirit. Essence is not a bloated mass of personalities, or even a soul-eater (as some of our students fear), but a collective spirit united by a greater awareness, in a network of divergent souls connected but also free to pursue their own existence.

Individual souls (or essence fragments) do not reincarnate but they are intimately aware of the other incarnations and are energetically a part of them. The individual souls, or children of essence, as it were, continue to evolve through their unification with essence and in their own aspirations for personal growth.

After essence recombines with its entity, cadre, and on and on till it eventually reunites with the Tao, its evolving soul fragments are then recast into a new cycle and given the creative gift of spiritual replication, so that now they, too, may create life as collective spirits in a reincarnational cycle. This offers endless possibilities to both the Tao and its many individual sparks for a continued expansion in awareness.

But wouldn't steadily accruing the offspring of essence get unwieldy? Could you elaborate further on how this process of multiplication works?

The process is only unwieldy when viewed through the limited focus of three-dimensional thinking. The capacity of the soul to CREATE is well beyond the linear framework of the human mind, and would utterly astound those who otherwise cling to more conventional interpretations. 

To encapsulate the process, each spark from the Tao spawns new expressions of consciousness. These expressions work in alliance with essence and under their own volition. It's not the multiplication that's important but the creative expression in the act. This should never be taken lightly. The act of instilling self-awareness in a new form of consciousness is, in some respects, as weighty and awe-inspiring as creating a whole new universe. 

Because reincarnational selves exist under the umbrella of essence yet function independently, the sheer number of conscious identities (or essence fragments) never becomes unmanageable. The cells in the human body, for instance, number in the trillions. They do not require conscious management nor is there a need to excessively ponder them. They are independent but still function as a whole. 

That an essence fragment (now a full-blown essence) can later replicate itself after being recast from the Tao is just a logical extension of an evolutionary impulse that affects all sentient life. This expansion and contraction of the Tao is all by design. With each gesture of inhalation and exhalation, if you will, fragments are collected and recycled in new and meaningful ways. If this act of creative expression were somehow barred from occurring, the spiritual impulses of the soul would still find the means. This exploration of greater self-awareness cannot be denied. 

I'm really confused by these distinctions between essence and its personalities. Could you elaborate further?

Part of the confusion surrounds the distinctions between how essence differs from its fragments that incarnate in the physical. To put it succinctly, there are no distinctions. Essence is essence. It doesn't matter if we're referring to essence in a collective sense or to the parts of essence incarnating on earth. The spiritual make-up of these multiple forms are the same. They are ONE. These sub-personalities are just extensions of the same being. They are not unruly children run amuck that must be corralled. Upon return to the astral, the fragment soon realizes that they are part of something greater, and quite often the mere thought alone returns them to their original self.

Once a personality is created, however, it continues to evolve on its own path while remaining a part of the greater organism known as essence. In some ways, essence is like an entity, but on a much smaller scale and of a simpler configuration.

Confusion sets in when students attempt to reconcile disparities like, "Why are personalities channeled as having past lives if they don't reincarnate, or do they still reside in an entity or cadre?"

Once again, these sub-personalities are all parts of essence. When essence creates new personalities it divides itself -- the spiritual mitosis process we mentioned earlier -- into another cell, but the multiple cells are still part of the SAME organism. They are separate in numbers yet whole. When essence collects another past life, for instance, the entire body of essence experiences it because -- and we'll repeat ourselves again -- they ARE essence.

What is spiritual DNA? Is it different from physical DNA? 

The trouble with spiritual DNA versus physical DNA is that for obvious reasons an exact correlation cannot be made on a biochemical basis. 

Spiritual DNA serves a similar function in transferring those identifying elements of essence from one personality to another, but this does not include a genetic code that randomly mutates and evolves haphazardly. Spiritual DNA is a densely-packed conglomerate of TAO-stuff, distilled to absorb the experience of life without contamination from other sources in the Tao. 

To give a simple explanation, think of the substance from your childhood known as "Silly Putty." When you first remove the putty from the container it is in its purest form and untainted by outside elements. As you roll the putty over your Sunday's funny pages, it absorbs the exact colors and outline of the cartoon. This manner of assimilation continues from one lifetime to the next. Thus, the coding of Spiritual DNA is not genetic so much as it is experiential. 

Does this mean that an incarnation can inherit the DNA of a previous incarnation? 

The encoding from essence to personality -- that is, the process that transfers TAO-stuff -- is always the same. In the sense that the inheritance is experiential, the answer would be yes. Unresolved experiences often bubble to the surface of consciousness for reprocessing during a lifetime. This phenomenon is not across the board, however, and only experiences relative to a particular life are magnetically drawn to the surface. 


Why Do We Choose to Reincarnate?

Why Do We Choose to Reincarnate>

The choice to reincarnate, the choice to undergo what could be hundreds of lifetimes with challenging experiences, comes from a deep desire within essence (or your higher self) to experience the unpredictable yet exhilarating grandeur (and sometimes pain) of physical existence, all from as many perspectives as possible. To truly understand something, to truly make it your own, one must see it through the eyes of others with different points of view. From the standpoint of essence, that means reincarnation.

The spectacle of life cannot be summarized in a single paragraph nor could it be properly experienced through the perspective of one person. The picture would be incomplete and unsatisfying. Reincarnation adds needed dimensions through collective experience. Would you acquire a greater understanding of life over a single lifetime or a hundred?

Imagine that your essence is a master playwright, let's say William Shakespeare.

For the sake of example, Shakespeare has stocked his stage full of characters that are the incarnations of his creative mind, but they could just as easily represent the incarnations of essence (or his higher self).

To illustrate, each character perceives the unfolding drama on stage with a unique perspective. One character might view the scene with unbridled optimism while another might cast a cloud of cynicism over the production. What seems like a situation rife with conflict actually lends a rich tapestry of interaction between his characters that breeds insights into the human condition that wouldn't be possible without the multiple viewpoints.

Reincarnation works in the same way. Multiple lifetimes give a greater opportunity for life experiences that run the gamut of human emotions. Unlimited paths to learning lead to experiential engagement with all facets of the human condition, both light and dark. In many instances, the dark side can be your greatest teacher. This is where you learn the most compassion.


How Many Times Do We Reincarnate?

How Many Times Do We Reincarnate>

On average, most people incarnate a hundred times during a grand cycle.

The number of incarnations is unimportant, however, and does not imply anything positive or negative about a person. Some souls draw with crayons inside the lines, some souls draw well beyond the lines. It doesn't matter. Conversely, one shopper might buy the same flavor of ice cream at the store, whereas another might search for every possible flavor he can find. The number of lifetimes is more about personal preference than anything else. The only course requirement is that the soul completes the experiential levels of the five soul age stages and the accompanying internal monads.

Many souls consider the earth the "wild west" of the Universe and dash through their incarnations rather quickly. Others relish the opportunity for adventure and prefer a more thorough experience that only a higher number of lifetimes can provide. As always, individual choice is the law of the land.

Concerning grand cycles and our spark, does the spark retain its individuality even in the Tao, where all is one?

We tend to see individuality as a limiting concept yet from the perspective of the incarnated soul it's often impossible to perceive anything else. 

Your spark from the Tao goes through many transformations along the way, an amorphous energy of collective awareness not individual in the manner you would define it. What connects it all is a shared resonance. In other words, individuality in a spark from the Tao is made singular by a distinct vibration.

Consciousness is not as important in this sense as the overall resonance involved. You could compare the concept to several different qualities. The distinction might be purely vibrational in spiritual terms. It could be equated with a harmonic resonance, or defined as a color of visible light, subtle hues that differentiate themselves. More directly, this individualization amounts to minute differences in energy. This distinct energy, while a part of the Tao, never loses its core identity.

Consciousness grows and evolves through these energetic formations.

Some students have past lives in the hundreds. Does this mean they struggled to complete their monads and took longer to progress in soul age?

Many reasons exist why students have a high percentage of past lives. The number of previous incarnations is rarely an indication of being better or worse at mastering life's lessons. Typically, a high number of past lives reveals that the course curriculum, so to speak, was more stringent and immersive. The intent was to pursue an advanced degree in the grand cycle, whereas someone with considerably fewer past lives was merely interested in the survey course.

This degree of study is like everything else, a matter of choice. It often means the internal monads may have been abdicated more frequently to make room for a full plate of other learning experiences, such as the externals monads, agreements, and time spent assisting others with their life lessons, both in the physical and the astral. The deployment of a high number of concurrents (or simultaneous lives) is more likely with souls that choose to be journeyman of a particular cycle on a planet, and this includes more time serving as spirit guides.

This course agenda, therefore, is a busy one with every conceivable way of expressing life getting sampled, including tours of duty in all the major cultures from the past.


How Much Time Is Spent Between Lives?

The time spent between lives is often predicated by a couple things: the life review of the previous life -- have the lessons and objectives of that lifetime been processed and understood -- and has the necessary preparation and footwork needed for the next lifetime been completed, which includes the life task, choosing a set of overleaves, making agreements with others (including potential parents) and many other things on the checklist.

Time on the astral is also heavily restorative and souls between lives will recharge themselves to help heal emotional debris and wounds left behind from the previous lifetime.

As a rule, stays on the astral of several hundred years or more can become too much of a good thing. The soul loses touch with cultural advances, with a danger of becoming anachronistic, and emotional connections established between fragments still participating in the reincarnational cycle, may lose their charge.

Some souls, often due to inexperience or a drive to have more spontaneous experiences, may reincarnate quickly. All choices are valid here. No experience is inherently wrong and there is something to learn from every experience.


Why Don't We Remember Our Past Lives?

Why Don't We Remember Our Past Lives?

With intention and application, past lives can indeed be remembered, with trace artifacts appearing in dream states, moments of deja vu, encounters with people you may have known in a previous lifetime, and through various talents, interests, and hobbies.

That said, there is a fundamental reason why past lives are not an obvious part of conscious memory: the newly incarnating soul is a pristine copy of essence. This spin-off, to borrow a term from your popular culture, is a purer aspect of essence that doesn't dangle remnants of the collective memory into waking consciousness. These memories must be coaxed to the surface of consciousness, and some will remain unavailable. Young children, however, occasionally retain memories of their most recent past life, although these remnants dip below the surface of consciousness as the new lifetime takes greater precedence.

Since access to these memories tends to be indirect, they must usually be triggered by something, such as the moment of deja vu mentioned earlier. Past life regressions also work as a triggering agent.

The triggering of past life information can be similar to the way taste buds work. When eating, certain foods may trigger stronger reactions than others and may also trigger associations with forgotten culinary favorites, revealing deeper layers of prior memories. This analogy does not suggest that past lives are consumed and digested but memories triggered through association can lead to, for example, the recall of a favorite meal -- or in the case of a previous life, the recognition of a significant person from the distant past.

Does the soul have a core consciousness that's independent of role, overleaves, vocation, interests, and hobbies?

The idea of a core consciousness is valid.

The vibrational energy of any spark from the Tao tends to attract experiences over time that define its core being. Certain life experiences are tossed aside in favor of others, and at some point the spark becomes a magnet to the kinds of experience it prefers to focus on. If these experiences are not naturally drawn to the soul, it will deliberately seek them out.

This creates a consciousness that trains its focus on a set of experiences that match desired intentions and ideals. Becoming more aware of a core consciousness is as simple as following the natural impulses that repeatedly rise to the surface during the day. They will make themselves known and are usually quite noticeable if one is observant and sufficiently self-aware.


Are We Always Reborn as Humans?

The answer to this question must include an explanation of grand cycles.

Technically speaking, reincarnation ends when the soul completes an incremental series of lifetimes on a planet, all designed to widen the range of life experience of the soul, and strengthen spiritual development by progressing through perspectives colored by the soul age stages (infant, baby, young, mature, and old).

The journey of the soul, however, doesn't end at this point. From the physical, the soul advances through higher dimensions of experience, sometimes called the planes of existence, listed as follows: physical, astral, causal, mental, messianic, and buddhaic. The end of this cycle concludes with a reunification with the Tao (or God). A new cycle on another planetary system may then be considered.

The decision to embark on a new grand cycle is not taken lightly and requires a significant commitment. Once the incarnational cycle has started, a soul would not jump to another galaxy mid-stream and incarnate into the body of an alien. The soul would not be properly configured for that system. A gradual attunement occurs over time as a new soul, usually in devic form, adapts to the demands of the new system. Most souls beginning a cycle take the new planet for a test drive, so to speak, but once a state of sentience is achieved, it is rare that the soul will back out of the commitment. Life on another planet can always be explored in the next grand cycle.

In some past life regressions, clients have seen themselves as non-humans (or aliens), which suggests that a series of past lives on a planet are not sequential and that there is incarnational hopping going on from one planetary system to another. Could you confirm or deny this?

As stated before, an Incarnational cycle runs from beginning to end. Deviations are rare. Exceptions would be the sudden extinction of the life forms or the destruction of the planet they reside on. If technologically capable, the species could physically migrate to another planet and reincarnating fragments would follow them to the new location. But hopping from one planetary system to another is seldom done if the soul cannot properly acclimate itself to the new body and planet.

We see it as similar to taking an appliance from the United States and plugging it into an electrical outlet in Europe. For one, the prongs would not fit and the mismatch between voltage would short-circuit the appliance. Perhaps we exaggerate a little in our comparison but the inherent problem is of a similar nature. Everything would feel foreign and mis-configured.

Clients in past life regressions could conceivably tap into previous cycles on another planet, especially if there is a thematic link to the current lifetime.


Does the Evolution of the Soul Follow a Linear Progression?

The evolution of the soul is rarely linear. The changing dynamics between overleaves is a real game changer. The majority of souls have their favorite overleaf combinations and their least favorite. The least favorites often lead to unexpected and sometimes disastrous results. A soul can lead the life of a saint in one incarnation and the life of an ax murderer in the next.

Many factors come into play here, but least favorite combinations of overleaves (those that cause struggle for a fragment), as well as parental imprinting, family upbringing, and prevailing conditions of scarcity and frustration, can all lead to unplanned insurgencies of false personality (or ego) that undermine the original intentions of the soul and leave a wake of karmic debt to balance in a later lifetime.

We are not suggesting these conditions are predestined, as choice over rules all else.


How Do Simultaneous Lifetimes Factor Into Reincarnation?

Simultaneous lifetimes (often called concurrents by our channels) are useful for thoroughly exploring life from as many perspectives as possible. If essence is keenly interested in a particular historical period, it may spawn more concurrents during that stretch of time.

From a consumerist point of view, this is a way that essence can get more bang for its buck. The more fragments essence sends into the world, the greater the amount of experience, and there are myriad reasons why this form of fragmentation takes place.

Instead of sending one brave scholar to study the hazardous campaigns of medieval warfare, for example, one could send four of them and quadruple the amount of available knowledge and insight. Although we should point out that concurrents are usually not positioned in such close proximity, nor do we envision essence sadistically sending four concurrents to their death on a medieval battlefield.

Concurrents, then, allow a more comprehensive reincarnational experience.

Does having simultaneous lifetimes increase the number of lives lived in a grand cycle?

Yes. A concurrent would count as a lifetime.


If Reincarnation is Real, Wouldn't Suicide Be a Convenient Way to Avoid Pain and Suffering?

Reincarnation and Suicide

Pain and suffering, as you put it, is always a real possibility when the decision is made to incarnate on a planet like Earth. This is not something only seen in the fine print of the brochure or deceptively left out altogether. Most souls who take the journey know what they are signing up for.

The problem with suicide -- although it is a choice -- is that the act itself belies the original intentions of essence. There's an implied contract before an incarnation begins that the life led will progress from beginning to end, barring a fatal accident or unforeseeable act of God.

A suicide is like putting the car in reverse and starting the road trip all over again. The original itinerary no longer applies, however, and any side destinations, such as agreements with souls pivotal in arranging beneficial opportunities, are gone. A life following a suicide normally cuts to the chase, encountering the same challenges and setbacks that prompted the suicide in the first place. This time it's not easier, though. It is much more difficult.

One forgets that creating a lifetime contains many moving parts, such as the before-mentioned agreements, along with other life plans that must be carefully coordinated. A suicide, then, not only disrupts one life, it potentially tips the apple cart in ways that disrupt the lives of many others. Contingency plans are always in place, of course, but suicide is destructive. It ultimately creates more problems than it solves.

This should not be considered a punishment, per se. Following a suicide, a soul understands the imbalance that was created and works quickly in the next lifetime to right the ship.


What Role Does Karma Play in Reincarnation?

Reincarnation and Karma

Karma could be said to be the soul's means of checks and balances. Over many lifetimes, the soul may take actions that dramatically impede the choices of others, demolishing pre-incarnational agreements, life plans, and the choice of free will. The murder of another is an obvious example of karma, but this could include any action that irreparably harms the soul's ability to choose.

An act of karma then creates a karmic debt that's owed to another. When this energetic imbalance is created between two souls (or in some cases, multiple souls) the scale needs to be rebalanced.

How this works with reincarnation is two-fold:

One, karmic debt should be repaid before a cycle of incarnations is finished. Repayment does not need to be in the form of an eye for an eye. More evolved compensation, the preferred choice of older souls, is possible. You may be a heart surgeon, for example, and to your surprise find yourself traveling to a third world country to save the life of a dying child whose parents cannot afford medical expenses. If your treatment spares the life of the child, the karmic ribbon is cut.

Two, karma is LEARNING. In each lifetime, you learn from the choices made -- but even more important, you learn that choices have consequences. A prerequisite of growth does not need to include suffering, and learning to differentiate between choices that lead to suffering and choices that lead to joy is one of the most important lessons that can be learned on the physical plane.

Is there any value in being singled out and shamed for karma committed in a past life?

We do not see the value in confronting another over karmic choices made in past lives. The choice was at the discretion of a different personality. To chastise a current personality for choices made in a previous incarnation is neither helpful nor would any positive lesson be derived from the castigation. 

Karmic imbalances, of course, will be resolved at some point, but these are energetic imbalances, not actual crimes that the current personality must own up to in an intellectual sense. Shaming someone for something that is beyond the control of the current personality borders on cruelty. The pointlessness of such an exercise says more about the abusive nature of the shaming party. Would you spank an innocent child for instigating a violent insurrection against the Roman Empire in a prior incarnation? The same logic applies. 


Reincarnation: Recommended Resources

Reincarnation is a topic of global interest and the Internet has a surplus of websites and blogs that discuss the subject at length. In the list of recommended resources below, I've weeded out the generic contributions and outlined the best candidates for further exploration.

I've included links to both topic-oriented sites and specific articles. Enjoy!


Carol Bowman
Bowman is a renown past life therapist and reincarnation researcher. She has specialized in children's past lives.

Michael Newton Institute
Michael Newton's books about past life regression and between lives states are a MUST read. His work is considered groundbreaking by many.

Ian Stevenson
A profile of Ian Stevenson.

Brian Weiss
Brian Weiss is a psychotherapist and best-selling author of books about past lives.

Roger Woolger
Woolger was a regressionist therapist, known for his popular work "Other Lives, Other Selves."



A Guide to the Afterlife
Channeled FAQs about what life is like on the other side.

Ian Stevenson's Case For The Afterlife (from Scientific American)
A convincing argument for a scientific look at Stevenson's work about the past life memories of children.

"I Have Lived Before": The Reincarnation of Shanti Devi
The most thoroughly researched reincarnation case in history backs up Hindu beliefs about past lives.

The Secret History of Reincarnation
An article by regressionist therapist, Roger Woolger.



Fascinating lecture from Carol Bowman about her son's traumatic past life memories as a black soldier in the Civil War. The lecture begins around the 2:30 mark and is presented in English.

An interview with Michael Newton about Life Between Lives regressions.

A presentation by Ian Stevenson, a pioneer in studies involving past life memories of children.



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About David Gregg

David is the webmaster of and also moderates the Michael teachings discussion list at Yahoogroups. He has been a Michael student since 1996 and began channeling as a tool for spiritual enrichment. He is also a professional musician and plays the saxophone, clarinet, and flute, with a lifetime love for jazz and classical music. He enjoys literature and book collecting, and writes short stories in his spare time.

He occasionally writes reviews and profiles of jazz musicians at his jazz blog, Jazz Reader.



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