My gift to myself: avoiding tumblr for a week.
Do I strike you as someone particularly attached to Abrahamic forms? A bit bland for my taste, but it takes all sorts. ;) Hare Krishna!
This is interesting, because soul mates are a concept which is more complicated than in the love stories. Yes, you will very often meet people with whom you have had past relationships, and sometimes this will be romantic, but just as often it won’t. Actually, most people you know now or will ever know, you have likely known in some capacity before. We can take thousands and thousands of births, and there is bound to be a lot of reconnecting with the same people over and over! You may one day meet someone and have a deep connection with them, and this may lead to falling in love, because it’s as if you’ve known one another forever — this person may have been in love with you in a past birth, or they may as easily have been your parent or a friend or even an enemy (which helps explain why relationships can be so difficult!). You are naturally drawn to those with whom you have had relationships in past lives, because there’s memories of them buried in your subtle body, and often karmic connections. Relationships of all sorts become all the more complex when you take into account all these thousands of years of lives in the past!
With the aim of spiritual growth and understanding, it can be very useful. But you don’t have to wait till you are 18 to meditate! Anyone of any age can engage in meditation, all you have to do is make the choice to do it!
I confess that I am not very learned in Jain philosophy. From what I know, there are many aspects of Jainism which help its followers in spiritual understanding, of the soul and divine consciousness, but there is a lacking of God consciousness, which makes the philosophy dry, and ultimately unsatisfying for those who seek a personal relationship with God. I respect the root of the non-violence of Jainism, in the understanding that each living being has a soul, but I also realize that complete non-violence is not the way things work, nor should it be desired, for violence is simply one among many of the pastimes of the jivas. There is truth in Jainism, but for fuller understanding it is my belief one should look into Vedic knowledge.
You don’t bother me at all! I only hope I can help! Please, ask all you would like!
There is nothing wrong with looking into your past lives, because every life you have taken has been for a reason, and every life is an opportunity to learn some lesson and accomplish some task which is necessary for you. If you are able to gain insight to a past life or lives, it can help you understand yourself further as a spiritual being, rather than as the temporary designations of your current body. It can be informative to assisting on your path of spiritual growth.
Your existence has three levels. The gross body, which is your physical form, made of flesh, which will age, die, and decompose to dust. The subtle body, which is contained within the gross body, and is your intelligence, mind, and ego. And the soul, which is the essential part of you which never dies. When you take birth in a physical body, your soul is transplanted in the womb, covered by the subtle body. The process of birth is stressful and causes you to forget the memories of your past birth contained within your subtle body, but these memories remain present within you. Anything you have experienced in past lives remains in the subtle body, all things you have done, learned, accomplished, though you cannot access all of this. It is sort of like the subconscious part of your mind, but much, much deeper, containing all of your memories from all of your lives. All of these memories, all these past identities, are but coverings of the true self, which does not change.
When you reach advanced consciousness in one life, you will retain that progress indefinitely, though you may or may not benefit from it directly in your next birth. The subtle body houses the ego, which is as false and illusory as flesh, and this affects spiritual progress. In one birth, you may come to some realization that you are more than this ego, but at the time of death, you may become deceived by the material world’s illusions again, and carry this self-deception to your next birth. You will still have this greater awareness within you, but you will have for a time forgotten, due to distractions of the material world and your own gross and subtle body. You may go through you entire incarnation without realizing this higher consciouness again, but it will be there for as many lives as it takes. When you do seek out spiritual growth, your past progress will aid your advancement.
I shouldn’t be watching all these Serge Gainsbourg videos in the middle of the night.
Meditation can be helpful for obtaining greater understanding in this regard, and in general. Meditation is a method of coming to a greater understanding of your true self, and this can bring many things to light about yourself. I recommend mahamantram meditation as the most potent form of tapping into these realms of self awareness. I briefly posted on this form of meditation here and you can find more information on what this meditation achieves in helping you realize the significance of your past incarnations on this page.