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Meditation 356
Thoughts on Reincarnation (1)

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We usually don't have many memories of our earliest years. Babies may be highly observant and they do learn from what they see, but rarely record specific events in their memories for posterity. My own earliest childhood memories are from when I was about two years old - and there are only two; both of which represent events[1] that would have seemed quite traumatic to a young mind which probably is the reason the memory remains.

Yet, underlying these memories, clearly older, is a memory of flying a plane - a single seater fighter in a dogfight. The memory is just an brief image of flying and shooting, and to my mind, it is older than any other memory I have.

Clear evidence of reincarnation? I'm sure the proponents of such beliefs would seize on it as such. Yet it is my memory, and I don't necessarily read reincarnation into it.

I don't remember exactly when I was told I was adopted, probably when I was about six or seven. But I do remember my father telling me, in answer to queries about my original parents, that my biological father[2] was a fighter pilot shot down in the Battle of Britain before I was born.

"Further evidence!" those who believe in reincarnation might claim. "Your own father became you!"

And still, I don't think so. Let's be honest. It is possible that my adoptive father invented this history to satisfy the curiosity of a little boy, and make him feel he had a hero in his past. I never asked the question again, and do not know if the tale about my biological father is true or not. I do know I believed it at the time.

And that's the key - I did believe my biological father was a fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain. And probably based on this, no doubt influenced by comic books, I vividly imagined flying a fighter plane.

The truth is that it is remarkably easy to create a false memory in children, and in my opinion, that is exactly what I managed to do. My fantasy turned into a solidly implanted memory. Reincarnation is not required to account for this memory. And reincarnation is not something I believe in.

That is not to say that the way I interpret this memory is disproof. And that's something I'll follow up on in the next Meditation.

Footnotes:

  1. I'll spare you the details, irrelevant as they are to the point I'll eventually make.
  2. No, he did not say "biological father," but the term does make it clear when two fathers are mentioned in one sentence..