Do you believe in life after death? If you do, have you had any flashback of a life that you had led 100 years ago? Were you in the court of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805? You were perhaps one of the Gopis in Krishna’s Vrindavan more than 5000 years ago?
Among them is 83-year-old Laurence Bingham, who lives in Auckland.
Born, raised and educated in Christchurch to a baker father and homemaker mother on January 16, 1932, he moved to Auckland in 1954.
He remembers the Great Depression of the 1930s, World War 2 and many other events that shaped the present day world.
But more importantly, he remembers at least 17 other times that he was born on this earth, including that as a Roman mother in 100 AD, a tantric in India in 320 AD and as an ordinary man in the Xi Xia Kingdom, China in 1020 AD.
He even remembers his life in Steppes (somewhere in Siberia), as some of us can imagine reading Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s ‘The Gulag Archipelago,’ and 18th Century France during which he was a woman, betrayed by a Drake.
His current life has been largely normal- 43 years as a clerk (30 of them in the same company), a happy married life until 1980 when his wife died, second marriage to a woman of Chinese descent in 1992 and retirement. A self-educated man (he completed just two years of high school education), he has ‘informally’ taught English to hundreds of immigrants and helped them to adjust to life in New Zealand.
The following is the life and times, notably that of past lives and times, of one of the most interesting persons that we have met in decades. The story of Laurence Bingham and the stories of 17 others who preceded him are narrated in several parts. This is the first.
Yester births spring forth an upsurge of emotions
I remember lives spanning thousands of years, though mostly within the last 3000 years. There are only about 25 altogether so it is obvious that either there were considerable time gaps between lives, or, more likely, hundreds of ordinary, commonplace lives of little import or significance.
I get a general impression of these lives in which raw survival of the body and one’s group, (later tribe), dominates.
Like any animal, attention was almost entirely on physical survival: obtaining food and water, (avoiding starvation); on surviving winters, floods, fires, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruption; on conceiving and raising children (reproduction); on avoiding or winning against personal violence, on group fighting, and later, warfare; avoiding or defending against wild animal attacks; on suffering disease. The average life span must have been far less than now – an average might be 30 years or less, only if surviving the high infant mortality rates. Modern man, Homo sapiens, as a species, has existed for between about 120,000 to 150,000 years. The science is strong, well supported by evidence.
The earliest memory I have is of hunting the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros just before or soon after the last glacial (the ice age that ended about 12,000 years ago), so, as far as I know, I have always had lives as a human being, not as an earlier species of homo such as homo erectus or Neanderthal.
That raises the obvious philosophic questions of when did I come to this planet as a spiritual individual being, and why, and what came before that?
Throughout my existence, I have spontaneously remembered some of my previous lives. The memories of these experiences were not sought but just happened naturally, sometimes prompted by an event or by perception of something in the present environment similar to that in a particular past life.
I have followed certain principles in writing these past life accounts. I noticed that past life memory is no different to the memory of present life events.
I remember various incidents that happened, not only in childhood but also throughout life, and forget other things, just like anybody. We do not have perfect memory – perfection, like absolutes, is unattainable!
Someone in psychology recently wrote that the human mind is an ‘imagination factory’ and that is demonstrably true as any writer of fiction shows.
In writing these past life events, I have endeavoured to record only strictly factual account of what I remember happening, written from the viewpoint and the reality of the person I was in that life, without adding or altering anything. I have neither imagined more nor influenced it by present knowledge or understanding derived from this life education. Instead, I may make a comment or brief explanation separate from the past life account if appropriate.
It is not difficult to distinguish genuine memory from imagination or invention.
I can sense what is genuine and what is not. It is obvious that it is the self as a spiritual being who is recording experience and then remembering it.
The memory of past deaths and what followed them would be impossible if memory was solely the function of a mind or brain.
(To be continued)