Is remembering our previous incarnations a special skill that only some have? Actually, forgetting previous lifetimes is really the special skill. The memory is always there, but we are born with a subconscious mechanism that prevents us from remembering other lifetimes so that we can build our personality. Although sometimes the following does happen, it would not be a good idea for the baby lying on the (faux) bearskin rug to be plotting his escape back to Outer Mongolia to reunite with his wife.
It is not usually necessary to remember previous lifetimes. But for some of us it is. When we experience unexplainable fears or repeated difficulties that don’t seem to have any rational explanation, the answer often lies in a previous lifetime. Painful karmic relationships can often be understood and resolved once the past is revealed.
Past life gunk can reside in the subconscious, where it exerts a powerful influence on the present. The subconscious has the logic of a four-year-old and possesses no sense of time.
Memories from the past can feel as though they are still happening now, or could recur again at any moment. When we remember what happened in that lifetime, our conscious mind gets an “Aha! No wonder I’ve felt the way I have. No wonder such and such has been happening.” Meanwhile, because the conscious and subconscious minds have exchanged information, the subconscious mind gains access to the conscious mind’s sense of time and realizes the experience is over. The problem often releases instantaneously.
Readings can give clues to what has occurred and can sometimes be helpful in this healing process. There are also things we can do to help uncover half-buried memories (if they are causing trouble, they are usually half buried even when they seem completely inaccessible). It is wise to be patient with this process because our psyche needs time to assimilate and adjust. I wouldn’t recommend trying to force things.
The subconscious mechanism that prevents us from remembering past lives is designed to care for and integrate us. Therefore, if it will benefit the person to remember previous incarnations that this mechanism will begin to release information. Usually it does so a bit at a time and then waits. Memories emerge through dreams or are remembered vaguely, and then weeks to years later emerge full force.
Try this exercise: look at certain historical periods that interest you, places you have traveled to that evoked a strong reaction, places you’ve always longed to visit, or experiences that have not happened to you personally — yet they evoke a strong personal reaction that you can’t explain. Then ask yourself questions. “If I was there, was I young or old, male or female, rich or poor?” Record your impressions. Give it a rest and come back days or weeks later. Slowly the truth will emerge.