FMBR Editorial: Jan, 2006
William C. Gough
I have been reflecting upon the provocative presentation by Dr. Walter Semkiw, M.D. on reincarnation. Here is a speaker who says he is the reincarnation of John Adams, the second president of the United States. He goes on to list 110 persons in todays world, and names who they were reincarnations of this time around. Some are famous personalities, politicians like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Ralph Nader; scientists like David Bohm, and actors like Shirley MacLaine. Others are people that I have known personally, for example Dean Brown and his wife Wendy, FMBR's Science Advisors Bruce Lipton and Russell Targ, and Gary Zukav, Jeffrey Mishlove, Arthur Young, and Norman Shealy. I couldn't help but wonder about the source of the driving inner passion of these friends. Does reincarnation explain this source?
Dr. Semkiw's talk raised a number of questions in my mind and that of the audience. Is reincarnation a well researched phenomenon? Are personality traits and talents carried through from lifetime to lifetime? Do physical appearance and characteristics stay consistent from lifetime to lifetime? Do we reincarnate in groups with former spouses, family, friends and associates? Can one reincarnate into more than one person?
The past-life matches with deceased individuals were made by Dr. Semkiw, independent researchers, and Ahtun Re (a spiritual being channeled through the famous medium Kevin Ryerson). After the hypothesized past-life match had been made, it was checked using historical documentation. Only then could a determination be made whether a true reincarnation match existed. Objective criteria for past-life matches were applied. They consisted of facial architecture, personality traits, linguistic writing style, and karmic groupings of loved ones and close associates. People involved in a reincarnation match seem to have consistent interests, motivations, and values; and even physical habits, such as postures, hand gestures, and type of jewelry worn. They also were often attracted to geographic settings associated with their past-lives.
Dr. Semkiw claims that physiological features are related to experiences of a remembered past-life. Support for this criteria comes from the research of Dr. Ian Stevens on, a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia. He has compiled and studied thousands of cases involving children who remembered past lives in detail. Dr. Stevenson found that individuals who died of traumatic wounds, such as bullet or knife wounds, often are found in a subsequent incarnation with marks that mirror the wounds incurred in the previous lifetime. In 1998, Dr. Stevenson revisited cases he first investigated twenty years ago. In two of these cases, photographs of the individuals from the prior lifetime were available. These images show that in adulthood, physical appearance was consistent from lifetime to lifetime.
Dr. Semkiw claims that personality traits can be related to physical appearance. Dr. Semkiw never discusses Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu art of preventive medicine from India. Nor as a Western medical physician does he really subscribe to its concepts. Yet, this ancient practice, like acupuncture, dates back more than 5,000 years. I believe that the practices used by Ayurvedic medicine could support his criteria. The first thing an Ayurvedic doctor looks for are telltale traits that disclose your body type. The Ayurvedic body type is like a blueprint outlining the innate tendencies that have been built into your system and have a direct relationship to one's psychological nature.
Dr. Semkiw also claims that modes of expression like writing style remain consistent from one lifetime to another and that this can be documented us ing formal linguistic analysis. It would be interesting to also explore handwriting as a criteria in the research. The scientific system known as graphoanalysis claims that a person's writing is an index of strength of character, will power, judgment, passion, and thus likewise reflects one's personality.
Reincarnation research is an area that implies the possible existence of a spirit world. Modern physics and cosmology often hypothesize the possibility of realities outside of our physical space-time. There are now scientific theories that embrace parallel universes, interpenetrating universes, and even the possibility of different physical constants and different physical laws. Jane Roberts, the author of the Seth books, suggests that "reincarnation most likely involves probable existence in alternate living areas ." What if all our lifetimes are happening simultaneously and originate from a source self or soul outside of space-time. The source self could reincarnate into multiple personalities in this time period and in others. Thus, there could exist bleed-through from "future" lives or "past" ones.
Dr. Semkiw states that his research shows that people change religious, ethnic, and racial affiliations from lifetime to lifetime; yet, 80 to 90% maintain the same gender. Dr. Semkiw has concluded that people reincarnate in karmic "soul groups" and believes that the leaders of the American Revolutionary era are now returning as a group to foster a spiritual revolution. The idea of reincarnation has occupied a great many exceptional minds over generations and across cultures in both the East and the West. Dr. Semkiw has good company regarding a belief in reincarnation: Plato, Virgil, Pythagoras among others. It is a subject that cannot be lightly dismissed, and certainly is worthy of further questioning, study, and investigation including the us e of modern scientific techniques like DNA fingerprinting.
William C. Gough, FMBR Chairman of the Board
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