Reincarnation and past lives are a natural part of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Gnostic Christian, Jewish Kabbalah, some Sufism and most Pagan cultures.
Even if you do not believe in it, it can provide an interesting way of thinking about and understanding people. Often, when I do not understand why someone is behaving in a certain way, I contemplate them through the prism of reincarnation. Is there a deeper and longer back story?
Logically, I also believe in life after death. This belief is based in experience, mainly from a near-fatal illness in my twenties when I had a sequence of out-of-the-body happenings.
In this context of past lives and life after death, I think about my mother who died a few years back. Usually, when someone I love dies, I feel their presence or some kind of communication from them over the coming weeks and months. But I felt nothing from my mum. It was as if, once out of her body, she moved away from Earth as fast and as far as she possibly could.
Then in meditation a few weeks ago I found myself contemplating her again and wondering if she would reincarnate and where. Tuning into her soul I felt a great reluctance on her part to reincarnate. This was understandable because her last life had contained much traumatic tragedy. At the centre of this tragedy was her time in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. The secret police had decided that she was a spy and troublemaker because of her interest in braille — and they treated her with great cruelty.
As a result of her deprivations her first child, my sister, was born deaf. This led my mother into pioneering charitable work for deaf children.
My mum, Freddy Bloom, was well known for her courage. A book was written about her. She was an early subject of the television programme This Is Your Life. And she had a difficult relationship with my father.
So she did not fancy reincarnating. I felt her saying to me:
If I reincarnate, I do not want to feel all that pain again. I do not want to be so involved with people. I want my sensitivity allowed and protected. I will need to be very introvert. I won’t understand relationships.
Sensing this from her, I was reminded of all the presentations of autism. The NHS describes autism in this way. Autistic people may:
— Find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
— Find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
— Find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
— Get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
— Take longer to understand information
— Do or think the same things over and over
Over the years in my work as an educator and carer, I have often wondered about autism and its relationship with past life trauma. I often have conversations with psychologists who also believe in past lives and contemplate whether autism might have its source in past life trauma. Imagine survivors of concentration camps — prisoners and guards; imagine folk killed or tortured in conflict; and so on — how might these souls choose to incarnate? What circumstances would provide the context for expressing their trauma and allow recovery?
Following my experience in meditation with my mother and her reluctance to reincarnate, I started to think about writing this blog. I hesitated. Would people believe it or accept it? Would it seem too weird?
As part of my preparation I googled ‘reincarnation and trauma. Google immediately responded with this academic paper: ‘Reincarnation Type Presentations of Children with High-Functioning Autism in Sri Lanka.’
The abstract for this paper reads as follows:
Here we describe three children from Sri Lanka claiming memories of their past lives and later diagnosed to have high-functioning autism. The first, a seven-year-old Buddhist believes he was killed by terrorists as a soldier in his previous life and attributed his birthmark to be an injury which caused death. The second, a five-year-old Catholic girl suffering from asthma claiming she died of breathing difficulties in her previous life where she was a Buddhist grandmother. The third, an eight-year-old academically superior child claims he was a monk in his previous life and demands parents to allow him to enter the priesthood. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29602719/
Whether you believe in past lives or not, this way of looking at autism may be positive and useful. It provides a framework that reinforces acceptance, careful safety, space and time to be.
Literally am so glad someone wrote about this, this makes so much sense
Thank you William .. SO interesting. THANK you for sharing and stimulating the conversation.
Thank you for this article. I googled my query from the reverse position. Thinking on my past life links with my 2 grandchildren during WW2; I wondered if their newly diagnosed high functioning autism could be a result of the trauma suffered at the time. It has opened a door for me to lol further….
I only now got round to read your post. Thank you so much for this. Working with Autistic children in the NHS I often observed how difficult it is for parents to come to terms and understand their child’s Autism. Mainstream ‘treatments’ often have not enough to offer to answer their questions or give them models beyond the medical. In more spiritual circles these children are often called the New Children or Indigo, Crystal, Petal children and while that can offer an interesting perspective it is often very ‘far away’ from the main stream parents I work with and could alienate them more than offer a helpful new perspective. Your article is very thoughtful and much more approachable for those more sceptical or not tuned into the more esoteric explanations. This offers a wonderful bridge into broadening horizons in a gentle and authentic way. Thank you
You wrote about your mom :
“If I reincarnate, I do not want to feel all that pain again. I do not want to be so involved with people. I won’t understand relationships.
I want my sensitivity allowed and protected. I will need to be very introvert.”
To me it sounds like your mother wants to reincarnate as a so called low-functioning autistic person. Sometimes, such people are born into very loving families that somehow understand them intuitively, telepathically or through facilitated typing and really respect them and their point of view and take excellent loving care of them. And sometimes such people are very spiritual. I really wish for your mother to be reborn under such circumstances. (On the other hand some families’ reactions to autism can also be very frustrating for the autistic person and I really hope that won’t be her experience.)
“It provides a framework that reinforces acceptance, careful safety, space and time to be.”
Yes, very nicely put. That’s what I want for all of us. Add love to the list. Thank you.
Someone commented: “In Emmanuel’s Book 2 he describes autistic children beautifully as ‘seeking again, after a fearful former life, to reckon how it is that love can enter…..standing at the rim of human experience – very alert, very aware, a bit reluctant to enter, that is all.’”
Yes, processing collective trauma and arriving at a place where it’s possible to love and understand all people (I really mean that) has been part of my life’s journey.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for this blog. It has come at just the right time for me and has been very illuminating. I understand now HOW my reluctance to come into life (I’ve long felt that that was the case) and inability to readily enjoy life is connected to my autism.
Love, Kaja (Kaya)
I really enjoyed reading this. I am the mother of a 24-year-old son with ASD and Tourettes . He was very autistic as a child and non-verbal until around six . I have attended some of your workshops in London in the past and I’ve always liked your connection with sacred psychology. I have been surprised that your workshops didn’t include the Enneagram as a tool for understanding the “sacred contracts “ each of us seem to be born into ?When my son was around 8/9 he also told me that we had been together in another life ;he wasn’t able to give me much detail but he was sure of it at that time . I am a coach and teacher of leadership and culture change . In my classrooms with adults I always teach the Ancient Enneagram ( as an excellent tool for becoming conscious of what was previously unconscious habits of surviving but not thriving ).The type 5 personality is known as the investigator/researcher/cave dweller/nerd . Many of the teachers of the Enneagram throughout history have said that the type five personality has a tendency towards autism . Certainly I personally know a number of people who are on the autistic spectrum who are also “fives “in their passions and fixations. I find the connection you have made to past life trauma entirely consistent with the teachings of the Enneagram. The way I teach it these passions/fixation/unconscious addictions of mind chatter may be part of the sacred journey you’re supposed to do here in earth school. If and when you come to Australia William let’s workshop some of this together .( we did discuss this briefly at Hamstead )
My son is now 20, I have always had an open mind. When he was 3 he was basically non verbal, one day sitting on the beach looking west, the other children were playing, he wasn’t interested and came and sat next to me, he said” Do you know I used to live out there on an island” WHAT I listened as he spoke using grammar in perfection, he also said I wasn’t his mum back then, but I’m ok. He said he was 32 and died trying to save locals from a fierce storm and was washed off a bridge( some thing like that) I was in shock. He also at age 8 couldn’t read but he could, while looking at a cockpit of a fighter plane in an encyclopaedia, point and name every gauge and instrument. He was diagnosed with ASD at age 6 High functioning , has really bad anxiety, depression looks scared all the time, never liked personal contact, I feel his pain, he is an apprentice mechanic and very very good at it. I feel as though it’s sheer frustration that he can’t do what he used to do, what ever that was. Loving Mum
Thank you for a really interesting article William. Your mother sounds amazing. I taught myself to do past life regression using a CD I sent off for. I found it very easy to do as i had taught myself journeying before. I had no spiritual training at this time so had no idea what to expect. I was pretty desperate at the time so I was looking for answers in any direction. But my first past life I was a soldier in the first WW and I was standing on the earth that had been blown to pieces. Everything was mud and I was the only survivor of the battalion I was in. I felt so guilty and had no idea why I had survived. This reflected a lot of what was going on for me in this present time. What amazed me was I expected to be a woman, it never entered my head i would be a man. So if I was making all this up, why was I a man. I found the whole process fascinating. It felt a comfort to me at that time, even though i didn’t dare tell anyone what I was doing . I didn’t know a soul in this field. Though I was never able to heal that me and it is only now 20 years later that i can see how full healing for this life and the past can take place. The healing needed to be done in this life first. I did about 5 journeys to different lives not all traumatic but usually a strong message in each about my present life and why it was like it was.
So in relation to autism I can see how that could be understood and I agree with Sarah that full acceptance of the person in front of you is really the only way to be. The human condition is Far more varied – and interesting, than we are ever told.
Thank you William for such an interesting blog. I have trained in past life regression so have some understanding of how past lives can impact on our present day functioning. I have also worked with people on the autistic spectrum and found a lot of insensitivity towards this group of people when I worked In the NHS. I noticed that that some could ‘see’ what others couldn’t. My sadness was they, at times, were medicated for being delusional. There is so much we don’t know and I believe having an open mind to all possibilities is helpful. Thank you again as I rarely express my views.
Thanks for raising this! It’s the first time I have looked at this connection and it makes a lot of sense to me. I was recently diagnosed as ‘high-functioning’ autistic (and think that the NHS definition is a little narrow) and have a very strong sense that I was tortured during WWII in the name of ‘medical experiments’ and eventually died from this). The trauma-autism connection could explain a lot of things, such as my distancing from my family, decision to not have children, my distrust of western medicine, and the fact that in this incarnation I live pretty much on the other side of the world.
I’ve been grateful for your insights and teachings for a long time now.
Dear William, thank you for this posting. It is thought-provoking and very insightful. I have not thought about autism in this context. I have a 55-year sister who is autistic. As I read your post I wondered how this might have impacted on my sister while still in the womb. The fact that my mum was not in any way welcoming her to the world. When she realised that she was expecting my sister. All to do with being a single parent, poverty and lack of support from her family etc.
A very interesting post, which certainly chimed with me. I’ve always had a very strong sense of wanting to run away, and my mother’s home in Norway was occupied by the Germans in WW2. A very intense time for a teenager: she never spoke about it, as my father never spoke about WW2 (in the RAF), his postings to Palestine and Aden. He was traumatised by his young wife dying of TB, and then my mother’s cancer (she recovered.) He was often angry, or very angry: ricocheted onto my younger brother who became very depressed and then addicted to drugs from 14 onwards. He never recovered. I tried to help him, but it ended up impacting me. I found seeing him regularly was sufficient to keep me on an even keel.
The best book I’ve read on this topic, which I recommend to all here, is “It didn’t start with you,” by Mark Wolynn. Many examples of young children, and adults carrying intergenerational trauma which they’d never witnessed in their own lives. Lots of work has been done on the children of Holocaust survivors, btw. Namaste.
Thank you for this William. Such an interesting and insightful observation. It makes total sense to me. xx
There is a narrative in the holistic field, that the apparent increase in numbers of children being born with autism is part of human evolution – that these sensitive children are ‘special’ (all children are special) because of it. I find this offensive, because I have seen many families suffer because some (not all) autistic children live very difficult and isolated lives; their families impacted in their everyday life. I have often asked myself why so many children are now being born with these issues, as both a school teacher and an energy/spiritual practitioner; certainly, I think toxicity in our environment is a factor – but this theory feels really valid to me – and if we look at our recent history – two world wars, just for starters; it would make sense that those now incarnating have suffered trauma greater than in any other period of history. Thank you for your insight and research.
I am a 51-year-old autistic and I find your post offensive. Yes, all children are special AND so are we. Yes, we can be a challenge for our families AND we can still play a part in human evolution – why should that be contradictory? I’m totally convinced that some of us – myself included – have an important part to play in the next step of human evolution.
This is a wonderful post William, thank you for sharing your reflections x
Thank you for your latest offering … your courage to bring these subjects into the Light will help all of us who struggle with knowing ‘something’ but without the ability to express or to find the words.
Since following the opening you gave to the Polyvagel technique the agitation in my own nervous system has decreased considerably and living my life has become far less intense.
Has there been research done using Polyvagel technique with autism of dementia?
William: Thanks for your question. I don’t know. Worth researching . . .
I have a brother who has always seemed damaged beyond anything that has happened to him in this life – and I have had many dreams about both of us being alive in WW2. All traumatic. It would make sense that such trauma would manifest in a next life
Hello William, After a long period of stopping and just being since March, I have spent regular periods of time in meditation. I have had the sense that the past, present and future are all one and that we are multidimensional beings. Many hours could be spent talking about this !!! Thank you for starting the conversation.
Hi William, this caught my eye because I have a son with HFA who is 11. Your mother’s conditions for a new incarnation touched me because my very gentle child needs those conditions to be well. The mainstream world, especially schooling system, tends to pathologise introversion and the need for space and peace, especially in boys. I homeschool him now and there is ‘nothing wrong with him’, he just operates differently – creatively and intelligently – as long as his environment is respectful of his way of being. Perhaps a past life regression may be insightful for him. He remembers dying on a red bed as an old man but he says it wasn’t traumatic. Perhaps earlier in life was… Anyway, thanks for the article. Sarah
Thanks William. In Emmanuel’s Book 2 he describes autistic children beautifully as ‘seeking again, after a fearful former life, to reckon how it is that love can enter…..standing at the rim of human experience – very alert, very aware, a bit reluctant to enter, that is all.’
I love that quote. It describes me very well. Is there more in the book on autism or is it just that quote? If there’s more I’ll get the book…
I believe i heard somewhere that one can pick up elements from the Collective Consciousness and using our story making ability, assemble it into a “life” which we could imagine as happening to ourselves in a pprevious life. I know myself, i can imagine stories of pre-lives myself, but i dont want to come back to this particular reality if i have a choice. There is too much out there i want to explore. But imagining a previous existance is good therapy, whether or not one believes in pre-existence themself.
Hi William, its so inspiring to hear others with this view. My sons and I are all HFA and so are many of my close family members. We have much transgenerational trauma and we are empaths so its deeper. WE also have passed life trauma – i was burned at the stake in Cathar S France in 12th century for being a healer. A lot of us were because we didnt believe in the dark side I think. I was also hanged in another past life for the same. Interestingly Dietrich Klinghardt talks about ASD kids carrying about 4 generations of transgenerational trauma. I too had NDEs that brought me to this healing place. Golly I could chat to you all day about this.
Such interesting thoughts William, and makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you
All the cases of autism that I have examined have two issues:
– Aluminium in the brain that resists the light of the solar angel
– Karma, personal or group.
I have three nurse friends all of whom had a child become autistic a few days after vaccination – the easiest means of getting Aluminium to the brain.
In some cases, the inability of Light/Spirit to flow into the brain resulted in the consciousness anchor (normally near the pineal gland) being displaced to the back of the heart.
The knock-on effect was that various of the chakra beings gave up and departed.
It takes a lot of work to recover such a child but substantial progress is possible, particularly if the mother is prepared to do regular Light work.
I saw a similar case with an adult, but she had Lead in the brain as well as substantial karma. She lived near a Lead smelter.
You are a wonderful person William
Really interesting and I would like to add that when people take part in Body Electronics or point holding past life memories sometimes come up and I have personally experienced this .