The metaphysics and philosophy behind my novel, The Hollow Curse, is discussed below.
Let me begin by saying there is no conclusive evidence for past lives. What can be said from an unbiased overview of the available evidence is that people in a suggestive state can demonstrate memories about past times and places that they could not have from personal experience within their current life. Having said that, I assure you the author is a reincarnationist. Reincarnation is, however, a matter of faith supported by circumstantial, but non-conclusive, evidence. With the disclaimer out of the way, allow me to present the major theories about reincarnation.
There is a huge reservoir of soul stuff, like a giant pot. At birth some force ladles a suitable amount of material from the pot into our physical shell. We journey through life accumulating experience then we die. At death the soul stuff within us is dumped back into the pot where it mixes with the soul stuff of others. In time another ladle is drawn and poured into a new person. That ladle may hold bits of soul that have come from several different individuals. With this theory dozens of individuals may have fragments of the spirit that once inhabited Napoleon, but the entity that was Napoleon is dispersed.
According to this theory when we die we make a beeline to the nearest available foetus, dive in and live again. This view has the advantage that it doesn't require any kind of spiritual plane of existence, but fails to account for mediumship. The reason for the haste is it is thought the spirit cannot maintain continuity outside of a host for long and will dissipate unless reincarnated.
In this view the soul alternates between the prime material plane, this vale of tears, Malkuth, (yes, fun with names) and a spiritual realm, spending time in each. This is a useful view because it does account for mediumship, transient ghosts and other such phenomenon. Its problem is that it demands that there be a spiritual aspect to existence. Personally this is my favourite, but you must choose for yourself.
This is an interesting explanation that can fit with all of the above theories, or stand-alone. Picture time, all time, as a huge sphere of energy existing at one moment. Within this sphere of energy there are currents and flows. We are a speck of dust in one of these flows. Because we are caught in a current we seem to move forward in a linear direction, despite the fact that all the temporal (time) energy exists around us at once. We see ourselves moving through time, when in fact we exist within all time.
We can remember previous experiences because they are in fact happening at this moment and we are connected to our soul in other parts of the time current by the law of contagion. The law of contagion states that things once in contact remain in contact despite being separated. Thus, the experiences happening to us in one part of the temporal sphere resonate with those occurring to us in another. If you don't get this, don't worry. It's just a theory and a bit rough to wrap your mind around. All of the above are theories and none are intrinsically better than the others.
Some researchers believe we may carry memories from our ancestors in our genes and hold this out to explain past life memories. If you want to accept it OK, but I suggest you do the math. Half from our father, one quarter from our grandfather, etc.
Some people hold that they have had incarnations on other planets. Given the vastness of space, it is the height of arrogance to think earth is alone in producing life. This is not to say the author accepts all the statements made by exponents of alien contact, but he will not deny logic to avoid extremism. Thus, it is possible that people have lived lives on other worlds. This is interesting but does not mean they are great spirits descended to save us from ourselves. Judge them by their actions, as you would anyone else. After all, would you want Darth Vader running your child's preschool?
Moving past theory to the most asked question. There are several good reasons we don't remember. The first is hysterical amnesia. There are two major traumas between dying and living. The death trauma, which we all recognize as probably quite a shock to the system, and the birth trauma. Being born is an unpleasant experience. Imagine being pulled through a suffocating, rubber tube half the width of your shoulders. Add to this you started out in a nice, warm, dark jacuzzi and you end up naked, in times square, on the coldest day of the year. This alone is enough to make you forget.
Another reason we forget is that it is easier to learn without preconceptions. With our past lives reduced to the level of natural aptitudes and predilections we are encouraged to experience new things. Besides, Imagine the confusion if a macho warrior type were born into a petite female body. It's tough enough for them with the memories blocked.
The final major reason for blocking memories is the protection of sanity. Suppose in a previous life you raped and murdered the person who in this life is your mother. Could you live with the guilt? Could she love you knowing what you were? Not knowing can be a mercy. This is why I do not regress others. If you give control to an outside agency, you may get information you can't handle. This isn't to say there aren't competent people doing regressions, there are, but the industry is unregulated. I suggest using extreme caution when finding and working with anyone doing this kind of work.
The meditation that follows is a technique where you can access information on your past lives yourself. This method is safe because your sense of self-preservation will stop you from getting information you are not able to handle.
After all I have just said you may wonder if you should try to remember your past lives at all. The answer is yes. Used properly remembering your past lives can give you insight into your phobias and natural aptitudes. In addition, if you know the karmic areas you have to work on, you can put a conscious effort into dealing with them. This can accelerate your spiritual development and make you a better person.
Knowing your past lives can also aid you in understanding interpersonal relationships. Suppose in a previous life your daughter was your mother and she always seems resentful when you tell her what to do. You feel she is a wilful child, she feels you are as well. Realising the source of the conflict allows you to put it into perspective.
The important thing about remembering past lives is to do it slowly, so you do not become overwhelmed, and to remember you are living this life. If knowing enhances this life, it is good, if it does not, forget it and move on. Past glories are exactly that, past!
How many people think they were Cleopatra in a past life, or Napoleon, or whoever? You are far more likely to have been one of Cleopatra's serving maids than the queen. More likely still to have been a dirt farmer in the Nile valley than anyone associated with the royal court. Somebody had to have been Cleopatra, but if you start thinking you were someone famous, be cautious. An acid test is to ask yourself, what lessons of value am I learning by remembering this? If it's just an ego boost, it probably isn't true.
This is a spiritual record of everything that has ever happened. There is the true record held to exist on the astral (spiritual) plane and a lesser one dealing with your personal history in your psyche. This is what the path-working meditation that follows accesses. The record can be accessed by anyone with the will to do so and because it is subjective can take on a variety of forms. As to who operates it? Every religion has its record keeper who records everything in the book of fate. It's him, her or it, whatever you perceive them to be.
After doing the following meditation a few times you may feel this way. The reason is you tend to learn about the lives you didn't do well in first. This is because they are the ones that you still have something to learn from. It will improve with time and if you start to feel overwhelmed, don't do the meditation until you feel better. This isn't a race; you have eternity to get it right.
The next section contains the path-working meditation. Akashic record path-working meditation. I would be interested in hearing how this meditation went for you.