Do you believe in past lives, and if so do they have an influence or impact on who we are today?
Yes. Karma and reincarnation are twins of sorts. The Soul is immortal and is on its way to re-discovering its true Self. Reincarnation is the continuing of our past memories, retained by the Soul or akashic records, if you like.
Generally we go forward, higher, evolve. Life experiences enhances the Soul's progress on its journey to Freedom or God-realisation. Our Goal is Salvation; mystical Union ... although the Yogic word of Self-realisation or Oneness is infinitely deeper.
We are of God and as such mystical beings, that is, until we realise our true Self, then all becomes as natural and normal as drinking water. From the standpoint of Spirituality, the past is dust, but it is true that it has assisted in taking us to where we are today. We grow through adversity or darkness.
Re-incarnation is the process of the Soul, acquiring another body with all the subtle extras given by the Divine, for continuing its sojourn, in this school called Life, or Field of Dharma.
But how is it linked to present adversity and darkness? Is it punishment for the souls past negative events that went unpunished?
Reincarnation cannot be separated from Cause and Effect, Karma. The being is also motivated by desires. The Soul comes off this Wheel when desires are extinguished.
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