Reincarnation, Past Lives & Mysterious Attractions

Could you please speak on the topic of “past lives” prior to coming on earth, the topic of reincarnation and how it is linked to the concept of being called an old soul and lastly the concept that if you feel a special connection to someone maybe you were together in a past life? Is it true that we have “soul families” beyond this realm and entangle with souls from those families on earth? Clearly as humans we have no access to knowing about previous lives yet I am trying to discern if this information is even beneficial to my growth and maturity. Thank you.

Good questions! There are a lot of interesting mechanics linked to these topics which I’m going to explain. Some will be more relevant to your personal situation, but they are all good food for thought. Let’s start with understanding why the whole idea of a “past life” even feels like a possibility worth pondering…

Your Soul’s Design

Humans are incredibly complex beings. Instead of designing us to function as a single, straightforward entity, God linked multiple entities together into a single unit. Every human has four elements to their being: a soul, body, conscious and subconscious. Each of these elements has their own personality, concerns, priorities, and skills that they bring to the group. It’s only with the combined contributions of all of your elements that you can function well as a human.

Now when it comes to wondering about the meaning of your life, how long you have existed, and if your existence will continue after your death in this world, these are topics which are only interesting to your soul. Each of your four elements has some unique qualities that none of its elemental partners share. One of your soul’s most important unique qualities is its ability to form relationships with supernatural beings. Your other elements can only react to supernatural beings. Reacting to something is different than relating to it. For example, if someone dumps a bucket of water on your head, you will react to the experience of being soaked, but you won’t try to form a relationship with the water that soaked you. In the same way, when demons or God interact with your conscious, subconscious, or body, those three elements will react to what is happening to them. But they won’t attempt to form a relationship with the entities that are interacting with them. This is because those three elements of your being simply aren’t designed with any interest in relating to supernatural beings. But when it comes to your soul, things are quite different.

Suppose another human shoves you. In such a case, you will both react to being shoved, and you will also attempt to relate to the person who shoved you. You’ll engage in conversation with him, trying to figure out his motivation so you can understand his behavior. Being shoved is a negative experience. So is getting hit by a flying ball that some child kicked in the wrong direction. In both cases, you are selective about who you try to relate to. In the ball situation, you don’t try to talk to the ball. Instead, you ignore the ball and immediately focus on the child. Why? Because you view the ball as something that you can’t form a relationship with. In fact, the whole idea of trying to have a real conversation with a ball sounds ridiculous. The point I’m making here is that each of your elements categorizes the other things and beings that you come across in life. To your soul, both supernatural beings and humans seem like that child who kicked the ball: they are entities that your soul recognizes as potential relationship partners. But to the rest of your elements, supernatural beings feel like the ball that the child kicked: something that can certainly impact them, yet not something they can relate to.

I know I sound a bit off topic here, but to gain a good understanding of these things, we have to start with the right foundation. To understand why your soul is interested in reincarnation, you have to back up a step and understand that your soul is the only part of you that has the ability to form relationships with supernatural beings. You then need to understand that not only is your soul capable of relating to supernatural beings, it actually has a deep core need to do so. But not just any supernatural being will do: God has specifically designed your soul with a deep need to relate to the Being who created you. While other kinds of supernatural beings can certainly intrigue your soul, none of those beings will satisfy its core longing to connect with God Himself.

When you are born, your soul doesn’t start out saying, “I wish I could connect with the Being who created me.” When you are born, you don’t even understand that you were created, nor do you understand what supernatural beings are. God slowly introduces your soul to these concepts as you grow. As your soul develops, it becomes more aware of its own core needs. As it starts focusing on those needs, it starts asking questions that seem important to getting those needs satisfied.

Now because God designed you for the ultimate purpose of relating to Him, He has given your soul a set of core needs that will strategically move you in that direction. Suppose you want to lure a human into a forest so that he’ll discover something that you built there. If you start making strange noises from inside the forest, the human will hear the noises, become curious, and want to investigate. By making the noises–which have nothing to do with the building you’ve made–you can lure the human towards the thing you really care about him finding. But this strategy will only work if the human has a sense of curiosity that compels him to investigate your mysterious noises. Without that curiosity, your lure won’t work.

God uses a similar tactic with humans. First, He designs our souls with certain interests. Then He uses those interests to lure us towards Him. For example, all souls are designed with an instinctive sense that “there must be more to life than this.” Souls also have a vague awareness that we humans have a capacity to exist for longer than just one cycle through this earth. As I said before, you aren’t immediately aware of these things when you are born, but as your soul develops, these built in instincts start to awaken. When they do, you find yourself asking things like, “How long have I existed?” and “What if this isn’t my first time through this world?” As your soul starts focusing on these kinds of questions, it changes the way it interprets your daily experiences.

Perhaps there’s a woman in a coffee shop who you’ve always felt strongly attracted to in a way that you can’t explain. It isn’t just a romantic attraction–it’s something different, almost as if you know her even though the two of you have never had a real conversation. Before your soul changes its focus, you certainly found it interesting how that one woman seems so significant to you. But once your soul changes its focus, it starts taking more interest in that attraction you feel. Just who is that woman? Could she be someone that you’ve known before? How important these questions seem to you depend on how intent your soul is in pursuing its own interests right now. If your soul is suddenly feeling like it’s very important for it to gain a better understanding of how long you’ve existed, then it might really latch onto the coffee shop woman as a vital clue in its search for answers.

There are a couple of key points I want you to learn here. First, your soul’s need to learn more about your existence (how it started, when it started, what it means, and where it’s headed) is a need that God put in you for the purpose of luring you towards Him. As your Creator, God is the only One who can give you real answers for why He made you and what His plans for you are. Apart from God, you are left with a bunch of different creatures, who can only theorize about why you exist.

Another key point to understand is that your soul has its own perspective of your life experiences, and the way it views something is different than the way your body, conscious and subconscious view that same thing. In all cases, the theories your elements form about something are very influenced by their current beliefs and concerns. Once your soul becomes focused on the subject of when your existence started, for example, it can start looking for answers in areas where no answers exist. The same is true for all of your elements: they can become so hyper-focused on a certain issue that they start seeing things in a very biased, inaccurate way.

Learning from God

Before we get deeper into the issue of mysterious attractions to other humans, let’s tackle the subject of why God doesn’t just hand you a bunch of satisfying explanations for all of your soul’s current questions right now. Surely that would be a simple thing for Him to do, right? So why all of holding back?

To understand why God withholds so much information from us, and why He seems to take forever to give us the answers we want, we need to once again go back to our basic design. God designed humans with a very specific strategy in mind. Included in that strategy is the kind of relationship dynamic He wants to have with us. God is only willing to relate to us as our Superior, not as our equal. He also designed humans to be extremely needy, delicate, dependent little things who need constant supervising. We simply are not designed with enough abilities to manage ourselves. Certainly God could have made us to function like little automatons who could simply be switched on and left to play out their programming. But in our case, God was interested in something a lot more hands on. The key point to understand here is that God designed us to suit His preferences. We are the way we are because He is satisfying His own interests. It’s rather like when you want to get a new pet. If you decide you want a fish, you aren’t going to shop for a dog. If you already have a cat, you might feel another cat would be boring, so in shopping for a pet, you are only willing to consider non-cat creatures. Similar principles are in play when God decides to make a new kind of creature. At the start of every new project, He has a specific idea in mind about what He wants and doesn’t want. He then designs His new project to be a perfect fit to His current interests. This is why, from God’s perspective, humans are a fantastic creation. We are exactly what He wanted us to be. But since we don’t see ourselves from His view, we genuinely don’t understand what we are or why we are. Instead, we have to gain a better understanding of ourselves from God, piece by piece, and we can only learn at the rate that He’s willing to teach us.

Now you were very wise to ask if your pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge is beneficial to your personal maturity. First, let’s remember that these subjects are only interesting to your soul, so it’s your spiritual maturity that’s in question here. The key to staying on a beneficial course is to remember that God is the only One who can provide you with accurate answers to your questions. Since He is your only Source of truth, you need to keep your focus on Him whenever you are pursuing answers. Suppose you come across a book on reincarnation. You feel attracted to the subject so you want to read it. Fine. But as you dig in, you need to remember that this book was written by a human, and a human is just a creature. No creature can see the Divine perspective. Since you are also just a creature, you are not well equipped to discern whether anything you’re reading is true or not. The only way you’re going to benefit from reading your book is if you are asking God to show you if there is anything useful in it. When you take this approach, you are treating the book as a potential teaching tool which your Teacher may or may not be interested in using with you at this time. If God is interested, He will show you some very interesting things. If He is not interested in using that book, you won’t gain anything useful from it. By actively listening for God’s Voice as you read, instead of just focusing on the voice of the human author, it will soon become clear whether God is talking to you through that book or not.

God can use anything to teach you, but there is no way for you to force Him to talk to you through a certain tool. Many religions teach that if you use certain “sacred” texts, you are guaranteed to hear a message from God. This is completely false. You can’t force God to part His lips just by opening the cover of some text that certain humans approve of.

While many religions promote certain tools as guaranteed ways to force God to talk to you, they also shun other tools as evil or useless. Anytime we start making up a bunch of rules about what God can and can’t do, we’re being ridiculous. God can use anything or anyone to teach you things. He can also teach you directly, without using any props at all. But if you’re going to spiritually mature, you need to focus on the soul attitudes of submission & dependency. These two attitudes help you remember that you have no hope of gaining useful knowledge on your own–instead, you need God to give you access to it. Since He’s the One with all of the power, staying in line with His personal agenda for you is the only way you’re going to thrive as His creature.

God teaches us all in a different order, and He has no interest in covering the exact same material with all of us. Since God’s lesson plan for you is unique to you, the only way for you to stay aligned with it is to follow His lead on what questions to ask when. As a general rule, God will stir up your curiosity about a certain topic first, then He will start leading you to some relevant information. Stirring up your curiosity helps your soul become receptive to the things He wants to teach you.

Now there are some challenging aspects to this process. First, there can be a very long delay between when God first stirs up your curiosity and when He starts bringing you new information to ponder. Feeling stalled like this can be very frustrating. Once we become eager for answers and God isn’t delivering them, it’s very tempting to start looking for other teachers that will give us what we want. Here is where a lot of souls will reject God as their Teacher and start seeking out other supernatural beings instead. It’s vital to realize that there is only one kind of supernatural being that will offer to help you when you are fed up with God: demons. You really don’t want to start putting your trust in demons, because they have their own malicious reasons for wanting to “help” you, and the only kind of help they will offer you is guaranteed to harm your soul either immediately or in the longterm.

While demons understand your inner mechanics much better than you do, their overall understanding of why God does what He does is extremely limited. In other words, they aren’t nearly as knowledgeable as they claim to be. Instead of giving you accurate answers to your soul’s questions, demons will either lie to you or make stuff up to hide the fact that they don’t know anymore than you do on a certain subject. Reincarnation is a very good example here. There are many different theories floating around about reincarnation and past lives and spirit families. Are any of them true? Or are they all just a bunch of guff that demons made up to mislead some curious humans? How can you tell?

As I said earlier, God designed humans with a specific agenda in mind. A key aspect of that agenda was to make creatures who He could relate to in a specific way. God’s desire to relate to us has nothing to do with Him feeling lonely or incomplete or bored. While humans seek out relationships to satisfy their own needs, God relates to His creatures for fun, not out of need. His is an entirely different perspective that we cannot relate to at all because we cannot fathom the idea of being truly needless. But the point is that since the relationship is such an important aspect to our design, when God interacts with us, He always does so in a way that encourages us to develop that relationship. In other words, the details of what God is teaching you is never the most important part. While details can be very fascinating, the thing that God really cares about is our soul attitudes.

When you talk to another human, there are always two levels to the conversation. First, there is the specific subject matter you are discussing. Perhaps you and your friend Joe are talking about the new steak restaurant that opened up in your neighborhood. On the surface, this is just a conversation about food. But just under the surface, a whole other conversation is going on. While the two of you verbally talk about food, non-verbally you are talking about your current relationship. If you are currently mad at Joe, you might be sitting there with your arms crossed defensively, with a grim expression, and with a hostile look in your eyes. Your tone of voice might be crisp and your answers very short. Sure, you’re talking about steak. But you’re also telling Joe volumes about how mad you are at him right now.

Suppose a stranger bumps into you on a train. He apologizes. You smile politely. Then he asks you a question that is obviously an attempt to start a conversation. If you are currently not interested in starting a new relationship, then as you answer the man’s question, you will be sending him all kinds of “I don’t like you and I don’t want to talk to you” signals. At the same time, the stranger will be beaming his relational agenda back at you. He might signal to you an “Okay, I get it, sorry to bother you,” communication. Or he might signal, “I don’t care if you’re not interested, I’m looking for a connection so we’re doing this.”

By now, you’ve learned from your own life experience that the surface conversation is never as important as the underlying conversation–the one that is talking about the relationship dynamic. It’s that second conversation that you really care about, and it’s also the one that controls how enjoyable you find the surface conversation. Trying to talk about something as neutral as the weather with someone who is glaring at you is a very uncomfortable experience. At the same time, talking about something as trivial as paperclips with someone who is deeply in love with you can be a thrilling experience. The relationship dynamic always trumps everything else in importance.

When I talk about soul attitudes, I’m talking about the underlying conversation that your soul has whenever it talks to supernatural beings. Suppose your soul asks God, “I really want to know if reincarnation is a real thing. Have I been here before? Do humans have past lives?” This is just the surface conversation. When your soul says these things to God, it will do so with a certain attitude. The attitude it chooses will be based on what kind of relationship it wants to have with God. You can ask the same question with a submissive, respectful attitude, or a bossy, demanding one.

When our soul attitudes are good, we can ask any question without worrying if God is taking offense. If our soul attitudes are bad, then even “mature” sounding questions will be received negatively. God always responds to your soul attitudes. You can’t use surface wording to distract Him from what your attitudes really are. This is why standing around praising God with your lips while you inwardly think He’s an idiot or a monster is such a foolish thing to do. God can’t be manipulated. He knows exactly how your soul really feels towards Him, and when He has a problem with you, it will always be because of your soul’s attitudes, not because of the kinds of subjects you’re asking about.

Once you understand that developing the relationship is far more important to God than broadening your understanding of His personal activities, you will have an easier time accepting when God is withholding information from you. Asking God about reincarnation is essentially asking, “As a Creator, have You ever fancied making creatures that can be recycled through the same world over and over again?” Maybe He has, and maybe He hasn’t. Given His love of variety, it’s likely that He has. But this is also a “So what?” kind of topic. What God considers far more important is how you are progressing in your personal relationship with Him. Developing a positive relationship with God means developing a deeper understanding of the kinds of soul attitudes He wants you to have. Sure, God could have a fascinating chat with you about the many kinds of creatures He has made. But if He knows that such information would distract you from focusing on developing the soul attitudes He wants you to have, then He is not going to get into that subject with you.

When God refuses to talk about something that we want Him to talk about, our natural response is to assume He has negative motivations for doing so. Yet this is not the case. From the human perspective, humans are incredibly fascinating creatures. But the main reason we feel this way is because we’re too dumb to even understand our own design, thus we seem tantalizingly mysterious to ourselves. From the Divine perspective, humans are not the brightest bulbs in the box, but that’s perfectly fine, because God finds us delightfully satisfying just as we are. He wanted us to be as limited as we are, so that He could then enjoy the process of nurturing us along. Because we are so limited, taking good care of us involves God sheltering us from a ton of information that He knows we can’t handle (even though we think we can). Included among the kinds of information we can’t handle is knowing what each other are thinking, knowing exactly what will happen to us when we die, and being told too much about God’s Creator activities. By “too much” I mean being exposed to more than a teensy weensy amount of information. If the knowledge of God’s activities was like an ocean, than as a human, you would struggle to digest a tiny fraction of a single drop of that ocean’s water. The same is true for all of us: what we think we can handle is much greater than what we can actually handle. And while it’s easy to think “What’s the harm in just knowing a few insights?” too much information can have a truly devastating effect on us.

The Power of Knowledge

Consider what would happen if you found out that your fiancee has been secretly having an affair with your best friend. All you’ve done is gain a wee bit of knowledge about something that has been going on under your nose for months. We could say that you’ve simply gained a deeper understanding of truth. So why is it that you are now so devastated that you can’t get out of bed in the morning and you feel like your life is has had all joy sucked out of it?

Demons love to try to con humans into associating knowledge with power. When they do this, they always insist that the kind of power we’d gain would be beneficial to us. Yes, knowledge is very powerful, yet the effect that power has on us can be utterly crippling to our being. When God withholds knowledge from us, He does so to protect us from threats that we can’t even see. Once our curiosity is riled up, we often decide that gaining knowledge on a certain subject can only help us. If demons know that the knowledge we want will actually harm us, they will do their best to encourage us to keep pursuing it so they can then enjoy seeing us get crushed beneath the weight of it.

Knowledge always affects us. There are many kinds of knowledge that pack a wallop of a punch which then cause permanent changes to the way we see ourselves, reality, and other beings. Once you realize what a minefield knowledge can be–especially when it comes to knowledge that is normally kept well beyond our grasp as humans–you can see how vital it is that we stick close to God as He leads us through that minefield, showing us the safe places to plant our feet, and being there to rescue us when something unexpectedly explodes in our faces. If instead we decide that we can find our own way through the minefield without His help and stubbornly venture off on our own, it’s only a matter of time until our arrogance leads us into a very painful mistake. So while it’s great to bring all of your questions to God, make sure you keep a grip on the right soul attitudes, because they are what will keep you close to God’s side, gripping His hand tightly, and seeing the utter foolishness of thinking you can gain any useful education without Him.

Old Souls

The term “old soul” means different things to different people. In common usage, it usually has nothing to do with the topics you’re asking about. Instead, when people say someone is an “old soul,” they typically mean that person seems mature beyond what is expected for their age. A young child who seems rather solemn and makes surprisingly wise observations about life would fit the term “old soul.” An adult of any age who seems very battle weary from slogging through a lifetime of hardships would also fit this term. This term is usually used to express respect, surprise or even admiration at how mature someone seems in the area of character development. In these situations, the user is usually focused on someone’s spiritual development more than their physical or psychological development.

The same term can also be used in a sad way, to express sincere pity for another human who seems to have had an especially hard life which has forced them to “grow up too fast” and miss out on the blissful ignorance that often accompanies a happy childhood. Usually in these cases negative effects caused by severe psychological trauma are what’s being noticed.

Mysterious Attractions

Here we come to a very fun topic that is quite relevant to what you’re asking about. These are situations when you suddenly find yourself feeling an intense emotional connection with someone who you just met (like that stranger in a coffee shop) or are simply observing from afar (like a film actor). Another version is when you find yourself having an intense emotional response to a certain kind of environment. Perhaps you enter someone’s house for the first time and you are hit with a wave or sorrow or a strong sense of familiarity. Then there is the classic experience of déjà vu (French for “already seen”). This is when you suddenly find yourself feeling like you’re relieving an experience that you’ve already had yet.

In all of these cases, what’s triggering the strange feelings is a connection being made between what’s happening to you now and what’s happened to you in the past. Whenever we find the past being brought up, we should turn our focus to the subconscious. Your subconscious is the element that collects, organizes, and manages all of your life memories. Memory management is a far more complex task than simply setting up an archive that is arranged in chronological order. Your subconscious doesn’t simply add new memories to its collections like a fellow might add stamps to his stamp book. Instead, your subconscious performs a series of analyses on each and every memory file. It then treats those memory files differently depending on the results it comes up with. To understand things like mysterious attractions, we need to understand more about how your subconscious handles your memories.

CATEGORIZING MEMORIES

A memory file is a very complex thing with many elements to it. Suppose I ask you to recall a meal you had that you really enjoyed. In response to my question, your subconscious will rifle through its massive memory database, looking for a relevant file. There will be many to choose from. How much time your subconscious spends selecting one depends on many things: how busy it is at the moment (perhaps it is in the middle of dealing with some important crisis and can’t be interrupted), how it feels about my question (perhaps it feels my question is too silly to spend effort on), how it feels about me personally (if it really dislikes me, it may refuse to give me anything I ask for, just on principle), and how it feels about the subject of food (if you have high stress associated with the subject of eating, all of your food memories will likely be flagged and you’ll be uncomfortable talking about them).

All of this just to pull up a simple memory of you eating something. See how complicated you are?

Let’s say things go smoothly and your subconscious agrees to work with me. It picks a file, and then it transfers it to your conscious. Your conscious plays the file like a short little film. Suppose the memory is of you sitting at a table with a good friend, enjoying a big plate of pasta. As the file plays, you don’t just see a big plate of pasta. You also see your friend, and the restaurant around you. You might recall emotions you experienced, words that were said, and some of the noises around you. The point is that memory files are collections of many different things. They not only contain the sensory data that your body picked up at the time (sights, smells, sounds, textures, temperatures, etc.), they also contain records of the reactions that your various elements had at the time. In the food memory, you might recall feeling very happy and laughing with your friend. You might recall feeling very thankful to have a friend who really cared about you. You might also recall feeling jealous of your friend’s stylish outfit and wishing you could find a shirt like the one he was wearing. Sure, this file fits the description of a “food memory”. But it contains information about many other topics as well, doesn’t it? If I had asked you to recall a time when you felt jealous of something someone else had, this same memory might have been chosen by your subconscious because of the shirt thing.

Memory files are extremely complex, and by now you have collected a countless number of them. Yet in the blink of an eye, your subconscious can find the one it wants and pluck it out of that vast sea of data. “Super organized” doesn’t begin to describe the incredible efficiency of your subconscious. How does it manage to be so good at managing your memories? One of the main keys to its success is the kind of tagging system that it uses.

In social forums like Twitter and Facebook, there’s a popular trend of people using hashtags to link their comments to other people’s comments. Jane might right, “Had a great time at the beach today! #Bahamas.” Here she chooses location for her hashtag. Once she creates a hashtag, anyone can click on it and bring up a whole string of comments by random people that have to do with #Bahamas. As a search tool, hashtags range from being helpful to useless. Often we don’t see the connection between the comment being made and the hashtag someone chose to attach to it. Hashtags tend to make more sense to the original writer than they do to other people. While Jane categorizes her comment under #Bahamas, a friend of Jane who was with her on the beach that day tags her comment as #Vacation. The two women were on vacation in the Bahamas, so both hashtags are relevant, yet they each chose to use a different one due to personal preference.

When your subconscious tags your memory files, it typically attaches many tags to a each file. I call those tags mental associations. The memory file of you eating with your friend could easily have the tags pasta, favorite food, cool shirt, jealous, happy. It would also be linked to your friend, to that specific restaurant, and who knows how many other things. While all of your tags would make perfect sense to your subconscious, some of them might seem odd to your other elements, and many would see odd to other people.

IDENTIFYING THREATS & FLAGGING SOLUTIONS

So far we’ve talked about how your subconscious uses mental associations to link memories together by subject. But categorizing is just step one. After your subconscious decides how many subjects a single file should be linked to, it then considers the issue of threat.

Your subconscious’ top priority is to protect you from harm, especially immediate harm. Of course if it’s going to protect you well, it must become very good at identifying potential threats to your safety. Here is where your memories become a critical resource.

When you touch a hot stove burner and scald your hand, your subconscious immediately takes notes. It flags that memory file as being especially important in identifying threats to your soft tissues. Once a memory is flagged as containing important safety information, it gets moved to a different section of your memory archives. Some sections of that massive database are designed for quick access, others require more slogging through to find relevant information. Because the “quick access” section has limited space, your subconscious is always swapping out the files that it keeps there. It wants to keep its “quick access” section reserved for files that it feels are the most essential for keeping you safe, and that means files that contain memories of you being or almost being severely harmed.

There are many kinds of harm that you need to be protected from. There is physical harm, mental harm, and spiritual harm. Each specific type of harm can be caused by many different factors: people, animals, environments, machines, edible things, wearable things, etc. A tie that is cinched so tight around your neck that it restricts your breathing is harmful. A food that makes you feel nauseous for hours is harmful. A bully who threatens to physically assault you is harmful. A cold wind that suddenly lowers your body temperature too much is harmful.

Identifying threats to your safety is no simple task, yet your subconscious keeps at it with relentless determination. Its dedication to your welfare is immeasurable, and it’s always willing to expand its understanding of all the ways you might come into danger.

While identifying threats is essential, it’s only the one piece of the puzzle. Your subconscious also needs to learn the best way to deal with each and every one of the threats it identifies. Some threats are best dealt with by using simple avoidance. Just don’t touch stove burners until they cool down. Other threats can’t be avoided, so a more complex defense is needed. In these cases, the only way to figure out the best strategy is through trial and error. This is where your memory files become so critical to your subconscious: because they contain invaluable information about its past successes and failures.

The first time the neighbor’s dog attacks you, you try to push him off with your arm and end up getting a nasty bite. The second time it attacks, you learn from your past mistake and try a different strategy by giving him a treat instead. When that works, your subconscious alters its files accordingly. The memory of you giving the dog a treat is prioritized over the memory of you trying to shove him off. By strategically assigning different levels of importance to its files, your subconscious ensures it will locate the most important information first. When the dog attacks, it wants to lay its hand on the successful solution as fast as possible; it doesn’t want to have to slog through a bunch of files about what didn’t work.

Pending problems

Now in real life, many problems can’t be solved as simply as you tossing a tasty snack to a dog. Pending problems are ones that your subconscious hasn’t found a solution to yet. Here again, there are differences in urgency. Maybe you never figured out the solution to #24 on your math test in 6th grade. But so what? You’re an adult now, and you couldn’t care less about #24. At the top of your current list today is the very urgent pending problem of your ex-girlfriend-turned-stalker. That woman scares you, and after the last disturbing message she left on your doorstep, you feel constantly on edge.

Urgent pending problems are kept on your subconscious’ current “to do” list and it constantly works on them throughout the day and night, whenever it has resources available. Reviewing the problem over and over again and contemplating it from every possible angle is your subconscious’ instinctive way of dealing with urgent issues. Because it is always thinking about these issues in the background, it is hyper-sensitive to any similarities between its pending problem files and your current environment/experience. Here at last is where we come to the issue of mysterious attractions.

A Significant Match

When your subconscious notices a significant link between something happening around you right now and a memory file that has been flagged as a high priority, it immediately reacts. The intensity of its reaction is what causes the sudden surge of strong emotions that you feel during a mysterious attraction. The tone of that emotional response can be either positive or negative depending on what kind of memory file is being triggered. If the memory file being triggered is intensely negative, you can find yourself feeling intensely afraid or creeped out by someone who you’ve never met before. Those intense feelings of foreboding might persist even if the stranger interacts with you in a positive, friendly way. It all depends on your own memory files and the kinds of mental associations your mind is making. It has very little to do with the other person, even though you will feel like something about them is super significant.

Now earlier I said that your other elements might not see the logic in the kinds of associations your subconscious make. This is especially true for your soul. It is usually your soul that feels confused by your sudden, intense emotional response towards a complete stranger or towards a random place. Your soul’s confusion is due to your subconscious being intentionally secretive about its reasons for responding like it is. Your subconscious has many reasons for being secretive, which I won’t get into here. The important thing to understand is that these strange attractions are actually quite logical, and at least one part of you (usually your subconscious) is very clear about why you are reacting the way that you are. The second thing to understand is these strong attractions are due to your current situation triggering strong memories from your past to surface.

Now every day you experience many things that remind you of your past experiences, yet for the most part, you don’t react with such strong emotion. A very strong, intense, sudden emotional response to something always indicates that one or more of your elements has gone on “red alert.” If you are unable to explain why you are reacting the way you are, it’s likely your subconscious that is on alert. Confusion about your own behavior usually indicates that one or more of your elements is being intentionally secretive about its thoughts and actions. But the fact that at least one of your elements understands what’s going on helps you see why the past lives theory is not a good place to look for answers. In these situations, looking inward is where you’ll find your answers, because you are the one projecting significance onto the other person, place or thing. These kinds of reactions are typically one sided, existing only within your own mind, and are not usually shared by the other person at all. In cases where two people do share a strong, random attraction towards each other, they will have different reasons for doing so. For example, you meet a woman named Amy who you immediately feel like you’ve had very significant history with. Meanwhile Amy says she feels strangely attracted to you as well. While on the surface it sounds like you’re both reacting to the same trigger, you’re not. Amy’s subconscious is linking you to a friend from her childhood who she had a very intense relationship with. Her attraction to you is really a false attraction. She’s actually experiencing a resurgence of her attraction to her childhood friend. He is the true target of her feelings, while you are just a symbolic stand in.

While Amy is having her reaction, your subconscious is doing something quite different. It actually sees Amy as a symbol of your younger self, from a time in life before a certain horrible event happened to you. Your instant feelings of affection, trust, and loyalty towards her are actually reflections of how you feel towards yourself. In your case, Amy is a symbol of you which you are reacting to. Because she is symbolizing a version of you that you really liked and deeply miss, your emotional reaction to her is very intense. You find yourself wanting to spend all of your time with her, as a way of symbolically getting to reconnect with your younger, undamaged self. You feel that you intimately know her, because she represents you, and of course you know yourself.

In this example, I’ve described two very common scenarios, both of which involve reacting to symbols of people from your past. This sort of thing happens all the time. It is an extremely common occurrence for humans and it massively influences who we like, who we don’t like, and who we fall in love with. The point is that you never see someone for who they actually are. From the very first moment that you have any form of contact with someone–even if you just see them from a distance or only hear the sound of their voice–your subconscious immediately begins looking for common traits between them and all of the people you’ve met in your past. You also look for commonalities between the stranger and yourself. Since you are constantly changing as you move through your own life, you not only compare strangers with who you are today, you also compare them to who you’ve been in the past during different stages of your personal growth. Often in cases where you find yourself automatically disliking someone you just met, it’s due to the fact that they have traits which remind you of aspects of yourself that you don’t like. Those traits might be ones that you still have, or traits you used to have and worked hard to change.

Self-Analysis

If there’s someone in your life today who you are experiencing an intense attraction or repulsion to that you can’t explain, you might try this exercise to see if you can figure out what your subconscious is doing. Get out a piece of paper, close your eyes, and think about that person. Try to pinpoint the specific qualities about them that you find most attractive. In these cases there are always specific details that are triggering the reaction, and those details can be anything, so be ready to be surprised by some of the answers your mind laugh. It might be the person’s style of hair, it might be the tone of their voice or the rhythm of their eyes. It might be an expression on their face, the way they move their eyes, the way they walk, or the difference between their height and yours. It might be their stated occupation, or their posture when they stand. It might be a certain mannerism they use or the way they focus on you when you’re talking. It might be a specific comment they made when you first interacted with them. It might be the situation that caused you two to bump into each other. What you’re looking for is tiny little details that cause your emotions to suddenly surge when you’re around that person.

If it’s an environment that’s triggering you, then try to pinpoint the specific details you tend to focus on when you’re in that environment. Another thing to look for is the kinds of thoughts that suddenly form in your mind when you’re around that person or place. Perhaps when you see a certain house, you always feel sad and think, “That looks like a lonely place.” What specific details about that house are you associating with feeling lonely? The answer will always lie in your personal past–in all of those memory files that you rely on every day to help you interpret your experiences and distinguish friend from foe.

We all have memories from our past still feel extremely important to us today for positive or negative reasons. Sudden emotional reactions tell us volumes about how we perceive our own lives up to this point, and what we feel are most important experiences have been so far. Gaining a better understanding of how you are connecting your past to your present can really help you avoid making foolish decisions.

Now most people are never exposed to the information I’ve explained in this post, so they naturally look for other answers when they are confused by their own reactions. Because it is the soul that is usually confused in these situations, the kinds of theories it leaps to reflect soul interests. Your subconscious couldn’t care less about reincarnation or spirit family members. Your subconscious is focused on getting you through the present. It’s only your soul that is intrigued by existential topics like the nature of your existence and the possibility of you having other lives in other places. But while your soul is wondering if the woman you feel so drawn to could have been your wife in a past life, your subconscious knows that your soul is talking nonsense. Your subconscious is connecting the woman to someone from your own past, based on the information it has highlighted in its massive memory database. Sure, it could correct your soul by filling it in on what it’s thinking. But often in these cases, there is tension between the soul and subconscious which cause the subconscious to not be very forthcoming. Instead, it keeps its thoughts to itself and lets the soul spend its energies chasing down its silly soul theories.

In the exercise I’ve recommended (and in most self-analysis efforts), your soul makes a concerted effort to listen receptively to what the subconscious has to say. The true value of the exercise is having your soul practice a friendly, supportive, listening attitude towards your subconscious. Usually these two elements are frequently nipping at each other, due to the two of them having such different interests and agendas. Their frequent bickering results in a lot of hostility, which then causes the subconscious to become more cagey while your soul becomes more confused and judgmental about the way you behave. Self-analysis exercises which encourage your soul to listen respectively to what the subconscious has to say helps your overall well-being, even if your subconscious refuses to share any information right off. The more tension that exists between these two elements, the more time it takes to rebuild a friendly dynamic. So don’t be discouraged if you try this and don’t get any clear answers the first time. Just having your soul practice attentive listening is going to be very beneficial.

This post was written in response to Samuel.

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