Exploring the psychic world
with Hay House authors

Reincarnation is the process whereby those who have passed over find new life our the realm of the living, often as another person. Lisa Williams explains how we can make sensible choices in this life to ensure our next reincarnated life is amazing and that we can offer the most to the world.

What is Reincarnation? by Lisa Williams

Although there is some information I haven’t been privy to, I’ve tried to give you as complete a picture as I could of the healing journey through the Afterlife.

Now I want to explain what happens when souls decide to return to the Earth plane, and what the process is for their reincarnation. I will also answer any questions you might have about why returning souls choose lives that often have so many challenges and hardships along the way.

Planning Your Next Life

When you decide to return to Earth, you choose the best team of spirit guides for you, which will lead you along the path of the life you’re about to enter. You discuss your decision with your soul connections, and they’re all content. They know that it’s part of your growth as a soul to go through another round of adventures and lessons. Some soul connections will be sad to see you leave, but they still support your decision; while others (and this could include your soul mate) know that they will in fact be joining you on the Earth plane very soon.

Once you’ve selected your guides, you’ll be engaged in the preparation process for a while, since there is much for them to learn about what is ahead. You have been looking back on your previous life and have explored many enriching areas of the Afterlife to gather information, which you’ll use as you outline the life you want to live next. Your Elder will help you with your plans, and you may find yourself visiting the Healing Rooms more frequently to deal with any issues you don’t want to carry into your upcoming incarnation. This is important, as you don’t want old patterns to be repeated in the new life (if you can help it).

As your new team of spirit guides helps you get ready to return to Earth, you come to know each and every one of them very intimately. You’ve become acquainted with many of them already, of course, but now you’ll see them in a different light because they have a job or role to fulfill. The new relationship is similar to having a friend of yours become your boss—now you have two different ways of interacting with each other, one that is work related, and one that is more casual. When you incarnate, your guides will become more like your bosses, supervising your actions from a perspective you as a human won’t have.

It’s now time to say good-bye to your soul connections in the Afterlife. When you meet them again on the Earth plane, they will have a familiarity about them but won’t be recognizable at first. You’ll have experiences in which you’ll look at someone and feel as if you know him or her from somewhere. It may take you a while, but eventually you’ll come to recognize that you and that person are soul connected and have been together before.

Leaving the other side can be sad, but not in the same way you would grieve a loss as a human. You know that the time you’re about to spend on Earth is going to be quick in relation to time in the Afterlife. Also, you know that those who are staying on can check in on you to make sure that all is going well whenever they choose.

The Screening Room

To begin your formal incarnation process, your Elder and your newly appointed master guide escort you into an area called the Screening Room, in order to make you aware of the important details of your journey.

Josiah has this to say about what goes on here:

The Screening Room is where you will be able to see different people who are ready to be parents, whether they realize it or not. Then you will decide where you need to be placed to best learn your lessons.
You watch them in the Screening Room for a while, understanding which ones are the perfect match, both for you to reach your goals and for them to achieve their lessons in life. It is then that you will decide on who, as parents, will best facilitate your entry into the Earth plane.

This is an exhilarating time for you, as you’re now about to embark on a journey of lessons and challenges, but with a fresh understanding of life. Think of how exciting it is to begin a new job, when you’re eager to get started and see how it all pans out. In your upcoming life, however, the lessons you’ll be facing are those you’ll have discussed and agreed upon with your team, so the path is already laid out to be optimal for everything you intend to accomplish.

In the Screening Room, you draw up a Life Contract with the help of your master guide and team. As Josiah explains:

You will be given a checklist full of lessons and goals to accomplish in the lifetime you are now entering. These items are chosen by your guides and your Elder, with your agreement, and are based on your level of evolution as a soul. You will also have a “wish list” of additional goals you want to accomplish, including experiences and events that you intend to have. Both of these lists are part of your Life Contract, but they are very different—the first being more mandatory, and the other reflecting more personal wishes and desires.
As you map your life, you will decide which items on these lists will be most important to you. All souls must go through compiling a Life Contract before reincarnating, even troubled souls.

In this last statement, Josiah is saying that all souls on the other side—even those who went to another healing dimension because of the harm they caused in their earthly life—must have their Life Contracts ready before they return. In these contracts are the lessons they want to learn and the people they’re going to associate with; in other words, everything that’s supposed to happen in their new incarnations.

We like to call the playing out of these events “fate,” but the reality is we’ve planned them all ourselves. Therefore, when particular events happen or we meet certain individuals, we know, on some level, that it was already determined.

In the Screening Room, you preview future moments that will be particularly life-changing—a divorce, a marriage, a graduation from school—which is why, in our human form, those moments occur as a vague but intriguing memory, known as déjà vu. Events shown to you in the Screening Room are absorbed by your subconscious mind and then, when that same event occurs in life, your subconscious mind says to you, Oh, I know how that goes! The memory is bumped into your conscious mind, giving you a sense of having “been there” before.

Choosing Your Parents

You choose your mother and father before your new body is conceived, so you’re able to preview your prospective parents and their lives in the Screening Room. You can see in advance if they are the right match and will be able to give you everything you need to fulfill those items in your Life Contract that are important to you. You’ll also look at their contracts and see if their goals work with yours, thus making them the right fit for you.

The parents to whom you’re about to be born will give you every possible circumstance to start off learning your lessons in life, even when that means you are to be adopted or raised by other people. Remember that as souls, your mother and father have their own lessons to learn.

Josiah further explains how some souls come to be adopted:

When souls are about to be born, they have already previewed the journeys that their chosen parents are on. The souls cannot control the parents’ lives, but they can have some influence on their own journeys by choosing their parents. Souls already know if, at some point, one or the other parent will leave, pass, or give away his or her child; so they choose what is best for the lessons they must learn.
With information you get as a soul in the Screening Room, you match up with the parents you want. Here you plan and determine your next life ... although when you incarnate, you probably will not consciously recall that you have actually plotted out the course of your earthly lifetime.

All souls who want to incarnate must go through this process of choosing their parents, ensuring that they’re placed with the perfect ones to help everyone learn.

In some cases, you might be returning to Earth to help your mother and father with their own lessons—in other words, your reincarnation may be less about you and more about fulfilling a contract you have with another. You could be coming back to help your parents through a difficult time. Or perhaps you will leave early, which will impact them greatly. This is especially the case if you were a couple’s newborn or young child, and their lessons came from dealing with your early passing.

It’s important to point out here that when you return to earthly life, you don’t actually enter into a body until you’re ready to be born into the world. As Josiah states:

You will be with your chosen parents continuously, during the time before the conception of your new body until the birth, and then you will be with them as their newborn baby. But at any time before birth, you can decide that you are not ready to incarnate and request that the pregnancy be terminated. The Elders can also advise you on this matter, considering your own evolution, as well as that of the two people about to be your parents—who may not be right together as a couple. This is why human beings experience stillbirths and miscarriages.

In the case of a naturally terminated pregnancy or a stillbirth at full term, it’s often believed that the soul has rejected the parents, causing much pain for the expectant mother and father. This is not true. Instead, such an event occurs because they as parents weren’t ready for the soul or had other issues that needed to be taken care of first. The soul may then go on to be born to someone else with whom it has a soul connection, or will wait until the right time to return to its originally chosen parents.

If you as a soul decide that you came back too early because you still have more lessons to learn in the Afterlife, you can change course and reincarnate again to the same parents or at least to one of the parents who conceived your body the last time.

Sometimes a chosen parent is not willing to bring a child into the world because he or she doesn’t have the right partner for it. If so, that person will stop the soul from returning as their child. Josiah sheds light on what is going on when this happens:

Even though you have decided that you are ready to incarnate, your chosen parents have the right to stop your entry into the world as their child. A mother or a father—or both—can change their mind about being a parent, hence the choice of abortion.
But this choice is not a problem, since you as a soul can always return at another time, possibly to a relative close to your chosen mother and father or to another family. Or you may choose one of your parents and wait until he or she meets the right person, and come back then. It could be that your mother or father finds a new mate who wants to begin a family, or even that both parents you originally chose decide together that they are ready to have a child at a later date.
It is all very normal for these circumstances to happen. Everyone is different in his or her choices, and among souls there is no judgment involved.

Once you have chosen your parents, you spend the rest of your time in the Screening Room, observing them and making absolutely sure that they’re the right choice for you. You’re able to see everything from a few weeks before the conception to the birth. You witness the reactions of the people around your mother and father and how they’re feeling. You see the pregnancy through both of your parents’ eyes, understanding how they each feel about the pregnancy and about your eventual birth.

A Soul’s-Eye View

As a mother myself, I know the doubts that can rock a couple when they first become pregnant, especially if their relationship isn’t stable. Because of my own circumstances, I felt extremely guilty about bringing a child into an uncertain situation. However, I was assured by Spirit that the soul of my son, Charlie, would never judge me. That’s because returning souls are very pure, and judgment isn’t something they’re likely to do.

As a soul, Charlie was observing his father, Simon, and me for some time before his birth—the truth of which I learned directly from my son himself.

Just a few weeks before Charlie was conceived, Simon and I went to Scotland for a little vacation. Neither of us had been to the area before, and we had a great time. We’d made reservations at a hotel in advance; when we arrived, however, it turned out to be overbooked, so we were moved to a hotel down the road. While there, I went shopping and bought some clothes that I didn’t try on. When I got back to our room, I discovered that what I’d bought didn’t fit and I’d have to take everything back. Simon and I also went to see a movie; later, at dinner, I ate salmon for the first time.

One day when Charlie was about three years old, he insisted out of the blue that he’d been to Scotland. He went on to say that he’d gone to the movies and shopping with Simon and me, that I’d gone back to the store to return some clothes, and even that I was reluctant at dinner to try salmon. I was shocked! He then told me that at first his daddy wasn’t happy, since we weren’t able to stay at the hotel we’d booked.

Charlie’s story completely blew me away ... especially since at the time of the events he described, he wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. There was no explanation for why he would know so many details about our trip to Scotland—after all, he hadn’t been conceived yet!—other than his soul had chosen Simon and me as his parents and had been watching us the whole time.

Life's Challenges

As a soul you know a great deal about the parents you’re being born to. You also know what will happen in the life you have with them, since it’s all been mapped out and planned by you beforehand. In this way, the circumstances you find yourself in will help you grow and—if you deal with them correctly—make you a stronger soul.

Life is not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. Everyone must encounter challenges, as this has been the design of existence from the very beginning. Yet you may find your own challenges to be quite difficult and complain that your life is harder than most. If you find yourself looking at certain people and thinking they have it easy, know that you couldn’t be more wrong. Like you, they also have lessons to learn, and their world is not as wonderful as you might imagine. What you’re seeing is how they’ve decided to portray their lives ... not the actuality of it.

Take celebrity couples, for example. In the glossy magazines, the rich and famous all look so happy, and their marriages and kids seem so perfect. But in reality, they have the same problems that you and I do. They’re only human—they have to make career decisions, they have relationship troubles, and they might even have serious health issues. Even the most perfect-appearing marriage isn’t so perfect (which I know from personal experience).

You just can’t get around it: there is no perfect life. Everyone has difficult obstacles to overcome, and what they are exactly— the details and the players and the circumstances—are all decided upon while souls are still in the Afterlife, long before they return to the Earth plane.

You may find that you’ve reincarnated to learn what you need to know for your next job in the Afterlife, such as being another soul’s guide when he or she returns. Or you could be carrying out your training period by spending a lifetime in a particular family or situation. As a human, you might not understand this bigger picture; but as a soul, you know the reasons why you go through certain issues and even trauma in your life.

For example, I recall this one reading I did for a woman whose guide told me that she was going to be put in extreme danger. I relayed the guide’s message, telling the woman that there would be some kind of physical abuse involved, but in the long run, she’d be okay. Her guide didn’t tell me any more details, and I was thankful for that, as I didn’t want to be responsible for holding back any facts.

Tragically, the woman was raped. When I saw her again, she told me that even though she’d been through a horrific ordeal, she was glad her guide hadn’t warned her specifically about it. The rape had had a huge impact on her, but not in the way you might think—as a result, she’d come to realize what she wanted to do with her life. She had been aimless and unfocused in her career for years, but was now working for a rape-crisis center run by the local police in her town. She has the joy of helping other women who have had similar experiences change their lives. This woman had to go through a tragedy to make a massive change in her own life and to finally do the work she was placed on the Earth plane to do.

Coming into Your Body

Back in the Screening Room, once you’ve selected your future parents, you build up a lot of love and respect for them. You watch the happy times and the sad times surrounding the pregnancy, hear the music they play and stories they read to the unborn baby, and discover the names they’re considering.

Parents often notice how a baby still in the womb reacts with a little kick when a certain name they’re considering is mentioned or when a piece of music is played or sung. That’s because even though the soul isn’t in the body yet, it can influence how that body responds as it’s growing to term before birth.

Finally, it’s time for you to enter your new body and undergo the birth process. Josiah describes what happens now:

Once you are fully prepared for your return, and your body is growing in your chosen mother’s womb, there will be a narrow period of time for you to enter into it. This is normally just before the time of birth, maybe a few days. When this happens, you at first experience slipping through a doorway, about to go into a free fall—but then a lifeline is instantly attached, which is your silver cord.
You will have grown much in love for your parents over the time your body was developing, heard their every word, and felt their joy and other emotions. You will have experienced everything your mother was going through, as normally it is the mother you follow the closest. During her pregnancy, you may have witnessed an event or felt an emotion that will connect you to one person in life more than another.
Then when the day arrives, and the first pains of childbirth hit, it will seem to you in your new body that you are under attack. During the birth process, you must be very determined to come back, and take care to protect your new body to ensure that it arrives safely for your new life.

The reincarnation journey back to the Earth plane is often traumatic for the soul. When I went through a regression-therapy session to experience my past lives, I dreaded reliving my own birth, because I’d heard it was very difficult. Thankfully, I didn’t have to! But I did see visions of it during mediations, and I also experienced my soul reentering my body after having my near-death experience (NDE). The reentry happened very quickly and felt as if I were being sucked through the tube of a vacuum cleaner. Then I was hurtling rapidly down a dark tunnel and into my body. It was a strange and frightening sensation!

Josiah confirms my experience, as well as what you might recall from your own experience of returning after an NDE or from reliving your own birth:

Your journey back happens very quickly. You have become energetically attached to your parents through the silver cord, the lifeline that ties you to your earthly existence. You begin to feel more and more human.
Then, when it is time to enter the physical body, often at a time when it is asleep, you experience being pulled through the brilliant White Light, flung through a long tunnel, and snapped forcibly back into physical form—a human once again.

From my brief time in the Afterlife during my NDE, I recall how my soul felt immensely free. I knew that this wasn’t going to last very long, but I was still able to feel and understand it completely. Coming into the body was a very different sensation, though. I felt crushed tight, as if my soul were trapped and being forced tightly into a body that, due to the pain of my illness, I didn’t want to be in. As I landed fully in my body, a jolt of energy hit me, but not in a freeing way. It was dull and heavy, like I was supposed to feel it but couldn’t. I realized later that this was because my body was protecting me, preventing what would have been a very painful experience at the time.

Josiah further describes the process that exactly parallels what I went through, and may be familiar to you as well:

The rebirth process is hard for you, since it is painful in both body and soul. Many souls do not want to go through it, but others cannot wait to get it over with. It begins when you see a tunnel, and upon entering it, you lose your sense of freedom and feel extremely restricted. You push your way through the long, dark corridor—unused to being so squeezed and confined—and eventually, you see a light. This is the light of the human world.
The hands that grab you and pull you into this world are strange, but when you are placed into the arms of a person who seems familiar, a surge of love fills your every cell. You will feel instantly at home and comforted by this person, as you have known and loved her for so long, not only in the world that you have come from, but probably in so many other lives you have lived on Earth before.

Once again, you’re welcomed back to your earthly home, to embark upon the great adventure of learning and growth. As a soul you have survived, passed from life to Afterlife, from Afterlife to life again, and so on through your evolution. What you encounter in your time on Earth, you will see again after you have passed, so make the best of it—there is no escaping your own evolution!


An Introduction to Mediumship ebookWhat is Reincarnation? features in Hay House's free ebook,
An Introduction to Mediumship
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Lisa Williams: Survival of the Soul 'What is reincarnation?' is an edited extract from
The Survival of the Soul
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