When you have the psychic memory you remember a set of circumstances at one moment of life, particularly of the inner emotion, of the consciousness that acted at that moment. And then that passes into the consciousness along with some associations, with all that was around you, perhaps a word spoken, a phrase heard; but what was most important was the state of the soul in which you were: for that indeed remains very clearly en-graved. These are the landmarks of the psychic life, things that have left a deep impression and taken part in its formation. Hence when you find your psychic being in you again constantly, continuously, clearly, it is things like these that you remember. There may be quite a few, but they are flashes in one’s life, and one cannot say: “I was such and such a per-son, I did such and such a thing, I was called by this name and I was doing this or that.” Or otherwise it would mean that at that moment (a rare one) there was a combination of circumstances good enough for one to be able to fix the date or the place, the country and the age. That can happen.
Naturally the psychic takes a greater and greater part, and the larger does the set of memories grow. And then one can retrace one’s life, but not in all its details. One can say that at certain moments, “it was like this,” or “I was that.” Certain moments, yes, very important moments of a life…. What’s necessary is a being wholly identified with the psychic, one that has organised its whole existence around it, unified its whole being — all the tiniest parts, all the elements, all the movements of the being around the psychic centre — that has made of itself a single being, solely turned to the Divine; then, if the body falls off, that remains. It is only a completely formed conscious being that can remember exactly in another life all that has happened be fore. It can even pass consciously from one life to another without losing anything of its consciousness. How many people upon earth have reached that state?… Not many, I believe. And usually they are not in the least inclined to narrate their adventures.
6 May 1953
In rebirth it is not the external being, that which is formed by parents, environment and circumstances — the mental, the vital and the physical — that is born again: it is only the psychic being that passes from body to body. Logically, then, neither the mental nor the vital being can remember past lives or recognise itself in the character or mode of life of this or that person. The psychic being alone can remember; and it is by becoming conscious of our psychic being that we can have at the same time exact impressions about our past lives.
Besides, it is much more important for us to fix our attention upon what we want to become than upon what we have been.
2 April 1935