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We are eternal. This means we have been projecting forth into physical lives and withdrawing from them over and over and over again. You are the culmination of every life you have ever lived. When you die, you line up with everything that life has caused you to desire. That is pure positive energy. Which means that you don't drag baggage with you. You may choose to "opt" into new contrast though based on a past life you have lived.
Your eternal aspect is not oriented towards the past; it is always using the past as a platform for what is to come. We are always oriented towards the expansion the improvement. When you come into a new life, you close your eyes to the past, in order to open them to a new existence. The benefit of a new life is a new perspective... other than a perspective that is an accumulation of every other life as well. That would be like trying to listen to a billion channels on a radio at the same time. Our eternal being (often called a soul) manages to be all these channels at once. Which is why you can see your past lives when you withdraw your focus and re-align with your eternal consciousness like when the Buddha was meditating under the Bodhi tree.
We come into one singular life focused on this singular life.
We sometimes refer to this as going "balls deep" into the program. Doing this benefits us greatly. Isn't it a different level of experience walking into a movie theatre and having no memory of life before you entered the movie theatre than it is when you're aware of the life that exists before and after the movie theatre?
The idea that we must be here in order to clear karma accumulated in past lives is another very outdated very human understanding of this universe. The current understanding of karma, makes God or the Universe out to be a kind of parental figure that gets to dictate what lives you live based on what he or it sees as essential for you to live in order for you to achieve his pre determined idea of perfection and make up for past mistakes and learn the lessons the universe wants you to learn.
Your past lives do not hold the key you are looking for... If it seems like a past life did hold the key, it is because you managed to relate to a past life maybe not even YOUR past life that better symbolically represented your current struggle and when you released the pain relative to the symbolic past life, you also released your resistance relative to that current struggle.
We are here to facilitate our soul's expansion in this lifetime. We cannot do this and be continuously immersed in the past. It is a vibrational contradiction. We cannot look behind us and move forward at the same time. In truth we cannot look behind us and even be in the present moment at the same time. And that is why most of us have chosen to let go of the memories of our past lives at the same time as we chose to participate in this one.