A narrative or mythic dimension is evident in L. Ron Hubbard's writings on the origins of the physical universe, composed of matter, energy, space and time (MEST). According to Hubbard, "Life is a game consisting of freedom and restrictions" (Scientology 8-8008, p. 141); in order to have a game, thetans created MEST, which imposed some restrictions upon them. Thetans then became progressively entangled in the MEST they had created, losing awareness of their unlimited abilities. The objective of Scientology is to enable the thetan to rediscover these unlimited abilities. This involves the erasure of the contents of what is termed the "reactive mind" -- that part of the mind which records what is happening when one is wholly or partly unconscious but suffering physical or emotional trauma, as for example after an accident or while under anaesthesia. Perceptions of everything said or done in one's vicinity at such traumatic times are, according to Scientology, recorded in the reactive mind as engrams.

Hubbard taught that engrams can have accumulated not merely during one's present lifetime but also in past lives. In Have You Lived Before This Life? he stated (p. 1) that "the existence of past lives is proven in Scientology" and he presented various narratives from people recounting events from past lives. In the foreword to Scientology: A History of Man he wrote that (p.1) "this is a cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years." He also reported (p. 3) that when he limited auditing to a person's current lifetime the beneficial results for people suffering from mental and physical illness were slow and mediocre, whereas when he audited the "whole track," including past lifetimes, the results were swift and spectacular. In Mission into Time (originally published under the title A Test of Whole Track Recall) he told of the time when he was a sailor in Carthage about 200 BC. Furthermore, he stated (p. 69) that "I know with certainty where I was and who I was in the last 80 trillion years." He also claimed to have discovered from auditing his whole track that there have been repetitive types of society and, for example, that:


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