Rei - You're as fringy as you want to be.
The more clarity and focus you have the better. Going into the Records themselves can feel like a huge distraction, like you're visiting Heaven and you just want to hang out and linger. In general, especially when we're first starting out, it can be helpful to treat accessing the Records like rock climbing - don't get distracted, stay focused on one thing at a time till it's done, move through layers of information like you're moving towards the summit.
It can be very helpful to have a birthname and birthdate to get the correct "website" address - because you can be accessing information about the body and the soul. And especially when you're first starting, if you're asking questions about yourself or others, ask about something in the near future so that you can get a confirmation and begin to feel more comfortable with the experience.
When we're asking about historical information, it helps to have the name(s) and birthdates of people who were participating in a certain event, so that you can experience their version of the event. Have fun.
Weena - Sometimes it's inspirational to discover something like this - you realize that you're capable of so much more because you have had a life where you have already done something of value. (Like Harry Potter realizing he can do the Patronus charm now because he had already witnessed himself doing it. That was for the fantasy buffs out there.) It catalyzes you to maximize your life even more now. That's a response - and the focus of learning about other lives should always be to maximize life more now in some way (i.e. be in service more, create more, etc). Other times people can have a variety of reactions that are not so empowering, including trying to escape the circumstances of their present life (i.e. bankruptcy, bad relationship, low self-esteem, etc).
But you don't have to have a past life experience to understand the feeling of this. Imagine that you live in the late 1500's and aspire to be an engineer/designer. You look at the drawings of da Vinci, who has already died by then, and marvel at them. On one hand, it could spur you on to more inventions. On the other hand, you could feel really depressed, because you don't access the Records (like da Vinci did) and go into the future to see the possible inventions over the next 500 years. So how could you possibly match such genius? What's the point of being an engineer when this guy has already done so much? You might even want to make fun of, or invalidate da Vinci so you feel better about yourself and your inventions. This happens with other people, especially mystics and instantaneous healers (i.e. Joan of Arc, Jesus, Nostradamus, etc) throughout history all the time. The thinking can be "if I can't do it then no one can", instead of "if someone can do this then I can too!" That's why discovering where we react from conflict and how to respond is so important - it transforms so much.
Actually, finding out about our next life can be very helpful in preparing us! First of all, lifetimes are not lived in a linear sequence. I mean, our last lifetime could have been in a future timeframe, and our next lifetime could be in what we consider as our past. Our soul moves all around in different timeframes, just like a movie is actually splices of sequences filmed at different times, then placed together to make it seem like a linear sequence.
I'll give you an example. One man I know has his next lifetime back in the Renaissance time period. It's where he's going next. In this life for his career, he creates adventure quests for kids. He's literally preparing for his role in his next life, which will give him more courage as a leader. If someone had dissuaded him in this life (i.e. you're nuts for doing this, how's it going to help anyone, you're living in your own fantasy world, etc), then he would be less prepared for his next adventure. As it is, he will have more resolve to make difficult decisions early on, based on his experiences now.
I'll share more about trainings when I have more time.