I Want to Believe in Reincarnation!
The lone ship at sea
“I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.” --Benjamin Franklin
I awoke with a start, leapt from my bed and looked around. I wore a loosely fitted white shirt with black satin pants, a black sash around my waist, and sandals. A raw and ugly scar ran the length of my chest diagonally. I was in a small, sparsely furnished room. The candle next to my bed had burned out, and I guessed I slept for many hours. I cautiously ventured forth from the room and made my way through a narrow corridor with creaking wooden floors before emerging on the deck of a great ship at sea. I looked toward the poop deck and saw sailors mixed with soldiers. That meant we were going to battle. A smaller man with a mass of blonde hair that tumbled down toward the small of his back stood toward the front of the deck, deep in thought. When he lifted his eyes and finally saw me, he smiled gently and approached.
The man placed an arm on my shoulder and said, “You are finally awake!” He gazed at me with a look of relief. “I do not blame you for your deep sleep, given the wound you suffered during our conflict ashore. Many would have slept through the last patrol rather than return to this poor world.”
I nodded in agreement but said nothing. “You are no doubt curious about the progress of our mission,” the blonde man continued. “The Seraphim is a fine ship. We will reach the islands in two days. Do not worry—your daughter will be found.”
Suddenly a watchman cried, “Captain! Something is approaching fast—at the aft!” The fear in his voice was palpable. We hurried to see what was there, and as we passed the group of terrified men I wondered what could panic such hardened, battle-tested sailors and soldiers. The captain grabbed my arm reflexively as he cried out in fear, “It cannot be! It cannot!” I stared outward in shock and horror….
I opened my eyes, my body drenched in sweat. I was aching and exhausted. I quickly turned on the lamp and realized I was safely in bed. I held my head in my hands and tried to calm myself. The dream came frequently now, far more often than it used to. It lasted slightly longer this time as well, but the details never changed. It all appeared so real. It seemed completely natural to be on the deck of a massive ship at sea. I felt as if I had always known its blonde-haired captain, as if we were lifelong friends.
I reported the tale of my dreams to a coworker the next day, explaining that if the dreams were symbolic, it was impossible to discern what they represented. It was logical to conclude the dreams were a by-product of something I saw on television and internalized. He theorized it might have been a recollection of a past life. I was incredulous, but he persisted. He asked, “Why couldn’t it have been a memory from another life?” I looked into his faced and returned his smile. Why, indeed?
Reincarnation: a concept that could change the world!
The case for reincarnation
“I did not begin when I was born, or when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, and promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.” --Jack London
Henry Ford and General Patton, among others, believed in reincarnation. I wish to, also. I truly want to believe in reincarnation. We have no direct evidence that reincarnation exists, but we have yet to prove it doesn’t. We have no conclusive proof of the Big Bang theory, either, and reincarnation is viewed by many scientists from around the world as a valid scientific possibility.
Reincarnation makes absolute sense on one level. The cells in our body wear out and are completely replaced approximately every seven years. Nothing is left of the infant’s body I was born with—it has been gone for decades. When I am an old man, nothing will be left of the physical form I currently occupy. From that perspective, our soul or essence inhabits new bodies all the time. When our body ages to the point it can no longer regenerate, why not simply shed it and move to another?
Research with past life regression and accounts of near death experiences has led many to believe that reincarnation is indeed a reality. A ten year study was conducted by Dr. Helen Wambach, a psychologist and author of Reliving Past Lives and Life Before Life (1978). Utilizing past life regression of over 1,000 subjects, Wambach’s intent was to disprove the theory of reincarnation. Asking her subjects specific and verifiable questions about past lives while under hypnosis, Dr. Wambach reported that the information collected was amazingly accurate when compared with demographic data. Only eleven subjects offered information proven as positively false, based upon their descriptions relative to historical records.
Even the Bible tells stories that suggest a historical belief in reincarnation. When Jesus asked the disciples “Who do men say I am?” (Mark 8:27), their answers did not claim Jesus was the son of Mary. They responded that men believed Jesus was Elijah, John the Baptist or one of the prophets (Mark 8:28). The nature of the question and the answers offered clearly demonstrated a widespread belief in reincarnation. It was also believed and supported by Jesus that Elijah had “come again” and was John the Baptist (Matthew 11:13-14).
Reincarnation is a concept found among Hindus, Rosicrucians, Spiritists, and Wiccans. It is an element of Greek philosophy and Yiddish literature. Nearly every culture throughout history has entertained the idea that an afterlife, whether on an earthly or spiritual plane, indeed exists.
Could proof of reincarnation change the world?
“I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead and the souls of the dead are in existence.” --Socrates
Why do I long to believe in life after life after life, extending through the ages? Why do I want to believe my dreams were more than they seemed? Why do I want to trust them as evidence my soul will return to earth after I die to inhabit another body—that we never truly die?
If we knew without question that we would live again, society could very well be transformed. Validation of the theory of reincarnation would logically lead to an increased study of past life regressions that might ultimately link our past with our present. A wealth of historical data would be ours for the asking.
Perhaps the fear of death itself would fade. Why be afraid to die if we will return? Would removing the specter of death embolden us to take risks—to learn and grow at a pace mankind never dared previously? Would there be an end to hopelessness and despair, knowing that no matter how bad life was, the deck would soon be reshuffled and new cards dealt (for lack of a better metaphor)? People suffering from injury or illness would not be afraid to die. The allure of money and power might dissipate since material goods are meaningless when we begin anew. A sense of brotherhood, instilled through recognition that multiple lives make racial and ethnic differences illusory, might signal the end of global conflict.
In fact, any boundaries that divide us as people—be it race, sex, faith, national origin, economic status, weight, hair color, and social or political ideologies—would be recognized as artificial. What we are now, someone else will become. With infinite lives and possibilities, all differences would be superficial. The opportunity to live as equals in body and spirit could emerge.
These examples are extreme, of course, but certainly not impossible. I recognize the improbable nature of a wish to see a brotherhood of mankind replace millennia of strife and conflict and lead to a golden age. I comprehend the difficulty of embracing a single concept to achieve this end. I understand it ranks right up there with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny on the naiveté scale, but...
I want to believe.
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