Reincarnation: Is There Life After Death?
Sooner or later, you will die. The human body is a flimsy thing and at some point its accumulated malfunctions will result in death. We all know this, and most people prefer to pretend it will never happen, that the Grim Reaper will extend special dispensation to them for some reason.
And while scientific research into age-reversal technologies, transhumanism, nanotechnology and nanomedicine are methodically pushing back the boundaries of what was once dismissed as mere science-fiction, meanwhile we're still at the primitive stage of facing death.
The prospect scares the pants off most people, and no wonder. Death implies the annihilation of your identity, your awareness, your very essence, the subtle consciousness that forms you. Death equates with The End.
Is Death The End?
Since recorded history began, this world's many diverse religions have formulated beliefs about the possibility of conscious life continuing after death. Such beliefs give comfort and reassurance that no matter how tough or ugly life on Earth can get, something better is waiting around the corner.
Some religions describe a rosy afterlife, wherein people live in paradisiacal luxury and joy for ever more. Their previous inability to get along with their neighbours will be swept away; their irritating habits will no longer plague anyone; everyone will live together in one homogeneous comfort zone. Anyone rocking the boat will be cast out with the Bad Guys, who remain conveniently exempt from the Good Guys' unconditional love and forgiveness.
The Bad Guys live in another zone, with different customs, music and outfits.
Other religions offer the philosophy of reincarnation, which suggests a person leaves behind their old or injured physical body and flies away to be met with relatives (the nice ones, anyway) and friends. Will Fido and Tiddles also be there? Opinion is divided.
Anyway, once floating around on the astral, doing whatever floaty folk do, they hang out for a while until they run out of steam and then, on experiencing a second death, open their eyes once more as a baby back on flesh-and-blood Earth.
A Karmic Score Card
The kind of life they're born into depends on their karmic score-card, an invisible points system earned during previous lives. The more Good Guy points you win, the less likely you'll be to be born into a horrible pickle - a theory which extends little compassion to those born into poverty, war, disaster and ill-health in the here and now. A lack of compassion is one of the traits which can lose a person points on their score-card, which must surely mean that karma itself is doomed to a downward spiral of decreasing Good Guy points.
Some reincarnationists believe that a human might be re-born as an animal, even an insect, depending on their karmic score-card. This implies that a grasshopper's spiritual self could similarly evolve to become (for example) a lion, then a human. Are plants left out of this? Could the spirit of a buttercup one day be a European president?
The exact mechanics of this system, and how it is implemented and administered, remain a mystery.
Ok. I'm being flippant - flippant about a subject which I do, in fact, take extremely seriously, my purpose being to draw attention to the diverse and contradictory beliefs and opinions about life after death (or life after life), all of which continue to flourish.
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Thomas Joseph Walton on Reincarnation
Extract from "Divine Will: The Infinite Influence of All and Everything" by Thomas Joseph Walton (AKA West Cheshire Lad) reproduced with his full permission. The capitalizations have been retained from the original manuscript.
You will come again, and again.
For are you not part of the whole? As the rain returns to the clouds and again returns to the earth, you will return again and again.
You will return regardless of your diverse thoughts or opinions. The Doorway of Death opens the pathway to conception and birth. The Past, Present and Future fluctuates as One within the Law of Conception, Death and Rebirth.
Death and Rebirth
The Past dominates and Influences the Present, and in like manner, the Present dominates the Future. (Recurrence.) The Positive Law of Reincarnation.
Life is chained in Law to the Previous and Future Incarnation. That moment of Conception and moment of Birth creates the Cosmic chemical Factory (Body) which dominates and Influences the entire system, positively under influence.
Remember, you can not alter or change any other person, but you have the Possibility to change and alter your negative Personalities. You must Sacrifice and Annihilate the old - totally destroy All that is not desired to remain permanent - in order to obtain the New. Know Thyself and destroy those diverse Personalities that Negatively Influence your Self.
For, like the rain that returns to the earth, you will return again and again. Alas: in what unguarded manner? As a puppet that stumbles along on the journey to Endlessness? For the moment of Conception and Birth chains you to The Great Universal Wheel."
Belief Is Not Knowledge
The intricacies of metaphysics and philosophy can be debated forever. Earth's most renowned thinkers have demonstrated this from the surviving records of their ideas, which are still subject to heated scholarly consideration today.
Concepts can be fun to ponder and to play with, but where does that leave us? All most people can offer is an ever-growing pile of well-honed beliefs, each debater quoting the other like so many chattering parrots echoing the same standard beliefs.
But beliefs are not knowledge. That a belief is held strongly, passionately even, does not elevate that belief from an unproven, unverified assumption. Disbelief is merely the flip-side of belief, and is no closer to actual knowledge than its reverse twin.
My own response to the issue of life after death is indicated by my having a cryo-preservation contract with the Cryonics Institute (see the links list below).
On a philosophical front, I maintain an attitude of open-mindedness tempered with rational scepticism. There is a wealth of reports from people who claim to have had near-death experiences and out-of-the-body experiences, however. As a writer, I tend to share my own experiences in the form of fiction.
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- A Spiritual Teacher from Wirral
Thomas Joseph Walton, AKA West Cheshire Lad, or simply "T", was a philosopher and poet from Wirral, England.
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© 2010 Adele Cosgrove-Bray