The Concept of Reincarnation
Not as Straight Forward Nor Simple As Thought
Many people in the world believe in reincarnation, but the ideas are as varied as the believers in various religious outlooks. In the west, the trend among the three great monotheistic religions is against reincarnation in the main, though there are a few exceptions. Among Hindus and Buddhists, the basic idea is almost universal. Secular materialists are yet another branch of thinking and philosophy and these folk see anything religious and theocratic as mere hogwash to be flushed away when we come to our collective senses. There are other details as well that we will examine in the discourse and whether or not they hold any validity. There are many ideas concerning the subject and many variants. We will sort out the tangled mess of ideas and attempt to come up with a more objective and workable view. One thing is certain though, that is universal in exoteric religions and secular thinking, and that is the idea of thought control via education from an early age. Among the crucial ideas of reincarnation ideas are the following precepts.
A soul, ghost or spirit
Record of deeds
Heaven, hell, purgatory and limbo
To have a spirit or not to have, that is the age old question!
Positions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Pagan
Life and death states
Reward, punishment, sin and virtue
Rebirth and transmigration
Stagiest spiritual development
After death conditions
The concept of karma is a basic idea, seen as the law of retribution; the law of cause and effect,. summed up in the Biblical equivalent as “As ye sow, so also ye reap.” (Galatians 6:7-10). If someone creates dissension and mayhem in the lives of others as some are wont to do, especially in the field of relationships, politics, economics and business, then at some point, the same will be returned to that someone. This idea thus presupposes some sort of record of deeds so that this balance can be achieved in the immediate future and failing that, presumably in another life. If we take a casual look at the world today, we see monstrous crimes, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, though prior ones are not excluded, where the perpetrator literally gets away with it, living and dying a natural life, without retribution, while victims in the millions paid the ultimate price and/or lived in torment. Now of course, any person in power, authority or trust who has done this or is doing it, has supporters who “go along” or actively participate in any agenda set out by their leader. Most of them will end up paying the price of their actions within this life, while the leader often escapes. We keep meticulous records today, thanks to all pervasive spying, but that does not exclude records being made somewhere else in the cosmos. It is true that in many or our activities, we leave an indelible footprint whatever we do. One such example is the destruction of the local environment when a nuclear accident occurs. Then there is the psychological record of all participants in any occurrence. Is there possibly another, sometimes referred to as the Ackashic Record? Whatever the case, those who escape the results of their actions in the here and now, may wind up paying the ultimate price down the road. We can only “kick the can down the road” just so far before it all comes back on us, shaken together, pressed down and overflowing. This conundrum of here and now injustice and imbalance is answered by reincarnation where the one who acted, returns through rebirth to be acted upon in kind. Even within the Bible we can find some hints such as, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour,andanother unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:20-22). This can be seen as those who are born, come into a life of blessing or one that is cursed and shameful. On the face of it, to see that a few are blessed beyond reason while others are seemingly cursed in a random way, makes little sense in an otherwise highly ordered cosmos. Thus in context, this describes the power of God to effect justice in judgement. Another similar passage is found in 2 Timothy 2:20. This would suggest that some controlling force is able to judge based on evidence and then carry out the appropriate sentence of reward or recompense for deeds performed in the individuals life for each and every individual. Further, we learn that the children are not punished for the sins of the parents and vice versa, indicating some form of individualized extra-physical entity that is identified to their specific actions. “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16). So a case can be made within the context of the King James Version of the Bible for some tenants or reincarnation; in this case, karma. There are of course, many more passages that will come up in context.
We are More than Just Star Stuff
The idea of birth, death and rebirth presupposes the existence of an essence that come into the physical world to dwell in a physical body for the purpose that needs to be completed within the context of consciousness-observer and the world-observed. Now we can delve into the mystery of the observer and observed and their interaction as determined in the quantum world and hierarchies built up from there, but that is not the slant here. Suffice it to say here is that material and matter is shaped and driven by energy of all kinds, most of it invisible. What we are looking at is the idea of the non physical soul, spirit, ghost or entity that inhabits and energizes the physical body and interacts with the cosmos and others in that cosmos. In a way it is the ultimate in observer-observed interaction. We have already determined that the individual is responsible alone and only for their own actions, whether by commission or omission, good or evil. This in a way is both a proof for a record and a responsible entity that can be called a soul, spirit or ghost. This soul or spirit is non-destructible even as energy is non-destructible. Energy is not destroyed, only changed and since what powers your body, consciousness and mind is energy, it is what leaves when the body dies. Death means that the body is no longer energized, so the energy must go somewhere, even if it just spreads out through the entire cosmos. Energy is the essential "substance" of the cosmos and matter is nothing but condensed vortexes of energy. All of this can in part be shown scientifically.
The following may suggest otherwise, but there is a deeper meaning. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:35-37) In the last sentence, if we examine the Greek, we find that what is being sought after by the soul, is recognition and fame amongst peers. The word used in Greek that has been translated world, into KJV English, has to do with acknowledgement from the society of peers. So in effect we have someone seeking to gain control of society as a leader, but in the end, he must die and lose it all. In the context, it has little to do with accumulated wealth, but that is also part of power that comes with fame or infamy. Then whatever has been done must be addressed according to the judgement of karma. We must bear in mind that the gospel spoken of by Jesus is highly specific, and that is the social gospel, that is, our responsibility for ourselves and others and thus, ultimately, God. The soul or spirit in this case can be “lost” in the context for the struggle for supremacy in the society one finds themselves within. It does not mean that the soul, spirit or ghost will be destroyed, for like energy, it changes, but is not destroyed. Lost here means that the energetic entity has disconnected from its source and has lost the nature of its real purpose. Hell has been described as being separated from or disconnected from God. That is another issue that will be examined in context.
Within the context of our social reality, we generate records wherever we go and whatever we do. In a complex of interactions involving education, job performance, all of and especially our economics, trade, interaction with authority, our health or disease, it is all recorded somewhere on paper and increasingly, electronically. There is virtually nothing that is done, that does not leave some trail of where we have been and what we have done. This is just in the physical world! A major international scandal has erupted over the total invasion of privacy by security and spy agencies around the world. Our own mind it turns out, is also a treasure trove of all that we have ever done from the moment of birth. The question now arises as to whether such a collection in the mind survives physical death. Certainly everything recorded by society does! But society is also prone to inventing things about people that are not the truth. A detailed investigation into history will reveal many such inventions. If we examine the idea of the soul and the nature of energy, we can indeed come to an appreciation that energy can be encoded with very complex information over a broad range of frequencies. This is what we routinely do when we wirelessly beam vast amounts of information for computers hooked to wifi, radio and cell phone transmissions. This information actually goes out into the broader cosmos and any receiving antenna can pick up a chosen band of information intact. Thus the physical-energy interface can be seen most clearly in our modern technology. Information is stored in a large number of coded ways and can be retrieved with the appropriate hardware and of course, the addition of some reference energy. Another clear example of this complexity can be seen in a real time streaming full colour video transmission hologram. This can be run over and over, provided the source information is intact. By induction, we can reason without deductive empirical evidence that a similar thing can happen with thoughts and experience by individuals. Emerging technologies are beginning to tap into what any and all individuals are thinking and experiencing. We approach the day when we can empirically prove this. Now energy patterns tend to fall off in strength by the square of the distance from the source, but it is now possible to amplify even the smallest and weakest of signals. Energy may be dispersed along with modulated frequency patterns, but it is not lost!
Whatever has Been Described as Other States After Death Can All Be Found on Earth
Heaven and hell states can be found in plenty right on earth without having to invoke some other place not attached to the earth. However, that is not to discount other states or locations in the process of existing as within the sight of our own telescopes, we can find all variety of planets in various states. For us, most would be hell planets. Modern cosmology also speculates on the existence of other dimensions, but so far, these are largely hypothesis. It is stated in the Bible, that “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). Christians largely belong to the school that says we live but once and after this, we are destined to go to heaven or hell, or purgatory if one is Catholic. Further, the condition is mediated by grace as to our final destination. If we fail to take that grace of Jesus, we are destined to an eternity of extreme torture. But eternity taken from the Greek translation means an aeon, age or age lasting depending on the context. These ideas alone says we have a spirit or soul that can be acted upon. But other views hold that reincarnation is the instrument of the execution of judgement. Thus, as stated earlier, we can be created for honour or dishonour and that means rebirth to a condition of a pleasant life or one of torment on earth. Take a look at the news and see what awaits many reincarnating spirits into bodies! If you are brave enough and hardy to stomach the unbridled truth, there are some extreme horrors out there. What kind of action would result in being born in a deformed body in a radioactive war zone? It would be good to thoroughly investigate what is going on even in your own back yard neighbourhood and see the fates that are in action. Some fates are utterly horrific! Then there is the reality of ongoing evil in the world against which good seems largely impotent. When you discover the truth, it places another challenge before you. Will you act to alleviate suffering or will you ignore it because the problem is way out of scope to handle by a single individual that lacks the resources of the IMF that would be required to make any kind of dent? The Bible tells us of our social responsibility and hints at the method whereby we may be saved individually and collectively. It is not enough to just accept a concept or precept, one must act like they believe in it. By this way, though we are literally saved by grace, we can improve our lot and the lot of others simultaneously. The Old and New Testaments take different reads on what a saviour is and one means deliverance from an enemy or oppressor and the other means personal salvation from one's own shortcomings and offences.
It has been argued over aeons as to what constitutes a spirit and moreover, who or what have individual spirits or collective ones if any at all. In Ancient Greece during the golden age of philosophy, it was thought that only elite men had souls or spirits and that the lower classes, women and animals did not. It is alleged that in so-called more primitive pagan societies, all creatures were thought to have souls or spirits. Materialist thinkers say simply that the idea of a soul or spirit is a fiction and what is called spirit is simply the result of material interactions that generates the phenomenon of consciousness and animating effects. It is to them, a matter of physics and chemistry alone. These are the extremes and the mainstream view is somewhere in the middle of the muddle. We must then define what a spirit is and then analyze to see what has such a thing and what does not. If we say that a spirit or soul is the animating principle in living things, then all living individuals from viruses, to plants, to insects, all animals and people have them. If it is lacking, the specific body lacking it is not animated and it is defined as dead as opposed to the living that is animated by some dynamic force. This can be proven by certain observations where it is witnessed that elephants will mourn the passing of one of their own. It is recorded that they will even mourn a human who has devoted their life to protecting elephants in the wild. Moreover, without any other connection than what can be described as telepathic, they can sense from a large distance, the passing out of life of one of their own or the caring human who has passed away. They will migrate over large distances to mourn and fast during a wake, that we thought was just the reserve of human beings. Other creatures like dogs exhibit the same behaviour. The distinction between animals and man that has caused confusion on this issue is the nature of human nature insofar as human capability is concerned to deliberately harm others for a large variety of reasons. Animals will kill to eat or protect their young from being eaten or harmed. Animals do not kill for the “joy or killing” alone. Animals do not kill for the concept of profit. Yet we call ourselves superior when we are ready and willing to kill millions at the flick of a nuclear switch. The victims and their suffering are remote and we can thus avoid witnessing the results of our own actions. But, however remote, this does not remove ones responsibility on iota. Herein then is another basis for the existence of separate spirits or souls within individual bodies. Invariably, most of us do not feel the pain of anyone outside of ourselves, which apparently is enough of a barrier to allow us to agonizingly torture another in our captivity. Some folks do feel the pain of others and they are thus more empathetic. Most do not, but must be trained to kill animals and others with seemingly little backlash, unless of course we consider Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that comes as a result of living through a horrendous disaster or the experience of modern war. It is common to see veterans of modern conflicts with this disorder who have witnessed and participated in gruesome mass slaughters. The death of others in these context is very much a sign of our own death, and what materialists consider, total extinction of the individual. If total extinction into the void were the final outcome of ones life, then, why the fear and loathing of death? Why do most of us cling to life no matter what? We do not entirely escape the effects of our own horrific actions. They do at least, have a psychological impact that can effect our physical and mental health. But, among the world's species, man alone is willing to commit what is called evil readily and willingly if they think it will make them better off. So by definition, we do have individual souls or spirits, but they are tied collectively to all others much like quantum entanglement connects separate particles into one vast whole over the extent of the cosmos. It is not limited to human beings, but all creatures but the limit being the state of transition from life to death. The dead, that are not animated, do not have souls or spirits.
The BBC Documentary on Reincarnation
Can Reincarnation be Found in the Bible Accounts?
Contemporary Christianity holds that human beings are a living soul so long as it is connected to the body. But on the death of the body, the soul is at least put to sleep, if not dying itself. It is recorded that the soul that sins will ultimately die and also that all have sinned. This idea flies in the face of the non-destruction of energy, but energy however can assume an apparently non-manifested form. This is easily proven in many physics experiments. The Bible holds that the sinning soul dies, unless saved by grace. This is where the idea of soul and spirit begin to diverge. Perhaps, what is being described is that the spirit inhabits a body and produces a soul as the connection between the two. The spirit of God breathed life into Adam as recorded in Genesis and Adam, fashioned from the dust of the earth, became a living soul. As Christianity and Islam ultimately trace their roots to Judaism, then the ideas held by Judaism also applies to both successors. According to historians of the early Christian and contemporary Judaic period, Jews believed in the idea of reincarnation. This is why it is reported in the Bible that people believed that John the Baptist and Jesus were returned prophets of old, namely Elias and Elijah (Matthew 11:14-15). Further the ideas of sins being visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation is recorded in the first commandment. More ideas emerge when a blind man is cured by Jesus and the apostles asked if he was blind due to the sins of the past, particularly of parents and ancestors. Jesus replies in the negative in this particular recorded circumstance. The individual is not blamed for the transgressions of their parents as each is responsible for themselves. As both would be living at one time, clearly the blind man was not blind owing to someone else's transgression. In Revelation it is recorded that once someone has reached perfection (overcoming all karma), they “shall go no more out” (Revelation 3:12), but become a pillar in the temple of God. This idea would agree with the ideas held by Hinduism, Buddhism and even pagan religions.
Life and consciousness are curious indeed. For consciousness itself is variable, existing in a multitude of states even during the span life in a physical body. Most people do not remember much prior to age four or five. This is part of the most formative time of life where we must learn to coordinate our actions senses, talk, and a whole lot else. Yet, it has been seen that toddlers as young as two can be trained to handle what some would say, dangerous tools, and handle them effectively. Consciousness also varies between alert wakefulness and total unconsciousness of deep sleep. And then there is dream time, considered so important in many cultures around the world, that see it as every bit as real as the waking world we inhabit. Consciousness can be altered by many substances and many people seek these out, whether in drugs, powerful herbs, liquor, meditation, yoga and by other means. If consciousness is a form of energy, it fluctuates through various states both naturally and by induction, if it is true in the here and now, it is likely to be true in all other circumstances. The after death state as recounted by those who have a near death experience, appears more dream like than the world we inhabit in physical life. It can exist in a large variety of states and account for all the myths, conditions and states we read about in all religions. There are some who claim to be able to project their consciousness out of their bodies and this has also been triggered in scientific experiments with subjects wired to artificially induce such an experience. The human brain it turns out, is wired for mystical experience and for a reverence for God or a higher being. Why would this be part of our makeup if it had no function? Some would say that it is like the appendix that is seen as a vestigial organ, but we have since discovered that it has an important function. Our ignorance on anything should not be the excuse to negate what we don't understand, and yet, that is precisely what most of us do!
The whole concept of justice and recompense is founded on the concepts of reward, punishment, sin and virtue. This is the way it is described for this world, but it is seldom practised. The truth of the matter is that the powerful and rich design the laws not for themselves, but for everyone else whom they rule by threat and force. They do not suffer the consequences of their misdeeds and often the innocent take the punishment for these. But in their actions, they build a mass resentment against themselves that will one day come home to roost for some of them in this life. Some escape, that is certain and we see those who get away such as Pol Pot, Augusto Pinochet and many others. Meanwhile innocents are rounded up and tortured for decades and die in seclusion without relief. Where then is justice in this context? If we are to believe that this is it, then the cosmos, God, et al is a huge joke, a farce, a comedy of errors without hope. Karma is the idea of justice over the long term insofar as the actions done in one life will obtain their results in another life. You may not recall what it was that was done to merit the result in the present life. Suffice it to say, that whatever suffering you caused, you will experience in your unfolding from ignorance into wisdom. That is how the idea of karma works. The cosmos has an intrinsic memory, even if your own is under suspension, due to the worries or the new day or life. The memory of the cosmos is bound up in the more curious aspects of general relativity and quantum entanglement.
Various Concepts Concerning Reincarnation
Cosmic evolution moves from a condition of simplicity to that of complexity along an energy gradient imposed from the beginning of time. Evolution is all about change, but it is something we are still coming to terms with in our proper understanding. We do not know everything there is about biological evolution, let alone that of stars, planets and galaxies. Those who purport that we know all there is about these fields are either ignorant, lying or both. Science being performed by imperfect human being subject to corruption and lies, unfortunately succumbs to the effect of these. Science when done honestly and truthfully, can rise above this and expose the nature of reality and how it operates.
Rebirth and transmigration are two of the main ideas of reincarnation. One postulates that as long as human beings create karma, they must come back in human form to redress that karma. This is how reincarnation redresses wrongs and rights, to turn injustice to justice, to balance the cosmic account. But it is an idea, hard to vindicate and many people do not accept reincarnation. Many do not even accept the idea of anything after death! However, something that is hard to prove or disprove shows us nothing except our ignorance and what we have yet to uncover and learn, for or against. We are always learning more secrets of nature as we delve deeper into the mysteries thereof. Transmigration is the idea that spirits move freely from body to body in various lives and that these can either be human or some other animal. The general concept is that of animals spirits moving to human, as humans move to human form but the opposite is also considered when human spirits reincarnate as animals. This is a field that is as speculative as basic reincarnation if not more so. Some religious teachers suggest that people can reincarnate as animals if their karma was such that they did great harm to animals without just cause and that they come back thus to experience what they dished out in a former life. One idea that must be considered in all of this, is the law of cycles and that transmigration for some reasons, is as valid a consideration as any other in reincarnation. The law of cycles postulates that life ebbs and flows, from vitality, growth and health to decay and corruption. This is true of individuals and whole societies in the here and now and through history and this can be proven, especially today with all our sophisticated recording technology ever increasing our direct access historical record. When souls and/or spirits becomes corrupt, many spirits may fall back into animal forms, to repeat lessons that have not be grasped. The schooling equivalent is to have to repeat a grade. According to some, the earth is a type of school, which is why one can see every type of experience unfolding from the blissful, heavenly type of life to ones of sheer hell, torture and torment. If there is a heaven and hell, it is being played out right now on earth! In the golden era, most lives are healthy and blissful. In the era of corruption, the earth becomes a hell for almost everyone. There is one thing that is certain, and that is what has become known as instant karma. This plays out in revolts where a tyrant ends up being torn to pieces as he or she tore apart their subjects. Some do not have to wait for another life to balance the karmic scales. For the most part though, the things we do in this life are not recompensed until another life according to reincarnation, which is why it is necessary.
A stagiest spiritual evolution idea is the concept that spirits develop over vast tracts of time through countless lives in order to experience and evolve from atomic consciousness to godhood. For each and every spirit, that is a fragment of the whole, the entirety of what is to be experienced, must be experienced. When at last a spirit or soul reaches what can be defined as perfection insofar as that they overcome karma, they can reach the state described in Revelation as “shall go no more out”. They do not reincarnate, but dwell in an altogether different state than the overwhelming variety of experience seen on earth. These have been described as leaving the wheel of rebirth according to the Hindu scripture and Buddhism. But, a spirit might chose to come back to show by example to those still in the path of repeated incarnations, the way out. This accounts for the many wise savants who have set examples in the past all around the world.
The after death state has already in part been dealt with. There are a host of hypotheses, but few hard facts outside of those who have experienced a near death incident. Then there are the stories of those who remember past lives and can give accurate accounts that cannot be garnered from the media as such a young age as those who recount the past life. Such as case was Bridey Murphy, who not only recounted a past life in accurate detail that was proven later, but what the state of consciousness is like between lives. Some people have been regressed under hypnotic trance while being treated for a condition in this life and have recounted past lives. The first modern hypnotic case was an accident, but produced such interesting results, more experiments were deliberately performed on more subjects. Edgar Cayce recounts in most of his readings, the why of peoples' disease due to reincarnation and karma. Perhaps the single strongest argument for a condition of life separate from physical reality is the fact that we are here and now, conscious in a manifest cosmos of what to us is solid reality. Many cosmologists and scientists argue that there should be nothing as opposed to something. Something had to exist in order to come into the physical world and that process for now, seems to be via birth through a mother. Without energy, the body is essentially a lump of non moving matter, little different from a clod of earth. Though the matter of the body is energy in its purest sense, this is altogether a different form of energy than what we call the spirit that animates this otherwise inert lump called the physical body. It is the presence of this living energetic spirit that interacts with the body, the world and with others, who are also spirits inside of bodies interacting back. Like other waveforms, we can be in the collapsed state or in the superposition of states, manifested or non-manifested. Either way, the energy exists but in forms that are completely different to each other. It is as different as order is from chaos, but modern chaos theory states that chaos is a higher degree of order. It only looks like chaos to those who are uniformed and ignorant.
A possible explanation for the Akashic record, experiences of prophetic insight and ideas of fate.