If you believe in reincarnation(71 Posts)
Would you mind sharing how you see it? I'm especially interested in whether you see it is an impersonal transition or whether you believe that we retain our individual self? I used to believe the former but lately have been having a rethink. Would love to hear what others believe.
I don't believe that memories are held in souls. I believe that memories shape the soul but are not retained.
I believe in reincarnation but my belief is not linked to any particular religion, just in the belief that there is more than one time for us in the world.
I believe that your soul or personality returns, so someone or something will return with your character and understanding of the world. I don't believe that that being will remember they were once you, but they will have understanding and experience they gained whilst inside your body.
I can't make my mind up about reincarnation, I do find a lot of the evidence extremely convincing, but way gets me is what's the actual point??
We can't ever know for definite if we lived before or that we will ever live again, coupled with the fact that if we did live before we very very rarely remember anything about it.....I guess what I'm trying to say is, what's the difference between reincarnation and oblivion? I don't understand how it can be a comfort to anyone, given that we will never have my definitive recollection of it.
Any* definitive recollection, rather!
Thanks for all the responses. A few things:
IB - i'm glad you understood what i meant about ds. I've only discussed it a few times in rl and just got ! I agree that the answers are within rather than 'out there'. I'm very commited to yoga and meditation practice, but i'm no longer clear on what i'm connecting with - whether the soul is completely identified with a world soul or still retains some differentiation that makes it 'me'. I want to believe that we retain some seperateness, i really do, but then i think maybe i'm just failing to master my ego.
Cote - re suggestion with regression. That is exactly what i meant about feeling led. I wasn't led in a 'you are now entering a magnificent castle' kind of a way, but by being asked 'what are you seeing now' i (and i'm sure most people) felt compelled to see something, to do it right. There was one point when i was asked to go to the moment of my death and look down and describe what i was seeing. What i came up with was quite startling and traumatic, but i'm pretty sure it was my brain trying to construct a story and give it meaning, rather than any kind of memory.
SBM - interesting what you say about reincarnation being an add-on to Hinduism. In Taoism as well (not that i pretend to understand it) there's very little suggestion of reincarnation or anything about life after death in the Tao Te Ching - it seems to be added later on. Buddhism of course does include it, but probably because its roots are in Hinduism.
TapDP - i suppose there's two ways (probably more) of looking at it:
1) We may not be able to recall our past lives but karma determines where we are in this life, so in that sense we do have an idea if we led good or bad lives previously. We can then determine the outcome of the next one by our actions in this life.
2) We only see the bigger picture when we are between lives - our spiritual selves, and then decide ourselves what we need to experience, much like IB has been saying (whether or not you believe in regression).
I suppose for 1) you need to accept that the universe has a moral or law-giving dimension to dispense karma, whereas with 2) you need to believe that your personal self survives and makes its own decisions.
I believe in reincarnation cos life doesn't make sense otherwise (to me). I think we need (chose) to go through many different experiences and lives in order to develop spiritually.
Will go back and read the replies but just wanted to put in this link:
Dear "CheerfulYank". It is a very Real blessing that you can Remember some
Events from a "Past". but...here's the Rub; "Time" doesn't Exist.Time is NOT
a linear Thing.The Past-as You can remember it, may just Not Be "This" Time-
On This particular Diminsion.And. Oh,yes-these Diminsions are beyond Count-
Ing...Beyond our Ken.What you "remember"is Very Real, but perhaps not in
THIS earth existence.Learn to Trust yourself and your beliefs.Do Not "Label"
yourself as a "Christian". Not Necessary...and you are placing yourself in a
Pigeon-Hole...subject to All sorts of "Earthly" Ridicule.Be True to youself.Be
True to your God.He Knows your Heart.If He is For you...No one Can be
against you. Jill.
Thanks, Japple. I am Native as well (a teeny, teeny bit Blackfoot) but have live in Minnesota since I was a little girl in an area greatly influenced by the Anishinaabe people.
When I was very little I would ask my mom what my name was before, and tell her I was starting to forget it. She would say "Oh silly, it's always been Cheerful", and I would tell her, "no before ." I used to tell her that my fingers hurt when I was old, and that we were hungry but didn't mind so much. And when I was 19 and saw the ocean for the first time I remembered the smell.
Cote - I think because the soul energy is different from the brain, as in - eternal. So, when we are 'in a body' we are almost limited by the physical i.e if there has been some kind of injury or illness etc that may impair the physical - the soul is still intact...
Red - I think we probably connect with our own soul in meditation, our higher selves - the real 'us' and although we may be part of a bigger oneness, we still have the 'us' part of it. Therefore, all raindrops in the big cloud?
suburbo- love it! Haven't read it all yet, but very very interesting
Japple - I agree with what you have said, and I know that I am omni-present and multi-dimensional. I also know that time, does not really exist - and I know that everything that ever happens, or will ever happen is in this very moment. I have experiences from my simultaneous lives, where I believe a certain amount of my soul energy has been allocated to those 'dimensions'.
Cheerful- This is wonderful, your memories
With love xxx
All that is great (as fantasy ) but if "memories" of a past life aren't in the brain and they aren't in the soul, where do you think you find them during "past life regression"?
Re "decide what we need to experience" - Are you saying that children horrifically murdered by pedophile serial killers wanted that experience "in between lives"?
I don't think that is what is implied, Cote.
You could interpret it as karma playing itself out. So, if someone was the perpetrator of a heinous crime in their last life they become the victim in the next. Personally, i would find this quite abhorrent, as no doubt would the parents of any child who has suffered. Here's quite an interesting extract from Mark Albrechts book Reincarnation (i need to learn how to link!):
1) The person of Hitler ceased to exist at the moment of his physical death. Only the impersonal self will reincarnate, accompanied by its karmic deposit. However, there is no continuity between the person of Hitler and that of the individual who has to endure the hardships imposed by Hitlers karma. The newborn person doesnt know that he has to work out Hitlers karma. After the cruel life and death of this person, other millions of reincarnations will succeed with the same tragic destiny. The most intriguing fact is that the person of Hitler, the only one who should have endured at physical and psychical level the results of his deeds, was dissolved at physical death, while other persons, totally unaware of this situation and innocent, have to work out his bad karma.
2) As a result of the hardships that have to be endured by the new incarnations of Hitler, it is almost certain that they will react with indignation instead of resignation to their situation, and thus will accumulate a growing karmic debt. Each new reincarnation of Hitler becomes a source of newly acquired karma, initiating a new chain of individuals who have to endure the consequences. Hitler himself was the one that had karmic debts to pay. Whoever he had been in a previous life, he made his karma a lot worse during the years of The Third Reich. Therefore, instead of solving the puzzle of global justice, the problem worsened. Starting with a single individual such as Hitler, we reach a huge number of persons who pay his karma and accumulate a new one. And this is just one case in human history. An attempt to imagine what happens at a larger human scale would reveal a catastrophe that could never be solved.
You do not need to see everything that happens as predetermined - i certainly don't believe that it is. Bad people will do bad things, regardless of what plan an individual (victim or perpetrator) may have come up with while discarnate. We are also part of the natural world and vulnerable to illness and accident like any other lifeform - i don't think someone contracting a life limiting illness is any way pre-ordained. I think if karma exists then it is not an invitation to sit back and leave it to fate, but an opportunity to live the best you can to ensure a better outcome next time round, to make the best of the cards you have been dealt.
Most people (away from here anyway!) don't go around gazing at their navels. If it is possible to connect to your soul then it is still a very difficult thing to do, certainly to the extent where you can discover what your life plan is (assuming for a minute that there is one). So, most of us will have no idea what our plans are. I'm pretty sure my plan was to be running the V&A and married to Rufus Sewell - but here i am in a rural backwater living with a hairy biker (not one of THOSE hairy bikers!). I kind of think if it is so hard to discover your plan then we are probably not meant to know what it is, and are just meant to live the best lives we can, doing the most good and the least harm. I could accept that those closest to you have a deeper spiritual connection and are there to help you (or maybe challenge you a bit), and you them, but i could never see it as a 'tell you what, i'm going to develop a terminal disease so you get the chance to be compassionate' kind of a plan.
I was replying to Indigo who said: "we choose our bodies, we come back to experience mostly what we have already agreed on a soul level with others in our soul group" which is NOT karma.
So my question to her stands: Does this mean that children who were raped and killed by sadistic pedophiles actually chose to have this happened to them, agreeing to it with others in their "soul group"?
If you really believe this, what are the implications? If victims are willing participants, what does this mean for our justice system?
I'd like to believe that each live is an opportunity to learn and better ourselves. Some lives are more of a challenge, but the idea that people who suffer somehow deserve it is dreadful. It's behind the worst atrocities that ever happened. I have no idea why people 'choose' abusive families and difficult lives - maybe their choice is limited or they need this experience to learn or teach someone.
It seems that the next life is similar to the previous one rather than being a " punishment" or a "reward" and we often make the same mistakes - until we learn not to make them again, hopefully. I love the idea of "soul groups", but as with any other group they are probably fluid - we can join or leave them. My husband is the only person I feel weirdly connected to - exactly as if I met him before. Maybe "soul groups" are the reason why people always feel close to the places they grew up in and their families, even if they cut ties decades ago.
I think my viewpoint (for want of a better word) is closest to RedMolly's. I too have done a lot of yoga and meditation practice - it's been almost daily for some years now. As time has gone on, I feel I "know" less but I also care less about how much I know.
Practice has given me the ability to differentiate between the mind (the talking part in your head) and the "other" part of myself which some people call the watcher. The watcher can be thought of as that part of the self that is eternal and ultimately perfect.
What's interesting is how much I identify with the mind on a day to day basis rather than with the watcher. It's very easy to think that these thoughts ("ooh, I must do that, she's wearing a funny dress, what is that move he's pulling etc etc") are actually me when in fact they are generated by this life's experiences. The watcher is "me" but most of the time it is obscured by the mind. The practice allows the mind to be still long enough to catch glimpses of the watcher and over time, those glimpses increase until it becomes easier to access. Although "catch glimpses" is really the wrong way to put it... more... the mind is still long enough to feel the existence of the watcher.
Yoga is a philosophy that assumes that all your life experiences are stored in your body. From practice I can say with some certainty that this is true. Through practice I have re-experienced and let go of a lot of "stuff", mostly long held emotions but also habits and ways of acting - parts of my personality that do me more harm than good. There is still a long way to go and it is an ongoing process, which yogic philosophy says takes many lifetimes.
Yogic philosophy might also say that the fact that I have been attracted to certain practices in this lifetime means that I began those practices in a previous lifetime. I have no idea whether this is true! I can tell you that I have been interested in religion and spirituality since I was little, I have no idea why. I also used to stand on my head for long periods and watch the TV for no other reason than I felt drawn to do it. I had a million distractions and went off the rails numerous times but somehow I always come back to it until now I've been almost forced to accept that I will always do it and that it is what I do.
Bad things have happened to me and I've had some very distressing and difficult periods but I can say without exception that I have learnt from each one, even if the only thing learnt has been how better to accept what I cannot change. I've also done some bad things and am highly aware of how much I still have to learn.
I don't know what, if anything passes through when you die but I can tell you that the mind is the part of you that is affected by the physical but there is another part of you that is not. So perhaps that is the part that continues to exist.
Dorset- that's rather profound. I'm exploring Buddhism at the moment. Not a believer in reincarnation as such though.
I liked your refs to the perfect watcher- that embodies the Buddhist view of the perfect being as opposed to the traditional cultural/Christian view with which we're brought up of us souls tainted by original sin
<< sorry for hijack, but anyone up for discussing/explaining the dharma? Seen v v little on here and am surprised...>>
Hi girls! I love this thread - the sort of subjects that fascinate me and continually make me wonder. I am a Buddhist of sorts - that is, I've immersed myself in Buddhist books for the last few years after a classic mid-life crisis, and became one officially last year - but I also find much comfort in the Quaker approach, and live in an area where there are Quaker meetings but nothing on the Buddhist front at all, so I guess I feel like I have a foot in both camps. That said, I mainly just do my own thing - yoga, meditation, and immersion in books of all kinds on these topics. I've read Michael Newton and was deeply intrigued, but feel like I can't know whether he's on to The Truth(!) or not - I do feel reincarnation is probably what happens, but I don't feel qualified to say that I 'know' this for a fact. I'm just bookmarking my place here, as can't write much more right now, but it's lovely to 'meet' you all! Back soon
PS Dorset I completely identify with all you said re the observer vs the busy 'monkey-mind'. Mindfulness approaches have been so helpful for me in recent years. You're not so far from Gaia House in Devon - ever been there?
I think our memories etc don't make up our true selves our true self is that which observes eg observes our thoughts, it has been said that descartes only had half the picture when he said 'I think therefore I am' what is should be is 'I see that I think therefore I am' you are not your thoughts. Identification with things that happen to us and what we do is just ego and not the true self, not our spirit and it is that which goes on.
Mark Albrecht's theory sounds rather unfair. If you become indebted with bad karma in one life, you carry it to your next totally unaware so totally unable to figure what the problem is
"An attempt to imagine what happens at a larger human scale would reveal a catastrophe that could never be solved." <<< This. Surely inheriting bad karma without knowledge would just result in us all steadily becoming awful. After all nobody is perfect.
I don't understand the theory of living again and again a fresh slate/without any memory. What is the point of living again and again and not remembering it? Wouldn't that make us a soap opera.
Hearing other people talk of their past lives makes me unable to dismiss the idea, especially when these claims are made by young children.
Would also like to hear the response to that question Cote put forward
Glad to see this thread is still ticking over.
Re Mark Albrecht's theory - it is one of the things that has made me question the impersonal reincarnation theory. There really is no justice in it, which i think is the point he is making. I think Buddha used an example of reincarnation being like a flame being passed from candle to candle, so it is difficult to think of the flame of the final candle being in any way the original flame. His view of karma if i understand correctly was that it is a product of the causal connectedness of life, without the transmission of any spiritual substance of any sort. I guess the point of it would be that your actions in one life fix your circumstances in your next life, and it does not require any actual memory of a previous existence. Not saying i agree with this anymore btw - i have moved more to an inclination that we do retain some seperateness.
Re past life recall in children, i've read some of Ian Stevenson's stuff on this and found it really compelling. There are some criticisms of his methodology so i don't think it can constitute proof as such, though on one skeptic site the best alternative explanation they could come up with was posession!
I still haven't read the Michael Newton book - suspect it might not convince me. I reread the Brian Weiss book after starting this thread (though it deals with past life regression rather than life between lives). It has now gone to the charity shop. Just one example of the sort of stuff recalled during the subject's regression - she was in a place called Hamstead, apparently a sea port in Wales, where they were talking British!!!
I can see why you moved away from it. I don't understand how the harm caused by others has anything to do with karma indebted to you from another life. Look at September 11th. There is no way that all of those people in the twin towers earned that in Karma.
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