|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 9/21/2018
|Topics/Keywords: #Metaphysics #Reincarnation #Spirituality||Page Views: 584|
|Once one accepts the concept of reincarnation, one finds it impacts every aspect of one's life.|
Does a belief in reincarnation produce happier, healthier, people? Is there an advantage to accepting this belief?
Most people on earth believe in reincarnation, though only a minority of Americans do. The majority of believers live in India, China, and Tibet. Some Westerners have looked at the poverty, disease, and overpopulation of these countries, and put blame for these conditions on the "local" belief in reincarnation.
Of course, while India is often misrepresented as an example of nationwide poverty, Tibet isn't particularly overpopulated; nor is it a hell-hole of poverty and disease. Its worst fate in recent times has been its takeover by China, which in turn has become far more dangerous to the world and restrictive of human rights since its Communist revolution, which outlawed all religious beliefs, including that of reincarnation.
In fact, among modern countries suffering from poverty, overpopulation and disease, one must consider those of South America, in which most residents are Catholic and do not believe in reincarnation. So, perhaps, belief in reincarnation neither causes nor prevents dysfunctional cultures.
The only reason that reincarnation ever received blame for poverty and disease was the fact that some believers in reincarnation also believe that punishment from past misdeeds is the reason for all misfortune in this life. Rather than become caught in a pattern of cause-and-effect (called karma in Sanskrit), these believers refuse to become involved in any other person's problems. The traditional belief also sees people as victims, though of their own karma. The karma is in the past; the punishment is in the present and can't be avoided. That implies a certain degree of fatalism, and still doesn't leave much room for upliftment in any particular lifetime.
But, just as there are many ways in which Christianity has found expression, believers in reincarnation come in many flavors. Perhaps more typical is the Tibetan Buddhist, who maintains a constant awareness of the sacredness of all life, and thus avoids killing even insects.
There are newer attitudes arising, however. The American spin on the belief may be giving it its most sophisticated slant. This new approach suggests that, by maintaining a heightened awareness of one's own karmic debts, one can avoid the ill effects of karma and become a happy, self-determining, being. Furthermore, the new approach sees karma, not as punishment, but as balance and an opportunity for the soul's learning and experience.
How to gain this heightened awareness? The first step is to imagine oneself as one's Innermost Self (some might say "higher" self, but that's looking in the wrong direction). Even if you don't feel it at first, imagine yourself to be the spiritual being, or soul, from which your conscious self arises.
This being understands the flow of universal energies throughout space and time. This being knows the lessons that must be learned, and the circumstances under which they can be learned most effectively. Together with all other beings, it works to choose just the right circumstances for birth and the early years, so that the resulting personality will naturally slide into the circumstances it needs to find balance with past actions, good and bad. Happiness is not a goal, here; neither is wealth, health or any other particular state, except in how that state will encourage the experiences the Innermost Self understands are needed.
Thus, when a baby is born, it already has just the genes needed to produce the ideal body for the lifetime ahead. This may not be a healthy body, but it will be a body in which the proper lessons can be learned. Its parents are the perfect parents for what it must learn, for the person it must become. If the parents are fighting and break up shortly afterward, that was foreseen. If a new father or mother comes along, that was foreseen. It isn't an unchanging fate that forces these situations; it is energy flows and probabilities, clearly visible to the Innermost Self and the higher selves of all those involved.
(It's been said that crib death is often the result of a baby's family circumstances unexpectedly changing after birth, so that the future experiences will no longer produce the needed result. The baby leaves that life early, so that a more appropriate situation can be found.)
Freeing Yourself of Negative Karma
We all know people to whom "everything bad" seems to happen. Every car they buy is defective; their friends turn on them; they contract bizarre diseases; their lives seem to revolve around one lawsuit after another. They generally see themselves as victims of a world conspiring against them. Their friends can see these misfortunes as the inevitable consequences of poor choices (but what can you say?).
A reincarnationist understands those poor choices were made under the influence of karmic pressure from other lifetimes. But they are choices, and as such are not inevitable. The person making them could make other, better, choices. Why don't they?
The answer is, the "victim" has not yet learned the karmic lesson their Inner Self has set up for them. And each of these "misfortunes" is another opportunity to learn the lesson, whatever it is.
For example, let's say there's a person (we'll call him Fred) who has been caught and stabbed, non-fatally, by muggers on three separate occasions. He sees himself as a victim of rampant crime. His friends wonder why he insists on walking in "those" parts of town at late hours. But a reincarnationist, when pressed, might suspect that Fred, in another lifetime, used to be a mugger who stabbed his victims.
Fred, therefore, can expect these muggings (and other knife-related incidents) to continue until a karmic balance is achieved…or he can become proactive and work to achieve the balance in a more enlightened fashion. He could organize a neighborhood watch to make his neighborhood safer; he could join an outreach group that works to rehabilitate people convicted of mugging. He could become a surgeon or surgical nurse in order to put his affinity to knives to a nobler purpose.
Sometimes, just acknowledging what one's life experiences signify from a karmic standpoint is all it takes.
A friend of mine, Gerry, that I knew in Virginia, once mentioned to me that he had a chronic back pain. There was no obvious cause for it; and doctors had been unable to treat it. I chatted with him about it and asked if he remembered when it had first occurred.
"I know exactly," he replied. "I was visiting the battlefield at Gettysburg with my wife. As I looked over the field, suddenly I got this stabbing pain in my back, and it's never gone away—and that was over ten years ago."
As a reincarnationist, I knew just what had happened, even if I hadn't been able to see it in his energy fields. "You were a soldier in that battle," I told him. "You were killed by a bayonet to the back."
Gerry gasped and went pale—and slowly regained his color. Then he experimentally shook his head, and then twisted his torso.
"The pain is gone!" he said. "What did you do?"
"Nothing," I assured him. "Once you connected with the source of your pain, you didn't need it anymore."
Of course, most people take a little longer to make that connection, even when the answer is handed to them. Depending on how resistant they are to the concept of reincarnation, they might even need a session or two of hypnotic past-life regression.
But the point is, suffering in this life is not necessary. All one has to do is acknowledge the karmic connection causing it, and find a more positive way to balance it.