The Question of Reincarnation:
The Cycle Grows
Reincarnation states that the spirit,
through the vehicle of the soul, comes to the Earth plane many times, in
order to experience physical life, under a variety of circumstances and
conditions. To some, this represents a grotesque cycle in which the soul
becomes trapped; others look at it as a wonderful, divine plan which offers
an opportunity to expand in our awareness and to correct that which needs
to be corrected. Perhaps it boils down to whether one sees a glass half
empty or half full.
Just about every culture has
had, as part of its teaching, a belief in reincarnation. In the twentieth
century, it is undeniably accepted among most religions of the East. In the
West, mainstream religions and churches shy away from any discussion or
belief in the cycle of rebirth. Modern Spiritualism, at least that segment
of it espoused by the National Spiritualist Association of Churches,
denies, as fantasy, the doctrine of reincarnation. Yet, recent surveys
indicate clearly that the majority of Americans, including Spiritualists,
do believe in reincarnation.
The question, then, arises:
who is correct? Proof of reincarnation is a very personal matter; what may
constitute proof for one may have no credence to another. This is true of
most religious and spiritual teachings and doctrines. Faith, perhaps even
more than knowledge and proof, is what strengthens the soul. This does not
lessen the importance of knowledge and understanding, but faith in that
which simply cannot be proven is what nurtures wisdom. It is our decided
opinion and a very integral part of our religious and spiritual teaching that
reincarnation is a fact.
The primary purpose of life
upon the Earth plane is to master, through experience and involvement, the
lower (personality) nature and, thus, become guided and influenced by the
higher, or soul, aspects of the divine spirit within; this, in turn, is
guided by the almighty Spirit of God.
The issue of reincarnation
relates very strongly to questions concerning life and death: when were we,
as spirits, created; how long and where shall we continue to be?
The major beliefs concerning
life and death are as follows:
Earth plane is the sum total of all that is. We are created at or around
the time of conception, and we cease to exist at the moment of death.
are created at or around the time of conception, we are born onto the Earth
plane, we pass from the Earth plane through death, and then we live in some
other realm of Spirit for eternity. Life, now and after death, is and shall
always be. The nature of life after physical death is subject to much
debate by those who hold this view.
are eternal, both in the past and in the future. We were created at a point
in time which is timeless, and we shall always exist. We come to the Earth
plane once, in order to experience what it has to offer. After physical
death, we live in other realms of Spirit, gradually evolving in our
consciousness and in our oneness with God.
is identical to that noted above, with one exception: we are given the
opportunity to be born onto the Earth plane more than once, in order to
evolve an understanding of this plane to the point where we no longer need
physical incarnation. From there, life continues, in other realms of Spirit
and Creation, as a continuous evolutionary process toward oneness with God.
Those who adhere to this view of life generally agree on the nature of life
encountered after physical death.
It All Myth?
Eastern cultures teach and
accept the doctrine of reincarnation as a natural part of the life-death
cycle. Those from the East would consider us to be spiritually bankrupt for
even questioning the reality of this doctrine. We, in the West, however,
tend not to accept things unless they can be proven or at least
scientifically demonstrated. This tends to create problems when it comes to
There are three basic arguments
against the doctrine of reincarnation:
is not scientifically proven.
come back as a different person, thus reincarnation is not a fact.
should there be a cyclic return to the Earth plane?
Let us look briefly at each of
these arguments and see if we can shed some light on it.
Not Scientifically Proven: It is correct to say that
reincarnation has not been proven scientifically; it probably never will
be. But then again, how many of our spiritual or religious teachings and
doctrines have been? To state that a theory or teaching is not true because
current-day science cannot prove it, is to state that the laws of the Earth
plane represent all the laws that exist within creation; this, of course,
is not correct. In considering reincarnation, we are dealing with an aspect
of the soul; thus, spiritual laws must be considered. All laws of the
spirit, which have stood the test of time, point directly to the reality of
nonetheless, undergone some serious scientific investigation, primarily
through the research of Dr. Ian Stevenson. Through various techniques of
hypnosis and life regression, Dr. Stevenson and others have been able to
confirm that certain people are able to offer direct information concerning
past lives; information which they have no way of knowing (at least from
the current earthly life) and which can be verified. This type of
information is often obtained from children.
Different Body; Thus, No
Reincarnation: This is
perhaps the most perplexing argument against reincarnation. Opponents of
reincarnation who fall upon this argument state that if a person does come
back to the Earth plane, he or she does so in a different body, with a
different brain; therefore, a different person is involved, and that person
has not technically experienced reincarnation. This represents a strictly
materialistic viewpoint and does not take into consideration that our
bodily forms are merely material cloaks used by our souls. The fact that we
change coverings does not mean we change the spirit. "Clothing makes
the person" is a cliche based on
illusion, in this and in other worlds.
Why Reincarnation?: Many opponents of reincarnation share
a common sentiment: why would the soul come back? What does this
accomplish? The situations which surround the soul change with each life;
therefore, how does this allow us to deal with past circumstances? First,
we must come to understand that, even though ages come and go and
environments change, we have been struggling with the same problems and
circumstances for eons of time. We are all seeking to attain a clearer
understanding of ourselves and of God and attempting to become closer and
more at-one with God and with each other. The basic human condition changes
very little. How we deal with it is constantly changing. God's plan and our
plan with God remain stable. How that plan happens to be unfolding, at any
particular moment in history, differs with people, places, conditions, and,
of course, time.
Spiritual evolution does
continue, unbroken and uninterrupted, even though we incarnate into
different bodily forms, surrounded by different people, and occupy our time
differently. Again, it is the soul which evolves toward oneness with God,
creation, and its own spirit. In effect, when we incarnate is of secondary
importance. What is of importance is that we move onward in our journey and
know that we do come to the Earth plane, from time to time, as part of that
It Does Make Sense!
The fact of reincarnation
makes more sense and is more in line with natural law than the myth of it.
Here are some reasons:
follows the universal Law of Cycles.
is a wonderful demonstration of God's grace and our ability to correct that
which needs to be corrected.
seems inconceivable that we can master the lower aspects of the personality
in one earthly lifetime.
helps explain the appearance of evil in a world guided by a loving God.
Let us take a brief look at
each of these:
Law of Cycles: Everything in life follows the great
Law of Cycles. Seasons come and go. People are born and die. Trees follow a
cyclic pattern of life and apparent death. History seems to repeat itself,
until there is no longer a need to repeat the cycle. Why should we assume
that our earthly lives would not follow the same cyclic patterns exhibited
by the rest of creation? The cycle of rebirth is one of many cycles in
which we are involved. "Cycles within cycles within cycles" is an
expression used by Syrsha, Rev. Stephen Fulton's spirit guide, to
suggest the many cycles in which we all live.
God's Grace at Work: What kind of God would say: "If
you make an error, too bad; suffer with it for the rest of eternity?"
That would be a cruel and mindless God. But God says quite the opposite:
"I know you make errors, and I shall give you every opportunity to
correct them and become a better soul, and someday we shall become
Through reincarnation, we are
given the opportunity to set straight that which may have gone wrong. We
are given the opportunity to come back to the Earth plane and
"relive" some of our experiences, to see if we can react less to
the thrill of the moment and respond more to the prompting of the spirit.
Through reincarnation, we are given the opportunity to come back with
another soul, or group of souls, to make good that which may be bad, or to
make even better that which is already good. Through reincarnation, we are
given the opportunity to become all that we are capable of becoming, rather
than remain where we are. Reincarnation, as it manifests within the great
Law of Karma, is perhaps the greatest demonstration of God's love for and
faith in us.
Mastering the Lower Nature: The process of spiritual evolution
involves mastering the lower personality, that the higher aspects of the
soul and spirit may be free to express themselves. In order for us to
master the lower nature, we must rise above the temptations of the flesh
and personality and work consciously with the inspirations of the spirit.
The personality is deeply embedded within the Earth plane. By this, we mean
that the Earth plane offers the greatest opportunity and potential for the
lower aspects to dominate the life of the individual. Where else are we
able to deal with the limitations of time and money? Where else is the
bodily form of such importance? Where else is the sexual appetite so
powerful? The Earth plane, with all its limitations, is truly one of the
most expansive realms of life. Now, that may seem like a paradoxical statement,
but life is so full of paradoxes. Consider for a few moments: where else in
Creation are we allowed to become fully engrossed within such dense matter
while dealing with our spiritual quest and journey?
So you see, the Earth plane is
truly a grand place; a place where we can, for all practical purposes, have
the best of both worlds: spiritual and material. It is also a realm full of
paradox. We use the material in order to appreciate its non-reality, that
we might then begin to sense and work with the reality of the spirit. To
consider that this can be done in the span of a few short years is foolish,
to say the least.
Through the process of
reincarnation, we are able to deal with the whole of the earthly experience
and reach a point where we no longer need these experiences. It is at that
point that we can say to ourselves: "I no longer need to come back to
earthly form." But even here, evolution does not cease; we merely move
onward to other cycles and realms of life.
God in the Midst of Evil: A question which will challenge one's
faith perhaps more than anything else is: how can there be such evil and
suffering in a world which is supposed to be governed by an all-loving and
all-forgiving God? An understanding of reincarnation and karma sheds great
light upon this perplexing question and offers hope where there seems to be
little hope. Through an understanding of karma and reincarnation, we can
see that it is because there is such a loving and forgiving God that evil
and suffering do appear upon our planet. God could very easily intervene
and wipe away all pain, all suffering, and all form of negativity from our
lives. But in so doing, He would rob us of our greatest gift: the gift of
choice. We would, then, most assuredly be nothing more than puppets on a
string, manipulated by God.
But God is a loving God; He
allows each of us to become the master of our own destiny. We are given the
freedom of choice: the choice either to live by divine law, or in
opposition to it. Choice is very important to us. Men and women have
suffered and died, in order to defend that inherent right -- or gift -- of
the spirit. In this, however, we shall reap the fruits of our labors and
our choices. This is the Law of Karma.
If we plant bad seeds, the
harvest will be bad. If we plant good seeds, the harvest will be good. If
we plant good seeds, but do not tend to them, they will sprout and die
shortly thereafter. If we plant bad seeds, and then recognize that we have
done so, we can dig up our garden and plant good seeds. So, we have ample
opportunity to manifest good as well as evil.
Karma explains why there is
evil in the midst of a loving creation. Reincarnation offers us a means of
transforming that evil into good.
For clarification on the
difference between Spirit and Soul, you may wish to read an article on the Spirit-Soul-Body trinity.
Part Two of this series: The Great Conflict.
Further information on this
and other related subjects on the Journey of Your
Soul and Spirit is available.
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