For most of my life, reincarnation was something weird which certain religions and New Agers believed. It was a no-no to the church where I belonged. Then something happened which made me wonder if reincarnation might be true, and I began seriously looking into it. Talking to a lot of people, having read easily some twenty books on the subject, a series of regressions (meditative state to retrieve past life memories), and I still don't know what I believe. Maybe I won't know, as some say they do, until I pass over-- which hopefully won't be immediately; so there is still time to figure it out.
Some of what reincarnation would mean depends on how it works; and there are more than a few possibilities each believed strongly by different groups.
Some questions that come quickly to mind: Would reincarnation be a blessing or a curse? Is it a chance to get things right when you hadn't before, or is it an endless cycle of repeating mistakes? Does it let you put off doing something today because you think you can fix it next time except you just repeat the pattern? Given the mess the current citizens have been making of the world, why would we want to come back (if it's a choice)? Actually, if the population takes the hits some believe are coming, there may be a lot less human life possible on this earth for awhile.
Of those who teach about reincarnation, most say we reincarnate in soul groups but opinions vary on how that works. As best I understand it, the Buddhist thinking is that we reincarnate in cultural groups; and pieces of our experiences, as well as others, could be used in any future human being in that group. To some, there is an oversoul, for wont of a better word, overseeing possibly even several humans lives at one time. Some who have done regressions have connected with those 'other' lives.
Some see this all as a more lineal reincarnating where the individual soul lives lifetime after lifetime as it grows in understanding and depth. This could leave that soul accountable at a last judgment and also would fit with Christian doctrine-- even though traditional Christianity denies the doctrine of reincarnation.
However, if there is a next time and if karma is true, then what I have done won't end here. I won't be able to escape the consequences of my wrong doing by dying or by a few words asking for forgiveness. I will take what I am, good and bad, with me to try again. Worrying about goofing up can't lead me to doing nothing and playing it safe, as in not living fully, could be as much a failure as plunging in, taking the chance, and failing.
In my next blog, Iberia, I will describe one of my regression experiences, part of a series I did eight summers ago; so those who are interested in such can see how the process can work. Although the regressions happened so long ago, the thoughts about them recently have crystalized and helped me see more of the meaning to the stories. The images from those meditative sessions are still strong in my memory.
Some would say regressions are our subconscious giving us story problems to illustrate what we are doing this time. But whatever it is, there is no reason to do them unless we use the experiences to gain understanding into ourselves and our motivations for how we are living today.
(If you happen to be one of those who knows for sure, one way or the other, any experiences you have had would be great to hear in comments. If your story seems too long for there, email it to me, and I will see if it could fit into one of my blogs to share with others.)