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Sunday, April 04, 2010

The question of reincarnation

Easter is about resurrection. If one is a Christian, it's about the body rising from the grave and being reformed to perfection as it goes up to heaven. Resurrection is not a small part of many religions. If there wasn't a body, how would a Muslim be rewarded by 70 virgins? Even before Christ there were stories of bodily resurrections.

Reincarnation, although a definite no-no to most Christian dogma, is not really ruled out by the Bible. There are several places where scriptures could leave open the question. It doesn't fit the resurrection concept though as resurrection is a reward and most would say reincarnation is a kind of eternal punishment until you get it right. As in you keep coming back until you figure it out in something called enlightenment.

When I was a child, I thought I had a memory of being a man in a hotel room with other men when I keeled over and died. The men were all dressed in suits or shirt sleeves and exactly how the person in the memory died, I didn't know. Heart attack? Shot? Later I decided that memory came from watching a movie with my parents. We went to a lot of them and it might well be where it came from.

I didn't give the idea of reincarnation much thought until I was much much older. In those intervening years, what I had decided was, based mostly on religion, it wasn't true. Then I met some people who had past life memories, who believed in reincarnation, who considered it a fact, not a theory. Something else happened which led me to want to know more. I read a lot of books which led to a summer of my own regressions using recorded meditations designed to take one back into a past life. I finished out that summer with going to a hypnotherapist to try and see what that would give me.

After those stories (seven of them) and some experiences in my life, I still am not sure what I think about reincarnation. My stories did fit together and they fit my life issues today which might mean my mind was using those stories allegorically to teach me some things I needed for today.

Anyway without any definite feeling about what is true, I am always interested in experiences from others. Two of my grandchildren talked of their past life when they were quite small but later forgot the memories. No, they were not coaxed by their parents who hadn't expected them to talk about that kind of thing. For me reincarnation is one of those questions marks but something I still explore once in awhile.


Is something like that a fraud? If it's not, is it tapping into energy memories out there? Is it familial and carried in our DNA? Or did we really live before and will again? If we do, what difference should it make (if any) to this lifetime?
The digital painting relates to a possible past life of my own in Iberia (Spain today) likely during the time it would have been inhabited by Moors, Christians, and Jews. I got the story about it from one of those summer regressions; then some indeterminate time later, I was taking a belly dancing class and had a very weird, deja vu experience where as I danced past, I saw the image of a bearded man, sitting on the floor like I later painted him with that big smile on his face as he watched me dance. It didn't repeat and didn't last. I cannot explain it and won't even try.

16 comments:

donna said...

I think if it's useful to you, it's worth thinking about. I don't think I "believe" in it, any more than I "believe" in life after death or anything else. It's just a useful concept. I've never had any past memories pop up, but I have imagined some beings around me as reincarnations of people I knew who had died. I also often feel strong ties on meeting people I've never known before, as if I had known them somewhere else. But that's about it.

Parapluie said...

I love the painting.
I don't know about reincarnation. Maybe.

Kay Dennison said...

Wow!!!! I've thought of having one of those but I wonder if I could handle it. On some level it frightens me.

I definitely think my daughter should have one. She is definitely an 'old soul' and raising her taught me that there was such a thing.

I think there's a lot out there that we don't know about who we are and where we came from.

Rain said...

I am interested in considering things that might apply to my current life more than anything else BUT if reincarnation is true, then we don't leave behind problems or even problem people without learning to deal with them. I think it would give one more motivation for dealing with that troublesome friend/relative than if we thought we could just die and leave them behind. That's my main interest in it because if it's true then what I do now would impact next lifetime either positively or negatively. There is no way to know it's true though-- that I know of although sometimes people have experiences that really do make you wonder like that link I included here.

Reincarnation though is not a reward but more saying it takes more than one lifetime to 'get it'. My brother always says that those of us here are those who didn't 'get it' yet anyway.

To me the idea of coming back is not particularly comforting. I have no desire to go back through say childhood but whatever is true about life is what is. The difficult part is figuring out what that is.

Brian said...

Wonderfully sensuous painting. I'd also have a big smile on my face if such an attractive belly dancer shimmied by me. If reincarnation is indeed real, I can only hope that such is in the cards for a future life.

Alan G said...

I think perhaps most people who think about reincarnation always do so as you do, with the assumption that you have possession of the knowledge of your prior life(s). Although I don’t really “believe” in reincarnation, I certainly don’t posses convincing knowledge to the contrary about its’ possibility. But, having said that I have to admit I have certainly given the subject its dues when wandering through the hallways of my mind.

I have always had my own special perception as to how reincarnation must work. Pretty simple actually….

Our consciousness, or soul if you will, never dies but simply moves from one body to the next. So when I die, in that very instant another body will be born and my consciousness will be immediately manifested in that new body. There I will live out my days until that body dies and then I move on. Each life will be solely independent of the other with regard to foreknowledge. In this life I may be a pauper and in the next, a King. So you may then ask, well if you are born as a King and don’t have foreknowledge that you were a pauper in your previous life, how can you enjoy the sweetness of your new fortune? And therein lies the irony of it all. You don’t!

So then I asked myself, so if that is your theory then what is the purpose or benefit from reincarnation? And in that question itself, for me seems to lay the answer. For human beings to believe in something, regardless of its plausibility, they must also deduce that there is some beneficial aspect of it for them. There has to be something intriguing and titillating about it, if not directly beneficial.

It seems that the human condition is always surmising that there has to be something better than the life they have been dealt.

As always Rain, enjoyed the post!

mandt said...

If re-incarnation is the ultimate in recycling I'll go there. But, the thought of being reborn again is sooooo distasteful! Once again, excellent and thoughtful post Rain. peace,,MandT

Dick said...

I don't think that I believe in reincarnation and have some doubts about any form of life after death. But I guess we won't know until we die and then, if there is nothing after death, we still won't know. But we also won't care.

Darlene said...

I've already made my view on reincarnation known in a previous post and I don't think I will go there again.

Rain said...

Did any of you read the link and the story about the boy? What did you think about it? Fraud? Real? The link is why I wanted to write about this again-- that and because it's Easter which is about resurrection.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have a lot of questions about Reincarnation, myself, and have come to no conclsions whatsoever...!
It sure is interesting to contemplate though, isn't it?

Annotated Margins said...

What I think is: thoughts are frequencies, like radio waves. I am just a radio, and when I am still I can catch a wave... a Pony Express rider dying by a campfire, a scared kid charging from a WWI trench, a small town car mechanic from the 40’s... .

Paul said...

I believe in reincarnation and I consider myself to be a Christian. To say I don't believe in it would be a lie.

Darlene said...

Yes, I clicked on the link and read the story of James. It is eerie. I know that there are things that can't be explained rationally.

I wish I could believe in reincarnation, but I still get back to my daughter's question, "If we are recycled, where did all those extra people come from?"

Rain said...

Even if you believe in reincarnation, it doesn't end the questions. There are supposedly old and new souls and then those who have completed their cycles and don't come back but then what happens? I come back to life is a mystery whatever the truth of life beyond physical death might be. I put myself on the don't know side but have had some experiences that make me feel reincarnation would explain more easily than anything else.

wally said...

It seems to me that religious and spiritual beliefs evolve over time. Reincarnation is part of Hindu and Bhuddist teachings. The soul never dies but continues to come back in a different body in order to, at some time in the future, be released from the suffering of anger, hatred, lust, etc. The final stage acheived is Nirvana, a bodyless state. In modern times reincarnation seems to be part of the New Age movement and even some Christian groups embrace it. I'm not a bible scholar but in my reading of the old testament the place where people go when they die is Sheol. There doesn't seem to be a promise of eternal suffering for the wicked or heaven for the righteous. Then in the new testament we have heaven and hades. I think the idea of hell or hades was borrowed from Greek mythology. When Jesus was preaching in Jerusalem there was a Jewish sect called the Sadducees that did not believe in a resurection and gave him a hard time about it. So as the centuries roll past religions seem to accumulate doctrines they pick up from being influenced by other cultures.