l’d have survived

reincarnation 5.

My apologies for dwelling on this subject, but I find it so important and fascinating.

Over the last several days, I have been indulging in a couple of my research passions: historical documentaries and reincarnation. Whether reviewing accounts of natural and man-made disasters, battles and wars, crimes and accidents, and other existential threats, I have found myself asking: “If I were there, would I have survived?”

The answer is “yes,” but not necessarily in the way you might think. My mortal self may have died in such an historical event, but my eternal self would have survived. I am sure of it.

According to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of Americans believe in reincarnation—so I am not alone in my conviction. Interestingly, says Pew, women are more likely to believe in reincarnation, and Democrats are more likely to believe than Republicans… but those facts are beside the point. Besides, I am none of the above.

This emerging belief in reincarnation is a steep departure from the traditional Judaeo-Christian-Muslim narrative with which most Americans are familiar. In religious terms, the contemporary narrative—birth, life, death and rebirth—has for millennia been relatively unchallenged in the West. You were born. You lived. You died. After a judgment you went to heaven or hell forever and ever. Eternity was the final word: no appeals allowed.

But nearly a billion Hindus and a half-billion Buddhists—not to mention the ancient Greeks, certain Jews and a few Christians—have for thousands of years believed something entirely different. Theirs is, as both theologians and scientists say, a cyclical view. You are born. You live. You die. And because nobody’s perfect, your soul is born again—not in another location or sphere, and not in any metaphorical sense, but right here on earth. This view makes sense to me because my own studies have led me to the conclusion that cycles order everything else in the Universe—so why not the human soul, as well?

A couple days ago, I listened to a speech delivered by Hugh Lynn Cayce, the son of mystic Edgar Cayce, on reincarnation. In that speech, Cayce asserted that time—past, present, and future—is an illusion, that everything is actually happening at once. Souls can reincarnate, he says, into the past as well as the future.

In a August 2010 New York Times article by Lisa Miller, the religion editor for Newsweek, the Cornell-trained New York City-based psychiatrist Dr. Paul DeBell is quoted as saying that a belief in reincarnation “allows you to experience history as yours. It gives you a different sense of what it means to be human.”

When I encounter people—or stories about people—who say they are disinterested in history because they do not perceive its relevance to their lives, I know I am seeing people who are extremely undeveloped in their souls’ journeys. On August 23, it was reported that ISIS had blown up the 1st-century temple of Baalshamin at Palmyra in Syria, and on August 30 they demolished the Temple of Bel with explosives. Satellite imagery of the site taken shortly after showed almost nothing remained.

These fanatics will be remembered by history—along with the Taliban who destroyed so many Buddhist sites—as some of the most primitive ideologues of all time. If reincarnation is indeed the way that human beings achieve higher states of consciousness, one can only surmise they will eventually experience the rudest of awakenings when, upon death, they are confronted with the depths of their ignorance and greed.


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1 Response to “l’d have survived”

  1. September 2, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Your today’s post made me remember a little Buddhist story I read, many years ago:

    In a temple, the Great Priest is ready to sacrifice a goat. At the time where it throws his knife to sacrifice the animal, the goat burst out laughing before starting to cry.
    – Why are you doing this, little goat?
    – I laugh because my life time cycle as goat ends today. And I weep for you because, 500 lives of goat ago, I was myself the priest sacrificing the goats.

    If reincarnation is what awaits us all, there is no doubt that our friends the Talibans will know 500 animal lives. I let you imagine which one.

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