As most of us know, there are some people who believe that there is life after death; heaven and hell, or reincarnation, and there are others that believe that when you die that’s it, you are no more, you as an entity has ceased to exist. Those that believe that there is nothing after death say show us the concrete evidence. O.K as yet there is no concrete Scientifically publishable evidence, however, then I ask myself, if I were to believe that there is nothing after death, I cease to exist why then would I feel any fear of death? Yes, I do not want to die a horrible death, but why should I fear death itself? If I would cease to exist then I would simply feel nothing, be aware of nothing, feel no regrets, no pain, nothing. Then why should I fear death?
Those that adamantly say there is no consciousness after death then should not fear death, surely? But most do? Do they fear nothing then?
Heaven and hell? Quite frankly the concept of heaven always sounded really boring to me, and hell, well what could be worse than the cruelty of man against man? If there is a hell, then surely it is right here. We punish ourselves much more than any loving God would.
Reincarnation? When I first heard about the concept of reincarnation, it made sense to my logical reasoning mind from the point of view that it help to explain the senseless aspects of life. Let’s face it, from a reasoning perspective life is not fair, and it is way too short to even nearly reach our full potential. Just when most people have finally figured out, what are the rules of life, they must prepare to die. It just makes no sense to me. What exactly is does the concept of reincarnation entail? Most people will immediately say “Karma; You reap as you sow.” But at the same time they will also think of an individual entity reaping the Karma of their own past actions, however that particular concept of reincarnation is a New Age Western concept.
“ … according to the Eastern concept of reincarnation there cannot be any personal element that could wander from one life to the next. However, its modern version is substantially different from what Eastern religions stated. Far from being a torment out of which man has to escape by any price through abolishing personhood, New Age thinking considers reincarnation as an eternal progression of the soul toward higher levels of spiritual existence. Influenced by the Christian cultural context but totally opposing Eastern classic ideology, many consider today that the entity that reincarnates is our soul, which preserves the attributes of personhood from one life to another. This compromise obviously emerged from the desire to adopt the reincarnation doctrine to Western thought. The concept of an impersonal atman reincarnating was too abstract to be easily accepted, so Westerners needed a milder version of this doctrine. Although this tendency proves the soul’s yearning for a personal destiny, it doesn’t bear too much resemblance to classical Eastern spirituality, which rejects it as totally perverted.” Ernest Valea
Other concepts of reincarnation also exist, for example;
“In the Dahomeyan conception, one of the components, the djoto, comes from an ancestor after his ‘canonization’ as tutelary vodoun. That soul is reincarnated in his family or clan, but this is not a reincarnation like that of Hindu wheel of life or samsara. It is not a rebirth in a newborn or other creature. It is a superposition or composite state with another existing person, a member of the family or clan. It is the shadow component of the ancestor, that invisible force field that enters into modulation with the body ‘double’ of the individual chosen to be the heirs of that spirit. It should be seen as a spiritual power reclaimed by the family.”
That particular concept is especially interesting for me from a genetic point of view.
Then there is the reincarnation concept of an over-soul as such, which sees each of us as a splinter soul experiencing a dominant personality type, which leads to specific experiences that another personality could not have. The experiences each personality has feeds back to the over-soul, and becomes part of the universal consciousness. This particular concept of reincarnation immediately brings to mind Jung’s concept “ collective unconsciousness.”
Religious concepts and scientific concepts for that matter all grow out of an existing paradigm, which in turn evolved out of a previous paradigm. My own concept of reincarnation and life after death, have equally evolved as my personal paradigms evolved.
I was about 5 or 6 years old when I was suddenly struck by the idea that I could be born into another body, in much worse circumstances. At that age I had no idea of the concept of reincarnation, having been raised in a strictly Christian environment. I also became aware of memories that did not come from my experience in my present body. I was suddenly seized by a feeling of panic, I did not want to be born again. But then my thoughts turned to Christ on the cross, and I thought I understood what redemption means; it means that if you embraced Jesus then you don’t have to be reborn again. So I really tried to be a good Christian. ( I described that part of my journey in “For fear of Snakes” ) Christianity, however did not satisfy my spiritual hunger and left me with unanswered questions that the ministers just answered with:”God moves in mysterious ways.”
I first heard about Yoga and meditation when I was about 13, which revealed to me that there exist different concepts of life and death than what I was taught through Christianity. At about the same time I discovered discovered Edgar Cayce, and was introduced to the New Age concept of reincarnation.
Does my personal memories then serve as a personal proof to me as an individual that reincarnation exist? Are children’s memories of past lives, cases in which a subject began to speak a previously unknown foreign tongue (xenoglossy) proof? Is the fact that even when the conscious mind is skeptical about reincarnation, the unconscious mind will almost always produce a “past life story”, if stimulated in the right way, normally under deep hypnosis, proof? So I thought until I started further investigations into other concepts.
In most cases the recall of what appears to the subjects as one or more past lives requires some altered state of consciousness. According to Ervin Laszlo, past live experiences in young children are due to somewhat different physiological conditions that those experienced by adults.
“The neural networks of children are permanently in the alpha-state of the adult altered states of consciousness: until the age of five or six years, the beta waves of normal waking consciousness are not present in the brain. Immature brains are not always able to discriminate the signals that convey the experiences of a brief lifetime from sufficiently isomorphic signals that convey experiences of other persons. Thus children may become aware of images and impressions that are not traces of their own experiences, but traces of the experiences of people whose brain states happen to match theirs.”
Ervin Laszlo also provides an interesting Theory relating to what he calls “Transpersonal Recall” which includes telepathic communication between individuals, past life recollections, natural healing, and simultaneous insights among individuals, as well as between cultures.
“We interpret transpersonal memory as the expansion of ‘bandwidth’ of the brain’s psi-field receptivity. The psi-field concept is very close to Jung’s original concept of the ‘collective unconsciousness.’Archetypes according to Jung arise from a vast, limitless unconscious process shared by all humanity, emerging from accumulated experience of thousand of years of shared history. They are due to the gradual modification of genetic structure in individuals allowing personal experience to incorporate ever more elements of the collective unconscious.”
According to Laszlo the psi-field is a non-spatiotemporal field that is the encoder and transmitter of all events in spacetime, including the neural network dynamics that underlie cognitive processes in human brains. This of course also relate to Sheldrake’s “Morphogenic Fields” and to the classic “Akashic Records”.
So the ‘past-life’ memories that I have had may be someone else’s memories that I accessed when I was a child, or when I was in a an altered state of consciousness. These memories would particularly relate to a present psychological state that I had at the time. This I can find plausible for it was striking for me that the details of the memories were not as important as the emotions that I experienced. The emotions that I experienced in those memories related directly to present emotions I was experiencing. It is furthermore interesting that it has been found by Jungian and transpersonal psychotherapists who uses, “regression therapy”, that the images and events recalled by patients frequently relieves traumas and neurosis.
So in conclusion in regard to reincarnation; whether it is real, my imagination, or someone else’s memory, or an inherited memory, I would like to keep an open mind. What will it help me now if once upon a time I was a King, or a really bad person. Right now, I am what I am. Right now I am alive, and right now a myriad of possibilities are open to me. Right now I have the opportunity to let go of past hurts, and mistakes, mine or my ancestors’ , use what I have learned to decide what is I want from the future. What kind of life do I want to live, and build around me. What is important to me is the wonder of my mind.
“Consciousness, when seen in its purified essence, is One, undivided. It is the sustainer an creator of pattern, of energy, like the ocean supports the waves, and the waves are never separate from the ocean. But fundamentally and in essence, consciousness is formless and uncreated, a drop of the Supreme Being. … We can intuitively perceive the relevance in coming to grips with the fact that all sensory experience is subjective, incommunicable and in our own minds – that the apparently outward world is thus within our own mind structure. With the body as only an outer shell of the Formative Mind’s patterning process, we can understand the integral blueprinting mechanisms by which it is formed or patterned and how our whole existence is really psychosomatic – mind and body are part and parcel of the same process of Mind.” John Davidson – The Secret of the Creative Vacuum
One thing is clear to me and that is that we are all inter-connected, all of life is inter-connected and that whatever I do, does not just affect me, but also infinity. We each have an awesome responsibility, and although I might appear small and insignificant in the greater scheme of things, who knows how far the influence of my actions may stretch into the future. Even if I cease to exist in my present form, some part of me will always exist, waiting for the right moment like a seed, to germinate.
“ Both death and rebirth in the casual world are in thought. Casual-bodied beings feast only on the ambrosia of eternally new knowledge. They drink from the springs of peace, roam on the trackless soil of perceptions, swim in the ocean-endless of bliss. Lo! See their bright thought bodies zoom past trillions of Spirit-created planets, fresh bubbles of universes, wisdom-stars, spectral dreams of golden nebulae on the skyey bosom of Infinity…Behold the butterfly of Onipresence, its wings etched with stars and moons and suns! “
Autobiography of a Yogi” – Yogananda
Bridge of Glory – Nicholas Roerich