Photo by johnkoetsierI might be breaking away from the crowd and from the common chatter of all things wordly but today I don’t care.

I feel like writing about one of my long-held spiritual beliefs. If you are a loyal reader of this blog but not in the vein of a deep and non-mundane subject then I humbly apologize! 😉

Put plainly and simply I believe in the reincarnation of souls or to use a Buddhist term – the trans-migration of souls.

This view diverges from the strong ultra-catholic setting of the country I was born in. Still, it is not that uncommon to meet people holding alternative beliefs to the simplistic view of eternal life and heaven and hell in this part of the world, let alone in the more secular parts of the west. More people are believing in reincarnation, or suspect that there is a good ounce of truth in it, even if this is not totally in line with their religous background.

For me it wasn’t a choice of fancy or randomness. I didn’t wake up one morning and said to myself that I would like to believe in reincarnation. It was basically an understanding that ‘clicked’ and maked sense.

To begin with, the notion that we have just one life followed by an eternal life, presumably a spiritual one (although the Christian doctrine never had a clear picture of this and a lot of lines are left blank) never made much sense to me. I was always more convinced of a dynamic and evolutionary stance on life and reincarnation answers that call.

The Spiritual Evolution

I see reincarnation as a necessary part in the evolution of spirit and consciousness. Successive incarnations lead to spiritual growth and evolution at some deeper level. Each lifetime gives us the opportunity to learn & experience, but most of all to step outside our limitations and create our destiny and improve on our past. In fact, I do not believe that we reincarnate into plants or lower animals but the other way round. The norm is an evolutionary path forward.

We all have this basic choice to make: either be stuck in stagnant waters and repetitive behavior or consciously break barriers and go forth and spiritually evolve. All of us have different paths to follow. The funny thing is that this is not apparent in the physical world. We have more or less the same biological inheritance – we all have bodies and subject to the same physical limitations. Yet we are all souls of different ages with different pasts.

Some are old and have lived many lives while others are much younger. Many others are still in their first incarnation. Did you ever notice or suspect a difference? Did you ever talk to someone and said to yourself: “This is an old soul!”. You see it in his or her attitude, perspective on life, wisdom and strength of spirit and heart.

On the other hand you meet people who are as shallow as a puddle and will remain so even if you plant them in the best social conditions possible.

Different Paths

This insight on reincarnation has opened the doors on many other questions in life. Older souls tend to see life with more depth and breadth and hence have more potential to be expansive and creative. Think about the great minds of Science and art. Genius composers, Scientists that changed the world through their discoveries, poets, writers, Philosophers, etc.

What made Einstein such a remarkable scientist and human being? Sure, you might say, it was his contribution to Science as in his General theory of relativity or his work in photo-electricity (to which he was awarded with a Nobel prize).

But his achievements are based on his out of ordinary potential to perceive and conceive life in an out of the ordinary ways. And this is not so because he owned a different brain. All brains are physically the same and work within the same parameters (with the exception of enhanced or impaired functioning). Einstein’s brain was not different at all.

Also, social upbringing can help or counter-help but does not determine human potential. How many remarkable men or women have achieved extraordinary feats but were raised in lots of hardships  and adversary conditions? even siblings are a proof of this. Brothers or sisters in the same household with the same upbringing can grow up to be very different in nature and capacity.

The Distinguishing Mark

So what is the distinguishing mark? My answer is this: The number of well-used incarnations.

The words ‘well used’ make another point: “Someone could have lived 90 times but wasted half of them while someone else could have lived 30 times but have made the very best of each and every one of them.

So this is the general distinguishing mark: Someone who is in his first incarnation or have lived just a couple of times is very different than someone who has lived say, 200. yet we can only perceive this difference through intuition because at the surface it cannot show. We appear to be equal but the age of our spirit is not.

In many ways your present life is determined by the quantity and quality of lives you have lived before and your next one by how you live this one.

So live well because you definitely don’t live once but have still many more to go!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Spirituality Minded

    It’s a very deep point you touch on and by all means I think you should never shy away from topics as meaningful as this 🙂

    Re-incarnation makes a lot sense when one transcends and experiences a non-changing self-state. You don’t practice TM by any chance do you?

  2. Archan Mehta

    Gilbert:

    No need for any apologies.

    I am a philosophically minded person, and was merely taking a religiously-neutral stand. Just to play the devil’s advocate. After all, that’s what philosopher’s do–in light of the truth, to steer oneself clear from the darkness.

    Could not agree with you more. On all points, you are quite correct.

    I was only concerned because it seems the world we live in is going to hell in a hand-basket.

    There are too many extremists/fundamentalists out there, who don’t think like you and I. And that’s a problem.

    People who rely solely on faith can sometimes refuse to see the light of reason. And that really concerns me.

  3. Gilbert Ross

    Hello Archan!

    Thanks you so much for your kind words. I apologize if I have hurt anyone’s feelings or misinterpreted religious history (which I am very capable of!). On hindsight I understand that I shouldn’t have used Buddhism as an example but kept it religiously neutral. I am just more acquainted with Buddhist concepts than Hinduism so please excuse my ignorance. I am sure that Hindu concepts on reincarnation precede those of any other philosophy.

    Yes as you said probably some of my views can be unpopular with some people who are fervent about other religious views but that is clearly not my problem but theirs. We have a choice to attach ourselves blindly and narrowly to a point of view and take offense each time someone expresses a different view… or else we can take life with a pinch of wisdom and leave our heart and mind free.

  4. Gilbert Ross

    Hi Char,

    Thanks for your very interesting comment! I fully understand your dislike with the concept of progression as you describe it. I must admit that the way I went about certain ideas can give the impression that I was expressing evolution and progress in that fashion. But I surely wasn’t.

    First and foremost let me be clear that I don’t think or believe that any organism or consciousness that is at a ‘more evolved’ stage than another means that it is superior or better off let alone be justified to subjugate others to its will. At most it has more responsibility but not more rights or cause over the other.

    A human has no special privilege over the other creatures or plant kingdom. We are all connected to the same web of life. If only modern man could have learned this from ancient cultures such as the Native Americans!

    I see evolution as the process by which a living system constantly self-organizes itself so as to fit better in its environment and handle information from it in more accurate ways in order to perpetuate itself and life in general. So I know you would agree with me that a living system that has evolved to adapt and interact with its environment in smarter ways has progressed relative to itself at a previous stage. As you said, it is better than it was but not necessarily better than others.

    Same with spiritual evolution. Older souls are not ‘better’ than younger ones. They are just older. They have the potential to see things deeper and wider because of their implicit ‘experience’. But younger souls still have the same potential to be that or better (depending on how they use their lives). We are fundamentally the same.

  5. Archan Mehta

    Gilbert:

    Great post, as usual. Thanks.

    You are a wise man to bring this up, but you need to look beyond Buddhism.

    Hinduism pre-dates Buddhism with regard to theories of re-incarnation. Kindly read up on it. It is worth your time.

    I also need a refresher course. As time passes, one tends to forget, it seems.

    However, your opinion is not likely to endear you to the majority of people if you live in the Christian West.

    You are not likely to be popular anytime soon, and there may be a lot of people out there “concerned” about your stand.

    You are brave to rock the boat. Cheers!

  6. I guess I have always thought of reincarnation as something that occurs within one lifetime. Like passing through each house of the zodiac. Progression of my Self.

    The idea of “progressing” from plant to animal to person etc implies to me that one is higher than the other~like a staircase~ which is how colonists justified subjugation of “natives” and capitalists today justify neglect of the environment.

    I prefer Darwin’s definition of evolution~ variation not progression.

    I really liked your non-mundane post too btw ~:-)

Leave a Reply