I've often wondered if Death would be a journey
which I have taken many times before
but of which, my memory, is faint and flimsy
though very much alive in the depths of immortality.
Rohit Lata Lal
Reincarnation - F.A.Q.
by Richard Holmes
Common questions about reincarnation.
Is there any evidence at all suggesting reincarnation?
How can events or memories from a past life affect people in this life?
How do people claim to remember past lives?
Can past life regression be used for healing?
Common questions people have with the concept of reincarnation
Questions about how reincarnation might work
Is there any evidence at all suggesting reincarnation?
There are so many documented cases of past life memories that it would be impractical to list them all. Below is a selection of cases which are impossible to explain with current knowledge.
Also, do read the many fascinating past life memories which have been submitted to the excellent Past Life Memory Bank which holds many people's past life memories - including amongst other things:
- Holocaust past life memories
- World War II past life memories
- Titanic past life memories
- Animal past life memories
Glenn Ford - mysterious language abilities
There are now many recorded cases where under hypnosis a subject has not only recounted details from what appears to be a previous life, but also spoken a foreign language of which they claimed to have little or no previous knowledge.
A notable case of this is the famous Hollywood actor Glenn Ford. Under hypnosis, he recalled five previous lives - one in particular as a French cavalryman under Louis XIV. The astonishing part was that though Ford said he knew only a few basic phrases in French, under hypnosis he spoke French with ease while describing this life. And when recordings of his regression were sent to UCLA (University of California), they discovered that not only was Ford speaking fluent French, he was in fact speaking the Parisian dialect from the 17th century.
Jenny Cockell - did she find her children from a past life?
Jenny Cockell had always been haunted by dream-like memories of a previous life she had lived as a young Irish woman named Mary Sutton - who died over two decades before Cockell was born, leaving eight children. After many years researching the clues given in her memories, she finally tracked down Mary Sutton's children and wrote a book about the experience, Across Time and Death: A Mother's Search for Her Past Life Children. Comment by reincarnation expert Rabbi Yonassan Gershom: "This is one of the most convincing reincarnation cases I've come across in a long time. Jenny Cockell not only had memories of a past life, she actually found her children -- now all grown up -- from that life. This story was featured on a number of U.S. TV programs when the book first came out, featuring both Jenny and the children from that life. Her still-living children, being devout Roman Catholics, do not believe in reincarnation per se, but went on record as saying that somehow, their mother "speaks through" Jenny, and they verified details of her memories. I met Jenny Cockell at a conference in Oslo, Norway, in 1994 and found her to be totally sincere and quite credible. I highly recommend this book!"
Jane Evans - unexplained knowledge of 12th century Jewish history
Jane Evans, a Welsh housewife, agreed to be filmed for BBC television being regressed back to a past life by Arnell Bloxham, president of the British Society of Hypnotherapists and a respected practitioner. She had originally consulted him about rheumatism and under hypnosis, revealed seven past lives including one life - where the regression was televised - where she identified herself as a Jewish woman living in the city of York in 12th century England.
She described many details of Jewish life at the time and how she and the local Jews were forced to wear badges to identify themselves. She also spoke of a terrible massacre of the Jewish population by the local townspeople. During this event, she recalled taking shelter with her children in the crypt of a local church, but they were discovered by the mob and that is where she died.
Professor Barrie Dobson, an expert on Jewish history at York University, was called in to check the information from her memories. He found that her description of 12th century Jewish life was impressive with its accuracy and in fact he was convinced that some of the details would have only been known to professional historians. However it also seemed that some details appeared to be quite incorrect. Firstly, it was not until the 13th century (1215 to be precise) that the Church authorities in Rome decreed that Jews in Christian countries were to wear special identification. Secondly, from her description, the church had to have been St. Mary's Castlegate, but it did not have a crypt.
However further investigation revealed that the practice of making Jews wear identification was already widespread in England during the 12th century before the church decree. Then astonishingly several months later, during renovation of the church a sealed chamber was discovered below the floor which appeared to have been a crypt - a very rare phenomenon indeed for churches in the area.
So not only did her regression bring forth obscure details which were historically accurate, it also yielded historical information which should not have been available at that time.
Children's Past Life Memories
The area of children's past lives is quite remarkable - especially in western countries, where children have seldom been exposed to the concept of reincarnation. Often such memories can fade as some grow up, while others will be able to recall past incarnations all their life.
Thousands of cases have been documented by various researchers from around the world and some children are recorded as having described and their past life residence and recognized family members by name - even when these families live in a different district - and even successfully passed tests set by the identified family. What is remarkable here is that in most cases the children appear to have no incentive, financial or otherwise, to make such claims.
Dr Ian Stevenson, Director of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia, has devoted the last forty years to the scientific documentation of past life memories (without hypnosis) of children from all over the world - and has over 3,000 cases in his files.
The Children's Past Lives web site - cases, stories, research, and discussions describe how young children spontaneously remember their past lives.
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How can events or memories from a past life affect people in this life?
There are a number of ways in which people claim that the events from a past life are somehow affecting them in this life.
Often the first hint about a past life people have is an inexplicable interest in a particular country, language, time period, historical event, etc. And often when presented with photographs or movie footage which related to their past life, they might feel an emotional rush and even identify themselves somehow with what they are seeing.
For example, an English TV documentary showed a American who had become so fascinated with the American Civil War that he had turned his house into a Civil War museum. Not surprisingly, under hypnosis he remembered being a soldier in the Civil War. This can be viewed by the skeptic as wishful thinking, but conversely it follows that a Civil War veteran would always have a fascination for that period - probably even into their next incarnation.
And an example of these obsessions with history which often seem irrational to the outsider are the current proliferation of military re-enactment groups all over the world, covering formations as diverse as medieval knights through to soldiers of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS.
Recurring dreams or nightmares
Recurring dreams or nightmares are a common way people claim to be able to view their past lives. This can vary between vague dreams of an unpleasant nature with a recurring theme all the way through to vivid dreams where other participants can be clearly recognized. Good examples of such dreams can be found at the Shoah Dream Project.
Seemingly irrational fears or phobias
Some people have seemingly irrational fears from a young age for such things drowning, aircraft crashing, loud noises, etc. Often when trying to work through this problem under hypnosis, the person will state that the cause of their phobia is an event from a time when they were someone else - and often the event is the cause of their death in that life.
Unexplained or chronic physical afflictions
Another problem that can occur is when people have a chronic health problem for which there seems to be no evident reason. Here again, when working through this problem under hypnosis, sometimes people will state that the origin of their problem is a traumatic event from a past life. And surprisingly once this discovery is made, the person's problem often - almost miraculously - goes away of its own accord.
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How do people claim to remember past lives?
People can be presented with what appear to be past life memories in a variety of different ways.
Especially with small children, memories simple appear to surface from nowhere. Some describe the process as being like a "waking dream". Images and scenes may come to mind and the subject may often find themself as a participant in the memory, though often they report feeling somehow different in the memory from their current self. Although it might seem like a daydream, the subject is often surprised by the unexpected nature of the experience and it can also be very intense.
The memory is experienced in the same way "waking dream" fashion as with spontaneous recall, but it is triggered by an event of some kind. This event may be anything which appears to remind the subject of a key part of the memory - for example a particular smell, the sight of an object, a noise, hearing a particular word or phrase, a taste or being in a particular physical setting.
Sometimes people have recurring dreams which do not seem at all to be the usual surreal type of dreams, but which have recurring scenes which seem strangely real. The vividness can vary from a dream which is thought-provoking to one which leaves the subject in a cold sweat or in tears.
Hypnosis has been used for decades as a tool for trying to discover past life memories. Even though it has been studied for at least 150 years, little is understood about the actual process by which humans can be hypnotized. The effect of hypnosis is to put the subject into a trance state where they essentially put themselves under the practitioner's instruction. The main advantage with this method for gleaning distant memories is that the subject's mind can be focused extremely sharply under trance, to the extent that the mind can be made oblivious to sensations of pain in the body.
Hypnosis is used for many different reasons, e.g. by police investigators trying to glean extra pieces of information from witnesses or by people trying to rid themselves of smoking habits or eating disorders. Occasionally it has also been used effectively in the place of surgical anaesthesia.
Unfortunately as with many things, the results vary greatly from person to person, with some people being very difficult to put under hypnosis while others can be put into very deep trances indeed. With respect to past life regressions, here too results vary greatly. Some people can have session after session without getting any significant results, while others can unleash a torrent of information the first time they go under.
Naturally one important prerequisite is having an experienced practitioner who can guide the session responsibly and try to ensure the subject answers all questions as honestly as possible.
IARRT Directory of Professional Members - an international index of members of the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies.
Profound meditation is said to be able to give some subjects spontaneous memories which appear to be from past lives. Once profound meditative states can be achieved, the effect is similar to being under hypnosis, except that there is no strong external influence over the subject. The difficulty of this approach is that is can take years of intense meditation in order to perfect a particularly deep trance and even then there are no guarantees. Having said this, people who experience past life flashbacks or fleeting memories often appear to have a head start in this area, and can obtain results fairly quickly if they persevere.
It is worth noting that for thousands of years it has been the single most common method used by people of all religions or philosophies in order to gain mystical insights.
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Can past life regression be used for healing?
Healing via hypnotherapy
Sometimes, people who cannot find the source of a chronic physical or psychological problem seek relief via hypnotherapy. Many Hypnotherapists who have been in practice for a number of years can attest to the fact that when people are hypnotized and are asked what the source of their problem is, they are sometimes confronted with details from what appears to be a past life. Many times, the patient will describe an incident which occurred in this apparent past life where and injury occurred or a illness set in - which relates closely to the current problem. Most interestingly of all, the problem will often clear up shortly after this session. And this pattern occurs irrespective of whether the Hypnotherapist believes in reincarnation or not.
A good example of this can be found at Past Life Regression Therapist Ann C. Barham's web page where she relates how she originally discovered past life healing in a very personal way.
References and further reading:
Past Life Therapy and Past Life Healing - an article describing various types of past life healing available.
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Common questions people have with the concept of reincarnation
If people have lived previous lives, wouldn't they remember them?
When a child is in its your mother's womb, or is a one-year-old, it is not in a fit state to remember anything long term - so whether we like it or not, it actually makes sense that most adults can't remember anything from before a very young age, let alone from before this life.
Having said that, there have always been some people who have claimed to remember past lives. Many are children, who may lose such memories before they reach adulthood, while others get spontaneous glimpses into their past because a specific event triggers the memory. Such memories are as mysterious as any other unexplained (or psychic) abilities. Unfortunately such people often keep these memories to themselves - for fear of ridicule. If people are open to the idea, and approach the subject with people in an appropriate way, it can be surprising how many people you do meet who have experienced some kind of past life memory. There are also plenty of books on the subject and some very compelling cases indeed.
Regression therapy is yet another tool to delve into the deepest recesses of our memories and many sceptical hypnotherapists have conceded in the face of mounting evidence.
Why do so many people into reincarnation seem to remember being someone famous?
Statistically, this is simply not the case. Many researchers have logged thousands of cases of reported past life memories and most of them describe being fairly ordinary types of people - mothers, soldiers, etc. Many past life experiences have been submitted to this web site and the vast majority describe past life scenes of very ordinary people. See past life memories submitted to this site.
So where does this misconception come from? Possibly because the thousands of mundane past life memories are seldom worthy of note, while much attention is often given to the memories of being someone significant.
Having said that, there are definitely some people who claim to have been a famous person in a past life, but because past life memories can be so sketchy and history can often be so poorly and often inaccurately recorded insofar as the private lives of such people go, many cases appear inconclusive to the outsider.
If there's only a fixed number of souls, how has the world population increased?
This is often heard from people who don't believe in reincarnation. First, if people don't believe in reincarnation, why would they believe in a limited number of souls? And one has to ask such people why they really expect that there is a limit to life within in the universe. However having said that, it is interesting to note that as man's population has increased, the animal kingdom has gradually been decimated - and that is where some mystics say human souls gradually evolve upwards from. (Note the most plentiful forms of life on the planet are insects, and think of the amount of forest humankind has destroyed since the dawn of civilization.) Also of note, highly advanced Yogis state that life exists on many other places in the unlimited expanse of the universe, in which case the planet Earth would be only one of many places for souls to inhabit.
So after we die, there's no eternal heaven?
Why not? Modern mystics describe a very pleasant area of the spirit (or "astral") realms where souls can seemingly relax for as long as they like. And supposedly some people stay there for hundreds of years. However for most of us, we easily become bored if we're not doing new things and accepting new challenges, so presumably that may be the impetus for a lot of us to soon move on and then the cycle starts over again.
Isn't reincarnation heresy if you're a Christian?
For a Catholic, yes it is as the notion of pre-existence of the soul has been anathematised by the Vatican. However at one time it was also heresy to believe that the earth wasn't the centre of the universe and Galileo was put under house arrest until his death in 1642 because of his heretical views - views which have since been accepted worldwide.
What it comes down to is that the Christian Church is comprised of humans and, like all things human, is most certainly fallible. It has changed its mind many times on various matters over the course of history and no doubt will do so in the future. It often requires extraordinary humans to go against the status quo in pursuit of what they perceive to be the truth.
Won't I have to stop being a Christian if I believe in reincarnation?
Not at all. Religion is a personal thing and so is belief. No two theologians ever have exactly the same views on everything! Jesus didn't preach against reincarnation - in fact many believe that some of his statements actively endorsed the concept, especially when he said that John the Baptist was in fact Elijah.
Isn't it the devil's doctrine?
Well, for people who believe the devil exists, what would the devil conceivably have to gain from people believing in reincarnation? It doesn't give people a reason to run amok, or to stop being nice to each other. In fact, if people accept the concept of karma which is inextricably linked with reincarnation in most philosophies and religions, there is a definite incentive to do as many good deeds - and as little harm - as possible.
Conversely, reincarnation is taught by the majority of the most holy and ancient religions in the world - which also espouse the same peaceful values and virtues as does, say, Christianity.
How many people believe in reincarnation?
Statistics world-wide are difficult to obtain, but in the US the Gallup Organization made a survey in October 2001 of Americans' belief in psychic and paranormal phenomena. For this survey, they asked adults 18 and over amongst other things if they believed in "Reincarnation, that is, the rebirth of the soul in a new body after death". In the results, 25% said they did believe in reincarnation, 20% didn't know, 54% didn't believe in it and 1% had no opinion. Belief was only slightly higher among males than females, while it varied significantly between age groups: belief amongst 28-29 year-olds was at 25%, 30-49 year-olds were at 22%, while people 50 and over were at 28%.
(Unfortunately the results and analysis are now only available at the Gallup website to paid subscribers.)
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Questions about how reincarnation might work
This section attempts to give answers to frequent questions about how reincarnation might work by referencing various reincarnational theories and schools of thought. While all could be said to be speculative - as there is no way for anyone but the greatest mystics to verify this - the ideas are still interesting and worthy of mention.
Are people supposed to look like their past life self?
There is a theory that many people physically should resemble their past life self. While this might seem at first to be impossible in terms of changing race or sex between incarnations, there are many human features which vary in fairly similar ways across all races and sexes. For example. a high or low forehead, fine or coarse features, thick or thin eyebrows, high cheekbones, etc.
While this would be unlikely to be an absolute rule, there are interesting cases people have put on the web such as the case of General John B. Gordon/Jeffrey Keene or Oswald Boelcke/Stacy.
Do people reincarnate as animals and vice-versa?
Judging from the details of large numbers of past life memories, it appears fairly unlikely that people reincarnate as animals or vice versa very often at all. If human souls did evolve from animal souls, it would seem that by far the majority of humans today had made this transition many, many lives ago. And as people who remember past lives seem to only remember human ones - even back to ancient times - it seems very likely that once a soul is in a human body, it will stay returning to human bodies as a general rule.
However there is definitely a small number of people who claim to have memories of being animals at some stage - see the animal past life memories section of the Past Life Memory Bank.
If people remember a past life as a foreigner, why can't they remember their past life language?
For an example, let's take the case of General George S. Patton who was fairly open about having what he strongly believed were past life memories. If Patton remembered his previous life as a Roman soldier, why wasn't his Latin better? First of all, in his poem "Through a Glass Darkly", he openly admits that he had only fleeting memories of his past lives. He remembers being a Roman soldier and some flashes from that lifetime but he didn't remembered the lifetime with any great general clarity. In fact, he even admits that he can't remember which battles he fought in many cases when he writes "I cannot name my battles, For the visions are not clear, Yet, I see the twisted faces / And I feel the rending spear." So he could recall some of the most memorable and often traumatic moments for himself as a human being, but most technical points - which can confuse many old soldiers - often eluded him. So I think perhaps we can forgive him for not being better at Latin.
Further to this - even when we ourselves think of a memory from decades ago, we find that words are often the first thing to be forgotten. We remember the gist of what was said, but how often can we remember the exact words used? It's mainly the strong emotions, the sights, the smells and tastes which are etched strongly on our memories. The names, places and dates and other facts however are many times hotly debated. So it seems to be with past life memories.
A good example of how memories can remain but language can be completely lost comes to mind. Many immigrants who spend decades out of their country often forget their mother tongue completely if they have nobody to share it with. A BBC documentary aired in the 1990s where a Ukrainian man - who had spent the 40 or more years after the war in England - finally returned to Russia to visit his home town again. He had relied completely on English over those 40 years, but assumed his native language would return to him once he returned home. In the end, he was sadly mistaken and needed the services of a translator at all times. He would still of course remember many, many incidents from his early life, but no longer the language which had been used.
So from there it doesn't seem surprising then that most people who have past life memories - which are usually extremely brief and vivid "flashes" triggered at different times in their life quite outside their control - do not have any residual ability in the language of their perceived past life culture.
However, under hypnosis this can be a much different matter. One famous example of someone who, when hypnotized, could speak a language to a level he had not achieved and with a dialect he could not have known, was of film actor Glenn Ford - who spoke 17th century French while regressed to a past life.
What factors decide where people are born in their next incarnation?
This is a common question for people to ask, and the answers can only be speculative at best. One common idea rules that a person in their next incarnation will be chained to the people they are most emotionally attached to - either by love (including friendship) or by hate. This would be a good incentive for people to never hate anyone, so that fate would hopefully not throw them together again. So a person may in some instances be reborn in a country where the people they are closest to have ended up. As to whether this is by their own choosing, who can say. Note that there is no reason to suppose that with such a theory, these emotional chains would not also work with favourite pets, physical locations, nations, etc. We can also look at various examples for ideas. In one case, a man who claims to have been a German soldier in the First World War remembered in that lifetime seeing a poster advertising emigration to Canada and thinking that this could be a nice idea. He now lives in Canada, thereby giving some credence to the idea that one's own wishes may determine the place of rebirth.
How long are people supposed to spend between incarnations?
Looking at what people who remember a past life have to say, this would seem to be very variable. Some people seem to come back well within a year while others seem to take many years or even possibly decades to return. One reason for this in conventional mystical thinking is that a person who has passed on might want to spend many years as a "guide" or "guardian angel" for someone - perhaps a loved one. Also some lives are said to be so traumatic that a person's spirit might take a while to recuperate from it. Or the person might want to spend time with other loved ones in the astral realms before returning. Again it is speculative here, but it seems a little unlikely from what is reported that everybody would reincarnate immediately as some cultures suppose - or conversely take 1000 years between incarnations, as some mystical fraternaties once stated.
Why can't everyone remember their past lives?
If everyone could remember their past lives then there would be some serious problems. For example, if a person were murdered, they might go looking for revenge on their killer - or worse still, as everyone else would remember them from their past lives, they might find themselves being held to account for all their previous crimes/debts/etc. As well as this, people would be tormented by every unpleasant memory they had from countless previous lives. Forgetfulness even within a lifetime is very important therapeutically as it allows us to let go of the many painful situations which occur. As the saying goes: "Time heals all wounds". Forgetfulness between lives would allow us to start afresh as it were, without too much emotional baggage hanging over from the last visit. However with spiritual advancement would come the possibility of regaining access to those past lives, creating the challenge to deal with and understand the soul's path up to that point.
Does everyone just keep reincarnating forever?
If Paramanhansa Yoganada's book is to be taken at face value, then not at all. His guru's guru, Lahiri Mahasaya, was said to have finally broken out of the cycle of rebirth by breaking free of the bonds of karma. Perhaps this level of spiritual achievement is not even necessary to break the cycle for some, and possibly desire to exist somewhere else is simply enough. Of note, most religions which contain reincarnation usually see it as a limited cycle which doesn't go on forever - perhaps ending when the soul has lived all the necessary experiences.
Why does nobody I know seem to have past life memories?
It may seem odd that reincarnation is talked about and is a more commonly held idea than many people might think, but most people never hear first hand about anyone's insights into their past lives. While having a past life memory appears statistically not to happen to the majority of people, there are many people who do have such experiences. However these experiences are often seen as being intensely personal and too easily a cause for embarrassment or mockery from people who don't believe in such things. Hence the vast majority of people who have past life memories do not tend to share them with friends or coworkers. Having said that, once the subject crops up in conversation in an informal atmosphere it can be surprising what people will tell you if they are assured that you are open-minded and they are not going to be scoffed at.
Richard Holmes can be reached at email@example.com You can view his work at www.geocities.com/richard_holmes
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The Law of Reincarnation
from Continuity of Life
by A. A. Taliaferro, F.R.C., D.D.
Copyright 1989 by A.A. Taliaferro
IN THE year 553 A. D., the doctrine of reincarnation was officially banished by the Christian Church. It was banished for no other reason than it was considered to be too much of an influence from the Orient. The decision was intended to enable the church to increase its power at that time, and to tighten its hold upon the human mind by telling people their salvation had to be accomplished in one incarnation and one lifetime, and if they didn't make it, they would go to Hell.
The human mind today is beginning to unfold in such a way that this simplistic viewpoint no longer makes sense to many people. Still, there are many who depend on this idea for their devotional support and for a feeling of comfort. They feel that in order to fulfill this commandment of salvation they must accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Then, they feel, they will be saved.
The fact of the matter is that they will be saved, but not for that reason. They will be saved because they are already saved. They've never been lost. They've never been "unsaved."
Religion today must be applied in life, and it must be scientifically approached. One of the things we need to understand is what happens when we go through the experience of having the life force leave our bodies. As we go with that life force, our consciousness begins to identify with the soul. It continues to be aware, identifying with the content of our experiences accumulated from many incarnations past. Once we can consciously do that, we will then have some understanding of what the next incarnation will be even before it happens.
Even at the present time, we can understand what the next incarnation will be if we will use the powers of reason, imagination and mind to analyze what's going on now. If things don't change within us, and if we continue to let the things that are now happening go on within us and around us without trying to understand and do something about it, then our suffering will continue into the next incarnation, just as the problems of one day tend to go into the next unless there are changes made.
The laws of reincarnation have to do with the kind of existence we will have thousands of years into the future. If we could understand the meaning of reincarnation, we would be able to go back thousands of years into the past. We would be able to understand how we accumulated, as individuals and as groups, the ideas and the feelings which are now in our consciousness seeking to express themselves.
Just because we do not have historical evidence of civilizations that lived more than 6,000 years ago does not mean these great civilizations did not exist. The earth changes. Physical evidences are covered up and destroyed down through the thousands of years of time. Therefore, the place we must look for evidence of the past is in our own consciousness, and not in physical things. The things of our consciousness are never destroyed. Ideas, inspirations, the great creative ideas of the present and of the future have been lying dormant in the human consciousness for many, many thousands of years. It is important for us to understand that these ideas are present in the minds of certain persons who know how to express them for the benefit of the human race. This is really where the idea of reincarnation comes in wonderfully and it is important for us to realize that the ideas themselves are for the benefit of the human race.
The power of reincarnation is the power of fearlessness. If a person could accept the idea of reincarnation, his consciousness would not have the fear of life, death and the happenings of the times. We are absolutely paralyzed in half of our waking hours because we are afraid of what is going to happen. Sometimes it is very subtle, but many times the fear is so powerful and expresses itself so strongly in our economic, social and political system that it is almost impossible for us to understand how things actually are. The Bible is full of many statements about how to get rid of fear: if we had more faith than fear, or if we had more love than fear, or if we had more understanding than fear. Fear is the great destructive power of the human mind — the physical, corporeal mind, as we might call it — which is controlled by the reception of ideas and events from the outside world. Fear grows from the fact that we do not seem to have any control over that which is going on outside. We cannot control people except through guns or the threat to put them in jail or to take their jobs away from them if they don't do what we want them to do. We are told over and over again (which of course we don't believe) that love is the way the power of fear is destroyed. Despite having been given the key, the human race at present continues to be motivated by fear instead of love.
In the Aquarian Age the power of the sign of Aquarius is pouring out divine energies upon the human race from the high consciousness of the person of the Christ. Just as in the symbol of the man with the pitcher of water who pours out this energy upon the human race from a high level of being, this energy pouring out upon the human race can empower us to overcome our fears. We can cooperate with that great energy being poured out upon us. It has begun to have its effect upon us in the past couple of thousands of years. For millions of years before that we were controlled almost completely by the energy of fear, the instinct of self-preservation, the instinct to go out and do what is necessary to propagate the race or to get food. The fear of not having food, the fear of not having sufficient money or power for the present moment — all of this fear has got to be solved in some way.
Fear could be solved in one fell swoop if we could accept the truth of reincarnation. The doctrine of reincarnation is the continuity of life, meaning that if we do not accomplish in this incarnation certain things that we have in our minds — our feelings, our desires, our hopes for the future — it will inevitably occur in a future incarnation. Just as, if you can't do something today, you continue to feel it and think it and work on it and make it happen tomorrow, so a future incarnation is a tomorrow in the life of the soul.
The life of the soul is described to us by the person of the Christ and his disciples as the divine mind of God in human form. In the divine mind of God are all of the great ideas, power and energies that are necessary in order for us to fulfill our life. Sometimes these ideas sound rather bromidic and commonplace, but the truth of the matter is that the power of creative imagination is the technique by which this can be accomplished.
Now each one of us has a different idea and a different incipient expression of a certain goal in our individual group life from any other person. We are all different. There are physical differences, of course, but they all proceed from the more important differences that lie within the soul. These are the various paths we have taken from the past which have accumulated in each of us different memories of wisdom and knowledge and experience. That wisdom and knowledge and experience is being expressed at the present time, if not consciously, then unconsciously through the energies that are radiating by means of the soul through the emotional nature, the mental nature and the energies of the physical body. We can perceive this in the magnetic field which is around us and which can be extended indefinitely into space. If we feel strongly about something, that field is activated even if we don't know it exists. Whether we know it or not, we are always expressing the power of the idea that is within us. If a person can consciously do this, then he can cooperate with the soul — with the person of the Christ within us — in the great creative process by which the future is being built.
Through reincarnation, the Universal Soul or the Christ will take large groups of people and over a given period of time direct them to be incarnated in a particular place, such as Russia. The reason they are incarnated there is that they must learn the lessons that can come only through experiencing the kind of incarnation to be had in that particular geographical location, and in that particular group consciousness which has its roots in the history of the place called Russia. The soul of Russia, like the soul of any other group of people that can be extended into the past, is the accumulation of knowledge, wisdom, traditions, accomplishments and ideas that have been contributing uniquely to the welfare of the human race for many, many centuries. The soul of Russia has also presented many ideas that are the means by which we have to learn serious lessons as a human race. Different types of persons from all over the world are gathered by the Universal Soul and their total experience is incarnated within a few decades or a few centuries within a place like Russia.
This is the real meaning for the existence of the United States of America. The United States is made up of people who have been reincarnated from all over the globe. We are in the process of creating a new human race. The new human race is not delineated physically. It is a new type of consciousness in which the person looks at things in a brand new way — from the standpoint of the soul. This is the life of what the Christian religion calls the Holy Spirit.
By the work of the Holy Spirit in this tremendous development, we have had experiences on the material plane in the past millions of years which we've accumulated within our soul consciousness. Those experiences are now brought together, not just in one person but in millions of persons, and these millions of persons are incarnated in a place called Europe or in a place called China or in India. Those accumulated ideas are going to be expressed through the culture of the traditions of that particular location, and that will determine the effect of those ideas upon the people who are exposed to them for the first time. There will be many people incarnating from the past who need to be exposed to those ideas in certain ways so that these ideas can have their effect.
The reason we are brought together is so we can have influence on each other. The soul knows this, and it arranges things so that we are brought together with each other in a sort of brotherhood, as the Christian religion calls it. We are brought together for the purpose of benefiting from each other's past experiences. If we can understand that, then we can also benefit from each person's creativeness, and we can understand that as any person creates, so we must appreciate it and let ourselves benefit by it.
Our usual reaction to a person who is a great creative person is to be jealous; if we can't do what that person can do, then we are not going to have anything to do with him. This is what happened in the play "Amadeus" when Mozart became the butt of the tremendous jealousy of the person who prayed ardently for what Mozart was able to do. But when God answered his prayer, instead of expressing this wonderful thing through him, he expressed it through another person called Mozart. The person who ardently prayed for it and who had his prayer answered became extremely spiritually, emotionally, mentally upset and jealous. He tried to destroy the thing he had prayed for.
Now we do this all the time. The great teaching of religion is that we need to understand the meaning of the content of the soul so that we can appreciate it in anybody else. If it isn't being expressed that way in us and through us, then we can benefit from it and let it influence us so that we can do the best in our way just as that person is able to do the best in his way.
The law of reincarnation, therefore, brings us together and causes certain things to happen. And whatever is happening in our life is the purpose of that life. People say over and over again, "I cannot discover what the purpose of my life is." The way a person discovers that purpose is to look at himself as he is, and see what's happening in his life. He asks, "Well, why am I having these experiences?" The purpose of those experiences is whatever insight and growth may be happening through them. If the person is questioning but still doesn't understand, then the purpose of the experience is to teach him that he doesn't understand, and that he needs to apply himself in that direction. It all is very carefully demonstrated in the life of a person whose simple existence is a mystery to him.
When a person's life becomes extremely complicated according to the laws of the world, he most often does not have time to ask the question, "What is the purpose of all this?" He's caught up in a round of tremendous events and he simply is forced to go through the motions of what the events cause him to do. When we come to the realization of the great spiritual power within us, then we can spend some time each day coming in contact with it. Then we can spend some time understanding how it is creating and projecting out, and by individual effort we can become co-creators. We then can have some control over our life by the grace that is within us that gives us the power to do what we can do. We can teach, even though we may not be professional teachers. We are prophets; we can imagine what the future is going to be and we can also help bring it about. We can in various ways be the expression of all kinds of talents and ideas that, if we will imagine them and bring them forth, will have an influence on untold thousands of persons. We do not have to express all of this in the ways that modern people accept as successful. What we need to do is to learn to think them, and to use the power of the creative imagination in such a way that we can radiate the energies out from us and influence the people who are in control of things. And after we do our work, we simply turn it over to the soul; we turn it over to the power of the Holy Spirit and we let God do it. We let God have his way, then we become a co-creator with him of the life of the human race of the future.
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The Necessity for Reincarnation
by William Q. Judge
To most persons not already Theosophists, no doctrine appears more singular than that of Reincarnation, i.e., that each man is repeatedly born into earth-life; for the usual belief is that we are here but once, and once for all determine our future. And yet it is abundantly clear that one life, even if prolonged, is no more adequate to gain knowledge, acquire experience, solidify principle, and form character, than would one day in infancy be adequate to fit for the duties of mature manhood. Any man can make this even clearer by estimating, on the one hand, the probable future which Nature contemplates for humanity, and, on the other, his present preparation for it. That future includes evidently two things -- an elevation of the individual to god-like excellence, and his gradual apprehension of the Universe of Truth. His present preparation therefore consists of a very imperfect knowledge of a very small department of one form of existence, and that mainly gained through the partial use of misleading senses; of a suspicion, rather than a belief, that the sphere of super-sensuous truth may exceed the sensuous as the great universe does this earth; of a partially-developed set of moral and spiritual faculties, none acute and none unhampered, but all dwarfed by non-use, poisoned by prejudice, and perverted by ignorance; the whole nature, moreover, being limited in its interests and affected in its endeavor by the ever-present needs of a physical body which, much more than the soul, is felt to be the real "I." Is such a being, narrow, biased, carnal, sickly, fitted to enter at death on a limitless career of spiritual acquisition?
Now, there are only three ways in which this obvious unfitness may be overcome -- a transforming power in death, a postmortem and wholly spiritual discipline, a series of reincarnations. There is evidently nothing in the mere separation of soul from body to confer wisdom, ennoble character, or cancel dispositions acquired through fleshliness. If any such power resided in death, all souls, upon being disembodied, would be precisely alike -- a palpable absurdity. Nor could a postmortem discipline meet the requirement, and this for nine reasons: (a) the soul's knowledge of human life would always remain insignificant; (b) of the various faculties only to be developed during incarnation, some would still be dormant at death and therefore never evolve; (c) the unsatisfactory nature of material life would not have been fully demonstrated; (d) there would have been no deliberate conquest of the flesh by the spirit; (e) the meaning of Universal Brotherhood would have been very imperfectly seen; (f) desire for a career on earth under different conditions would persistently check the disciplinary process; (g) exact justice could hardly be secured; (h) the discipline itself would be insufficiently varied and copious; (i) there would be no advance in the successive races on earth.
There remains, then, the last alternative, a series of reincarnations, in other words, that the enduring principle of the man, endowed during each interval between two earth-lives with the results achieved in the former of them, shall return for further experience and effort. If the nine needs unmet by a merely spiritual discipline after death are met by reincarnation, there is surely a strong presumption of its actuality.
Now, (a) Only through reincarnations can knowledge of human life be made exhaustive. A perfected man must have experienced every type of earthly relation and duty, every phase of desire, affection, and passion, every form of temptation and every variety of conflict. No one life can possibly furnish the material for more than a minute section of such experience.
(b) Reincarnations give occasion for the development of all those faculties which can only be developed during incarnation. Apart from any questions raised by Occult doctrine, we can readily see that some of the richest soul-acquirements come only through contact with human relations and through suffering from human ills. Of these, sympathy, toleration, patience, energy, fortitude, foresight, gratitude, pity, beneficence, and altruism are examples.
(c) Only through reincarnation is the unsatisfying nature of material life fully demonstrated. One incarnation proves merely the futility of its own conditions to secure happiness. To force home the truth that all are equally so, all must be tried. In time the soul sees that a spiritual being cannot be nourished on inferior food, and that any joy short of union with the Divine must be illusionary.
(d) The subordination of the Lower to the Higher nature is made possible by many earth-lives. Not a few are needed to convince that the body is but a case, and not a constituent, of the real Ego; others, that it and its passions must be controlled by that Ego. Until the spirit has full sway over the flesh, the man is unfit for a purely spiritual existence. We have known no one to achieve such a victory during this life, and are therefore sure that other lives need to supplement it.
(e) The meaning of Universal Brotherhood becomes apparent only as the veil of self and selfish interest thins, and this it does only through that slow emancipation from conventional beliefs, personal errors, and contracted views which a series of reincarnations effects. A deep sense of human solidarity presupposes a fusion of the one in the whole -- a process extending over many lives.
(f) Desire for other forms of earthly experience can only be extinguished by undergoing them. It is obvious that any one of us, if now translated to the unseen world, would feel regret that he had not tasted existence in some other situation or surroundings. He would wish to have known what it was to possess rank or wealth or beauty, or to live in a different race or climate, or to see more of the world and society. No spiritual ascent could progress while earthly longings were dragging back the soul, and so it frees itself from them by successively securing and dropping them. When the round of such knowledge has been traversed, regret for ignorance has died out.
(g) Reincarnations give scope for exact justice to every man. True awards must be given largely on the plane whereon they have been incurred, else their nature is changed, their effects are impaired, and their collateral bearings lost. Physical outrage has to be checked by the infliction of physical pain, and not merely by the arousing of internal regret. Honest lives find appropriate consequence in visible honor. But one career is too short for the precise balancing of accounts, and many are needed that every good or evil done in each may be requited on the earth where it took place.
(h) Reincarnations secure variety and copiousness to the discipline we all require. Very much of this discipline comes through the senses, through the conditions of physical life, and through psycho-physiological processes -- all of which would be absent from a postmortem state. Considered as training or as penal infliction for wrong done, a repeated return to earth is needful for fullness of discipline.
(i) Reincarnations ensure a continuous advance in the successive races of men. If each new-born child was a new soul-creation, there would be, except through heredity, no general human advance. But if such child is the flower of many incarnations, he expresses an achieved past as well as a possible future. The tide of life thus rises to greater heights, each wave mounting higher upon the shore. The grand evolution of richer types exacts profusion of earth-existences for its success.
These points illustrate the universal maxim that "Nature does nothing by leaps." She does not, in this case, introduce into a region of spirit and spiritual life a being who has known little else than matter and material life, with small comprehension even of that. To do so would be analogous to transferring suddenly a ploughboy into a company of metaphysicians. The pursuit of any topic implies some preliminary acquaintance with its nature, aims, and mental requirements; and the more elevated the topic, the more copious the preparation for it. It is inevitable that a being who has before him an eternity of progress through zones of knowledge and spiritual experience ever nearing the central Sun, should be fitted for it through long acquisition of the faculties which alone can deal with it. Their delicacy, their vigor, their penetrativeness, their unlikeness to those called for on the material plane, show the contrast of the earth-life to the spirit-life. And they show, too, the inconceivability of a sudden transition from one to the other, of a policy unknown in any other department of Nature's workings, of a break in the law of uplifting through Evolution. A man, before he can become a "god," must first become a perfect man; and he can become a perfect man neither in seventy years of life on earth, nor in any number of years of life from which human conditions are absent.
The production of a pure, rich, ethereal nature through a long course of spiritualizing influence during material surroundings is illustrated in agriculture by the cotton plant. When the time arrives that it can bear, the various vitalities of sun and air and ground and stalk culminate in a bud which bursts apart and liberates the ball within. That white, fleecy, delicate mass is the outcome of years of adhesion to the soil. But the sunlight and the rain from heaven have transformed heavy particles into the light fabric of the boll. And so man, long rooted in the clay, is bathed with influences from above, which, as they gradually pervade and elevate him, transmute every grosser element to its spiritual equivalent, purge and purify and ennoble him, and, when the evolutionary process is complete, remove the last envelope from the perfected soul and leave it free to pass forever from its union with the material.
It is abundantly true that "except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Re-birth and re-life must go on till their purposes are accomplished. If, indeed, we were mere victims of an evolutionary law, helpless atoms on whom the machinery of Nature pitilessly played, the prospect of a succession of incarnations, no one of which gave satisfaction, might drive to mad despair. But Theosophy thrusts on us no such cheerless exposition. It shows that reincarnations are the law for man because they are the condition of his progress, which is also a law, but tells him that he may mould them and better them and lessen them. He cannot rid himself of the machinery, but neither should he wish to. Endowed with the power to guide it for the best, prompted with the motive to use that power, he may harmonize both his aspirations and his efforts with the system that expresses the infinite wisdom of the Supreme, and through the journey from the temporal to the eternal tread the way with steady feet, braced with the consciousness that he is one of an innumerable multitude, and with the certainty that he and they alike, if they so will it, may attain finally to that sphere where birth and death are but memories of the past.
(Reprinted from Echoes of the Orient, comp. Dara Eklund)
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History of Reincarnation and Rebirth
by Neil Cooper
Mostly in the west there is not as much emphasis put on reincarnation or rebirth as there has been in the east, where it is often closely associated with the laws of cause and effect, thus leading to the eastern philosophy and beliefs in the karmic laws and therefore the belief in the cycle of life and rebirth. Understandably there are a number of ideas concerning the subject of reincarnation and rebirth. My own personal views on reincarnation are open to the readers interpretation and greater understanding and are insights based on what I have learned from my own experiences of past life, coupled with the help I have received through spirit teachers and guides. In this section I have also given a brief view of some other beliefs concerning the subjects covered below.
The History of Reincarnation & Rebirth
Many cultures throughout the earth's history have believed in reincarnation or rebirth in one form or another and have taken the subject very seriously, to the point, where to aid those who have been close to mortal demise, they have taken them to their societies birthing chambers, close to where women would be in childbirth. This was done so that the discarnate soul leaving the body would not have far to travel to reincarnate or have rebirth within a new life and this was thought greatly to help the transmigration into the new host and life, therefore allowing rebirth to take place shortly after mortal demise. (However it appears that this would have been unsuccessful as the spirit is received at conception rather than at birth and it also appears that there is indeed choice within the spirit realms as to whether one wishes to return to the earthly plane and it seems only those who are also reasonably evolved and earn the opportunity can return to gain further experiences to add to the old or group soul)
Old Group & New Souls
Old and group souls are basically the same thing, although some believe that a group soul might be able to have incarnations on several different planes or dimensions at the same time, so in effect several facets or divisions of the group soul might exist at the same time and be experiencing life elsewhere on other planes or worlds and when these facets return to the higher self they bring to it the experience of each life, this group soul might also be referred to as a collective soul. However there is also another theory where we all come from one collective soul and we each return with our experiences and become at one with all spirit in what might be referred to as The Great Spirit or collective soul. In my own experience and understanding I feel this is not the case and those spirit that have had one or more previous incarnations cannot have multiple incarnations at the same time and if the old soul chooses to reincarnate they come in their entirety of spirit as one individual soul that comes as one with our new soul and remains as one soul from that point onward which is at the point of conception where the spirit is received and the new and old soul is coupled and joined together to become as one new and inseparable life.
However it is the new soul and ego that is here to develop and gain experiences from this earthly lifetime, while the old soul on the most part remains dormant and we have what is termed as past life amnesia. So the old soul has little bearing or effect on the present incarnation or on the situations of life that we may find ourselves in. It is true that the old soul may have a predestined life plan of experiences that have been ask for prior to reincarnation. But quite simply all that is done to fulfill and make any life plan and experiences possible, is that the old soul is reincarnated within an appropriate life and soul here, that by natural events will have many of these experiences within this present lifetimes natural destiny, without there being any need of outside influence or intervention to shape or alter any events within this present life. So all life here is left to live through the natural events of life whatever the situations might be and this is governed by the natural laws that exist and govern throughout the universe ...
However we should not underestimate the power of prayer in asking for guidance and help, but we should not expect miracles either, for it is true to say that God and spirit moves and works in subtle and mysterious ways and often in ways that maybe hard to see and what is often given to us is an opportunity that mostly we might think is just coincidence rather than spirit helping us and it is left to us whether we choose to take these opportunities or not. So it seems that the words "Ask and ye shall receive" might well be true.
Old souls returning to the earthly plain do not bring any form of karmic debt with them or upon ourselves, the reason for this is that they are all fairly evolved souls within the spirit realms prior to having the opportunity to return to the earthly plain and thus if they had any karmic debt, it has assuredly been worked off prior to their return and they bring on the most part, no detrimental effects onto our present lives and in the longer-term it is greatly beneficial for us to have an old soul present and we are coupled and matched very carefully with our old soul if we have an old soul prior to our conception and we become one and the same soul before birth and when we return back to the spirit realms we will become re-awoken and reunited with the old soul once again and this is somewhat like finding a missing part of ourselves as if we have had amnesia and on the hole is a wonderful and very beneficial awakening, somewhat like turning a dimly lit light up until it becomes a very bright and radiant light.
It is true to say that not all human souls here are old or group souls and that there are many new souls that are sent to the earth from the spirit realms to experience and begin conscious existence. The reason why not all are old souls is that to have reincarnation is not as easy a task as we might think, as spirit have to firstly obtain the required amount of light and evolution before they are given the opportunity in their spiritual pathway to be able to choose to return here through reincarnation or rebirth and this is seen as an opportunity that should be spiritually earned rather than just allotted to all.
Even though having reincarnation can bring many benefits to spirit when they return to the spirit realms as it can greatly aid them to progress on to higher planes of evolution more readily, there are still many spirit that never the less choose not to have reincarnation and continue their evolution within the spirit realms without doing so and they can evolve to all the same levels with the same abilities as those who do have many reincarnations. In truth the benefits gained from reincarnation are quite vast in the beginning but each time one reincarnates the gain lessons and after a number of incarnations it becomes pointless to keep returning to lower planes such as this one, as more spiritual gain and evolution can be found by remaining within the spirit realms rather than through reincarnation. I would not hazard a guess at what percentage of us have an old soul present within us, only that it is a large number, but I would not think it is yet the majority of us, however I could be mistaken.
The Eastern Philosophy of the Several Fold Path of Rebirth & Karma
There are those who believe that we may have to experience a number of incarnations in human form, until such a time as the soul has obtained an appropriate level of enlightenment, through the process of a number of rebirths and experiences of life here on the earth. Often this has been considered to be something we have no choice in and that it may entail having rebirth here on a number of occasions in human form, (This should not be confused with the transmigration of souls, which is a different understanding that is thought to entail transmigrating from the lower species to the most evolved species here on the earth, which is human). Many that have believed in rebirth have believed that it may involve working off the karmic debt of past lifetimes and therefore hardship and sufferance in the present lifetime has often been attributed to any past life karmic debt, that has been brought forward by negative actions of past life onto the present life and incarnation, thus any present life suffering might be attributed as a consequent result of the karmic laws and be seen as karmic debt and therefore unavoidable. The karmic laws being the laws that are thought to maintain an equilibrium through action causing reaction and for every action there will be consequent reactions, therefore positive action is thought to result in positive reaction and negative action resulting in negative reactions, either in this present time or in some later incarnation.
It is thought that whatever karmic debt or credit we might of brought forward with us there will eventually be compensation or remonstration for both our past and present actions. For those who do positive action and have also done so in their past lifetime there will be a positive reward and for those who have done negative actions there will be debt to make amends for and possible hardship and suffering as a result of their past actions. This is seen to address who we are and how we conduct ourselves and those who have a more positive life are seen to be further along the pathway toward enlightenment and those who have hardship are also on this same path and are receiving the lessons that teaches negative action results in negative reaction and the lesson is that through doing positive action they will escape the consequent negative karma and instead further their own enlightenment to living within the karmic laws.
Some except the karmic laws as an unavoidable fact of life and to prevent misfortune in a future incarnation they may choose to set about only doing positive action in this lifetime, thereby working off karmic debt of any previous life and preventing it in any future life and that by doing so it will help to bring enlightenment and the understanding necessary through several incarnations to achieve the required enlightenment and level, where it becomes possible to move on for a time into a higher level and state of existence beyond the mortal realm. This belief again has good merits and many true understandings, but I feel is not completely correct, but has good values and teaches practical and logical ways in which to live a good and practical life within its understandings
My Interpretation of Karma
If you come from the East then it is possible that you believe that karma is an inescapable fact of life, if you come from the West then you may have little comprehension of what the karmic laws are or what they represent. My own view of karma and karmic law is that it is nothing more than the natural and universal laws, that all things live within the natural laws and that all things are subject to and governed by the natural laws that exist throughout the universe and beyond, as I believe that many of these same laws also exist within the spirit realms and that these natural laws are inescapable, and that what effects and experiences we may have that are either positive or detrimental has very little to do with previous life actions or karmic debt or credit, and is much more related to our present actions and situations within the laws that exist ...
However I do believe that spiritual debt and credit can be taken on by the spirit and that this will have some bearing on the spiritual level and plain of evolution that we will move onto after this life within the spirit realms, for it is true to say that our own spirit is our own judge within the spirit realms and that by the light that our spirit shines forth we will be our own judges and by our own lives actions and we find ourselves on the appropriate plane for our own level of spiritual evolution, and whether here or in spirit we all have personal responsibility that we each shall be accountable for our own actions and our right or wrong actions can and will have either positive or negative consequences, both in this life and beyond, this is not because we are so much judged as good or bad it is more that within the natural laws there are lessons we must firstly learn before it is appropriate for us to move on and evolve to higher planes and states of being within the spirit realms and to be opposing to the beneficial growth and evolution of all things, goes against the laws that exist that favour beneficial growth and progression, so those that are contrary to positive growth will have and keep having the same lessons until they are learnt and until we learn live in harmony within natural laws and it seems those who are most enlightened act in the most complementary way within the natural laws.
In my own opinion which is open to the readers interpretation, the understanding of karma and karmic laws is in parts correct and in other parts misinterpreted, but whether you call it karma or universal and natural law, there are indeed laws that do operate and by which all things are governed, and the words, "ye shall reap what ye sow" does come to mind as being true as there does seem to be a balance within the natural laws, that favours harmony between opposing natures and that they become more tolerant of one another rather than being in conflict, so within such highly evolved laws there is a structure and natural balance that provides a stability within the natures that exist so that one nature does not over come the other, but rather the natural law promotes that all natures can exist together within its laws and there can still be positive evolution and beneficial growth...
Therefore any nature that becomes overly opposing to the natural laws to whatever extent it is out of harmony and balance and is therefore causing a disharmony and in our own case we can learn as most life by the means of trial and error and for those natures that are or seek to be opposing to what is generally in their own best interest and therefore also the best interest of all other life within these natures there will be a lesson or reaction within the natural laws that will address and restore balance to all overly opposing natures, including those opposing natures within mankind, that is not to say that mankind will learn these lessons of life overnight as some learn and understand easily, while others continue to act in discord and therefore have to repeat the same lessons as many times as it is necessary before they can then move on to find and learn greater lessons that are set out before us in our continual evolution of life.
So the law of karma is maybe stating in some way that, what goes around comes around and what you do unto another may come back onto yourself, this karmic law I would call a universal and natural law and indeed I very much believe that we each shall in some way receive the appropriate lessons in life and if we cause hardship to others then we ourselves at some point will have to undo the wrong we have done and the lesson we may receive ourselves maybe one of hardship, to give us greater a understandings and empathy for others. But it is true to say that the natural laws that we live within can sometimes be very harsh, even if in the majority of cases these laws allow for beneficial growth on the whole to take place there are still many who suffer by natural causes and not karmic or any divine law other than the existence of the natural laws that we are all subject to and live within, where both good and bad can happen to us. The one thing that can allow for improvement within these laws, is our own greater understanding of the natural laws and that we should seek to complement and live within these laws in our own actions, trying as best we can to alleviate unnecessary suffering in the ways that we can, including seeking to end any unnecessary suffering and affliction caused by mankind to his fellow mankind.
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