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It’s been said that Reincarnation Is Making a Comeback.  Be that as it may, the idea is not nearly as incredible as the average Westernized mind might think it.   

Certainly, there are those who would have you believe that, “You only go around once in life, so you have to grab all the gusto you can.”  For recipients of such sage advice and who find gusto-grabbing to be one of the lesser rewards of heaven, there is an alternative.  Perhaps, instead of a single tenure of one life to live on this earth, each of us has (or will have) many lives.  As a result, each and every one will have a whole slew of opportunities to reach, grab, or otherwise attempt to acquire the gusto.  

Strictly speaking, reincarnation is the belief that a single soul will be incarnated in more than one body.  It is the doctrine of the soul incarnating or reappearing after death in other and different bodily forms.  This rebirth of the soul can occur numerous times -- in fact, some believe reincarnation can involve hundreds, if not thousands, of different lives.  

To the Western mind, reincarnation is often thought of as a product of certain Eastern religions, such as Hinduism or Buddhism.  While reincarnation may be considered to be an essential aspect of these religions, it is not necessary to accept any of the other tenets of these religions in order to believe in reincarnation.  Reincarnation, for example, has as well a long and honorable history in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  While the current fad in some religions does not involve reincarnation, suffice it to say that any acceptance of the idea of reincarnation as a realistic or factual possibility carries with it no obligation to accept any established religion, cult, or spiritual standard.  Reincarnation is a theory that may be considered separately as an independent and alternative way of thinking about life and death.  (Or about Death and Rebirth.)  

Reincarnation can be, perhaps, more easily linked with an inherent, universal Justice than can the idea of a single chance at life (and gusto grabbing).  It is fundamentally evident, everyone on the planet is not born into equal circumstances or with equal opportunities.  If there are multiple lives, however, then there are ample opportunities for everyone to have their shot at being king of the hill.  Reincarnation is thus potentially more fair or just.  

There is also less drama associated with reincarnation.  The first time one rides a roller coaster, it can be quite scary.  But after a dozen or so back-to-back, subsequent rides, it becomes pretty matter-of-fact.  The same might thus be true of death.  Once you get the hang of it, death can become pretty routine.  In fact, for anyone who has had a near-death experience, even the close proximity to dying inevitably results in that person no longer fearing death.  Kali no longer has any terror associated with her dance.  

Associated with reincarnation are the twin concepts of karma and dharma -- the ma twins.  Karma is essentially cause and effect.  What actions (or lack of actions) you initiate, will result in later effects.  What you sow will be what you reap.  You are Creating Reality of your own making.  The rebirth of the soul into a lifetime may therefore be on the basis of one’s actions in a previous life.  “The doctrine of karma offers a philosophical explanation of the life and experience of an individual in terms of a moral law operative in the universe and not as the working out of blind chance or fate or the fiat of a whimsical ruler of the world.  The individual is the maker of his own destiny; he determines by his own actions his future life and experience, his happiness and misery, his success and failure.” [1]   

Karma is thus anti-Scapegoatology.  One can no longer blame the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune on the Fates, but instead must accept one’s own role in initiating the current problems by one’s previous actions.  Karmic debts have a tendency therefore to remind us constantly that we have periodically been “naughty and nice”, and that our rewards and penalties derive from past lives, as well as recent actions.  

Karma is a belief in Causality, whereas dharma is a belief in destiny.  Dharma, however, does not seem to have the same attention to detail that karma does.  Dharma may suggest that one is destined to become a heroine or hero (as in the Hero’s Journey), but leaves the details -- the tribulations and trials of getting there -- to karma.  Or, as happens in many cases, overcoming or resolving karma.  The good news is karma can always be resolved by forgiveness!  This is important, and suggests that Jesus Christ may have died for just this purpose: To allow forgiveness as the ultimate means of avoiding unyielding karmic obligations.  It’s forgiving our [karmic] debts as we forgive our [karmic] debtors.  For without forgiveness, it is likely that karma will run over your dogma, and thereby prevent realization of your dharma.  [Yes, the ma twins have a younger brother.]  

While reincarnation typically thinks in terms of multiple lifetimes, there is also the current belief that it is quite possible to live many lifetimes within a single life.  In times past, if one married someone -- with the plausible intent of working out some karmic debt -- then after the debt was repaid, they were pretty much stuck with each other.  But today, with the opportunity for many to connect and reconnect with numerous individuals, there is the chance to do a lot of karmic fence mending.  If you’ve lately been wondering whatever happened to so-and-so, perhaps you’ve done your karmic thing with them, and no longer need to go there.  Done that, been there, paid the karmic debt.  Time to move on.  


Death and Rebirth         Daath         Creating Reality

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Reincarnation Is Making a Comeback

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