In this article we will chart a path from illusion to Simple Reality, from P-B to P-A. The contrast between what many of us believe regarding reincarnation (if we believe anything about it) and where we end our journey will be a bit of a jolt for some. Breathe!
The “doctrine” of reincarnation existed in early Christianity but was outlawed, which explains why we in the West know little about it. “Against modern opinion, which would rule out not only preexistence of the soul, but the soul itself, one could cite Plato, whose doctrine of the soul’s immortal nature was taken over and later questioned by Aristotle. But it is hardly correct to credit Plato with this idea which was general in Egypt three thousand years before Plato drew breath, and is in fact current in most religions, notably Buddhism, Hinduism, and in almost all primitive religion. The soul’s preexistence was dropped from Christianity only in A.D. 553 by an edict known as the “Anathema” against Origen, pushed through by the Emperor Justinian while the Pope was in jail.”
At the starting point of our trek, we meet Huston Smith, a wonderful teacher, but one who doesn’t believe that we can reach our destination. He combines his refined intellect with his interpretation of the Hindu/Buddhist cosmology.
Smith: “We can repeat these three ingredients in Buddha’s combined views of reincarnation and karma by way of analogy. In the realm of ideas, (1) the thoughts that fill my mind have not appeared by accident. They have definite histories. Apart from the conditioning impact which the minds of my teachers, my parents, and the molders of Western civilization have exerted upon me, they could not possibly have come into being. (2) This fact, however, does not mean that I must pass on unchanged the ideas that have thus come my way. By altering and adding to them I can definitely affect the ongoing current of thought which we call civilization. (3) Neither the continuity nor the freedom claimed by the above two points requires that ideas be regarded as entities, things, mental substances that are in any way physically transmitted.” Perhaps in our description of Smith and his refined intellect we should put the emphasis on “intellect.”
Smith: “There is a chain of causation threading each life to those which have led up to it and other which will follow. That is to say, each life is in the condition it is in because of the way the lives which have led into it were lived. In the midst of this causal sequence, man’s will remains free … if there be an enduring self, subject always, never object, it cannot be found.” Don’t give up yet, we have a number of mystics that will take over as our map readers; on we go!
Since we won’t find out much about the “outlawed” reincarnation in the Christian West, our path leads us to India, that part of the world where reincarnation is an ingrained part of the dominant worldview. As Smith takes his leave we are joined by Andrew Cohen and an elderly Indian gentleman. Born in 1916, Ramachandra was an Indian farmer who attained liberation or present moment awareness.
Cohen: “And it became very clear after spending only a short period of time in Ajja’s [grandfathers] intimate presence that he was one who had left this world and everyone in it far behind a long time ago.”
Ajja: “I am not an astrologer. I don’t read anyone’s mind. This is contradictory for spirituality. Liberation should happen in this life itself. Sometimes we are told that for some reason it’s not possible in this life, that we have to wait for future incarnations. But we don’t know if this is true or not, so here and now we should become free.”
Cohen: [Cohen had come to the same conclusion based on his own experience in pursuit of the Now.] “I personally feel that this kind of thing is a complete waste of time and also that it’s the opposite direction one should be looking in if one wants to be free.”
Ajja: [Leaving the Now is the very definition of suffering and unconsciousness so it is no surprise that Ajja discourages such fantasy, such illusions.] “Let us know about this life. In knowing this you know everything you need to know. Now we are here. It’s now about this. Why should we go back? There is no future and no past.” As Cohen and Ajja take their leave our hiking party is joined by Jesus (post-resurrection, that is). He ought to know something about reincarnation.
Author: “So Jesus, what is your take on reincarnation, should it be a part of the truth of Simple Reality taught to those on this path?”
Jesus: [Speaking in A Course in Miracles] “In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Reincarnation would not, under any circumstances, be the problem to be dealt with now. His ego [false self] will be enough for him to cope with, and it is not the part of wisdom to add sectarian controversies to his burdens.” Waving goodbye to Jesus, we see Seth approaching on the horizon or floating would be a more accurate description. Now the landscape around us is going to get very interesting.
Author: “We are honored to have you join us Seth, we have always valued your divergent and penetrating perspective. We have been considering the topic of reincarnation. What’s your take on that?”
Seth: “Human beings reincarnate many times, though not in the fashion in which many believe. Lives are not a progression of single incarnations determined by the Karma of the preceding life; in fact, there is no karma that punishes or rewards. Rather, progress of the soul depends on the psychic and spiritual focus of the lives. Lives grow out of the inner self; they are forms taken by the consciousness expressing itself. The past, present and future exist in a simultaneous now, and we experience all of our lives simultaneously.”
Author: “Wow, you seem to be getting right to the heart of the matter. Could you say a little more? You seem to be saying what the content of Simple Reality holds as the truth, that is to say, the past is gone and the future is not yet here. In other words, nothing is happening outside of the present moment. Everything that is happening is happening in the Now.”
Seth: “The energy of your being exists outside of your system, however, and impinges upon it in your terms, becoming ‘alive’ physically at certain points [moment points] of time and space. Your own greater energy dips in and out of the space-time continuum as you understand it. As it does, its experience becomes physical. Within that system then it leaves a life-trace. When you think in terms of reincarnation it seems that one tracing exists before the other, but the entire ‘chart’ exists at once, with all the individual life-tracings.”
Seth: “Since these offshoots or life-tracings each come from your entity, they are connected psychologically and in terms of electromagnetic patterns. Consider this analogy: Taking it for granted that you are indeed multi-dimensional, you can perceive only so much of your own experience at a time because of the characteristics of physical creaturehood; the three-dimensional system automatically specializes in before-and-after effects.”
Seth: “You exist, say, in seven-different centuries at once. However, the normal experience-patterns [conditioning] of your temporal being prevent any comprehensive view of all those lives in creature terms.”
Seth: “Again, what actually happens is that the energy of your being impinges, say at seven [moment] points into the three-dimensional system. At each of these points, what seems to be an isolated life is experienced. Just beyond those intersections, however, there is a more or less unitary and overall recognition [Great Insight] of wholeness [Oneness] that ‘rides’ above them. This represents the multidimensional entity that is both apart from and yet part of the separate life-traces … You follow a one-line pattern of history, pursuing certain actions as reality and identifying with these so completely that they are all you perceive.”
Seth: “For a moment, think of your body as one large cell in the moment of its being. You, the larger self, have many bodies, each turning into the other as one dies and is reborn; yet You maintain your identity and your memory even as the smallest cell in your present body does. This is merely an analogy but it will explain your body’s concept of itself; for as a whole it knows it ‘dies’ as now its portions do, but is also aware of its ‘future’ transformation. Within this framework it protects and maintains its own stability and survival.”
Seth: “At one level of your being there is a common ground where body consciousness merges with that higher consciousness from which your own identity springs. This is the ground of your being where soul and flesh meet, both in time and out of it.”
Seth: “The theory [reincarnation] is a [false self] conscious-mind interpretation in linear terms. On the one hand it is highly distorted. On the other hand it is a creative interpretation, as the conscious mind plays with reality as it understands it. But in the terms used there is no karma to be paid off as punishment unless you believe that there are crimes for which you must pay. In larger terms there is no cause and effect either, though these are root assumptions in your reality.”
Seth: “You seem to think that there is an expanse of time between reincarnational existences, that one follows the other as one moment seems to follow another. Because you perceive a reality of cause and effect, you hypothesize a reality in which one life affects the next one. With your theories of guilt and punishment you often imagine that you are hampered in this existence by guilts collected in the last life—or worse, accumulated through the centuries.”
Seth: “These multiple existences, however, are simultaneous and open-ended. In your terms the conscious mind is growing toward a realization of the part it has to play in such multi-dimensional reality. It is enough that you understand your part in this existence. When you fully comprehend that you form what you think of as your current reality, all else will fall into place.”
Seth: “The you that you consider yourself is never annihilated. Your consciousness is not snuffed out, nor is it swallowed, blissfully unaware of itself, in some nirvana. You are as much a part of a nirvana now as you will ever be.”
Seth: “Think of the greater you—call it the entity if you want to—as forming a psychic structure quite as real as your physical one, but composed of many selves. As each cell of your body has its position within your corporeal space and boundaries, so each self within the entity is aware of its own ‘time’ and dimension of activity. The body is a temporal structure. The cells, however, while a part of the body, are not aware of the entire dimension in which your consciousness dwells. They do not perceive all of the elements that are available even in the three-dimensional experience, yet your present consciousness—seemingly so much more sophisticated—physically rests upon cellular awareness.”
Seth: “They are other expressions of yourself, interacting, but with each conscious self possessing the point of power [emphasis added] in its own present. It is for this reason that ‘past-life information’ is so often used to reinforce current personal social situations—because, like the past in this life, such memories are constructed through present belief.”
Seth: “If such information is given to you by another, by a psychic, for example, that individual is also very apt to pick up those ‘lives’ that make sense to you now, and—unconsciously of course—to structure them precisely along the lines of your beliefs.”
Author: [Waving goodbye to Seth] “Thanks a lot Seth, you were very helpful (I think). Gather some wood guys, let’s roast some marshmallows. Only those with good karma get one!”
References and notes are available for this article.
Also find a much more in-depth discussion of Simple Reality
on this blog and in published books by Roy Charles Henry.