Reincarnation Ruminations

Reincarnation

Before we continue with Harold’s thread on reincarnation, I thought it might be a good idea to make a quick general overview of some thoughts on subject.

Reincarnation is the doctrine that a person’s soul or spirit returns to life in a new physical body after it dies. A central tenet of religions of the East, in the West (read the Abrahamic faiths) it has mostly been rejected as an official doctrine in favor of the doctrine of an eternal afterlife in a heaven or hell, and/or a final ontological resurrection. One of the main differences in these doctrines between East and West seems to hinge upon each culture’s overall understanding of time. In the East, time is mainly viewed as cyclical, wherein the same patterns are repeated over and over, whereas the West views time as predominantly linear, a historical process with no real “do overs” and which culminates in a final end. But what if this East/West dichotomy isn’t an either/or issue but rather a both/and one? Where would that lead us?

In his “Covenant of the Heart” Valentin Tomberg, a traditional Roman Catholic, writes from the both/and perspective: 

The view that repeated earthly lives are possible belongs to the realm of freely acceptable or rejectable opinions. In particular, Jesus Christ himself basically indicated this view by saying to his disciples regarding John: “And if ye will receive it, he is Elijah who was to come (Matt. 11,13). “If ye will receive it”: nothing can clearly and surely express the fact that the reappearance of Elijah in John – and with it the entire complex of reincarnation – does not belong to the essential truths of salvation, but to the sphere of freely acceptable or rejectable opinions. Correspondingly, the antithesis of reincarnation – that there exists only one single life on earth – also belongs to the realm of opinions freely open for acceptance or rejection…. For a Christian who is wholly oriented toward the ideal of resurrection and who at the same time is convinced (through experience) of repeated earthly lives, reincarnation signifies the possibility granted by divine goodness and mercy for every human being to tread the whole path of earthly experience in fulfillment of the earthly task until its completion, i.e. until resurrection. Reincarnation means to him a step-by-step preparation for resurrection as an overcoming of death…. For just as the ideal state of eternal remembrance (unforgetting) is preceded by a rhythmic alternation of forgetting and remembrance – and as the ideal state of full awakening of consciousness is preceded by rhythmic alternation of sleeping and waking – so for the Christian who is convinced of reincarnation, the ideal state of deathlessness (resurrection) is preceded by the rhythmic alternation of death and birth.

tomberg

What do YOU think? We’ll continue whith Preston Harold’s thoughts in our next post. Until then, peace.

Born Again

bornagain

Dr. Rolf Alexander says, “if we accept the idea that the development of consciousness is the great purpose behind evolution, then the scrapping of each individual human mind at death of the physical body would be a most wasteful, tedious, and unnecessary process…. At every stage in the development of the embryo, there is evidence that a phase of the mind directing the construction detaches itself from the process and moves ‘upstairs,’ as it were, to initiate new construction on a higher level.”

Preston Harold says this “moving upstairs” is what the Authority-Ego appears to do also after birth is accomplished. Speaking as it’s symbol, Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am you may be also.” –John 14:3-4

Harold states:

Jesus’ acceptance of the principle of reincarnation is simple, final, and basically interwoven into His message – He says, “Ye must be born again.” If Jesus is true, this statement must be true as regards conscious rebirth in life and rebirth into life after death.

 When Nicodemus asks Jesus concerning rebirth “how can these things be?” (John 3:3-9) Harold says…

Jesus will not elaborate. He never allows the principle of rebirth to become involved in the fantasy attending it – such as the transmigration concept of human soul entering animal flesh – or with the concept that the chain of births leads finally to escaping the world. To Nicodemus, Jesus simply says that eternal life is the goal. Being reborn “from above” indicates a process to insure the growth and enrichment of consciousness or life through bringing to this domain the treasure of the unconscious. He says: “If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” The concept of rebirth into life is touched upon when Jesus says to the thief on the cross next to His, “Verily I say unto you, today you shall be with me in paradise.” Paradise, Eden, is the womb of life as Scriptures depict it.

nicodemus

I suppose when discussing the idea of reincarnation, one must ask him or herself the question of whether or not they agree with the statement made by Dr. Alexander at the beginning of this post: “Do I accept the idea that the development of consciousness is the great purpose behind evolution, or the ultimate meaning of the universe and my existence?” If one cannot agree with this statement, the idea of reincarnation may seem to be completely unnecessary or futile. As we continue discussing it, though, I would humbly ask you accept the idea for argument’s sake, as it is certainly necessary to Harold’s overall thought process in The Shining Stranger. We continue our reincarnation ruminations in the next post. Until then, peace…

Original Sin?

To begin Chapter 5, “Original Sin and Saving Grace,” Preston Harold does a brief recap of the Noah story and it’s meaning:

If one accepts the Noah legend as the “tell” describing the physical birth process of man, placement of the story of the flood in the Genesis chain of legends after the Eden legend indicates that man has lived before, so that his physical birth bespeaks a re-creation of himself wherein a son-self takes the place of the father-self which subsides, as Noah does, although a part of the psyche may glimpse it (represented by Ham). And placement of the Cain-Abel legend before the flood legend indicates that man has sinned in a prior expression of himself in conscious embodiment. The Noah legend indicates man is aware of his unclean forces. (parenthesis mine)

Based on this recap, he then tells us his interpretation of “original sin:”

Thus, man comes into new conscious embodiment bearing his own sin, “original” only in the sense that he, himself, committed it. His anxiety is that of an adult amnesia victim: he does not know what he has done, who he is, how he came to lose his prior consciousness, and if he presents himself to the authorities he must face the fact that he could have committed any crime, although in his new consciousness he is utterly innocent of it. Because man never recovers from infant amnesia, he fears to face his inner, knowing Authority. But the Noah legend indicates that man comes into each new birth to start life afresh with his clean forces represented sevenfold, (Genesis 7:2) although his unclean forces are still present…

Amnesiacs Convention.

For Harold original sin is a consequence of forgotten past deeds that “missed the mark,” performed in previous lives but forgotten in present embodiment. Therefore, Harold says that overall these Genesis legends point towards the reality of reincarnation. Beginning with our next post we will enquire into the witnesses of scripture, Jesus, and traditional views regarding the validity and possibility of reincarnation. Until then, peace.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Finishing up Chapter 4, we look at what frees us from the suppression of our humanity due to the limitations of the Group-ego. Harold tells us:

Jesus saw that man is, first of all, in bondage to the sin and error he embraces – “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34) But He saw, too, that truth frees.

Truth, parent in man, will not forever allow him to embrace a false ideal. And truth, parent in man, leads the mortal parent to drive the child from parasitic bondage – both suffer the traumatic effects.

So freeing ourselves from deriving our physical, biological, and psychical sustenance from other humans is a traumatic event for us. Harold says that not only truth, but this trauma also frees:

When Pavlov’s conditioned dogs were caged in a cellar that flooded one night, that single stressful exposure Imagewas so shaking that much of their conditioned learning was lost.

Every human being, if he lives a normal span, suffers five traumatic events that serve to expand his consciousness and increase his need to know the truth of himself in being: the trauma of birth, of puberty, of recognizing himself to be cast out in solitary being, of losing his sexual competency, of anticipating the loss of his life. Thus, built into his nature are the stresses that periodically “flood the cellar” of his subconscious mind and free him of much of the “conditioned learning” society and Babel Tower builders have imposed upon him. Therefore, before death overtakes him, he is free of much of his spurious “conditioning.”

And of course it is death that completely sets us free. Which is why Jesus tells us we must die to self, pick up our crosses and follow him. We must “hate father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, and yes, even our own life.” If we are truly free of conditioning, then like Him we will have “nowhere to lay our head.” We will be completely open and present to the “here and now” moment, eternity.

Image

I hope you have enjoyed the considerations presented in Chapter 4! With the next installment we will begin digging into Chapter 5, “Original Sin and Saving Grace.” Until then, peace…

Dilemma of the Group-ego

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Preston Harlod explains:

…the more lost man’s consciousness becomes in the sands of humanity’s ego-groups and Group-egos, the more his Authority-Ego leads him to hate his life in this world and any concept of himself or another that makes him a group-component or appendix or product even of his own family – thus, he must renounce any tie that binds him to Group-ego before he can become One, himself, truth to his own being.

Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) Preston Harold again:

“Israel,” the consciousness outgrown from that which was born in Eden, carried on in the ark, is a multitude of selves to which the Authority-Ego comes as saving grace – and “Israel’s” salvation depends upon being freed of the bonds of Group-ego.

Image

In what ways does Group-ego hold us back from becoming fully human? Harold ruminates in depth:

…Group-ego is found in all nationalities and races, expressing itself most vehemently in those most anti-semitic. Group-ego was merely elaborated in Christianity, and was further elaborated in Nietzche’s concept of super-race, coming finally to rest in Karl Marx’s mass-ego ideal wherein man in classless society must sacrifice his individuality to the State, to the Super-ideology, rather than to the idea of the Chosen-race, super-religion, or super-race complex.

The Greeks and Romans suffered Group-ego. The Athenian was first a creature of the State, Athenian democracy his god, and the Roman followed in his footsteps. Therefore, both embraced ziggurat concepts, towers of Babel, the structure of their society replacing God. But in the first and “almost perfect democracy” there was no part “for women, foreigners or slaves…” Euripides, the poet, had condemned slavery, calling it “that thing of evil,” and “the Stoics denounced it.” But something other than slavery also worked to undermine Athenian civilization. The need of Athens was that each of her citizens take full responsibility; but in “the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security, a comfortable life, and they lost all – security and comfort and freedom.”

Group-ego and responsibility are incompatible. Group-ego leads to the expression of parasitic consciousness.

Image

I have no doubt that you, reader, will find many parallels with Athens in today’s United States. Ben Franklin once stated, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” History is on his side.

We are almost finished with Chapter 4!  Our next post will be the last of the chapter, exploring what helps to set us free from the constraints of Group-ego. Until then, peace…

Dilemma of the Ego-Group

In his poem “Tintern Abbey” William Wordsworth describes an all too rare state of consciousness:

…I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.

Image

Poetry is necessary because nothing yet in psychology’s concepts of ego or superego provides for humanity’s direct correspondence with complete truth and joy.   Nor does psychology provide concepts for the inner certainty of infinity, or deathlessness. According to Wordsworth’s poem, the sublime sense of joy and eternity is based on the sense of a “presence.” Usually our sense of “presence” is rooted in a person, or some living being. Yet in our everyday lives we regularly identify with groups, becoming a different personality depending upon the group with which we are interacting. Harold says:

Dependency upon the group means loss of one’s individuality – this is seen…to be the growing problem. Dr. Van den Berg says, “We are not ourselves; actually there is nothing we can call a ‘self’ anymore…we have as many selves as there are groups to which we belong.” In simple truth man does present a different self to every person, to every situation – he always has, always will…

This reality of different selves leads to an issue that needs to be solved:

Man’s consciousness is not expressed by an ego, but by an ego-group which includes an image that Imagecorresponds to each person he knows, sees, or thinks about. His Dr. Jekyll selves are haunted by his Mr. Hyde selves, and these graduate one into the other – but none of these selves are the man himself. Only as he tries to merge these ego-members into a Self-consistency, into a Group-ego, to replace Authority-Ego must his identity incorporate every degradation he has suffered, inflicted, witnessed, or read about. Attempting to be one-self by making of the ego-group a Group-ego causes the personality to reflect all that characterizes the group in society – no part of it is responsible for one’s failure or misery, no part is wholly mature.

So what is the remedy for making a person wholly mature?

A governing authority, one central to man’s being, appears to be necessary to him. Jesus teaches that this authority, which upholds social and moral law even as it transcends law’s limitations, cannot be found in society nor in man’s conscious domain where conscience operates. But such an authority is within each man: it is a certainty in being that accords with truth and turns consciousness to experience truth as it works in life. Upon this Authority’s shoulders the government of one’s life rests; in time it brings him to reap as he sows; it refuses much that consciousness accepts; it returns the forgotten errors the ego-group refuses to face; it will call itself only by its God-given name, “I.”

Image

And there it is, our remedy, our answer: the sense of “presence,” an “I,” an experience of “one person,” each person’s Authority-Ego. We will explore our Authority-Ego’s leading in our next post. Until then, peace…

Group Dynamics

How is mankind able face the overwhelming terror of society when he or she has loosened the parental parasitic bonds? Certainly one way to cope is by becoming a part of or identifying as one of a group. Out on our own, we immediately begin looking for new “families.” This helps lessen the blow of the avalanche of individual responsibility foisted upon us.   But does it help lead to the goal of becoming in truth a free and independent being?

…today psychology reduces the size of faceless terror by leading the individual to become part of a group, assuming a “group name” so to speak, so that he may cope with nebulousness in a smaller dose. Dr. J.H. van den Berg says: “Today, acting as an adult means acting in a team…The peculiarity of all work done in teams, however, is primarily the lack of responsibility of each of the participants. No one is responsible. No one is wholly mature.”

Image

While I don’t personally feel that working as a part of a team guarantees lack of responsibility in all of the participants, I have experienced (and you probably have, too) the tendency of some to rely on others to do their fair share of the work. Of this, Preston Harold says…

One sees that leaning on the team’s Group-ego is but another expression of parasitic consciousness that allows Imagethe individual to escape the necessity of confronting himself in independent being, responsible to and for himself and his acts. In leading a person to use Group-ego as a crutch, the real value and need of organized effort in life is subverted. 

And dependence on the group can lead to the loss of one’s individuality. We will explore this consequence in our next post. Until then, peace.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74 other followers