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.

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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…