>> Thursday, September 10, 2009
Reincarnation; the Hindu understanding. Image by the Himalayan Academy, from Wikipedia - original url. Copyrighted to Himalayan Academy Publications, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii. Licensed for Wikipedia under Creative Commons License cc-by-sa-2.5 and requires attribution when reproduced.
Shakespeare asked: What are your thoughts about past lives, about reincarnation. Does it exist, and what evidence is there that it might?
I'm going to answer the second part first because it's easier. There is no objective evidence today that reincarnation has ever happened. That ought to satisfy the Mother.
I'll expand, however, and say there's no way for objective evidence to exist, however, with our current technology. In order for there to be credible objective evidence of reincarnation, one would have to have a way of identifying people's souls definitively, like one can bodies via DNA or fingerprints - and then comparing it to a similar soul in a previous life. Since we can't even prove souls exist, this is beyond us and may always be (assuming, of course, souls exist). There has been some research done on this with some pretty compelling anecdotes (particularly the book, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by Ian Stevenson) and I must say that the critic's arguments fall flat for me. Assuming, because you're sure it can't exist, that it doesn't is hardly scientific; however, since I also don't discount the notion of psychic power out of hand, I can't discount that reincarnation is not the only explanation.
And that's why I specified "objective evidence." If you're open to the concept, as I am, the evidence seems pretty compelling. If you're closed to the notion, you can find excuses to dismiss the evidence with other explanations, which might be convoluted but can't be discounted out of hand. And it's all anecdotal, which is hard to evaluate objectively.
Having said all that, let me tell you what I think. I think it's quite plausible and personally believe it likely, even that I've lived previous lives. Why?
Several reasons that I find personally compelling. First, I believe, absolutely, in souls, in children having distinct and different souls that, in combination with the genetic makeup of their bodies, the physiological circumstances and environment, create the finished personality. I'm personally at a loss to understand how one could have children and not recognize the existence of souls, but I have no doubt it's happened. Just because I find the evidence overwhelming does not mean someone else would. But I think the belief in souls is required to open to the notion of reincarnation.
And I have a great respect for nature, who recycles like no one's business with nothing going to waste. It seems illogical to me, wasteful, for souls to be used and tossed with nowhere to go from there and, since Heaven is actually a harder concept for me to swallow (but I wouldn't have a problem with reincarnation even if I swallowed that), it makes sense to me that lives become journeys where you capture the most important lessons, the ones that affect your soul, over time, over lives before moving on to the next plane, whatever that might be.
I also have seen some very old souls in some young people, myself included. I can't remember when I didn't feel very old. And I see it in my eldest daughter as well.
But I don't expect that kind of evidence to be compelling to anyone else. Nor am I offended if someone else doesn't see it like I do.
But that's how *I* see it and, after all, I'm the one you asked.