So then I wonder, why does any of this matter? And then it occurs to me that it is truly the most important thing. My spiritual wanderings have helped me understand that if you have your spiritual house in order, your whole life is in order. Now, I don’t believe that spirituality is psychology at all and I think people consistently intermingle the two. Having your spiritual house in order will not end your suffering, it will not make you rich, it is not a magic wand that allows you to custom order how you want things to go.
What it does do is allow you identify every event in your life as spiritual homework. How can I look at EVERY situation from a spiritual viewpoint? What lesson am I supposed to be learning here? Am I working off a karma debt? Is the person I am interacting with reacting that way because I caused this person pain in a past life? How will I choose to respond if that indeed is the case? Do I want to have to repeat this lesson again and again in this life and possibly in the next if I don’t learn from it OR do I chose to learn my lesson…now?
We all always have a choice in how we respond and if someone caused you pain – especially a significant loss – in the last life, you will be given the opportunity to settle the score and pay him back…if you chose to. Or if you want to get off of the wheel of karma with that person, you can choose a compassionate response and understand that all isn’t necessarily what it seems. There is a bigger picture working here. And then maybe you can say, if only to yourself, this person is reacting to me because of something I have done now or before, I am going to forgive him now and try to end both of our suffering.
Tradition, TRADITION! Hmmmm, when speaking of reincarnation, what do the various religious traditions teach? We are all most likely familiar with the Eastern religions, Buddhism and Hinduism holding reincarnation as a basic tenet. But what do some religious traditions not generally associated with reincarnation teach? Could it be that even Jesus believed in and taught reincarnation?
Well, let’s examine a few basic principles, while perhaps your basic everyday “Joe Jew” probably doesn’t hold fast to the teachings on reincarnation, much of the esoteric work written in Aramaic and in some prominent works such as the “Zohar” from the 1st Century and Rabbi Chaim Vital’s 16th Century work “The Gates of Reincarnation” (Shaar HaGilgulim) certainly do speak to reincarnation. Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah, also holds that each Jewish soul is reincarnated enough times to fulfill each of the 613 Mitzvot.
So if early Jews – at least some – entertained the idea of reincarnation, is it possible the Jesus himself did? Yes, indeed I think he may have. Matthew 17:10-13 references John the Baptist as Elijah, what of Jesus himself appearing as a gardener after his resurrection, or his disciples not recognizing him until he started speaking? Mark 16:12 “Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.”
We also can look to the Church herself, I mentioned this briefly in an earlier post –
It was back in the time of Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century. Origen, an early father of the Church (later condemned), wrote extensively on the “pre-existence of souls”. Emperor Justinian wanted his works condemned and destroyed. Pope Vigilius (yes , the POPE) refused and was jailed by Justinian for 4 years as a result! In 543 AD Emperor Justinian convened the 5th General Council of the Church at Constantinople and it was then Pope Vigilius and 3 Bishops refused to sign an edict (known as the Three Chapters) condemning reincarnation. The Three Chapters remain unsigned today.
So, could it indeed be possible that Jesus himself, taught reincarnation? I think strong evidence suggests perhaps
To continue on a theme of reincarnation, I have spent a lot of time pondering the possibility of reincarnation, reading endless perspectives and trying to understand why thinking about it was important to me. What started to gel was the fact that the imprint of previous lives is certainly effecting my life and life choices now. The importance of recognizing reincarnation is a key to my physical life now. Why I am in this life, why I have this family and these circumstances – what understanding could be more important?
Well, that still left a dilemma, I am asleep in this life time, I can’t clearly see who I was before, but maybe I can look carefully and get an idea that would help me. So I began pondering again. I do believe that that which we are most attracted to may just hold they key to where we once were. It takes careful observation because altho we all might want to have been a significant historical figure, we most likely were not.
I began to notice patterns, for me healing, alternative healing, an attraction to Chinese medicine – hmmm – was I perhaps a Chinese herbalist of some sort? Asked my family, those who know me best and their response? Yes, of course! and most likely I was a male – one of our family jokes – I was a Chinese Grandpa and he now and again is known to dispense wisdom today.
Thinking again, Irish lore, fairies, fairy circles, nature, healing again – well once again perhaps a Celtic healer of some sort. Check in with the family – yes, of course! I was probably a “fairy” healer at some point.
There can be a dark side as well, I have had a magnetic attraction to the Catholic Church that I have only recently been able to break. I could never figure out why, I wasn’t brought up in the Church so wasn’t indoctrinated from childhood. Then a good friend suggested – perhaps I was involved in the inquisition. Sent a chill down my spine…
Hmmmm…how do I know reincarnation exists? Well, I don’t really, I guess no one does really…all I can say it is a deep knowing for me. It makes sense of a world that otherwise wouldn’t. If God only gave people one life, or if people only had one life to live, why oh why would some people come into this world in the life situations they do? In abject poverty, where they are starving or starve to death, in abusive situations, with catastrophic illness, on and on…why would that make sense?
If we all came into this lifetime to experience a particular way of life – tragedy, pain or joy – now that resonates with me. Even tho I have not truly experienced another life time other than this one, at this moment, reincarnation makes sense to me. I can live compassionately and not be overwhelmed by the suffering around me. I can look at my life’s challenges and joys as learning experiences, as homework assignments and do my best to do them well, so I don’t have to repeat them to learn my lesson.
Eastern religions are totally comfortable with reincarnation…and friends, there is a good chance Jesus even taught reincarnation…Origen, an early father of the church taught reincarnation…Pope Vigilius in the 6th century was jailed by Emperor Justinian for his views on reincarnation (yes, it is true!) more on all of that another time….
I have come to realize that we all enter this world at different levels of consciousness. These levels serve as a foundation for the life lessons we are to learn this lifetime. The levels can be loosely identified as such:
Red: Basic survival, often caught up in the game of king of the hill, my way is the only right way. Spiritual affiliation; any fanatical fundamentalism
We are all walking a spiritual path whether we are aware of it or not. We have come into this lifetime at a set level of consciousness, our goal is to walk our path and become aware. How does one begin? Just by drawing our attention to it, become aware we are already walking.