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Switch to Forum Live View Questions About Some Aspects of Reincarnation
6 years ago  ::  Jul 09, 2008 - 7:44PM #1
steelpoet
Posts: 72
Hi all--

I'm currently reading  "Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation" by Gina Cerminara. It is simply fascinating! However, I have a few questions about some aspects of reincarnation presented in the book:

1.The book states that we mercifully "forget" our past incarnations and experiences. To remember all of those lifetimes would make us crazy, supposedly. However, it also devotes several chapters to vocations and ranges of human abilities and talents. Supposedly these talents or inclinations carry over from past lives. For example, if you were a so-so musician in a past life, you would continue developing those skills and become a better musician in this lifetime. How is it that we can't remember our past experiences yet continue to develop abilities we've had in the past?

On that note, I can sort of see the plausibility of progression of talents and abilities, seeing how civilizations and peoples have progressed with successive generations in areas of technology, art, medicine, science, etc.

2. The book states that bad things happen to us in our present life because of sins of omission and/or commission in past lives. It gives several case examples of people being victims of circumstance, abusive relationships, etc. This is called retributive karma. My question is: can somebody who abuses another person or commits a crime against them actually be doing "good" in the sense of balancing out another person's karma? But then acting in such a way towards another person is evil and brings more karma down on the head of the person doing itI I'm confused here.

Your thoughts?
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 10, 2008 - 11:49AM #2
tessalynne
Posts: 18
Hi steelpoet.  I will give you my understanding of the points raised in your second question.  One of the difficulties in understanding reincarnation is our tendancy to view it as the particular personality of Jane or John,  upon whom various experiences are visited. It is more accurate to see an intricate web of circumstances that will play out in a particular life, whichever spirit chooses that lifetime. 

Imagine in the spirit world that there are ten spirits reviewing ten open lifetimes, one to be assigned to each.  It is known that one of these lifetimes is in a family with a history of abuse and it is likely to recur.  One of the ten spirits experienced similar abuse in its last lifetime and was unable to prevent that abuse being perpetuated as an adult.  This spirit, in an effort to complete that lesson, to advance in spiritual status, chooses to take the lifetime.  The goals of the spirit might be to sustain and support Jane or John through whatever abuse occurs, to bring inflluence on the abusers to prevent it, to enlist outside help, and to help the adult Jane or John to deal with the history of abuse and to not perpetuate it. 

A spirit takes a lifetime knowing that it offers possibilities for needed lessons to occur, the specifics are not always known.  It is also important to stress that not every bad experience, in this case abuse, is known in advance of that lifetime.  One can not assume that every child abused had been an abuser in a previous life. 

I think that the concept of karma is too often interpreted as what does X deserve to have happen?  I belileve it is more accurate to say that X is guided to take a lifetime that will offer a chance to get it right.

Your specific question, can someone be doing good by being bad?  If a current abuser is abusing a former abuser is that good?  And assuming the current abuser was also a victim as a child?  Suppose the current abuser has the opportunity to seek help, and is able to refrain from abuse?  Would he be encouraged to abuse anyway in order to teach a lesson to the former abuser? 

I believe that each of the above persons would be responsible for all of their actions.  Suppose the potential abuser did abuse.  That act would follow him throughout the remainder of his lifetime, as opportunities are presented for him to confront his actions, atone.  His obligation would be no less if his victim had once been an abuser.  On return to the spirit world, he would be held to the same standard, based on his own actions, regardless of the past history of his victim.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 10, 2008 - 4:22PM #3
steelpoet
Posts: 72
Wow...I'll have to read over your post again, as it gives a lot of food for thought! So what you're basically saying is that in the spirit world, we choose certain earthly lives (good, bad, or just plain ugly) in order to learn needed lessons from the experience.

I find it interesting that we seem to be much more knowledgeable or aware in the spirit world, because I see many people going thru their lives totally unaware or in outright ignorance of things going on around them. Or perhaps these are entities who are just in an unevolved state in this incarnation? I mean, why else would an entity knowingly choose a life in which he/she is totally ignorant of things outside of his/her own little world? I hope what I just wrote makes sense; it's sort of hard to explain.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 10, 2008 - 5:07PM #4
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

steelpoet wrote:

Wow...I'll have to read over your post again, as it gives a lot of food for thought! So what you're basically saying is that in the spirit world, we choose certain earthly lives (good, bad, or just plain ugly) in order to learn needed lessons from the experience.



While I agree that we choose a family, place and situation to be born into in order to learn certain spiritual lessons, I don't think the incoming soul knows in advance what kind of life the person it will be reborn as is going to have. In other words, just because the soul chooses a family situation likely to be abusive (as in the example), that doesn't mean that the soul knows in advance that it will be. People are making choices constantly, any one of which can lead to a different direction for their individual life and those of family members.

So, for instance, this soul chooses to be born into a probably abusive family situation, but when the person is an infant, the parents convert to a new religion and get counseling so that they are no longer abusive. In which case, the soul will find other opportunities to learn whatever lessons were chosen.

Just because we look at a given situation and label it as balancing some kind of karma doesn't necessarily mean that it is. We're looking at something playing out that might be balancing karma of a different sort altogether.

I find it interesting that we seem to be much more knowledgeable or aware in the spirit world, because I see many people going thru their lives totally unaware or in outright ignorance of things going on around them.



I think that awareness in spirit is a progression--or evolution, if you will. We don't start out getting to choose every aspect of the situation we'll be reborn into, I don't believe. Only after we have progressed  through various life experiences do souls get more choice in these matters. Until then, they are guided in their choices by the advice of various spirit guides just as young children are guided by their parents. Parents don't give a 3-year-old the same options they'd give a 12-year-old. Spirit guides operate similarly, I believe.

Or perhaps these are entities who are just in an unevolved state in this incarnation? I mean, why else would an entity knowingly choose a life in which he/she is totally ignorant of things outside of his/her own little world? I hope what I just wrote makes sense; it's sort of hard to explain.



I'm not sure I'm understanding your meaning here, but if you mean someone who doesn't recall past lives, maybe doesn't even believe there is such a thing, that can be a choice made for a specific type of learning. Perhaps that soul's learning is focused upon something in material existence and knowledge or recall of past lives would only distract from the chosen lessons.

I do think that we don't become aware of our past lives until our soul has reached a point of development when such knowledge will further learning. Until then, we focus upon learning other things that don't require such awareness.

I don't believe that we necessarily know more in spirit about what will happen in a forthcoming lifetime than we do as our lives are unfolding. We can't, for one thing, because the spirit would have no way to know in advance what direction that lifetime will take as a result of the choices the person and those associated with hir as family, friends and acquaintances will make that influence that lifetime. What we DO know in spirit before being reborn is how successfully the soul learned the lessons of previous lifetimes and what circumstances will best set the stage, so to speak, for the lessons chosen to be learned in this next lifetime. Beyond that, it's a matter of making one's own choices and reacting to events as they happen.

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6 years ago  ::  Jul 10, 2008 - 5:33PM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

steelpoet wrote:

1.The book states that we mercifully "forget" our past incarnations and experiences. To remember all of those lifetimes would make us crazy, supposedly.



Been a while since I read this book, so I don't recall just what Cerminara's point was about this. It makes sense to me, though, that once we reach a point when we begin to remember past lives, we may only recall those that have definite bearing upon our current lifetime's spiritual lessons. I could see that remembering every past life we've had would be confusing, something like feeling scattered because we have too many things we must do and can't decide where to start.

However, it also devotes several chapters to vocations and ranges of human abilities and talents. Supposedly these talents or inclinations carry over from past lives. For example, if you were a so-so musician in a past life, you would continue developing those skills and become a better musician in this lifetime. How is it that we can't remember our past experiences yet continue to develop abilities we've had in the past?



Again, it might simply be that the knowledge wouldn't be that helpful. What difference does it really make to a Tiger Woods, for example, that he's a terrific golfer in this lifetime because he had a succession of past lives in which he played golf ranging from being lousy at it to fair and now stunningly good? Would knowing about that be of any benefit necessarily? Isn't it possible that what is of more importance are the opportunities he has as a result of his talent and what he does with them?

Personally, I think there's something to the idea of unexplained talents being the result of past life experience. I'm an athletic klutz. I've never been good at sports, got fairly decent P.E. grades mostly for being willing to keep trying.

However, one of my favorite toys as a child was a toy golfclub and ball. I don't remember if it was a gift or I bought it with my own money. My parents couldn't understand my fascination with golf as we weren't of a social class that joined country clubs. They were rather disdainful of golfers, in fact, since they thought only the snobbish rich played golf. I always rather wished I could have had lessons as a child but had to settle for playing miniature golf when I got the chance.

In college, I decided to take golf as one of my P.E. classes. Completely inexplicably, I was instantly GOOD at it. I caught on immediately to the point that practicing driving and various other shots was almost effortless. Things like proper grip and driving that the instructor said would feel really odd if you'd never done it before felt strangely familiar to me.

One day, while giving me some pointers, one of the student aides asked how long I'd been playing. I said I'd never played golf in my life until this class. He got a startled look and said that was a surprise as he figured I'd played at least as long as he had as good as I was. He was in his early 20's and had been playing since he was 8, he said. (And no, I don't think this was flattery. He really did seem startled when I said I'd never played before.) In short, I ended up getting an A in the class, the only one I've ever had in a P.E. class.

Past life influence? Yeah, I think so. That's the only explanation that's ever made any sense to me.

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6 years ago  ::  Jul 10, 2008 - 8:28PM #6
tessalynne
Posts: 18
I agree with DotNotInOz that spirits know few specifics of a lifetime beforehand, that it is essential that they make choices, in fact are purposely presented with competing choices.  Guardians or guides are more aware.
As we attempt to evolve spiritually, it is through reaching out to both our own spirit and to guides that we are helped in making choices. 

Why do so many seem ignorant of what is happening outside their own little world?  Though a spirit of lesser status may be less adept at prompting a response,  our culture, i.e. all of us, are more a factor. Many spirits return from physical lives in the last century disappointed at the lack of opportunities found for growth.  It is up to us to turn away from the material and seek greater connection with the spiritual. 

On the question of past lives, it is my understanding that each spirit carries with them certain memories from only several.  These are chosen on the basis of unresolved issues from those lifetimes and/or specific knowledge or experience that it is known will be helpful in the present lifetime.  It is not necessary to do past life regression to access them, but to be open to the possibility, to examine disturbing issues rather than run from them or repress them.  It is the resolving of issues presented in this lifetime that is important.  That they are tied to past life experiences may be helpful, may be of great assistance in resolving, but it is not essential to know the details of the past life.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 10, 2008 - 10:42PM #7
steelpoet
Posts: 72
[QUOTE=DotNotInOz;616443]



I'm not sure I'm understanding your meaning here, but if you mean someone who doesn't recall past lives, maybe doesn't even believe there is such a thing, that can be a choice made for a specific type of learning. Perhaps that soul's learning is focused upon something in material existence and knowledge or recall of past lives would only distract from the chosen lessons.

I do think that we don't become aware of our past lives until our soul has reached a point of development when such knowledge will further learning. Until then, we focus upon learning other things that don't require such awareness.

[/QUOTE]

What I was trying to say was that by "unaware", some people cannot make the connection between cause and effect in their current lives as to why they're living a certain way. They never realize the effect their actions might have on others even if you keep pointing it out, or why they keep perpetuating the same set of circumstances. They're so caught up in the details of their everyday lives that they don't bother to read or question or ponder things. Or they never bother to think outside of prescribed ways of thinking or acting. I know several people like that and wonder about what lessons they're here to learn, because sometimes it seems they aren't learning a thing at all and it can be frustrating. It's like they're stuck in a rut or something.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2008 - 1:21PM #8
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

steelpoet wrote:

I never thought of it in that way. I suppose there's 2 sides to the coin here: we're here to learn and also to teach...it's the teaching part I often forget. I didn't mean to sound critical of others in my previous question, although at times I do judge people based on visible aspects of their lives without knowing the whole picture. :(



I think attempting to assess others' spiritual progress is something most of us have likely done at one time or another. I know that's one of my weaknesses. Certainly after having read Chelsea Quinn-Yarbro's Michael books some years ago, I got caught up in trying to categorize people I met. Eventually, I gave it up as both too complicated and not that useful.

The more I've studied and worked with past lives, the more I think I've enough to do living my own life without being so concerned with what others do with theirs. Easier said than done for a curious, "nosy Nell" like me, though, I admit. :o

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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 1:12AM #9
williejhonlo
Posts: 3,444
[QUOTE=steelpoet;617071]What I was trying to say was that by "unaware", some people cannot make the connection between cause and effect in their current lives as to why they're living a certain way. They never realize the effect their actions might have on others even if you keep pointing it out, or why they keep perpetuating the same set of circumstances. They're so caught up in the details of their everyday lives that they don't bother to read or question or ponder things. Or they never bother to think outside of prescribed ways of thinking or acting. I know several people like that and wonder about what lessons they're here to learn, because sometimes it seems they aren't learning a thing at all and it can be frustrating. It's like they're stuck in a rut or something.[/QUOTE] In the vedas, it is said that material life is like chewing that which has already been chewed. Reincarnation exist to give us (souls) a chance to spiritually develop. In the human form of life a soul has a body that has developed consciousness, it can inquire, what am I ? where have I come from? what is God ? why do I have to suffer ? The human form is like key to get out of jail  therefore The human form of life is meant for service to God, for only in this form can we contemplate, pray, praise and render service to God, animals do not have this capacity. If a soul given this opportunity does not advance in any way then he has to continue to reincarnate until he finally realizes the futility of material enjoyment. The reason why people don't read or ponder things is due to their lack of developing spiritual knowledge therefore they never realize the importance of this valuable human form. As far as particular lessons to be learned goes, unless one is taught his spiritual identity he will never be able to differentiate between matter and spirit which is knowledge that is imperative for the soul to understand the futility in trying to enjoy material existence.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 9:19AM #10
Ask.seek.knock
Posts: 1,072

steelpoet wrote:

What I was trying to say was that by "unaware", some people cannot make the connection between cause and effect in their current lives as to why they're living a certain way. They never realize the effect their actions might have on others even if you keep pointing it out, or why they keep perpetuating the same set of circumstances. They're so caught up in the details of their everyday lives that they don't bother to read or question or ponder things. Or they never bother to think outside of prescribed ways of thinking or acting. I know several people like that and wonder about what lessons they're here to learn, because sometimes it seems they aren't learning a thing at all and it can be frustrating. It's like they're stuck in a rut or something.



Maybe it's not about what they're here to learn. Maybe they've come into your life path so that you can learn acceptance that everyone is not at the same point in their journey as you. Maybe you're supposed to lead by example rather than by "pointing out" what you consider their faulty thoughts/behaviors.

ASK

"The best thing you can do for the world is make the most of yourself." -- Wallace D. Wattles

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