Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is There Anything After This Life?

"We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey."
- Stephen Covey -

I believe in reincarnation. I decided this a long time ago. And when I did, I researched the topic to death (pun intended), and read as many books and articles about it as I possibly could. There were questions I needed answered. Information to fill in the grey areas. And a curiosity that needed satisfied. Some of my questions were answered. Some were not. And some of the blanks I filled in on my own with self-made explanations that made sense to me.


I did not grow up being taught about reincarnation, and there are very few – if any – family members and friends that believe such a thing exists. In fact, most of them would raise an eyebrow to this. I grew up in a typical Christian home where religion – and life in general - was defined by the old and new testaments. Straight forward. No grey areas. The world was created in six days. God made Adam and then Eve. There was Noah and Moses and John the Baptist. The birth of Jesus. His death and resurrection. We go to hell if we’re bad, and heaven if we’re good. And – according to John the Apostle in ‘Revelation’; the final book of the New Testament – we’re anticipating Jesus’ return at some point. Not sure when. But when he comes back, he’s going to be a tad bit upset with us. There’ll be some pretty wicked conflicts between good and evil, and the world will end. Additionally, once this apocalypse strikes, most of us will be put out to pasture. Rotten sinners that we are. Only a small group of (super) faithful Christians – some believe the number to be around 144,000 – will be heading to heaven to spend eternity with God. (After this tongue in cheek paragraph, I’m guessing I’m not going to be one of them.)

Anyway.


Most Christians I know are relatively comfortable with this uncomplicated explanation of life and death. Of the soul. And that’s fine. But I’m not. It’s too...mmm...simple. And I don’t believe that it should be that simple. I believe that earth is a training ground, and the primary purpose of our soul’s journey in this training ground is to evolve. In higher consciousness. A higher level of development. To master and practice compassion. Decency. Seflessness. Acceptance. And a whole lot of other wonderful virtues. To become old souls. In time.


But since the level of consciousness only increases by a small degree in an entire lifetime for the vast majority of people, how can our soul evolve to the highest level? How can we be expected to learn all the lessons that need to be learned? To become better human beings. To balance our karma. To have a chance at the gates of paradise. Is 70, 80 or 90 years long enough to evolve for a soul that is eternal? I don’t believe it is. That amount of time passes in the blink of an eye in the spirit world.


So I believe in reincarnation. And I believe that we return time and time again. To grow. To pay debts. To experience. To become better human beings. To reach the final stage of reincarnation. Or enlightment. Where there is more of an emphasis on teaching rather than learning. Becoming an old soul. Passing on those pearls of wisdom. And showing the younger ones the way.


So do I believe that there is something after death? After this life? That the soul is forever? Absolutely. But not in the traditional Christian way that I was taught growing up. It just doesn't work for me.



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26 comments:

  1. It depresses me to think that this life is all we get. But, I just cannot convince myself that there's more.I just try and stay grateful for what I have and do the best I can. I also fail miserably at this sometimes!

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    1. I think you have the right attitude, Sulky. Just live each day fully for this life, and don't worry about what's up next - or not!

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  2. The idea of reincarnation always makes me feel so tired. All those lives to get through!

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    1. I know...no wonder I'm so exhausted. In my next life, I'll come back as a cat and catch up on some sleep :)

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  3. Light energy never dies:) That's what I think too.

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  4. Hi Martha, I love this post. I agree with you. I find it sooo much easier to understand Hinduism (though i'm not a Hindu)and various forms of paganism than only a few of us are getting through the door after this world, or that we only have one time around here as well. I've had too many experiences that have lead me to believe otherwise. And, in a purely scientific-sort of point of view, energy cannot be destroyed, it simply changes form.

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    1. I feel the same way about that. Energy cannot be destroyed. I like to study different beliefs, extract what I like, mold it all together and come up with something that works for me. I can't just follow one way!

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  5. I just reread "Life after Life" by R. Moody. I rerembered treading it ages and ages ago. It's worth a look if you haven't read it. I know that what we see isn't all there is because I've been plagued by poltergeists at various times in my life. But what it is I really haven't a clue. Reincarnation is not unheard of in Xtianity. Love your thinking, Martha!

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    1. I should take a look at that book. It looks like it's right up my alley! I have had 'interesting' moments, too, so it's hard for me to believe that this is all there is.

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  6. Best thing I've read in awhile. I generally agree with you on all of this -- I just couldn't have said it as nicely. The pictures are pretty awesome too. Like with your family and friends, I don't really talk about what I think on these things because I get disapproving grunts at best and lectures at worst. Except for my sister and mom. They're both on board, too. Actually, my mom is a history teacher and tells me that reincarnation was actually in teh bible. But hte catholic church took it out a long time ago because they thought if people thought they were coming back, that they wouldn't give as much money to the church now. Lol, I don't know. But I agree with what you're saying here.

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    1. That is funny! And you know...your mom is probably right...LOL I don't discuss religion and politics too often. It's hard to find individuals that don't take it all too personally. Not worth the frustration!

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  7. Wonderful post Martha. We should all think deeply about these subjects now and then. I agree with you that this is simply a training ground and there is much more to come! As far as the rest of it, I really hope you are right. I guess some day we will all know for sure!

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    1. This isn't something I expect everyone to believe it; it simply works for me. No matter what anyone thinks happens, or doesn't happen, as long as they're comfortable with it, that's the right explanation.

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  8. A very thought provoking post, Martha. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I'm not sure what I believe happens once we die. I do however, truly hope (& pray, lol) that we do NOT come back again... some people have had some pretty horrific lives here on planet earth and the thought of being reborn into some countries and cultures or severely ill &/or handicapped is enough to scare me half to death! I'd actually be quite content to find out that this was 'it.'

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    1. I know what you mean, Jane, but I believe we choose our path before we arrive, no matter how hard it is, because there are lessons to be learned, and karma needs to be balanced. I think a hard life is a huge lesson. After all, if your life is always easy and cushy, and you're never faced with any difficulties, how will you learn certain things that can only be learned from situations like that. Like being strong, for example.

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  9. Free as a bird! That is what you are Martha! To believe what is the best path for you. This, I feel, is your best post.....very focused, no apologies, making your point. And besides, it is the exact same way I feel and millions of other people.
    The photos are outstanding and I particularly loved two of them most....the cat one reminded me of a beloved cat we had for 15 years, her name was Polo, thanks for this memory. And the second one was the chain photo....magnificent photo!

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    1. Yup, free as a bird, Jim! I don't like to align myself with any particular way of thinking because all religions and philosophies have something good to offer. A little of this, a little of that, and some of my own thoughts create the perfect formula! Thanks for the nice words about my photos. This photography thing is a huge passion right now! 15 years with your cat. How sweet! I hope my two kitties are with us for a long, long time!

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  10. Our sweet Polo lived her life with us....imagine 15 years....from Halifax to Vancouver and back....loved that kitty! Reincarnation only seems to make sense and your short but succinct explanation just reinforces this even more within my psyche.
    What's going on here, Martha....that's 2 post we agree on ....introverted nature and reincarnation!!Checkmarks!
    Ron

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    1. That is an amazing story with Polo. And traveling with you over the years. What an experience for all of you! Not sure when Polo passed away, but maybe that spirit is now in Sophie! Wouldn't that be the coolest thing?

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    2. Introverts and believers of reincarnation...hmmm...makes me wonder if I've come back to this life at the same time as some of my favourite bloggers!

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  11. Even though I am most of the time a more scientific based person, I believe in reincarnation too Martha. I read several books written Allan Kardec, Chico Xavier, in hinduism, etc. and other, besides having several friends who are believers in reincarnation and to me it just makes perfect sense to me in answering why in the world would one be born in a developed country and a child in starving Africa. Many people don't know, but my religion also believes in reincarnation, so it was easy to reconcile. My hubby and I though have decided we do not want to come back ;-)

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    1. That's what my husband says, too! That he doesn't want to come back...ever. I don't mind coming back, but not for another 100,000 years or so...maybe longer. I'd really like to see a more (hopefully) advanced civilization!

      I've read many books, too, over the years. There are so many interesting and fascinating theories out there!

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  12. This is a very courageous post, Martha, accompanied by lovely images. I say courageous, because too many people are locked into some narrow thoughts and judge you harshly if you have questions or think differently.
    I am always looking for answers to the big mysteries. I don't have them, yet. But I cannot help but think I have lived before, and that I will live again.
    Christianity has played a huge part in my life, and I have never been able to accept atheism, even for a minute. My soul just rejects it. I don't think that Christianity has the whole and only truth. My mother used to say that "We see through a glass darkly," and that there are things we're not meant to know until we die.
    I stopped going to church regularly when I was invited to bring my mail-in-ballot to a Saturday coffee, so we could all fill out our ballots together. NOT!
    I have had an out-of-body experience when I was held under gunpoint and thought I was going to die - so I am convinced that there is a separate body and soul, even if some scientists try to rationalize that experience away. The most unlikely people believe in reincarnation.
    I'm not sure what the answers are, but I tend to think in terms of reincarnation more than anything else.

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    1. I know what you mean about people being harsh with their judgments, but I can't deny who I am. I typically try not to pretend to believe in something I don't, or pretend that I'm okay with something that I'm not. If I'm not in an environment that makes me feel comfortable about sharing my opinion, I just won't say anything, nor will I agree with something someone says just so they'll feel that I'm on their team. I'll just sit and not say a word.

      I'm more of a spiritual person than a religious one. There is no religion that defines life 100% for me, so I'm not a big fan of organized religions.

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  13. I could not have said it better myself. This is exactly how I feel and act.

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