teachings from the realms of light

Ask Sananda 52: Reincarnation

Question: What is the value of reincarnation as an idea and as a way of creating experience?

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Welcome. Let’s explore the subject of reincarnation just a little bit. I’m going to begin with an important reminder, and indeed this reminder will become obvious in the first things I have to say about reincarnation. The reminder is this: hold what I say lightly, don’t let anything turn into a fixed belief here. Words are extremely useful, but we’re talking about an area of life, as indeed all areas of life are, which has great complexity, is complex in very subtle ways. Whatever I say about reincarnation, is only a partial truth, one perspective or perhaps several perspectives, but not the whole truth, not the whole lived experience. Good, now, you’ll find that some people believe in reincarnation. Some people feel that this life is all there is. Some believe not exactly in reincarnation, but what is sometimes called rebirth, subtly different. And all of them are right. This is because of that word ‘you’. So some will say you reincarnate. Some will say no, when you die, that is the end of life. Some will say you don’t reincarnate, you dissolve and out of the wholeness of the universe, a new beingness comes into experience, into life. All are correct because of that word ‘you’. 

Who or what is ‘you’? If you think of ‘you’ as your physical body, your personality, your character, your name, all that makes up the surface of a human experience and indeed quite a lot of the depth of a human experience, then you can truly say that that is all, and when that dies, that is the end. For there won’t be another ‘you’ with that name, living in that time and that space. There really is an end. But if, for you, the ‘you’ you are is more than just your human manifestation, just your physical body, just your name, just your character, just your history in this life and so on, then you’re opening up to something else. This life is not the end in any true sense. There certainly will be aspects of what it is to be ‘you’ that you leave behind. But if you believe in reincarnation, your experience is that you take with you a harvest from this lifetime, a history, a group of experiences that will in some degree feed into the next manifestation of your being. 

If, for you, with the death of the physical body, the human characteristics, your name, your personal history and so on, there is a sense that all that dissolves, but dissolves into the oneness of the Udniverse, then there can indeed be a truth in saying that, out of that oneness, something that has some kind of connection, however mysterious that might be with you in this lifetime will come into being at another time, another place. Each of those viewpoints is looking at the same subject and seeing a truth. 

For the most part, I’m now going to focus upon the middle of those ideas, a belief in reincarnation: that you take from this life some specifics that relate to this life, and they feed into the choices you make for your next incarnation. I’ll move from that view later on, but initially it can be a useful way of understanding much about your life. First of all, that you come into this life not as a blank sheet of paper, that upon that paper is already written quite a lot. You are not shapeless, you are not formless. Of course, you take on a physical form that has its own distinct characteristics, but the ‘you’ who is adopting those characteristics, who is living as that physical form, you come in with your own agenda and your own history. And so you can imagine quite easily that after a lifetime you ascend to another dimension or state, but you don’t wholly leave this life behind. You have an opportunity to review it, to consult with many wise and loving advisors. ‘What did I learn? How have I grown through that lifetime I’ve just left behind? What did I find difficult and maybe would be wise to pay more attention to on a future occasion?’ and so on. 

And so here we have an image of reincarnation as a process that exists over long periods of time, which can be seen as a sort of winnowing or enhancing of the core being that is you. A strong sense, then, of a kind of continuity that, whilst you are not the same person you were in a lifetime, say five hundred years ago, nevertheless there are aspects of that being that are relevant and in some degree present with you in this lifetime. In this way, a series of incarnations can be seen as like beads, strung on a necklace: there is a thread of continuity, however unique each bead or lifetime might be. 

Here, then, is a clear sense of trajectory: You are evolving and using each lifetime as an expanded space of exploration where, from the soul’s point of view, time is slowed down or expanded so that you can examine in considerable detail certain kinds of characteristics, qualities, possibilities and so on that are interesting to you, that help you to grow. An idea, then, of progression towards a sort of perfection, whatever that might be. 

And with this, of course, there is often a belief that, after a long cycle of incarnations, or perhaps a brief cycle of incarnations, you conclude the business of reincarnating in physical form. You have, as it were, learned all that is there for you to learn. Or to express it another way, you have achieved self-realisation. In a sense what happens with that is that you come to recognise that the whole process of taking on physical form is a kind of illusion, that there is a beingness that you more and more identify with, and whatever physical form you adopt is just a temporary garment, something to use for particular purposes. And with that culmination, that process of self-realisation becomes a certain point where, in all probability, you don’t reincarnate any more, but move into different forms of being. It is entirely possible, however, that even if you achieve self-realisation, given the need there is around the Universe for help, that you may decide that you would like to continue to use the gifts, the achievements, the wisdom that you have achieved and help others by taking on physical form again. 

This makes a useful opportunity to point out perhaps an obvious truth. If you look at any one individual in any one lifetime, unless you have the ability to look very deeply, you will probably be able to tell only a little about the nature of that being. Thus it might be that people who, in your eyes, behave rather badly or in an unevolved way, are actually, at other levels of their being or other stages or other places, highly evolved. You are only witnessing a small area of behaviour, and that small area of behaviour may be something that they have chosen to focus on in order to understand one of the complexities of the Universe. So this, then, is simply a reminder to refrain from judgement as much as you can, simply assume that everyone is doing the best that she or he can, and leave it at that. 

But you might ask why this pattern of being? Why reincarnation? Why follow this way of growing? It’s not the only way of growing. It’s one that you have used widely on Earth, and in other places as well. You can imagine, not a series of incarnations, but one very long lifetime, which gave you plenty of time for growing, from careless infancy to wise old age, over many hundreds or thousands or even millions of years. It’s not too difficult to imagine that it could be done like that. However, there are disadvantages to that approach. It might feel to you that a major advantage is that you can avoid dying over and over again, and you might feel, ‘I’d welcome that’. But you may discover that dying is not really a very big deal. However, if you’re in one physical form, for all that it grows and changes through the years, there is a risk of a kind of narrowing of vision. 

It takes a highly evolved being with a very special relationship with a physical body to be able to sustain that physical body or renew it continuously over long periods of time. By contrast, reincarnating in lifetime after lifetime gives you a very good opportunity to explore a wide variety of ways of being. To give an obvious example, you can be male in one lifetime and female in the next. More generally, you can develop skills in one lifetime and then switch to an entirely different set of skills in the next lifetime and overall you’re developing a whole palette of skills and wide range of abilities. So it turns out to be a very efficient way of evolving in the context of a physical world. 

In addition, your soul, your helpers and guides allow you to manifest in an environment, so a time and place, a society and so on, that is particularly well-suited to the area of growth you’re interested in developing. When you look, when you get a kind of soul’s overview of the entire evolutionary process of a planet, it’s easy to see that there are moments, times, places where there is particular value for you as a being to incarnate. Where there might be other periods where the value is less: it’s a little bit too close to what you’ve already done; you don’t really need to do that again. So the richness of history, if we stay with Planet Earth, that Planet Earth has exhibited, wide range of possible experiences it offers means that it makes, if we choose to see it this way, a very good school for evolving the spirit. 

It’s useful to talk a little bit about time. There is an interesting relationship for you with your past lives and with your future lives. Your past lives are a kind of history and, as I said, when you’re born you come in with a degree of imprint from previous lifetimes, particular areas that you’re interested in focusing on or perhaps particular skills that you’ve developed in your last lifetime and feel would be useful to import to a considerable degree into this lifetime. You’ll be familiar with how sometimes, for example, children will be born very musical, into a musical family for sure, but there can be a sense that there’s more than just an innate ability or that if that innate ability is there, it’s not simply a matter of genes, that there’s a kind of history that that individual has of music-making that means that they find there’s a natural facility that takes off at a very early age, and I’m sure you can think of other examples. 

From your point of view you may tell yourself, and you may be quite correct about this, that you don’t really know what future lives, if any, you might have. Perhaps you can feel some sense of ‘yeah, there’s more to come, I don’t know what’. On occasion it might be that you have insights, momentary flashes of vision, seeing yourself in some future time. There’s a range of possibilities, but what is clear to you is that, however fixed the past might be, your history, the future doesn’t feel so fixed, and indeed we would suggest that this is the fundamental difference between past and present. 

So now let’s launch into the sea of consciousness. Let’s look at all this in a slightly different way. Imagine yourself as simultaneously all that the sea of consciousness is, so that you are the totality of consciousness, but you’re also a focus within that consciousness. So a useful analogy, familiar analogy, is the sea. You are simultaneously all of the sea, but you’re also just one drop or one molecule of water within the sea, a focus. From the point of view of the focus that you are, you choose to identify certain energies with a focus that gives them form. They become your past experientially, because they’re things that you have decided exist, they’re definites. These might be experiences or actually the things that make up your physical world. 

Let’s stay more with the notion of experiences, your past experiences, having a degree of fixedness because you have, through your focus, as it were, crystallised elements of the sea of consciousness, and these you name your past. Then, when you look at that sea that is still in a state of complete or very considerable fluidity, you name that your future. That’s the aspect of the sea of consciousness that you’ve not yet chosen to focus on in such a way that it crystallises into experience. So from that point of view, which is more like your soul’s point of view, all that the past is are those things that you’ve decided and all that the future is is those things that are as yet undecided. In that way, it can be that all of your lifetimes coexist simultaneously for your soul, the future as well as the past. But you, as the focus within the sea of consciousness that you experience as being you, you choose to be as yet undecided about the future lifetimes. You choose to be decided about the nature of the past lifetimes. 

This gives you an opportunity, at every point along this journey, to play with the movement from fluidity to crystallisation. And in crystallising, all that you’re doing really is taking an aspect of the sea of consciousness and examining it in detail, hence the word focus, very much like a microscope, shall we say. You become a microscope. All of this immense ocean, limitless ocean of consciousness, you explore and in order to understand it more, you focus in. And in focusing in, what you focus upon, through the power of your focus, crystallises, to a degree, into experience. It’s not immutable, but for a while it becomes relatively fixed for you. 

From what you then have chosen to describe as your past, because you focused upon it until it crystallises, you select what you’re interested in experiencing next. So, from your point of view, the future is still very, very open. You haven’t made that choice. That’s because you’re focusing on one particular incarnation, which is you now. But if you shift to be your soul, which is in a continuous now and seeing all of your lifetimes as simultaneous in that continuous now, then there is no distinction between what you experience as a past life and what you experience as a future life. For your soul they are both fixed and unfixed. So your soul can see the crystallised forms of your past lives that you have chosen. It can also see those past lives as full of other possibilities. Similarly, your soul looks at what, for you, are future lives and sees mobility, a multiple range of choices, fluidity there, nothing fixed, and it can see all of the possible choices that you can make. It’s not fixed for you. It’s not fixed either in past or future for your soul, but you’re seeing it in a slightly different way. 

From this perspective you can say that your ultimate purpose as a being, as a focus, is to experience the sea of consciousness so fully, and examining it through a particular focus is one way of doing this, but only one way, that you are able to identify yourself again fully with the sea of consciousness. You’re no longer an individual drop, an individual focus. You are all the focuses possible, everything that is, and in this way you find yourself becoming reunited or one with the Source of All. 

So in this segment I’ve been moving to more of the notion of rebirth out of the oneness of the Universe than the notion of reincarnation, lifetime to lifetime to lifetime, through time, and, as I indicated at the beginning, all of these viewpoints say something of the truth. None of them is the whole truth, but they give you an opportunity to get some sense of what the value of reincarnation is for you. 

A little bit more. Some suggestions about the value of reincarnation, past lives, future lives, for you. First of all, a huge encouragement to see yourself as perfect as you are. Never mind what the past is, never mind what the future is. Be here now, as they say. The more you are able to do that, actually, the more you find both past and future opening up for you or coming to join you in the present. Understand that you yourself are the creator of all of these experiences. Of course you co-create. You’re not alone in this. Again, the more you open your awareness out to all of that sea of consciousness, the more you appreciate that it’s all co-creation, that even that which seems most directly connected to you and only to you: ‘This is my action. No one else chose this’. That’s an illusion ultimately. You are all one consciousness. There is no other. There is only that which is you, which is the consciousness of the All That Is. 

Therefore, take a free attitude to your past, both within this lifetime, but also whatever sense you have or whatever feeling you have for what might have been your past lives. For example, many of you can look back and see or feel or know somehow that at one time or another it’s not been easy for you to shine your light in the world, that you have perhaps been persecuted or perhaps simply mocked, rejected and so on, and that can colour your experience in this lifetime. You can find a certain shyness about sharing what you believe with others, and so on. Allow yourself to know that this moment is this moment, and whatever has happened in the past actually does not shape the present. 

So we’ve got an interesting paradox here. I’ve been saying to you that past lives exert an influence upon you in this lifetime, and that’s true, but you do not have to bend to that influence. You are an artist, you might say. You may find that the palette of colours you are given is inherited. Maybe it was a hard life last time. Maybe the colours are muted and distorted in some way. That’s okay. You are a creator. You can inherit muted colours, but you can transmute them into brilliant colours, if you wish. So, whilst the past gives you a certain kind of body of information that you work with in this lifetime, what you do with that information, you are wholly free. 

Allow yourself to be free of your past and as you play with whatever sense you have of the future, allow that to be beautiful. It may be that right now you can look around the world and feel, ‘What possibility is there for those I care about who are on earth now, my own generation, the next generation and the generation after? Is it responsible of me to imagine a beautiful future?’ There’s imagining and imagining. Allow yourself to imagine a beautiful future, but don’t turn that into a bubble in which you hide away from the world. You don’t need to do that, but hold that vision. That opens up the sea of consciousness for you as the creator, so that whatever happens after this lifetime, you’ve given yourself a freedom, a freedom to find your own highest path. 

Let, then, reincarnation be for you, shall we say, an interesting idea. Use it to the extent that is useful to you, and by useful I mean it helps you to grow. If, at any point, it feels as if it’s limiting you, for example, if you say, ‘Oh well, this happened in my last lifetime and therefore I have a karmic debt in which I must pay endlessly into that debt to remove it from the staining my soul’. If you get into that kind of drama (and I’m exaggerating to make the point) notice that. Bin it. Have nothing to do with it. For sure, there is karma. This is another aspect of reincarnation. Karma gives you the opportunity to explore the law of cause and effect. That’s essentially all it is. But if you have a sense of having a negative karma, a karmic debt is to be paid, do not allow that to deceive you into making yourself less than you are. Where karmic debts exist, and I’ll say more about this in a moment, they can be paid in a million and one ways. You can find joyful ways to pay your debts.

Now, one of the advantages of the notion of reincarnation and one of the advantages of having these fairly confined pockets of experience, however they come about, is that it encourages you to act from the heart of your heart, to do what you truly feel to be right. You can’t see in this lifetime all of the causes of your choices, nor can you see all of the consequences of your choices, which actually turns out to be really useful, because you can’t calculate it or you can’t over-calculate it. Instead, this gift of individual lives, beads on a string, gives you the opportunity to go within and say, ‘What feels right for me, what is the best I can do in this situation, what makes my heart sing?’ And you’re freed from the burden of trying to calculate whether it’s correct according to some grand imposed law, or whether it will bring you wonderful prizes. You’re encouraged to do whatever you do for its own sake, and of all the gifts of the idea of incarnation and reincarnation, perhaps this is the greatest. It encourages you to do what you love to do for its own sake.

Thank you for listening. Go well. 

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