Having now given you my picture of life on earth, for those of you who are willing, I want to take you to the veil of death, which just happens to correspond with preparing you for the time of birth. What? Am I sure I didn’t write that backwards? I am sure. Due to extraordinary experiences, I have witnesssed a process the likes of which conjures up one of the oldest philosophical questions ever asked, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
I still cannot answer that, I hope I did not get your hopes up. But having said that, I need to ask what happened to the chicken that emerged from the first egg? She died. And humans have been eating chickens and eggs ever since…
Yes, I am joking, but not completely. The first living beings on earth reproduceded, and were born again. I bet you’ve heard that phrase before, and where do you suppose it came from? Christ? Wrong! It came from Buddha. And he actually took it from the Hindus, who probably took it from the Jains–but nobody is counting.
So let’s get back to life. One of the primary components of life, according to the definition of life I quoted at the start of this series of posts, is death. Why do you think that is? If we somehow became immortal, would we not still be alive? Technically, if life can be considered technical, I think we would still be considered alive, but immortality might challenge another requirement of life, continuous change. How long could someone or something exist before it became so bored with life it would stop changing? One hundred years? 500 years? 10,000 years? 1,000,000 years? There is, of course, no way to answer this question, but if a body could last 1,000,000 years, would a mind last that long? Again no one can know, but I’m betting at some point change would cease. And when it did, that would at the very least be the equivalent of death. So, in my pinion, death is a necessary part of life.
Why? Because it allows us go go through a totally different kind of change, one which cannot happen here in this physical realm. If you will allow me to digress again for a moment, let us look at the concept of reincarnation. Exactly where it started, or who started it, we cannot say. The oldest concept I can find of it is in the Sanskrit language, often considered as related to some of the oldest languages on earth. But this is taking us into pre-history, so unlike Abrahamic religions, Indian religions such as Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism all have some basis in the continuity of life after death. And I see to reason to disavow life of this wonderful, and necessary, process of life.
Jainism is apparently older than Hinduism, definitely older than Buddhism, and similarly older than all Abrahamic religions. Having said that, I cannot find how reincarnation in Jainism works, but in Hinduism it is believed that individual souls reincarnate over and over again. Buddhism takes that idea and changes it to take away the vagaries of continual rebirth and gives the individual some power of how or when or where they will reincarnate.
In all three above religions, karma plays a big part in the reincarnation process. Many people in the west think they understand the concept of karma, and use the word in ways it was never intended. Yet, they have it basically right, if you hurt others you will be hurt in this life or a following life. Karma is a kind of universal system of vengeance, and in Hinduism your past will catch up with you, though probably not in your present incarnation. Buddhists allow you to manipulate your karma, so you can atone for things you have done in hour past. It is not exactly like Catholic confession, yet Catholic confession is highly based on a manipulated form of karma. All in all, though, each stage of life in the process of reincarnation is more or less predicated on previous behaviour.
My own belief is quite different, yet it did grow out of the eastern idea of reincarnation. For me, though, karma is not a factor. In fact, I do not believe karma can exist in whatever form one might think it could. Still, the western concept of sin is based on the eastern concept of karma, so I think it needs to be looked at. For karma to come into play in life, one must have either done something good for someone (creating good karma) or something hurtful (creating bad karma). Think of it as god writing all your good deeds and sins in a ledger, and counting them up at some point and either rewarding you or condemning you. This is the state Christ* supposedly found religion in when he returned from his travels in the desert. (See part 2 of this series.) If Christ had studied in India, he would have brought a lot of these concepts home with him, including sin (karma), and rebirth or being born again (reincarnation). But as I also said in part 2, he could not explain these concepts to the people he tried to teach because the concepts had no basis in their languages. Hebrew, Greek, Latin, none of them could cope with reincarnation or karma. So he winged it, and thus brought himself down to the level of his followers, and nothing came out the way it was intended.
Life on the earthly plane, as I believe it to be, is a spiritual journey before anything else. It is a process of the sparks inside our cells being reincarnated over and over into earthly life forms in order to learn how to be good, compassionate living beings. We, the group minds for those sparks, are not here to suffer, nor are we here to overindulge ourselves. We are here to understand how to be “godly,” but not to be gods. Each of us has inside of us a vision of what a good life might look like, and the more lives we live the better that vision generally becomes. Individual beings are not reincarnated, though if you are a reader of my past posts you will know I have been struggling with this concept. In writing this account of life I think I have come to envision (remember) how reincarnation does work. So, to Sha’Tara goes a big thank you for suggesting this post which turned into a whole series of posts. Thank you. And to you, dear readers, I hope you will read this treatise, think about it, take what you want from it, leave behind what you do not want.
I have not finished yet everything I want to say, and I haven’t yet drawn you a complete picture of what I believe. I don’t even know that I can do either of those tasks, but I think now I have laid the groundwork for future posts.
Please felt free to leave your comments, pro, con, or otherwise. It is by being challenged that I am able to strengthen my understanding of life. And I am ready to move on to the next step in this journey I am on.
But, as I try to do, I want to remind you that these beliefs are my beliefs, and I do not want anyone to believe me because I say so. Life is about looking inside yourself to find out what is true for you. Not everyone is ready to do that, but they will be. If you aren’t ready now, you will be. It is all part of the process that we call life. And when you come right down to it, life is all we have. Without life, we have nothing.
Until next time…
*-Just a reminder that I still think Christ is a character in a fiction, but after writing this post I am a little more able to see he might have been real, if he actually did study in India. The beliefs of Christianity are definitely based in Buddhism, but twisted to point in other directions. This is a critical error, but an understandable one. If the man Christ existed, he certainly was human.