Reincarnation, Past Lives and Karma Explained. A discussion of the Laws of Karma and Rebirth and the need for correct relationships so that humans put their lives ahead in the development cycle. By Benjamin Creme.
I believe that in the world today, there are really three approaches to the idea of reincarnation. In the West, the very idea is almost non-existent: it is either a belief in the transmigration of souls (you can be a human in one life and an animal in the following, so there is great danger in crushing flies and stepping on ants because it may be your grandmother) or simply an interest in past lives. This is almost as far as the interest in reincarnation, past lives and karma goes in the West.
In the East, in general, people believe in reincarnation. And correctly in relation to the Law of Karma. Unfortunately, even in the East, the Law of Karma is viewed from the wrong point of view. Of course, here and there, both in the East and the West, there is a correct interpretation and approach to the idea of rebirth, and its close connection with the Law of Action and Reaction, Cause and Effect.
In the East, most people who believe in the Law of Karma accept that they are who they are and live where they live because of their actions in a previous life, which is true; but unfortunately they think they cannot do anything to change their situation, which is not true.
The West tends to reject the idea of a life after death. It’s an idea that is just beginning to engage the minds of people. If one thinks about it, somehow, one really thinks about it in terms of “if there is life after death, I must have had a past life, and if I had a past life it would be interesting to know who I was.” Popular literature in the West about reincarnation is almost exclusively on previous existences.
Read also: Is Reincarnation Possible?
Reincarnation, Past Lives: The Danger of knowing our past lives
Is it worthwhile to know our past lives? After a certain point, yes. Before this point, it is just a not very great value, as it can actually be dangerous. There is a little known law that when we become truly aware of our past life we enter the karma of that time. Most of us have a heavy enough burden of karma to deal with in this life, without the unnecessary burden from previous lives, which fortunately has not yet been given to us.
It is irresponsible for the so called clairvoyants tell people about their past lives, even if they are correct. Especially if they are correct! If they are wrong, people will create ways of thinking around that incorrect image of themselves. This creates glamor, illusion. If they are right, the people involved become subject to karma for which they might not be prepared yet. There are cases of certain illnesses of mental nature, which cannot be handled in any other way, where it may be useful to go back to a previous life. These cases are relatively few, and are usually dealt with through hypnosis.
The whole subject is full of danger and complexity. When our past lives enter spontaneously into our consciousness, they do it on the law. The most important thing is to know that every time we are creating karma, we are creating our next life right now.
Needless to say, you can always find clairvoyants. The channel, the medium, is always happy (for a price) to into your past and tell you about your previous lives, but how do you know if they are right or wrong? In what possible way you can check what the so-called clairvoyant tells you? It is better for you to keep your money. If it is said to you that in a previous life you were important and powerful (usually a king, queen or priest), a priest in Egypt, say, how can you prove it? And are you, today, at least the equivalent in importance, influence and power in the world, contributing with something unique to life?
Reincarnation: Past lives memories are not infallible
It is also the easiest thing in the world to deceive ourselves with our own ‘memories’. Let me illustrate with an example from my own experience that flashed into my consciousness during deep meditation lasting about five hours. I saw myself as a religious pastor during religious persecution somewhere in Europe around the 1650s.
My church was facing a square. I was on the steps outside the church listening to the screams and cries of pain and terror. I knew what this meant: the Protestants were being attacked by soldiers and subjected to the sword. From a road in a corner people came running, screaming, chased by soldiers. Diagonally over the square and into the church they ran for refuge. I stayed at the church entrance, a very tall, large figure in a long dark cassock, calling people into the church. The soldiers climbed the stairs, stabbing them and hitting them with their swords. I was not at all afraid, but I kept my arms open to block their way. I said, “This is a sacred place.” To my surprise, they were not at all impressed and attacked me with their swords. I can vividly see now– this tall, large man and the sword through his chest. I can still clearly feel the hard, cold sword in my chest as I fell dead on the steps of my church.
For years, I believed that I had remembered in full clarity, like a movie, my last minutes of a previous life and it was not until about 10 years ago that I learned from my Master that the experience was real, had happened, but not to me. I had nothing to do with me; I had never lived near that city or been the pastor in the dark cassock .
It had been a death experience of someone closely related to me in the soul plane. So how do we know exactly what we are seeing? How can we be sure?
Fatalism is not a correct approach
Eastern fatalists have a different point of view. They are not as worried about who they were in their past lives. They believe that if they are poor, hungry, miserable, have debts with the landlord, can hardly feed their family, that means they were someone really terrible before. They believe it is the Law of Karma, because they were such bad, nasty, horrible, human beings in a past life, they deserve the misery in which they are now.
They believe it; It is the teaching. And they believe, because it is the law of karma, that there is nothing they can do about it. They fully accept it, fatalistically, as their debts in accordance with the law. They also believe that if they accept their fate meekly and try to be “good” they will be rewarded with a higher status next time. If there is one thing that kept the East down, in terms of their living standards, social happiness, social democracy and equality, it is the acceptance of the Law of Karma on this basis.
There is really nothing to prevent the “untouchables” of India from transforming their lives except for their acceptance that their untouchableness is due to errors in their previous lives.
So some kind of balance needs to be achieved, using both the Eastern point of view and the Western, to approach to these two great laws: the Law of Karma or cause and effect and the Law of Rebirth, its corollary.
Read also: Reincarnation in India: The Home Of Karma
The Law of Cause and Effect, Karma
This is the basic law governing our existence in this solar system and is the result of the actions of our ‘alter ego’ in our system, the constellation of Sirius. Just as our personalities are carrying out, more or less well, the intentions of ourselves as souls, so this solar system acts on Sirius intentions as its ‘soul’. Put more succinctly, the relationship between Sirius and this solar system is the same as the relationship between our soul and its reflection, the personality.
Every thought, every action that we have and take, sets a cause in motion. These causes have their effects. These effects make our lives, for good or for bad. We are now, we were, and we will be living our lives moment to moment. Sooner or later, the causes set in motion by our thoughts and actions will produce effects that will come back on us; and we will experience it as good or bad karma.
When it is uncomfortable we call it bad karma. And we call it good karma when life is comfortable, easy, but usually we do not perceive it. We take it as our right, our luck, because that’s how we expect life to be. People really only speak of karma when they refer to the bad karma. It is important to realize and remember that we have more ‘good’ karma than ‘bad’ karma.
Lords of Karma
Like all laws, the Law of Karma is about control, about the jurisdiction of certain entities, in this case, the Lords of Karma. The Lords of Karma are like cosmic judges. They look at this action and reaction of causes and effects that we put in motion, and they govern according to our needs as evolving souls. Our souls embodied in a character with a particular energy structure that relate to Karma and the scope of this particular embodiment.
The souls co-operate with the Lords of Karma to decide, you might think,what kind of pain or pleasure we will experiment in any particular life. This, of course, is precisely the wrong way to describe what happens. The soul is not in any way interested, or are the Lords of Karma, in our pleasure or our suffering. These are simply psychological reactions to events.
What they are interested in is the development of the law, the Cosmic Law of Cause and Effect. Reincarnation, past lives and the Law of Karma is all connected. Also, the soul has its own purpose for each particular incarnation. It provides you with a vehicle, the personality, mental, emotional and physical bodies that will give the possibility so that your intentions can be achieved in that particular life. This purpose may not be achieved, but the soul offers the possibility. The soul always lives in hope!
The ultimate goal is to live life in such a way that we do not create any personal karma. We can do this either by being perfect or being dead. Since being perfect is much more interesting than being dead, most people accept the premise of trying, more or less, to achieve the purpose of the soul and trying until the last possible moment to do so. So we can eliminate the burden of karma that we have created in this life and past lives.
We try, consciously or unconsciously, to become perfect. We have no control over the events of life. The only thing we can control is our reaction towards these events. So the goal is to achieve such detachment to the events that we can control ourselves. This way we deal with the burden of karma in any particular incarnation.
The idea is not to sit in catatonic stupor, so that we do not do anything and therefore do not create karma. What can we do, in every event, in every situation, it is to distance ourselves from this event. Seeing the event as not being a part of it, and not react. In this way we gradually create a impersonality about life, a detachment from the events where we become indifferent to our karma be good or bad.
Renunciation leads to self-mastery
The evolutionary life is a gradual renunciation of the lower for the sake of the higher. As a soul in incarnation, a high level of divinity incarnates in a lower level of divinity. The soul makes its journey into incarnation over eons of time, and then back out of the need to embody. The return path to the soul is its gradual release from the limitations of the physical, astral and mental. This is done by imbuing their physical, emotional and mental vehicles, with their energy and skills. Two things are happening at the same time in this process. One is the gradual spiritualization of the vehicle for the soul. The other is the intentional increase in the vehicle burden by the soul to burn old karma.
As the soul progresses in its incarnation experience, its reflection, the man or woman in incarnation, receives a burden of increasingly heavier karma. Until the last incarnation of all, except one, in which the person will be an initiate of the fourth degree, the burden will be heavier. It is for this reason that the fourth initiation is called in the West, the Crucifixion; in the East, the Great Renunciation. In this experience, all lower aspects are being waived in favor of higher spiritual reality. That is why the life of a fourth-degree initiate is usually, from a world’s point of view, painful, heavy indeed.
People imagine that, as a man or a woman progresses in evolution, he or she will become increasingly free of karma. The opposite is true. Not only that, but as a man or woman becomes a disciple becomes an initiate, a world server, he or she takes more and more of the weight of world karma. They are the defenders of the world. Their shoulders are, and need to be large. Imagine a bridge over a river, and the river is the world and its karma. The disciples and initiates are the pillars of the bridge, and the spaces between them are the masses of people. Where there are gaps water flows easily, the bridge pillars take the force of the flood and the water.
In a very real sense, the disciples and initiates of the world sustain the world. This is one reason why the life of the disciple is, from the average man point of view, very difficult to take. But of course the disciple is governed by the great Law of Service.
On this law, disciples and initiates very often incarnate to serve the global needs. The more advanced a person is, the more they can serve, the more useful they can be for the world. When a certain level is reached – that of the start of the third degree – their relation to the Law of Cause and Effect changes. Gradually the law is manipulated by the person. As a conscious divine soul, working in the world, they really become the pilot of their own plane. They may have a co-pilot, their Master, but they are the pilot. It is not an automatic thing, but gradually this point is reached. One takes an active part in their own evolution, consciously working with the Law of Karma, under the control of their soul. So it may happen that their former lives open before the inner eye. As this happens, the karma of that time becomes open to them on the physical plane, which, of course, increases the burden of the initiate.
The goal is that by the time the person is ready to take the fifth initiation and become a Master, all karma will have been solved, burned, taken back to the source from which it came.
Service: The Best Way to Solve the Karma
As we free ourselves of karma, how do we deal with it? You cannot give it away. It is too heavy, no one wants it. There is no market for excess of karma; everyone already has enough. So what do you do, how can you deal with this burden that limits your activity, your joy, your happiness? There is a very simple method. It is called service. Service is the best way to get rid of karma. Of course, you do not get rid of it, but you burn it.
The process is something like this: as you serve you attract energy to yourself. Giving energy, you get energy back; this is the law. Basically, it is the Law of Love, which governs our nature, without which the universe would not exist. As you give love, you put a cause into motion, the effect of which is the return of love. The law itself sets in motion its own achievement. As we serve, we show love. As we show love, by law, we get love. This strengthens and empowers the individual in a way in which they can deal with their own karma.
As a person progresses in love, in service, it automatically moves away from the events effect. The events take place, but they have less and less effect on their psychology. In the East they say: “It’s my karma.” In France they say “C’est la vie”. Gradually we have to develop an attitude of “C’est la vie”. If it is good, easy, c’est la vie. If it is hard, difficult, painful, c’est la vie. We really have to achieve this attitude.
Correct relationships end the Karmic Cycle
The Law of Karma is a big commitment law, but it is beneficial. No one receives more karma than their soul, and the Lords of Karma know that each can effectively handle it. Some lives for some people are very hard, very painful, very limiting indeed. From the point of view of the soul, this is probably intentional and useful, productive. The soul knows that burning this way the burden of karma of the past, greater progress can be made. Our efforts to deal with karma pave the way for growth periods. Our development continues like this in cycles.
The Law of Karma is not a mechanical law of punishment. If you hit someone in the head, it is not inevitable that you will be hit in the head. It is not a matter of an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth. It is simply the result of the energy of previous causes put into action for ourselves; everything we do will inevitably come back in some way or another. However, we can do something about it. The “untouchables” of India can change their lives. They are not bound by karma to be ‘untouchable’. This is a social structure, a class system, holding people for particular life situations. It is completely artificial and created by men. Poverty, squalor, degradation and misery of the people of the Third World are not necessary things. They are not the result of karma, but our greed. And we have a greater responsibility to help them change these conditions and enter a real life.
People think of karma in terms of reincarnation, past lives and rebirth, but what about the karma of yesterday or the day before, last week, the karma of the past month? It is this succession of moments of action and reaction with which today we are dealing with, and that tomorrow in our next life we will have to deal with. Until we achieve correct relationships with others and with the whole of which we are a part of, we will continue creating bad karma. It is more important, more useful, to realize the benefit of correct relationships and dealing with the Laws of Karma and Rebirth correctly, than to know our past lives.
9 Signs of Reincarnation and Past Lives
The idea that our souls or spirits reincarnate goes back at least 3,000 years. Those who believe in past lives suggest that there may be clues to our previous lives, and they can help us understand our physical, emotional, intellectual and psychological personality traits. These are the 9 key signs of our possible past lives:
1. Déjà Vu
Most of us have experienced the strange feeling of deja vu – ideas that have already been there before or a sensation that you have known someone before. While scientists and psychiatrists insist that there are neurological explanations for these phenomena, others wonder if these strange sensations could be vague memories of past lives. An example: you enter a house in a city you’ve never visited before and the details are strangely familiar! You have the overwhelming feeling that you’ve been there before. Was it in a past life?
2. Strange Memories
Does your child have “memories” of childhood events that you know never happened? Maybe he/she’s just fantasizing, it is a misunderstanding, or even a dream that he/she now interprets as reality? Or are they remembering something that happened before they were born?
Human memory is full of errors and inconsistencies, and I’m sure many of us have memories of things that family and friends can attest that never occurred. So the question is faulty memory or a memory of past lives?
3. Dreams and nightmares
Dreams and recurring nightmares have also been suggested as memories or at least clues of past lives. Dreams seem to bring memories of places or events that did not happen in this life, but recur in dreams often. Could these be something important that happened in a past life? Could the nightmares be trauma reflections of past lives?
4. Fears and Phobias
Where do fears and phobias come from? The fear of things like spiders, snakes and height seems to be built into the human psyche as part of our survival instinct. However, many people suffer from phobias that are completely irrational! Fear of water, birds, numbers, mirrors, plants, specific colors… the list goes on. People can suffer from all sorts of bizarre phobias.
While several years on the couch of a psychologist could get to the root of these strange fears, those who believe in past lives wonder if these fears have to do with reincarnation and previous lives. Does the fear of water indicate a previous death by drowning? Could the fear of color red, for example, be caused by the person being struck and killed by a red tram in a past life?
5. Affinity to foreign cultures
You probably know someone who was born and raised in the US but has a fixation, a great interest to the point of obsession, by another culture, like Brazilian or Indian? Why is that? Are they just trying to find familiarity in a culture where they lived maybe 100 or 1000 years ago?
It’s good to have things you like, as long as they do not become obsessive. But where do the passion for books, antiques, fashion, gardening, theater, cars, trains, airplanes, the supernatural or any other subjects come from? Intense interest in a particular subject can be completely natural, of course, but there could be a past life connection in many cases.
7. Uncontrolled habits
The dark side of the passions are uncontrolled habits and obsessions that take over people’s lives and can even marginalize them in society. The obsessive-compulsive fit into this category. For example, a person who has to turn the light switch on and off several times before leaving the room, or a woman who collects stacks of newspapers in her house, because she simply cannot get rid of them.
Each of us has at least one bad habit, like biting the nail or gossiping. Extreme forms include dependence on the object, such as television or drugs. Again, psychological explanations can be found for these uncontrolled habits, but those who believe in reincarnation say these kind of problems may have roots in past lives.
8. Unexplained pains
Some people suffer from pains that doctors can not pinpoint or find any medical explanation. Maybe they are just hypochondriacs – a person who imagines their illnesses. Or, as proponents of past lives suggest, these mysterious pains could be reflections of suffering in a previous existence.
Birthmarks have been cited as evidence of reincarnation. In a fascinating case, an Indian boy claimed to remember the life of a man named Maha Ram, who was killed with a shotgun fired at close range. That boy had a number of birthmarks in the center of his chest that could correspond to a shotgun blast. So the story was verified. In fact there was a man named Maha Ram who was killed by a gunshot to the chest. An autopsy report recorded injuries the man’s chest – which corresponded directly with the boy’s birthmarks.
Similarly, other physical characteristics – even deformities – have been suggested as having its roots in a previous life.
Video: 3-Year-Old Remembers Past Life & Identifies His Murderer
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