So, reincarnation—the idea that you’ve lived multiple lifetimes before this one and will continue to do so afterward. Some believe, and some
don’t. But why? What are the reasons to believe or disbelieve?
First off, you obviously need to have a belief in some sort of afterlife or continuation after the demise of the body. If you have this belief, then
it could go a couple different ways. You could go to a final destination forevermore: Heaven, Hell, Hades, Valhalla etc. Even in the Hindu faith,
there are various Lokas (worlds) that one can ascend to after physical death. Indeed, there does seem to be some final destination according to
Hinduism as well. The reincarnation cycle does seem to have an end, but the concept of reincarnation suggests that we have a long road to travel
before reaching the end.
Since reincarnation describes a cycle, I started looking towards other cycles of birth, life, death, and rebirth to help set a precedent. Well, that
one’s easy, right? We essentially see it every year as we watch the transformation of the seasons. Even the stars themselves undergo a complex cycle
Okay, so there are
repeating cycles in nature. I’ll take that one for granted since I need not look too far for an example of it. I, as a
mere human being, was born, am currently alive, and will die. Will I have a rebirth or recycling process as the tree and star example? That’s the
64,000 dollar question!
I thought long and hard about this, trying to find real world examples that might provide some insight. This is what the ancient sages did—they
looked to nature to teach the lessons. What did they come up with that convinced them? I don’t know, but I started to notice that the micro-world
often mimics the macro-world and vice-versa. I started noticing the fundamental resemblances in which nature would repeat the structures of other
forms of nature.
We’ve all seen this by now, right?
But are there more examples?
How about the orbiting planets of our solar system: to the orbiting electrons of an atom?
Or the osteon structure of bone: to a cross-section of tree rings?
A network of carbon atoms: to the matrix of a honeycomb?
(note: the first image is an electron microscope image that emphasizes the shape of individual carbon atoms!)
and the double-helix structure of DNA: to the intertwining shape of growing vines?
Okay, granted…I’m reaching a bit to make connections here. In fact, I’ll save you the trouble—these are pretty arbitrary matches. The neuron
most certainly doesn’t resemble a solar system model. And that model doesn’t bring to mind DNA. And the double-helix doesn’t resemble a
honeycomb etc. Does the micro really resemble the macro? Do nature’s patterns pervade all scales big and small?
Let’s look at some fractals (a form with a repeating pattern):
There, wasn’t that neat? But it still doesn’t help me figure out if I repeat a pattern! Are there any patterns I repeat as a human being that
might look like a death/rebirth cycle?
D’oh! Maybe the sleep and wake cycle is a resemblance! I wake each day, I stay awake for a while, I fall asleep, and I wake up again to a new day!
Sure, why not! Let’s go with this metaphor! Reincarnation is supposedly a cycle wherein we experience a lifetime, die, and then experience a new
lifetime with a change to the previous form.
But, I’m sure you’re thinking and ready to hit the reply-to
button to post “But we have no memory of previous lifetimes.”
But is this a fair argument? Can you remember what you had for dinner 2 weeks ago? What color shoes did your first girlfriend wear? How many words did
you get wrong on a 3rd grade spelling test? There are plenty of events of my own lifetime that I can’t remember. In fact, I think it’s fair to say
that only the most dramatic, concrete details are retained—and even then—only in some crystalized form that soon slips into an imagination of
skewed accuracy. If I can hardly even remember the trite details of my life now, it doesn’t surprise me that I can’t remember the trite details of
previous lives. I had an infancy, but I definitely cannot remember it. I can't remember much of my early childhood either, but I had one.
But there still does seem to be some inborn memories, instincts, and emotional triggers. Why am I afraid of drowning, but not of being shot with a
gun? Why am I terrified of spiders, but not snakes? Why do I get an eerie feeling meeting that
stranger, but instantly fall in love with
strange person? Again, I’m sure you’re ready to say, “But our experiences since birth shape our perceptions and influence our
attitudes towards our surroundings.” Indeed, but there do seem to be many intuitive feelings that can’t be traced to my memory or experiences.
Could these intuitive feelings be some spillover accumulated from previous lifetimes?
We live each day assuming that it is a part, only a subunit, of one complete lifetime—that it is a graduation from gestation to infancy to childhood
to adolescence to adulthood to old age to decomposition. This complete cycle must surely be not at all the same as a cycle of reincarnated forms,
right? Or is it?
I learn things in childhood that carry over into my adolescence. I gain experience in adolescence that I bring into my adulthood. And I utilize my
knowledge of adulthood to demonstrate mastery into my old age. In my old age I can hardly even remember my childhood—it is but a fleeting, vague
impression; an intuitive feeling of what was.
Have you ever thought back to when you were younger and said, “Wow, I don’t even know who that person was! I’m glad I’m not the same as I was
before!” With hindsight, do you find it difficult to believe that you could have ever done some of the dumb things you used to do? I sure do.
Each daily experience is stacked right on top of the other and builds a monument of memories over a lifetime. Each time I go to sleep and wake up is
like having a new life with the accumulated knowledge and experience of all my previous days being alive.
I am reincarnated every new day. Each day I have an opportunity to live a new life. I am the same, yet I am slightly modified and different. These
slight modifications add up over time to make significant transformations. I can choose to be a different person every day, gradually approaching the
ideal image I have for myself—or I can regress and be a jerk, a lowlife, a criminal, and a heathen. If I wake up every day, I can fall into a
repeated pattern of daily behavior. If I am reincarnated repeatedly, I can fall into a pattern of incarnated behavior.
Are we not constantly modifying ourselves based on a reservoir of previous experience and memory?—to the point that we can’t even recognize the
old when held up against the new?
What if each new day was a mini-reincarnation? If I live to be 75 years old, I will have lived 27,375 mini-lifetimes—each subsequent one containing
the accumulation of many, many mini-lifetimes of memory and experience.
Edgar Allen Poe wrote, “Sleep, those little slices of death; Oh how I loathe them."
Are our many sleep and wake cycles simply the "little deaths" in an even bigger reincarnation cycle? Are we looking at wheels within wheels here?
I really am not trying to teach anything in this thread, but I am trying to learn.
However—If we only get one lifetime, then perhaps we should treat each sleep as a “little death” and place the importance of a lifetime on every
single day. Give it your best shot no matter what you believe! Each day is up to you—the shape of your life is molded by your own hands.
edit on 10-3-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)