Pink, fleecy clouds and muted harps? — Or fiery red heat and the harsh sounds of misery? — Or the gray nothingness of suspended animation? — Or another chance? What are these descriptive choices? They are the verbage sometimes applied to Heaven. Hell, Purgatory, and Reincarnation–in that order. Reincarnation quite literally, the recycling of the human soul.
If we as human beings can willfully recycle objects and in recent years parts of ourselves through organ transplant surgery is it not possible that God the supreme Being can recycle us? The mystery of death and immortality coupled with an individual’s rearing and adoption of a religious faith present a range of ideas from “we have one life to live and death is forever” to the almost eternal recycling of human souls. The philosophy of reincarnation is intriguing, thought provoking, and sometimes even amusing.
Reincarnation is more widely accepted in the middle and far eastern countries although it has it devotees in western civilization. As is true of other religious doctrines, reincarnation is subject to various interpretations. One belief covers the aspect that a human will always return as a human, never less than he/she was before, and depending upon his/her past life, perhaps will be a better person . This concept embraces the theory of Karma which is defined as the sum of an individual’s consequences through successive phases of existence and determines her/his destiny. Karma, therefore, is everything that has gone before and everything that will happen to that individual in the future.
Another premise is that God in His wisdom would want us to enjoy the full experience of life and therefore each of us will return to this world at least three times; once as a male, once as a female, and at least one more time as the sex with which we had the most success.
And still another concept–God, because of His mercy would not allow us just one chance to attain eternal happiness and so allows us that second, third, one hundredth or one thousandth chance to lead the perfect life and ultimately the opportunity to be reunited with Him.
According to these variations on reincarnation, after death one is given a brief glimpse of his reward–pleasant or miserable–depending upon which was earned in the life just ended. A retraining period in the goodness of God’s ways and His expectations for us as mere mortals; then a drink of the wine of forgetfulness; and a spontaneous rebirth or another chance to attain that perfection.
Some who believe in reincarnation believe you may return in a different form–as an animal, insect, or plant. And there are definite penalties for committing offenses against the wishes of the supreme being. For example, if a Hindu priest of a particular sect drinks intoxicating beverages he shall return as a bird. If this particular penalty were to be extended to include all who drink intoxicating beverages, the world’s current over-population will soon take care of itself. However, the reality of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie thriller, “The Birds” would be a horrifying reality. All types of intriguing possibilities exist for your next life.
Are you a liar or as the Native American is reputed to have said “speak with forked tongue?” Perhaps you would return as a serpent. Do you treat people harshly and with malice? Will you return as a lion or tiger and become not only the hunter but the hunted as well? Do yo steal? Would it not be justice to return to this world as a rat, who must steal grain and other food in order to survive? Are you as sadist? Would a just punishment be to return as a tree, subject to pain and hurt inflicted by a woodpecker and be unable to defend yourself?
Or really let your imagination run wild. What of the Madison Avenue ad people who have inundated the public with inane commercials? Will they come back saying “I dreamed I was reincarnated in my Maiden Form bra? Ah, that would be retribution.
Seriously, the theory and philosophy of reincarnation has much to consider. It offers rewards to keep us on the straight and narrow and promises punmishment if we stray. The ideology has the affect of giving us another chance, a facet of the faith that is easy to accept as well as the cold logic of the law of destiny leveling out the deeds of all living things, each of us subjected to the justice of punishment and reward over eternity.
Perhaps, we do have only this one life to live and one chance to reach paradise. But can you honestly say that reincarnation is totally impossible? When you feel dissatisfied with your life, feel unhappy, unlucky, and unloved, remember through reincarnation you may recycle yourself, live all over again, have another chance.
Believe or not believe–the decision is yours.
(This is a tongue in cheek speech I gave a number of years ago having been assigned the subject of “recycling”)