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    Thread: reincarnation

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      reincarnation

      Sivason: I'm not ignoring your post on past life remembrances, I'm just not ready to respond. A partial response....

      I don't question people's past life experiences because I'm trying to be a dick, though there's always some of that. I'm trying to make sense of my own experience. I don't doubt that there are psychic connections between past and present lives. I just can't find a way to relate one human life to another and say they're the same individual. I can't even make sense of the concept. It would be like selecting an orange then asking whether or not its the same individual as another selected apple. When I experience myself as another person, for that moment, within the scope of the experience, I am that person. I don't understand what kind of a 'me' there can be that's not contextual. I also don't see how a projection of a spiritual condition can be assumed to be authentic in any particular form. Every past life experience that I've ever seen anyone describe looks to me like a metaphor for some significant aspect of the person's current existence. This includes the genocidal images - those dynamics underpin our existence in other forms, notwithstanding the lengths that people go to to avoid seeing and feeling this. Of course, this correspondence of 'past life' and present life experience is accommodated by ideas about karma. But it doesn't seem to me that they are uniquely or very well explained that way. Here Occam's razor applies, and not in the usual fallacious way of "Occam's razor requires us to reject any explanation that seems to us to be unfamiliar or complicated". If B, C, D, and E all imply A, then the existence of A does not imply the existence of B.

      Often I have tended to think of dishonesty as being close to the root of evil, since its harmful affects are so apparent. I'm starting to think that its not so fundamental. There seems to be a lot of evidence that an essential thing can have a lie built into it that can't be ironed out.

      Here I could free myself and spew forth 'answers', turn my fear inside out, armor it with ignorance, and send it into battle alongside my understanding. How exhilarating that would be! But every month a new troll has that covered. So I'll just stop with my partial response, with the understanding that its inadequate.
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      I usually believe that if theres no real evidence or reason or advantage to believing something then I dont believe in it. I dont find it sufficient when people argue that theres another form of energy or dimension we can easily travel to if there is absolutely no evidence.

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      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      I just can't find a way to relate one human life to another and say they're the same individual. I can't even make sense of the concept. It would be like selecting an orange then asking whether or not its the same individual as another selected apple. When I experience myself as another person, for that moment, within the scope of the experience, I am that person. I don't understand what kind of a 'me' there can be that's not contextual.
      Indeed, there is no 'me' that is not contextual. They're not the same individual. The self is not what comes back.

      What comes back are impressions, like the echoes of music from a far away place that are misconstrued as a self, therefore leading to a mistaken identification with the impressions of experience as your 'self', and then 'you' are trapped on the wheel again until the echoes fueling the 'self-display' run out, and the experience ends.
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      My opinion is that the 'self' inherently depends on the wheel and would not survive the ending of experience, if such an ending were possible. But the meditation that people use to become aware of the self is qualified in a way that prevents them from seeing the dependency.

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      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      My opinion is that the 'self' inherently depends on the wheel and would not survive the ending of experience, if such an ending were possible. But the meditation that people use to become aware of the self is qualified in a way that prevents them from seeing the dependency.
      Yes! You would have to die. That is the true goal of these spiritual traditions... to confront the shadow of death once and for all, while living. The resurrection of Jesus in the Bible, for instance, or the castration of Uranus 'ending the orginal begetting,' Jormungandr coming out of the ocean to poison the sky, slayed by the lightning... You must slip behind the unconscious and pluck the strings of fate, therefore taking destiny into your own hands. Not for the faint of heart.

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      By 'self' I didn't mean the personal self.

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      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      By 'self' I didn't mean the personal self.
      I didn't, either. I would be interested in hearing more on what you intended to convey though, by all means.

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      I've never given much thought to reincarnation myself; it seems such a melancholy version of immortality, with so little hope attached. I like hope. This is especially true when factoring in things like karma, or the fact that the mystics of the religions that focus on reincarnation are trying to find a way off the Wheel.

      Then there's the dishonesty issue: reincarnation can be a strong foundation for lying to yourself, and others, about your own significance, and that is never a good thing.

      Also, Shadowofwind: not to be facetious -- okay, perhaps only to be facetious: what is the premise to the OP? Does Sivason know about it? I hope so, because I'd like to hear his opinion on this...

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      Sageous,

      This thread was a response to Sivason's last post in the recent past life thread. I figured if he was inclined to he would find it. I don't think there was a pointed premise on his end. As I understand him, he's aware that ideas about past lives are half-guesses and half-caricatures of whatever is really going on, but he would rather live and grow than nitpick.

      My criticism of the eastern mystic theologies is based on the following observations:

      The most revered mahatmas seem to be remarkably closed minded. I can't see how that can be a good sign.

      Despite that altruism is supposedly a path, the mystic mindset seems invariably inclined towards regarding people as straw dogs, in one way or another. If you believe people are illusions you tend to treat them as such, irrespective of how your philosophy may explicitly teach that you should treat them. An analogous kind of contradiction exists in Christianity, where we're supposed to love our neighbors, but our non-Christian neighbors are nevertheless deserving of eternal damnation. What kind of love is it that can coexist with that perception? Since the universal consciousness is already doing just fine, ostensibly, what's the point of a philosophy about it if its practice makes the physical world worse?

      Along with ignorance, most of the revered teachers also exhibit a penchant for control. I think its because their path is a psychic ponzi scheme, and the enlightened state of the master depends to a significant extent on the devotion of followers. We've discussed this before.

      To a large extent I "get it", when I meditate on the ideas I do get blissful transcendent experiences. But my intuition also tells me "this is a dead end, this does not work", and I feel the pain of the trap, all the suffering caused but denied by the mind in bliss. Obviously there is something to it also, some validity, or thinking about it wouldn't produce the transcendent experiences. But I think conscience requires a person to take it in some other direction.

      Although we both react to most "finding a way off the wheel" thoughts in the same way, I've perceived your vision as being closer to those than mine, in that my utopian vision involves transforming the physical world, and yours, as I understand it, does involve becoming free of it entirely.

      For the moment, I'm giving up my vision, sort of, as impossible. At the same time, do I have some capacity for optimism and cheerfulness even in the face of near certain disaster and defeat. I understand that gloom and pessimism feeds the problem of the world. I know for sure that it harms the world in both obvious and supernatural ways. So I am seeking to nurture this capacity, seeking clarity on its nature. I talk on the reincarnation subject because its obliquely relevant to this, but this is why I'm also having trouble saying directly what I'm thinking. When I say I've given up that sounds like despair, but its not really what I'm working on. And I can't say clearly what I am working on, because I'm still incubating that.
      Last edited by shadowofwind; 05-28-2012 at 07:35 PM. Reason: typo
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      Quote Originally Posted by telethiese View Post
      I didn't, either. I would be interested in hearing more on what you intended to convey though, by all means.
      Telethiese,

      Thanks for your thought on music, and on enlightenment. I'm not ignoring you, I just haven't found a good way to respond. I plan to walk today, and read a new translation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras which I bought a few weeks ago but haven't cracked yet.
      I mostly stopped reading 15 years ago to clear my mind, this has been a long process for me. I'm sure your continued openness will help my understanding. In other words, for now lets give up on struggling with language and continue seeing what we discover internally. Maybe later I'll be in a better position to try to put something into words.

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      What I don't get about reincarnation and past-life remembrance, is why don't people ever remember being animals? Why don't people remember being intelligent aliens, or alien animals? Seems like the vast majority of 'em think people reincarnate as people, and I don't really see a good reason for this.
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      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      What I don't get about reincarnation and past-life remembrance, is why don't people ever remember being animals? Why don't people remember being intelligent aliens, or alien animals? Seems like the vast majority of 'em think people reincarnate as people, and I don't really see a good reason for this.
      I've had lucid dreams about being animals, including types of animals that don't exist on the earth. I've had as many of those as dreams about being other people.

      Generally speaking though, I think it would be fairly traumatic to be an intelligent animal then to re-exist as a very different kind of animal. The body and nervous system needs to fit the mind. So I think its natural for people to reincarnate as people.

      If my lucid animal dreams are 'past lives', then I think it would be more accurate to say that my personality is composed of several animals, rather than just one animal. But it would be truer than that to say that I just have close psychic interrelationships with animal spirits, but they're not exactly 'me'.
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      Then how do we reincarnate as anything but ourselves? The line between species is arbitrary. According to your logic, we should be reincarnating as close relatives most frequently.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      ^^ According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is arguably a good source on reincarnation, that is pretty much how it works. The person you become upon reincarnation might not be a blood relative, but, because that person has been "chosen" by your soul based on its karma, experience, and a few other things, it will likely be a human person, and will very likely hold a real spiritual resemblance to you.

      There is an assumption in the Tibetan and Egyptian books of the dead that a soul might be inclined to punish itself by wandering into a lesser creature, and there is a more ancient belief held by mystics in Greece, Egypt, Persia, and elsewhere that upon death a human body decays and its remains become flora and fauna for 3,000 years before finally rejoining into their original human form. This, I think, is not what anyone here is talking about, though.

      I don't choose to believe any of this stuff myself, but I thought it worth sharing that those who believed it enough to write the book about it pretty much felt that reincarnation was from human to human, and those humans had -- by way of that reincarnation -- a spiritual if not blood relation.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      Then how do we reincarnate as anything but ourselves? The line between species is arbitrary. According to your logic, we should be reincarnating as close relatives most frequently.
      If there were no attraction or correlation between spirits type and body type, then I don't see how a person could be said to have 'past lives' in any sense, since there would be nothing to connect the person's spirit to any particular historical animal or individual. In an sense there would be no meaningful relationship between animal and spirit at all. Conversely, at the other extreme, if a spirit had to exactly fit its body and express every aspect of its essence through that body, and it never changed, then it would only be able to reincarnate as the same individual over and over again. But individuals change and develop, and in every person's life some aspects of who they are find expression while some are suppressed for lack of suitable opportunity for expression. I think this last fact accounts for a lot. People aren't reincarnating spirits so much as expressions of particular aspects of spirits.

      Every individual animal has a slightly different character, and clearly there tend to be similarities within different categories of animals, even though the lines that divide the different categories are drawn in somewhat arbitrary places. Consider the general personality differences between bears and wolves for instance, even though there are also strong similarities. Put a wolf spirit in a bear and you may get an animal that's more socially needy, high strung, and predatory than may be fitting for a bear. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, just that not all aspects of that spirit would express equally well in a bear.

      In my experience, there are close affinities between the spirits of family members that don't seem to be accommodated well by ideas of reincarnation. I see this with my children. So I think that reincarnation can't be quite right as it is commonly conceived of. But that doesn't necessarily mean that its totally wrong.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      There is an assumption in the Tibetan and Egyptian books of the dead that a soul might be inclined to punish itself by wandering into a lesser creature, and there is a more ancient belief held by mystics in Greece, Egypt, Persia, and elsewhere that upon death a human body decays and its remains become flora and fauna for 3,000 years before finally rejoining into their original human form. This, I think, is not what anyone here is talking about, though.
      Thanks Sageous. I think there's something to that. I don't know about how that might play out in time, but I feel as much affinity of identity to some landscapes as I do to animals and 'past life' like dreams people. And I feel exiled to humanity in some sense, as if its religions are foreign religions and the genome is a difficult fit, but of course there could be a lot of possible explanations for that feeling.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      What I don't get about reincarnation and past-life remembrance, is why don't people ever remember being animals? Why don't people remember being intelligent aliens, or alien animals? Seems like the vast majority of 'em think people reincarnate as people, and I don't really see a good reason for this.
      Hi Abra, I suppose that a lot of people make up stories about past lives to sound cool; maybe they even convince themselves. They are dramatic people who want to tell you they were Cleopatra or Alexander, so they are not going to say "I spent a few lifetimes as a mudskipper." I also think far more drama queen fantasizers tell stories about made up past lives then honest people express what they experience regarding past lives. That is why the largest portion of past life stuff is really cool and about humans.

      That said, I will admit/tell that I have a deep conection with reincarnation. I remember a sampling of a few lives (optionally: delusional- but i don't think so) including the last 5 and 3 older human lives. I have also often been an animal. I will express what I believe I know on the subject below.


      A priest of the Krisna movement argued with me about why I would choose non-human forms. I told him that one of his own saints was known to incarnate in a deer body. He said the story was a lesson on how he screwed up so it can be avoided. To him, the only proper form was human. He spouted ill formed concepts on how only man has the brain power to 'serve God' so spending time as a animal was neglecting the quest he was on 'to serve God.' So there is one line of Yogis wwho will strive to always be human.

      Then some people are highly opposed to killing or eatin meat. These souls will always choose non-carniverous bodies. However, most cool animals eat meat, so human is a good choice for those souls.

      The untrained soul does the easiest thing. The freshly dead soul has images of the most recent life still tied up in the energy body. The confused disembodied soul wishes it had a body, and seeks a way to re-enter the world. It tends to seek what it knows, so a goose that died would be thinking about being a goose. If a goose body is available it goes into it. This explains why untrained humans often reincarnate as human.

      There is a temple in India that tends rats. The idea is that if any of their group wish to take a break for a few years, they can reincarnate as a rat in the temple. Because they do not know which if any of the rats are their loved ones, all the rats are treated well. Here is the idea. If a human couple is seperated by the early death of one member, the dead member should not take human form. Say 2 people are both 40 years old and the husband dies. He becomes a baby within a years time. She lives to be 70 years old,,, he grows to be 30 years old,,, she dies and becomes a baby and grows to be 20 and he grows to be 50,,, they find each other again!!! Wait he is 50 and she is 20 lame! Instead of this it can go this way. He dies at 40 and becomes a rat,,, the rat dies at 2 years old, again, and again and again,,, She dies at 70,,, with in a year of her death the newest rat dies,,, he is reborn the same year as she is.
      So in that setting an animal can be selected to avoid incarnating as a human in order to wait for the right time. Of course I imagine it can be very fun just to get to be some animals. Incarnation as an animal may also just be a way to relax.
      Last edited by sivason; 06-06-2012 at 02:22 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      I don't question people's past life experiences because I'm trying to be a dick, though there's always some of that. I'm trying to make sense of my own experience.
      Hello friend, I do not discourage you from asking yourself if what you experience may be something other than what the common take on it would be. Here is a deep truth that I hope you can see. Given that some things will not be proveable, we are then faced with a choice of what we can believe, and our minds will lay out many possable answers. If all things are equal in the physical world and the only impact of choosing to believe one thing is in the mind, then some beliefs will bring comfort and others fear or melencoly. Given a choice of a belief that helps you or one that hurts you and you naturally believe the helpful one, why not believe the helpful version? That is assuming the issue is one of these unsolvable topics, like reincarnation or heaven.
      I have preformed meditations to seek past life memoriies and had profound experiences, now I get to choose what I make of it. I could lay out a few other options like maybe I am fooling myself, delusional, being interfered with by aliens, experiencing other peoples memories, or what have you. I feel like I know it is actual past life experiences, so instead of wandering around my whole life questioning my existence, I just choose to submit to believing in something.
      Here is my point about some deep truth. I believe in something. I "remembered" a trick from my past Yogi lives and taught it to my dad. It will allow him to spend a few lives as a crow until his wife dies, so they can be reborn at the same time, with in months of each other. He told me he would do this if he died first. We talked about this in detail last year. He just died! Suddenly, maybe a brain hemorage. However, because I honestly believe in reincarnation, I am comforted. I will probably be visited next year by a young crow, with a fantasticly powerful aura. I will say "Hi Leroy" and be very happy. His wife believes this also, and she takes a lot of comfort in it. Crows are friendly, so even if it is not dad, before long she will be visited by a crow, and she will be overjoyed and excited. Do not miss out on the peace that can be gained by believing in good things, even if they will never be proven.
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      ^^ Sivason:

      I'm not a fan of reincarnation, but I am very much a fan of that last post! Very nice!

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      I have seen most of my past lives through my dreams. Another dream ability that can be done is to remember through dreams.
      And when you see ancient buildings etc it means it was part of your past life. You somehow need to have a feeling of connection once you dream these types of dreams towards the dream scenery.

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      Quote Originally Posted by hathor28 View Post
      And when you see ancient buildings etc it means it was part of your past life.
      Somewhere a thousand skeptics heads just exploded.
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      Quote Originally Posted by sivason View Post
      Hi Abra, I suppose that a lot of people make up stories about past lives to sound cool; maybe they even convince themselves. They are dramatic people who want to tell you they were Cleopatra or Alexander, so they are not going to say "I spent a few lifetimes as a mudskipper." I also think far more drama queen fantasizers tell stories about made up past lives then honest people express what they experience regarding past lives. That is why the largest portion of past life stuff is really cool and about humans.

      That said, I will admit/tell that I have a deep conection with reincarnation. I remember a sampling of a few lives (optionally: delusional- but i don't think so) including the last 5 and 3 older human lives. I have also often been an animal. I will express what I believe I know on the subject below.


      A priest of the Krisna movement argued with me about why I would choose non-human forms. I told him that one of his own saints was known to incarnate in a deer body. He said the story was a lesson on how he screwed up so it can be avoided. To him, the only proper form was human. He spouted ill formed concepts on how only man has the brain power to 'serve God' so spending time as a animal was neglecting the quest he was on 'to serve God.' So there is one line of Yogis wwho will strive to always be human.

      Then some people are highly opposed to killing or eatin meat. These souls will always choose non-carniverous bodies. However, most cool animals eat meat, so human is a good choice for those souls.

      The untrained soul does the easiest thing. The freshly dead soul has images of the most recent life still tied up in the energy body. The confused disembodied soul wishes it had a body, and seeks a way to re-enter the world. It tends to seek what it knows, so a goose that died would be thinking about being a goose. If a goose body is available it goes into it. This explains why untrained humans often reincarnate as human.

      There is a temple in India that tends rats. The idea is that if any of their group wish to take a break for a few years, they can reincarnate as a rat in the temple. Because they do not know which if any of the rats are their loved ones, all the rats are treated well. Here is the idea. If a human couple is seperated by the early death of one member, the dead member should not take human form. Say 2 people are both 40 years old and the husband dies. He becomes a baby within a years time. She lives to be 70 years old,,, he grows to be 30 years old,,, she dies and becomes a baby and grows to be 20 and he grows to be 50,,, they find each other again!!! Wait he is 50 and she is 20 lame! Instead of this it can go this way. He dies at 40 and becomes a rat,,, the rat dies at 2 years old, again, and again and again,,, She dies at 70,,, with in a year of her death the newest rat dies,,, he is reborn the same year as she is.
      So in that setting an animal can be selected to avoid incarnating as a human in order to wait for the right time. Of course I imagine it can be very fun just to get to be some animals. Incarnation as an animal may also just be a way to relax.
      Sounds pretty, but I have a better idea. First, a couple flaws in yours: how does the monk-rat remember to turn back into a human? Why is time considered linear?

      My favorite reincarnation system is one where there is no past life remembrance, one that considers time as non-linear, and one where you could end up in any conscious form, regardless of previous body or mind. In the next life, you could be an ant, a cow, a utahraptor, a dude with Cystic Fibrosis, a sufficiently complex alien social insect colony, an AI, anything that is sufficiently analogous to an experience+memory+learning machine. We wouldn't feel bad about death, we'd have greater stewardship of the planet as a whole, and greater respect for the shit people and creatures are put through (after all, you could be your neighbor next! Or that pig you're mawing bacon from!). If this system of reincarnation were true, altruism would flourish, and ends-would-justify-the-means logic would vanish.
      Last edited by Abra; 07-25-2012 at 08:35 PM.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      My father did believe that time was not relevant and that you could choose to be reborn as yourself in the past and live an alternate version of your life making better choices. Or that you could be born in the past and tutor and mentor your current form in a new retelling of history.

      I have no problem with such a belief, but I do not think it is the standard way it happens. The standard way, seems to involve a very lazy path of least residtance, normally.


      The soul that was in rat form would have a deep conection with the spouse and somehow it would understand the time had arrived. Not sure how.

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      Quote Originally Posted by shadowofwind View Post
      Somewhere a thousand skeptics heads just exploded.
      LOL ... in a good way, mind you, but LOL nonetheless!

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