The Eastern religions have a basis for answering the question of where man comes from and to where he will go, yet the West generally cannot accept it. The term is “reincarnation”, an incarnating by the entity again and again until he comes into self-awareness and escapes the prison of an illusory world. For those of us inconsolably wedded to the storyline of the reality that we presently are embedded in, it is a harsh term.
If reincarnation is true, then our “Garden of Eden” is shattered. Our comfortable world, the storyline coming into being at physical birth, lasting up until our physical death, is blown wide open; the characters and props and the played-out script all just make-believe now. Grandparents may be reborn as our own children, our father reborn as our granddaughter, and according to Buddhist thought, we may become a pig or a cow in our next life, or even a swarm of a billion mosquitos. To a slumbering mind such a thing just cannot be true. But it most certainly is true, for there is no better answer.
If we believe the great conventional wisdom of the West, a “material” world having formed the thinking mind, and in all of perpetuity, all of existence infinitely prior to the creation of the universe and all of existence in all of future time, all time immemorial, we, us, happen to be the very extremely unlikely lucky ones conscious in this immeasurably minute nanosecond in all of time. If this were true, however, we would not exist at this particular moment; the moment would have long passed or would be in waiting for some minute minuscule moment in all of future time, or most likely, our personal moment of life would not come at all. It would be literally a virtual impossibility that we would be here, now. Yet, as far back as we can remember, we are, and mysteriously always are. We do exist!
The nature of the self, thus, is so simplified by the educated West that it is not even a children’s story, the Bible’s “Garden of Eden” story arguably more credible. That we exist as awareness today indicates that we surely must exist as awareness in all eternity, that is, we incarnate again and again: reincarnate, just as Eastern religions so conclusively claim, and thus our grandparents may indeed be our children, and on.
Familiarity is key to understanding the natures of things. What is repeated in our lives becomes the normal, the demystified. The West, closing off the before and after parts of present reality, painting something of a child’s picture of a comfortable reality, has produced a cozy living space having but just one flaw: death must perpetually reside just a few heartbeats ahead. Yet the simple picture has worked quite well, remarkably for some many centuries of time, the West becoming the darling of even the Eastern world that, even having the incarnational knowledge, struggles with the difficulties of material poverty. This might seem nonsensical, except that such a closing off of inner knowledge has opened a treasure trove of new forms and images, devised by man – the fruit of industry and technology – that the self uses for communication, a rich language of forms. This odd picture is our hint as to where we should go next.
Next is not to break the pretty storyline that Western man his grown so comfortable with, but rather, is to learn to use it as the spiritual incarnational knowledge comes back into the forefront, which it will. We don’t “reincarnate” at all (it is a dirty word for us, remember?); rather we move from one room to the next and to the next, each time taking on a new body, a new vehicle, for manipulating through the eternal time. We are not born and then die; we rather are perpetually born, and with each “birth” should be increasing in our awareness, our potentials, our natures. As we progress we carry memories of past incarnations, primarily our former interactions with our “families” which, with the expanded awareness, is a far greater family of beings than our closed narratives of the West. All of man’s strivings, his technologies, industries, are the child’s building blocks; useful tools, toys, whatever, toward resolution which will expectedly certainly one-day come.
Arthur Telling has written numerous stories and articles on religion, philosophy and metaphysics. His article, "A Different Jesus Message" appeared in the Nov. 2011 AMORC Rosicrucian Digest. Telling is author of “Johann’s Awakening” (a parody of Jonathon Livingston Seagull), and three novels including “Kaitlin’s Message” exploring the secret sayings of the Gospel of Thomas, and a story collection.