Reincarnation

In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Our only question should be, "Is the concept helpful?" And that depends, of course, on what it is used for. If it is used to strengthen the recognition of the eternal nature of life, it is helpful indeed. Is any other question about it really useful in lighting up the way? Like many other beliefs, it can be bitterly misused. At least, such misuse offers preoccupation and perhaps pride in the past. At worst, it induces inertia in the present. In between, many kinds of folly are possible. (M-24.1)

I always find it funny to read what A Course in Miracles has to say about reincarnation (Manual for Teachers, #24). It says that reincarnation is not real, yet it says you don’t have to give up your belief in it. It says that the only value in the belief in reincarnation is that it reinforces the idea that life is eternal. Yet because you can only accept salvation now, the past, whether in this “lifetime” or in another “past life,” is irrelevant. The Holy Spirit always takes what we already believe and purifies it – keeps what is in line with Truth and disregards the rest. With reincarnation, then, it seems there is only this one aspect of it that the Holy Spirit would have you keep – that it strengthens your acceptance of eternal life.

While the Course says you do not have to give up a belief in reincarnation, as someone who feels that she is supposed to specifically teach other teacher’s of God, I have some concerns with it. No student who believes in it has ever come to me believing in it only because it teaches them that life is eternal. In fact, most find something in the idea that keeps them from having to accept God now. Why should they deal with their feelings of unworthiness, guilt and fear of God when they can do it in another life time? The ego gets great comfort from the idea of reincarnation. It is a belief that individuality is real and that it just switches egos over time. It reinforces the idea that time itself is real. It validates the idea of many minds, spirits,“lives” over One Mind, One Spirit, One Life – one God.

Some students fear that they have to be enlightened to get into heaven and they don’t think they can reach enlightenment in one lifetime. The belief in reincarnation helps them deal with their sense of failure for not being enlightened. This judgment of failure, though, is from the ego. You cannot fail, for you are Part of God and it is your Holy Spirit that works through you. Your ego is irrelevant.

Heaven is an awareness of Oneness – once you experience it you recognize you are already there. You remain in the world as a teacher of God to reach others who have not yet welcomed Oneness. The experience of Oneness motivates you to shed your ego and walk towards enlightenment, leading others to God as you do so. Heaven is right here. (For more on this, revisit my blog of December 2, 2006 at
http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2006/12/your-part-in-great-awakening.html)

I have had “past life” experiences myself. But they were always metaphors for what I was going through at the time and I have come to look at them as such. It is possible, I suppose, to think that since we are all One Mind, that rather than tapping into a life we individually have experienced that we are tapping into “other lives” in the collective dream when we have these past-life experiences. But in any case they are past – only now can you accept God.

The emphasis of this course always remains the same;–it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it. This is still your one responsibility. Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time. No teaching that does not lead to this is of concern to God's teachers. All beliefs will point to this if properly interpreted. In this sense, it can be said that their truth lies in their usefulness. All beliefs that lead to progress should be honored. This is the sole criterion this course requires. No more than this is necessary. (M-24.6)

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Comments

Betty Miller said…
thank you for addressing reincarnation, once again a "great answer" that resonates with me. Reincarnation does validate the ego, and the concept something must be worked out which is an illusion. Thanks again for bringing clarity to such a question.
Tom said…
Thanks for that INsight, Liz. From the past life that I remember in the bible, this quote comes: "NOW is the Time of Salvation"; and "We sit (right Now) in heavenly places with Christ."
The priority for my memory is to remember NOW. The future will never, ever arrive. The past will never, ever be here in reality.
Signed, From One who is climbing the vertical ladder to a place I already am. Peace and Love to ALL!!
Robin said…
"The ego is irrelevant" - No one says that Liz but it is the truth! It is the whole answer!!
Manu said…
Of course reincarnation is as unreal as is the dream we call our life and our universe. Re incarnation only appears to happen within this dream.

However, the two main spiritual paths -Hinduism and Buddhism -which bring in theme of reincarnation do NOT support the idea that reincarnation is never ending as some comments here seem to suggest. As a matter of fact what they say is that the cycle of birth and death MUST be ended by spiritual practices in THIS lifetime.Which is the same as the Course saying a miracle saves thousands of years of learning. Hence there is no difference between the Course's teachings and those two mainstream religions whose consistent emphasis is on WAKING UP from the dream of separation.
demo said…
Somewhere else I came across the Buddhist view on reincarnation and got really confused. They believe in reincarnation, but they also have this doctorine of no-self. Reincarnated or rebirthed again is not entirely you and not entirely not-you. Like a remix or something. But then why is the Dalai Lama walking around like the 14th in the line? What's that all about? Man, I thought I think too much but you guys are just making mazes that are just insane. I'm confused. I think I am going to have to accept not knowing. But it's gonna bug me.

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