A Follow-up to "Death, Reincarnation, and Guilt"

I knew my last article was on a loaded topic: reincarnation. I did receive some positive emails. But I felt that many of the comments on the article at my blogsite, via email, and in discussion with clients missed the central points of the article. This is a common phenomenon! I learned a long time ago that everyone reads through their own filters. But I want to clear up some of the issues that came up in the comments and then I’ll be done with it. When I write an article all I can hope is that the readers read it with the Holy Spirit and get something useful out of it for where they are now in their process, even if it’s not what I intend for them to get.

The point of the article was how the belief in guilt persists through the concept of reincarnation. As long as you believe in guilt the ego (personal thought system in your mind) will provide stories for your guilt, whether they are from this lifetime or from another. As long as you want to go in search of guilt in your mind it will provide stories from this lifetime or another lifetime. When you work out the guilt in your mind you will not be interested in these stories any more. The ego in your mind will still have them. But you won’t attend to them because you will see that they are not true.

Stories of guilt in your mind are not really the source of your guilt. Your belief in guilt gives rise to the stories. The value of looking at these stories is that they bring your belief in guilt to your conscious awareness. This belief takes many forms. But each time as you drill down to the source of guilt you will arrive at the same underlying belief: that there is a power outside and over you (a god) taking your measure and judging you. This, ultimately, is the only belief that you have to undo. It is what holds guilt in place. It is what makes you fear Truth. Eventually you will not be deceived by the many forms guilt takes. Instead when guilt comes up you will go right to undoing your underlying belief in a judgmental god. (My book, Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace, explains all of this in depth).

There are some who believe firmly in reincarnation and I have no doubt that, if they are willing, the Holy Spirit will use that belief in a way that will help them undo guilt now. But there is no reason to despair over the idea of reincarnation. Nor is there any reason to adopt the concept if it fills you with fear or does not make sense to you. The other important point that I made in the last article is that it does not take lifetimes to undo your belief in guilt. It just takes willingness now to look at guilt when it comes up naturally.

Sometimes when you study something like ACIM there are concepts beyond your ability to understand. If you cannot understand Eternity as timelessness or existence without a self then accept that you do not understand Eternity and True Being (God) yet. Understanding will come as you are ready to understand. You don’t have to adopt concepts that scare you or that do not make sense to you in the meantime. It is a more helpful practice to keep your mind open to the Holy Spirit. It will bring you the concepts or experiences that you need to understand. (And, yes, for some it may be reincarnation but not if it scares you or does not make sense to you. If you feel despair you are listening to the ego, not the Holy Spirit!).

The concept of reincarnation was used by the Voice she called “Jesus” to motivate Helen Schucman to be a channel for and scribe of ACIM. When you read about a person’s specific experience with the Holy Spirit (or “Jesus”) what you want to take away is that they were answered, not necessarily what they were answered. The Holy Spirit speaks to your mind and the unique way it works. It meets you where you are in the process. (For more on this: http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2007/06/one-limit-to-holy-spirits-guidance.html and http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2012/05/ask-what-makes-course-different-from.hml).

For those who have had past life experiences but who are made fearful by the concept of reincarnation I offer you two alternative ways of looking at those experiences. The first is that as each of us in our seeming-individuality are figures in the “dream” of one mind then past life experiences are really just “memories” of other dream figures in that one mind’s dream. In other words, you did not personally live those lives. You are just remembering something in the collective dream. This is why many different people can have past-life experiences of being the same historical person.

The other view is one that comes from my own experience. I, too, have had past life “memories”, three in total, two of them under hypnosis over 20 years ago. Right away I recognized that they were analogies for what I was experiencing at the time. For example, while I was dealing with what I perceived as a painful rejection one of the regressions revealed how in a past life this same person had “stabbed me in the back” and killed me. The “memories” in these regressions seemed to me to be just like a dream I have at night that produces analogies to what I am experiencing awake. They were stories from my subconscious built around my feelings.


Beyond specific stories for guilt the concept of reincarnation reinforces guilt by emphasizing your identification with a self. It can therefore only come from the ego, which is the thought system for you as a self. The concept is an attempt to give an attribute of Reality – immortality – to the ego to make it seem real. For this reason even if the concept is helpful for some temporarily it will eventually fall away when they recognize it as an obstacle to complete peace.

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Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.

Comments

Manu said…
From your previous article "I have yet to run across a student who looks at the concept of reincarnation in a way that is comforting or helpful. Always they speak of it with guilt and fear."
Obviously you haven't been exposed to people from other cultures and religious backgrounds ( e.g. Buddhist, Hindu) where the concept is neither fearful, nor guilt ridden, but quite the opposite. Where people who can recall previous lifetimes are often celebrated and honored and welcomed when they identify places and people accurately. Prime example in my experience is my own father who lived an exemplary life, could recall some of his past life situations, and looked forward to the next lifetime, happily believing that he was progressing to being freed from the cycle of birth and death if he kept up a spiritual, loving and devotion to God outlook.
Seems to me people brought up in Christianity which denies reincarnation could be fearful and guilt ridden when they experience past life recollections believing they must be sinful for experiencing what the Church denies.
Anonymous said…
This doesn't speak to reincarnation specifically as it isn't a concept I have any issue with but I thought I would share a night dream which I thought produced a good analogy built around my feelings of late.

Recently I've been experiencing a shift in awareness, from body to mind. Yesterday I sensed my fear coming up and it played out in a disturbing night dream. In the dream I was being pursued by a disturbed and vicious man. The man was clever by somehow leading me towards rooms that had no escape. I woke myself from the dream because it was not pleasant. While lying awake, I remember asking the Holy Spirit for help. I then fell back to sleep and began dreaming the same dream but this time I had presence of mind to look at how the man was getting himself into the room, this is how to escape. I saw that it was a secret hatchway in the wall and was able to open it up and push my way through. Throughout the dream of trying to get away from this man, I sensed another person was with me but I didn't know who it was. Still feeling pursued but not as frightened, I saw yet another detour I sensed this man wanted me to take but in my mind I knew it was just a pathway of halls that didn't go anywhere so I took a different way. I remember wanting to wake from this silly dream and then I did, greeted by the pleasant spirit of my dogs.

My analogy is the disturbed and vicious man was my ego and the other person with me was Jesus. When I woke mid-dream and asked for help from the Holy Spirit, it was then I was told to look and that is how I'll find my way out, a “better way”. When the dream was over, I remember this thought coming into my mind, “kill or be killed, one or the other”.

I understand there is a part of me that is scared but I know Jesus is with me wherever I run off to and with willingness to look at my ego and ask for help, I will be guided to a better way.
nicci said…
liz,
this was very helpful. i looked forward to your blog all week, trusting that you would take me deeper into understanding how guilt appears within the dream. i will reread this throughout the week, and turn to my Inner Teacher for continued healing. thank you for the part you are playing in my awakening.
endlessly, n
Elizabeth Keats said…
What nicci said! Thank you Liz
Christine said…
Hi, Anonymous! I used to awaken to a vicious dog! He was a huge golden Pomeranian rescue...we had him for ten years, adopted him at age 5, the rescue didn't tell us he was a psycho! I learned More from this dog than I had from any other 'normal dog' we had adopted or found, etc. I had already been studying the Course for four years when we got him, and I knew his behavior was a "call for Love". Now, to tie this in with this week's blog post: Our life/lives (as personal selves split off from God) seem to be a call for Love, or an extension of Love. In content - the forms are multitudinous, but the content has always been the same, so you can be healed in the one you seem to have right now.
Aleta said…
This has nothing to do with reincarnation, but in the comments of your previous blog entry, you mentioned that you've had "revelations," and I had an experience many, many years ago, that I have, since studying the Course, called a "revelation." I'm wondering if it could really be called that, or a miracle, or something else. What happened was that I was having a difficult time in my personal relationship and so my brother convinced me to come to his church. I did and found myself at the altar, getting "saved." But what happened was that when I was standing at the altar, suddenly I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that I was an eternal being. It wasn't just me believing it because somebody told it to me; it was a truth that I knew with my entire being, and it had the effect of turning me into a Bible-thumper for about a year, until I met my first husband (but THAT'S another story!). Anyway, was that experience a revelation, a miracle, or what would you call it? Just wondering. It really had a profound effect on my life.
Anonymous said…
Liz, in line with Aleta, I too had an experience I was curious about. It was different from miracles I've experience and I know it was not a revelation but I wondered if this is what a holy instant is. One day last summer I was communicating with two of my older sisters who were dealing with psychological difficulties and they shared they went to the ocean for peace of mind. So later that day I was driving down the road and bringing them both to mind with the thought of them peacefully looking upon the ocean waves, a peace flowed through me that tears welled up in my eyes and I had to pull over. Holy instant?
ACIM Mentor said…
Aleta and Anonymous: Those were miracles. What Aleta experienced is what I call a higher miracle. You could call them both Holy Instants.
In a Revelation there is only pure Being extending infinitely. There is no world or even the idea of a world. There are no forms so no words or thoughts or feelings.
A miracle involves perception. There is perceiver and perceived. There is "and" as in, me and the world or me and Truth. Even if what you see is that the world isn't real you still perceive it.
Anonymous said…
Ahhhh! Thank you.
will said…
No one can hear when the mind is racing, no matter if it is talking or reading or even thinking. Being a recovering person I am afflicted more than most. It has been going on for some time now. It’s like being in a blackout. I feel like I am just recently coming out on the other side.
Aleta said…
Thanks, Liz!
Christine said…
Liz, I remember a year and a half ago, or two years when I was trail riding on my horse alone out in the woods and I "disappeared" for about three or four seconds. I told you about this - and you just described the experience! No perceiver or perceived. I didn't feel warmth or joy - but there was absolutely no fear. It was as if "the film ran out" and there was just blank screen...white and clear. Had never happened before, nor since. No reference points, landmarks - no past or future feeling: just neutrality. Is this a revelation?
Jeremy said…
You are an amazing student of the Course! Thank you for these insights.
Anonymous said…
How a past memory played into the present. A call for love indeed Christine.

Yesterday I witnessed a call for love as I watched it play out in a scene between my 3 pups and my neighbor's son who happens to suffer from depression and extreme fear of others. So I was up the road a few houses with my love bugs and I noticed he was down the road, pulling up the driveway to his Mom's mailbox. My dogs, who always greet his Mom when she is at the mailbox, went running down to greet him too. As they approached him, all excited with tails wagging, he totally ignored them like they were not even there (yes I know, none of us are really there) and so as I continued to watch it play out, he walks past them, looking down at the mail in his hands, gets into his car and rides off. Projection makes perception so I looked at my thoughts being projected out and recognized the guilt being played out as rejection, he rejecting the love greeting him in the form of my 3 loving pups. This scene was reinterpreted as a call for love as I blessed my brother with the light from this mind to his mind.

Now let me back up a bit to further explain the fuel to this projection (how the past enters in). In another scene, two winters ago, when on an icy morning in New England, his car gets stuck in his Mom's driveway and I, being the helpful neighbor, went out to offer my help. When I asked him if I could give him a push, I interpreted his response of NO as a rude rejection. Now you see I was not as advanced along my forgiveness practice to choose again and instead I allowed this situation to confirm belief in the guilt in my mind. When I eventually came to understand with the Course's teachings that I need to forgive the projection of rejection, not love, it served a holy purpose to learn from and thus by allowing it to be reinterpreted by Love, I saw it as my own fear of rejection being projected onto him. So back to yesterday, projection makes perception, I recognized the memory of guilt from the past. I was given another opportunity to choose a different teacher, and in my readiness, I chose the Holy Spirit, I recognized the sameness with my brother, a call for love and that his call for love, is my call for love and through the light in my mind, blessing my brother, I blessed myself. Love transforms.


ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, Christine, I would say that was a Revelation.

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