The vast majority of people don’t have evidence that they ever had past lives. Only a small fraction of the population have any flashbacks or memory of previous lives. Past lives get mentioned and talked about in the media, but for most people, past lives and reincarnation are not part of their world view. Some people have explored past lives in workshops. A degree of healing can come from this as what happens in past lives (if they are true), can carry over into this lifetime. So if some grisly event occurred in a past life, it can still affect a person’s health in this one, and in future ones (if reincarnation is a fact). Then there are times when workshop goers like to hear that they were king or queen or ruler, or held an important position someplace. Though I’d say the most important lifetime a person is in is this one. In most circumstances, remembering past lives isn’t all that enjoyable. For instance, we have all had lives as animals. Nature programmes occasionally show just how cruel and painful those lives can be in a world with predators.
The concept of reincarnation isn’t strong in the Western world. The story goes that it was removed (in dubious circumstances) from what became the accepted knowledge of Christianity in the Council of Nicea. In this Council, the Roman Emperor Constantine stopped bloodshed by making the Roman Empire, Christian. Here were the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church. Christianity then went on to shape religious and philosophical thought throughout Europe. The heritage of this was taken to other countries that European countries had dealings in. Reincarnation isn’t something people think about in places influenced by Christianity.
In the end it doesn’t matter what we believe about reincarnation, as Reality will do what Reality does. It is untouched by our beliefs or the limits of our understanding.
If reincarnation is true, then linked to this is death. Also linked is birth. Then there is karma.
In my own view of life, I take for granted the existence of Perfect Masters and the Avatar. These individuals work with creation, with karma and the lifetimes that souls reincarnated through.
There is very detailed information about reincarnation in a book called God Speaks by Meher Baba. There is a description of how a soul or dropsoul comes down from the Divine Journeys into creation. It describes how a soul taking the human path drops down to the bottom of the zeroth plane of consciousness, with literally zero consciousness, and progresses lifetime after lifetime, through gaseous then mineral lifetimes, then plant and then animal lifetimes, then the human lifetimes starting on the zeroth plane before really getting going on the first plane. At each type of life, there are approximately 8,400,000 lifetimes. With each lifetime comes an incremental increase in consciousness. (It is fair to say that a soul on the lower planes will think that they know everything, and say so. By the time they have made it up to the 5th and 6th plane, they realize they don’t actually know or understand much of life, the universe and Everything. That’s souls for you.)
Birth after birth, life after life, death after death, karma is built up (physical karma, astral karma and mental karma). In the 4th, 5th and 6th planes, the karma is worked through. Or it is burnt off by being around a Perfect Master or Avatar. In God Speaks, Sanskaras or impressions linked to lifetimes are mentioned, and that is another story.
Then eventually the soul, the person is made God Realized, and the journey back to the Source is made, and the soul has a great story to tell. After that? Probably a different adventure to go on. Souls are all about learning and becoming more.
Creation is big, so there are plenty of places to reincarnate into. We used to think that this universe was it. But now we know, theoretically at least, about the multiverse, due to string and membrane theory. That means there are many different situations in which life of various types can exist in. Present humanity on this earth doesn’t know all there is to know about life, about what is possible in a multiverse. In God Speaks it is said that there are 18,000 earths that humanity exists on. This earth though, is the only one which is physical home to the Avatar and the Perfect Masters, though their influence and work is felt throughout. We have all had lifetimes on other planets as well as this one, including human lifetimes.
With regards to reincarnating into a life, the soul places its energy into a newly forming lifeform. In humans, the soul’s energy goes into the heart centre to start with. The energy of the mother changes to accommodate the new life, and a continual and ongoing energetic communication occurs. This happens lifetime after lifetime. This is an absolutely massive topic to explore.
Death is also a massive topic. We have all died countless times, and there is usually huge fear in people about dying. There is a lot of healing and change to occur so that we even begin to see death as a state to go through onto the next life.
The soul usually withdraws its energy and awareness from the lifeform as it is time to move onto the next part of the journey. Sometimes the physical elemental in the physical body fights this, and holds onto the energy. Usually the heart stops and the centres close down and the soul leaves the physical body.
Before death, the third eye centre can be seen to close down in preparation. The start of this closing down can be days before. The timing is based on karma. With karma, there are three kinds. There is positive, negative and opportunistic karma. With the opportunistic karma, events can go either way; negative or positive. So some deaths are opportunistic rather than the other kinds of karma. The third eye will show the probability of death, and can reopen if the opportunistic event has gone positive. Close shaves can be like this. A death can be positive karma, as the person has fulfilled all of their karma for that lifetime, and the soul withdraws its energy so the spirit of the person can have a deserved rest on the inner planes, an esoteric cup of tea, a review of events in that lifetime, and a meet up with old friends. They then can reincarnate into their next lifetime with a new set of karma to work through.
I’ve written this in a matter of fact way. With most deaths, there is a lot of emotion. Spiritually, we can know what is happening, but the emotions are something different. For the person dying, there is often fear, even though they have done this millions of times before. The people around them often don’t want them to go. When the person does die they are badly missed by those still living, those still physically incarnate. There is grief and loss in the minds of those left behind.
When we have a connection with someone, there are energetic cordings between us and the other person, from our centres to theirs. The stronger the relationship, the stronger the cordings. When the other person leaves, the cordings start to drop away. If the other person dies, there are no centres for the cordings to get attached to. This can be traumatic on a personality level. Grief ensues.
The person dying usually sees the light and as that is so amazing in comparison to what they experience in a physical body, off they go. Sometimes the grief and the emotional attachment of those left behind binds the spirit and soul in the space around the earth making them earthbound. This is not a pleasant or ideal situation for the person who has dropped their body as they are trapped and stopped from doing what they need to. These souls need to be rescued and released, so they can move on (this is rescue work).
When it comes to people we have a relationship with of some sort in this lifetime, usually we have had at least a few lifetimes with them in some sort of relationship such as friend, enemy, sibling, parent, son / daughter of, wife / husband, extended family member, and so on. We will have known them before. It’s likely we will see them again in future lifetimes, too, as there are karmic links. So death ends that well known link for now, but you get to see them again.
When out of physical body, being physically alive as opposed to being a soul and spirit on the inner planes, is not the big deal we make of it when we are in a physical body. We know there is more to that existence, we have it more in perspective. Physical life is a way of learning and developing through many lifetimes to become what we can be, which is a soul on the Divine Journeys, but knowing much more, and being more, than a soul who has not made the journey down into creation and back into the Divine.
Reincarnation is part of that process. Some distant day in the future we may understand that when someone dies that soul is going on the next part of their journey.
In the West, there are people who request funerals that are more upbeat and more of a celebration of that person and their life, rather than being a solemn affair. I do wonder how they will be when we really come to terms with reincarnation.
We create karma with all of our thoughts, feelings, words and actions. Even the act of breathing builds karma. We build physical karma, astral karma and physical karma. Any karma we create we have to balance in a later lifetime. If everyone on earth knew that what they did needed to be balanced later, would this influence how we thought about life and what we choose to do?