By now you are probably wondering, if reincarnation is true, then how does it operate? What is purpose of living many lifetimes, and what is purpose of reincarnation? So far, we have discussed religious, spiritual, and scientific underpinnings for reincarnation. Now it is time to learn how reincarnation operates and to explore which natural laws determine course of reincarnation. Most people have heard term karma. While you may associate this term with India, it may surprise you to learn that it is equally embedded in Western culture. Simply put, concept of karma states that you reap what you sow—or, to put it another way, you get back what you give or do to others. As you probably already know, Golden Rule states that you should treat others just as you would like to be treated. However, you may not have realized that, according to psychologist and past life therapist Hazel Denning, this principle is expressed in differing forms in all 10 major world religions. The Golden Rule is one of first major principles taught to young children—and it is one of hardest to truly learn and follow. Most religions teach this rule, yet many of our actions are based on our needs and self-interests At same time, we are all aware that there are great inequities in life. People hurt others and seem to get away with little or no obvious consequences. Often, it does not seem that treating others as you would like to be treated is rewarded in this life. While principle of karma seems quite simple, its operation is very complex. As you begin to think about karma, you might wonder how it works and functions in your life.
The Illusion of Separateness
If you try to practice Golden Rule, yet think of your life as a one-time experience, it is hard to make sense of apparent unfairness in world. Still, when you begin to incorporate viewpoint of karma and reincarnation, life appears even more complicated. At same time, however, much that goes on beneath surface of material world can be explained and explored by concepts of karma and reincarnation. All esoteric teachings emphasize that we are connected to one another spiritually. However, in our material world, it is obvious that we are separate. In addition, because there is incredible diversity among people and natural world, you often pursue your own interests at another person’s expense. Yet evidence, natural law of Karma, and Golden Rule are all aimed at helping you pierce through that veil of separateness to see interconnection of all people and things … to see oneness of everything. This is not just an intellectual concept—it is primarily an experiential one.
Thinking Exercise: Examining your relationships
Write down names of people in your life whom you currently see as important. Include relationships that are both negatively and positively charged. 1.Write down relationships from your past as well as from your present life situation. 2.After each name, think about nature of relationship and way you relate to each person. a.What is emotional tone of relationship? 3.Are there strong feelings in relationship that are difficult for you to explain and understand?
Karma as Memory
In a broader sense, karma can be defined quite simply as memory. That is because karma you carry from one lifetime to next is accumulation of all your interests, abilities, tendencies, and both good and bad moral choices. This is not unlike situation in your current life, where your childhood experiences have shaped your adult preferences and tendencies. For example, if as a child you showed some musical interest and talent, took lessons, and practiced regularly, as an adult you would be able to play a musical instrument with some skill. This may help you to view karma in this way as well.
Preferences, Talents, and Aversions
As you know, preferences and aversions acquired during childhood can carry on through to your adult life. Perhaps you have a particular sensitivity and/or passion to different kinds of music and art that was acquired through exposure in childhood and adolescence. For example, your parents may have loved classical music. Through exposure, you may have grown to love or dislike it. This preference may carry on through to your adult life. However, if you have a particular aversion to some foods, a visceral dislike of certain parts of world, or even some prejudices against certain ethnic groups, these may all be parts of your karmic memory; results of many lifetimes of experience that are shaping propensities you carry in your current life. Think of taking this analogy further, and imagine previous lifetimes shaping some of your interests and skills in this lifetime. It is in same way that you have a genetic inheritance. Karma as Learning
What happens here on earth is a process of learning and self-development that occurs on many levels. In this model, situations arise that challenge you to learn and grow or respond … even if they do not directly affect you. This model is much less determinable than other models of reincarnation. Significant situations offer karmic opportunity. You have choices to make about how to handle different situations and relationships that arise in your life. When, karma is about learning, not everything is predetermined; but significant situations offer karmic opportunities. In addition, you are simultaneously creating new karma or growth, or setting up future situations in which you will have to continue to work on consequences of your choices … either in your current life or in a future life. When karma is learning, you can use current opportunities to help you evolve or grow.