Reincarnation – all happening here now

 

Reincarnation holds a particular fascination for many. After all, if I am someone, then what will happen to this someone after death, and what – if anything – was it up to before this birth?

And as usual, it can be very helpful to see what is going on here now.

What I find is that any fantasies I may have about these things (have to create them intentionally since I am not very interested in it!), mirror something here now. That is the case whether someone else tells me about past/future lives, or it comes up for myself in dreams, regression therapy or some other way.

The characteristics and dynamics of those stories mirror something here now. And also, when I take stories about past and future lives as real, I take stories alive here now and tell myself they are (a) about the past or future, and (b) are about something substantial and real. I project characteristics and dynamics out into those stories, and I project a mental field activity out in the past/future and as substantial and real.

In general, stories about reincarnation mirrors how we – and content of experience in general – continually dies as what it was and is reborn as something else. In that sense, the process of reincarnation is happening here now, always.

And more in particular, whatever I imagine into past or future lives – who I was, what life I lived and so on – also mirrors something here now. Typically, it mirrors my fears (shadow) or my hopes. Qualities and characteristics present here now, which I am not completely aware of so can more easily see out there in someone else, in the past or future. (Usually things that are here, but do not fit my conscious self-image, who I am in the world.)

So it can be very useful to work with imaginations around reincarnation, and I find that I can do it in any of the ways I work with anything else.

I can dialog with figures – who I was or others in that life. Who are they? What do they want? What do they need? What do they want to tell me? How can I help them? How can they help me? What can I learn from them? How do I relate to them? How can I relate to them in a more skillful way? How can I notice them more in my own life, or bring them more out? What is a healthy expression of the qualities I see in them?

I can do tong-len with these figures, especially the ones that suffer.

I can find the figures that appear as demons to me (troublesome) and go through the feeding the demons process.

I can allow the experience that comes up, as it is, including any resistance to it. I can find myself as that which already holds and allows all of it. And I can do it with kindness and compassion for my human self who may have trouble dealing with it.

I can find any beliefs I have around particular stories about past lives, and inquire into them. What happens when I hold onto those beliefs? Who am I without them? What is the grain of truth in their reversals?

I can explore it through the sense fields. When I activate stories about past or future lives, what do I find in the different sense fields? What do I find in the mental field? Can I see it all happening within and as this timeless present, as activities in the mental field – sometimes combining with sensations and other sense fields?

In my teens, during my initial (quite intense) awakening process, I had a recurrent dream different from any other dream I have had. It seemed to be more of a receiving of information than the typical fantasies of a regular dream.

In it, I was a youngish man in Russia in the 1860s. An intellectual who spent time with other intellectuals and artists, including – for a few months – in Paris. I was now back in Russia. It was late fall. The fields had been harvested. I ran through one of them, heading towards a white house. There, I was later found and shot by fellow anarchists for having too strongly opposed their strategy of using violence for political change.

So is this a real “past life” or not? It doesn’t really matters. What matters is what it means for me here now, even some years later. What beliefs do I have around this? What can the different characters tell me, if I dialog with them? If I find the demon I see behind my assassins, what happens when I go through the feeding the demons process? What happens when I do tong-len with all of them, taking in their suffering and giving back clarity and kindness?

(Btw: If I really want to go into how “factual” reincarnation is in a more conventional sense, I see that it is not so surprising if something – patterns, habits, inclinations, tendencies – passes on to another person, but I also see that what I am is not touched by any of it. It all happens within and as what I am. There is no “I” associated with any of those individuals, and no “other” associated with others and the wider world.

And if I want to look at it in a practical sense, in terms of the effects of taking the story or reincarnation seriously, I see that it can be helpful in two ways. It can be helpful in the way outlined above, as a way for me to notice what is already here now. And it can be helpful in a social and ethical sense, as another way to bring home – and bring to life – the golden rule to people. Although I must say, if it is taken as a belief, it can easily be more stressful than helpful.)

Initial outline…

  • reincarnation in general
    • projection of what is happening here now
      • a separate self w. particular identity, dying and being reborn here now
      • the mental field activity that creates it needs to be constantly maintained and active
      • and its content changes as well (discrepancy between memory + what is here now)
  • specific instances (past, future – scenarios)
    • reflects what is happening here now
      • dynamics and characteristics here now
      • stories here now, made to appear about/in past/future, as substantial, real
  • can be very useful
    • regression therapy, if taken as mirroring what is going on here now (leaving the question of whether reincarnation + specific memories are “real” in conventional sense aside, b/c has little practical value either way)
    • dialog (voice dialog, BM process)
    • tong len
    • feeding demons
    • finding and inquiring into beliefs
  • Example: Russian anarchist, internal differences, run through fields after harvest, found and shot
    • tong len with opponents + him
    • feeding demons
    • finding beliefs and inquire (they shouldn’t use large scale violence, violence does not bring what we want)
    • dialog: who are they, what do they have to say, etc.

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