I’ve never really understood re-incarnation. I’ve always thought, when you died, that’s it, you were dead. No heaven, no hell, just off. I know that sounds cold and all, but when I’m really truthful about it with myself that’s where I always ended up. When Buddhism came into my life, the concept of re-incarnation, or really just continuation, sort of elbowed it’s way into my mind. I never really got it, but I rest on a simple theory. What if, when you die, you did become someone else? I mean, people (not to mention other beings) are born everyday! That doesn’t mean some soul goes up to a train station, waits for the next train, and gets dropped off at say, Jessica in 2027. I mean that real self means “you’s” exist everywhere. Someone reading this is a “you,” someone from the past was a “you,” and someone right next to you is a “you.” And…that’s you! It’s hard to wrap your mind around, I really haven’t yet myself. But, it has changed my perspective on death, cyclic existence, re-incarnation, etc. I mean, you could be anybody!
And the past? Slight deviation, just to make you think
Of course, this assumes things are based on moving forward in time. But, spend late night hours looking into Einstein’s Relativity and you’ll hit the fact that if all forces were reversed, the future would happen first and things would move backwards and basically Einstein would un-die, get younger, and be unborn. But, let’s stick with the arrow of time that is currently moving forward. So, anyone in the future, after you die, could be you! Once you can kind of grasp that you realize that it is possible to be someone else in the past too!
Considering the possibility of re-birth; some people out there have it hard
But, it’s never bothered me that you could be someone else in the future until a couple of days ago. Youtube is such a powerful site on the Internet and time and time again in brings new perspective into my life (just a shout out there). So, I was browsing YouTube and found some interesting videos of what people dubbed “uncivilized” tribes in Africa. Now, these tribes all have rites of passage, and some of them were about girls no older than 13 being shipped out of home to be wives to husbands they didn’t know, and some about male children who were no older than 12 being put through “sexual ceremonies” thought to teach them how to be men, though it’s clear then have no idea what sex even was. Anyways, it stopped me in my tracks to think that I could have been one of those children instead of me, born into a place and a time where I might live a way I didn’t want to live (it was clear these kids did not want to leave home or engage in sexual acts). It was more unsettling to think that one could be born into a culture where things like enlightenment or spiritual development was not a part of your life, though in your previous life you were someone who was on that kind of path. Last day of Life A ends, next day of Life B begins -totally different!
What occurred to me was how important getting out of this cycle was. It reminded me of the Buddha and his purpose to escape this cycle. Sure, traditional Buddhism teaches that if you do good in Life A, Life B might be somewhat better and so-on until you’re in a heaven where it’s never hot. But, I’m not convinced of that since there is no “self” to move from Life A to Life B. There’s just birth of a new thinking and feeling being, born into a unique set of circumstances, some good some bad. If there is no connection from Life A to Life B because there is no moving of any essence, then there is no reason to believe that any other “you” out there (any being) is any less qualified to be your new home in Life B! I guess, unless it’s already taken.
Anyhow, this new perspective has brought on a new heaviness of the important of getting out of this supposed cycle of re-birth. I mean, when you die, unless you can get out of the cycle, you might end up being a druggie who screwed up his whole life, suffers from depression and sore teeth from the meth he’s addicted to… Whatever you can imagine, people are out there that have it hard!
p>It’s easy to think that if re-incarnation works, and that you might one-day experience what it’s like to be someone else, a new life, Life B…that you’ll be re-incarnated to be someone who had a nice BMW, a great wife, and air-conditioning…if you’re lucky. Spend some time on YouTube, get to know the kinds of people who have it bad out there. Imagine that might be you one day. Makes you think, it makes me think, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot these days.