This was one of the most important questions I encountered at the beginning of my spiritual search. If we only had one lifetime to live, then I could not find a logical answer. However, when I came across the concept of reincarnation and karma (perfect cause and effect throughout eternity), everything fell into place.
I began to understand that all of us have created who we are today through thousands of past lives – each filled with countless thoughts, words, and actions. Even the circumstances into which we are born are a direct result of our past. And they are always perfectly just, no matter how it may seem to human eyes.
This is not to say that we should callously accept all the suffering around us and do nothing to help. Understanding karma and reincarnation simply gives us a way of comprehending what is taking place in life. It allows us to be lovingly detached as we find ways to help others in need. If we understand the true pattern of cause and effect, we no longer feel pity or jealousy. Instead, we develop compassion and acceptance.
By faithfully practicing the techniques given in this blog on spiritual exercises you will receive proof of your previous lifetimes.
To some of us in the Western world, words such as reincarnation and karma may sound foreign, even today. Let me explain in down-to-earth terms what they entail:
Reincarnation simply means that life does not begin nor end with our current physical bodies. We do not have a soul which goes to heaven or hell when we die. We are Soul – an atom of God’s love, an eternal being. As Soul, we live many lifetimes in many bodies so that we gain spiritual experience and begin to contribute to the divine plan of life. I will discuss this further in another part of the blog called The Purpose of Creation.
Karma is simply the principle of cause and effect. It means that whatever we do, say, or think will eventually return to us in some form. In many cases, the length of time between a cause and its effect is so long that we do not connect the two events. This is especially true when the cause took place in a previous lifetime. One of the benefits I have found from practicing daily spiritual exercises is that the gap between cause and effect shortens – the connection between them becomes increasingly obvious. For example, I may become angry with a friend, and two minutes later get a phone call from another friend who is angry with me. This allows me to understand and accept the lesson more quickly.
One of the tremendous benefits of understanding karma and reincarnation is that we no longer believe in victims or villains. Rather, we begin to realize that we have all done the most wonderful and the most horrific deeds throughout our many lives. We have appeared to be victims at times and villains at others, but these were times when we did not see the chain of cause and effect from other lifetimes. Soul is an atom of love, traveling through eternity. Along the way we play many roles. Some of these roles may be labeled victims or villains, but they are only temporary masks we wear. Eventually, we learn enough to become partners with God, giving service to all of life.