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Fred asks about our choices in life!
Mon,20 Jun 2011
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Fred asks: Do we choose our present circumstances before we are born?
There are a variety of answers to this depending on whether you are a believer in reincarnation, the Judeo-Christian faith or Spiritualism, for instance.
The Hindu reincarnation theory is that we do not choose our circumstances in this life because we are given them in response to our spiritual accomplishments (or lack of them) in previous lives, the good rewarded with privileges and the bad, given a gruellingly hard life. Because those who are suffering are also those who have least education, they are unable to defend themselves of having committed some dastardly deed in a previous life that has justified their suffering. My problem with the theory of reincarnation is that if we were learning from each life, our world would be progressing spiritually. do not remember how or why.
One of the problems of this theory is the supposition that - those born into an extremely poor family with little opportunities to improve their life - is being punished for self-centred actions committed in a previous life. I think it rather disingenuous for a person in the rich first world to support such an opinion which applauds themselves and judges others who are less well off.
Because we forget what happened in our previous lives, perhaps we are unable to see any connection between the crime and the punishment, the self-sacrifice and the reward. According to this theory then, by default, we subversively choose our life.
The Judeo-Christian theory is that our soul enters life at conception. This seems to be random, not chosen in any way. It is purely by good or bad luck whether we have access to education, health, work, justice and other important benefits that help us to attain a comfortable life. However, we are guided to be caring and honest and seek justice for all if we are to be rewarded in the Afterlife.
Spiritualism does also not believe that we choose our future life though Spiritualism is a broad church and there are some within it that do believe in reincarnation. There is little in the teachings of Spiritualism by Silver Birch and other teachers in the spirit world that we exercise any choice in our present life before we get here. The teaching is more about how we are to live our life while we are here.
Replies to posts from The Spirit Guides readers are always interesting, so please place a comment if you have a point of view on the above.
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Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply, Jan. I think the religions of the past addressed questions of oneness, such as the need for empathy and compassion, however, our day, today, we have another very serious problem not addressed by religion and philosophy which we are slow to realise. Our seas, land and air are so pollluted they cannot sustain life, bees are dying, our world is overpopulated and war is used as a means of addressing all kinds of problems. Only New Age Spirituality can address these problems but generally, it seems to be avoiding any awareness or realisation. Have I chosen to incarnate at this time in the educated West because the treat to the future of the planet is so imperative? I wonder!
Wed,29 Jun 2011,19:49:20 GMT
Hello Wendy, sorry for the delay in replying - hectic few days! I agree with your comment about the apparent lack of compassion within the spiritual hierarchy of Hinduism and I think that we in the west are faced with a situation previously unknown in human history - never before have human-kind been confronted by such vivid and immediate images of suffering coming to us through the various media and from every continent and they demand a response from us as privileged but compassionate onlookers.
I feel completely in tune with Norman's statement of beliefs, beautifully expressed, they are the same conclusions I have reached myself but my 'sticking point' at the moment is to do with the aspect of suffering on this plane of existence which seems to be what you are feeling too. Norman makes an interesting point about the concept of separation and how the greater reality is that we are all one. Perhaps, somehow, this all ties in together.
We all long to intervene but can do so little in realistic terms and, knowing this, we suffer in return. Perhaps prayer or focussed intent makes a difference on some level but we will probably never know. Maybe the most we can offer, as a new form of spirituality (forgetting all the fluffy stuff of New Age) is to live out our beliefs in the 'oneness of all' in whichever way we can. This is, of course, what the best aspects of religion have been advocating down through the ages but it seems to have been lost along the way.
I really don't have any definite answer and every day I despair of the pain and suffering which is apparent wherever we look. Hopefully we 'see through a glass darkly' and, at present, are unaware of the benevolent forces perhaps working with our concern and pain. Maybe, underneath, we are there with those who suffer, maybe on one level we are united with them. I really hope so.
Tue,28 Jun 2011,13:48:16 GMT
If Fred believes that we choose the circumstances of our life prior to birth, this means we chose to live out our life in the affluent west, cared for from the cradle to the grave unlike others who are on the painful treadmill of life in hot, foreign lands. We have chosen our life and all its privileges, but we cannot speak for others as no-one would choose a life of gruelling hardship in a war zone or where there are no painkillers or antibiotics available, where people can neither read nor write to get justice for themselves and their loved ones. If anyone has free willl, we have, but what should we do with with our lives given the free choices we have, such as money, time, education? Does New Age spirituality help with this bottom line question? If so, what is the answer?
Mon,27 Jun 2011,23:13:58 GMT
Hi Wendy and Jan. It was very interesting reading your comments on such an interesting subject and indeed there is such a mixture of beliefs it is hard to know why we are here, how we got here and where are we going after we have spent sometime here. Here of course being Earth as a incarnate (human) being.
I believe we are all eternal souls seeking experiences in the physical realm. We can know and assume anything but until we experience it, it does not have the same impact and meaning.
Being brought up in the Christian faith I found I had more questions and problems with those teachings than answers, not with my ego (mind) but with my heart (eternal soul).
I, like Jan, sought more information and found such writings as Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, Many lives, many masters by Dr. Brian Weiss, Watching over us by James Van Praagh and Yours Soul's Plan by Robert Schwartz to help supply the answers my heart was seeking. My intuitive self, which I believe is my eternal soul, felt more at peace with the concept of a non- judgmental Creator, reincarnation, my eternal soul's planning with my spirit guides, soul mates and guardian angels along with the intentional forgetting of my souls experiences when I was incarnated and the universal law of a complete free will to choose during my time as an incarnate being.
The concept of separation rather than oneness gives those in charge great power and creates animosity between those who are really one and the same. We can choose to be selfish, angry, mean, greedy etc. which the ego (mind) wants as it feels finite, where as the choice of selfishness, love, generosity, kindness etc can be chosen which the heart (eternal soul) wants as it is infinite.
However it is for each of us to seek answers from our heart (eternal soul), and we will know intuitively ( a peaceful realization) that we have found some of the answers when we listen carefully to what our soul tells us because it has our eternal interest even though our mind (ego) does not willingly seek answers from within, preferring outside sources that will agree with its concepts.
Mon,27 Jun 2011,12:04:01 GMT
Thank you, Jan, for your interesting and informed comment. I think that in the rich West, we are immensely privileged (though sadly unaware of the full extent of it or we would appreciate what we have far more than we do). Maybe we were given a choice, and chose this, and others were not given a choice, as this is a planet with finite resources, and not enough to go around and for some to have, others must do without. I think that because we have cradle to the grave protection and support, that we have a spiritual obligation to help those who are desperately struggling.
My problem with the Hindu belief is that it is hierarchical and can it therefore be considered a spiritual path. The Brahmins (educated and privileged) treat cows better than the humans at the bottom of their imposed caste system.
I think we need to be careful we are not endorsing a theory just because it suits us to walk past those who have nothing but pain and suffering in their life.
I'd be very interested to read your response to this idea, Jan.
Fri,24 Jun 2011,09:16:52 GMT
Hi Wendy, thank you for an interesting article. It seems to me that many theories about reincarnation conflict with each other which doesn't fill me with confidence so, after many years of reading around the subject, I have reached the following conclusion.
If this physical life is analgous to that of a school of learning then the 'Sixth Form pupils' would be those faced with the more challenging lessons and the little First Years would be given easier tasks and lots of support. Which might mean that we in the privileged west are only just starting out and that more advanced souls might choose to reincarnate into a poor family in India in order to face greater spiritual challenges.
I don't think that we can complacently assume that the disabled, disenfranchised or the pitiable across the world are necessarily below us in the spiritual pecking order. Therefore I cannot go along with the Hindu belief system as described because I believe that we, as souls, have some input before we arrive on the planet - if we find ourselves in a difficult life then, on some level, at some point in our existence, we will know why we are here and why we have helped choose this 'placement'.
I don't believe that it is a case of automatic, reactive ranking by a judgemental deity because what would be the point of that? We would never experience contrition or accomplishment in any meaningful way because, on each deathbed, we would be catapulted into the next lifetime. The process of productive learning has to include elements of appraisal and self-evaluation for it to be effective.
I suppose my beliefs correspond most closely to those of Michael Newton who wrote Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls. In these two books, having studied vast numbers of accounts by people who, under deep hypnosis, remembered their time between lives, he has developed a hypothesis regarding life beyond death and reincarnation. Some of the accounts leave one incredulous, to say the least, but there appears to be much truth there in my opinion.
I don't particularly relish the thought of endless lives on Earth myself but I am heartened by the assurance that we don't just reincarnate as individuals but also as members of a soul group and I can certainly believe that I might well say in a rash moment "OK, I'll give it a go one more time if we are all going back together". Who knows?!
Thu,23 Jun 2011,19:07:33 GMT
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