I apologize for the provocative title, but reincarnation is a subject that many in the spiritual and new-age community feel is too obvious to bother with. The mechanics seem rather simple. You live one lifetime, die, go to the spirit world, hang around a bit, then choose another lifetime that will challenge you in new ways. Usually, that’s where our thinking on the matter ends. But think a little deeper and serious ego and identity issues start to arise. After a thought experiment, running the reincarnational cycle through a few lives and combining what I’ve researched about the afterlife, I hit a roadblock in my understanding. Where I had previously felt secure about the logistics of reincarnation, doubts now filled my mind. I needed to resolve this reincarnational mechanics problem before it threatened to turn into a full-blown spiritual crisis.
Before we get into the subject matter, a little disclaimer is in order. This post is going to deal with some very difficult concepts. Therefore I’m going to abandon my usual style of writing, which is term-paper-ish and just try to explain this in the way I really speak – casually and from my own perspective. I’ve hesitated to write this post for a while because I’m sure I don’t fully understand it myself, but I’m hoping that instead of attempting to be instructive, this can be a collaborative experience for all of us. If you manage to read to the bottom of this rambling, brain-melting topic, feel free to give me your perspective and opinions – I always welcome them.
Until my little thought experiment, I also bothered little with probing the mechanics of reincarnation. Like most people, I assumed the process was pretty straight-forward. But let’s do this thought experiment together, and you’ll see what I mean.
Jennifer and George
Currently, I’m living this lifetime as Jennifer. I have Jennifer’s personality, memories, experiences, knowledge and collection of loved ones. When I eventually die, I expect to rise up out of my body and go into the light, where I will be reunited with my cats, friends and family (yes, cats first). I expect to still be Jennifer, with my personality and memories in-tact. I am very attached to myself, you see. I don’t want to lose who “I” am, and I’m sure neither do you.
So, I’m in the spirit world and I’m learning and healing and reconnecting. My consciousness is expanding and perhaps I’m even advanced enough to be able to look at one or two of my past lives to see who else I’ve been. Keyword, “who I’ve been”. The perspective is ego-centric, I expect that “I” was those people, not “they” will have been “me”. Just a little foreshadowing there.
After some time, I decide I’d like to reincarnate back on Earth and have another go at things. According to spiritual literature, the process starts with meeting with your guides and people in your spirit group, usually your friends and family from the lifetime you’ve just left. We decide that we are going to incarnate as a middle-class family who lives in the UK. My grandmother is already on earth, and is ready to start a family with her husband so I decide I’m going to be born as one of their children, George. Other people from my last lifetime will fill various other roles in the same earth family in accordance with their own spiritual agreements when they decide to incarnate.
This would not be an unusual story in any spiritual book. Classic spiritual literature such as Dr. Newton’s Journey of Souls or Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss both describes reincarnation this way. It seems spiritually sound and on the surface, rather practical.
But here’s where the trouble begins. Let’s fast-forward through George’s lifetime. As an adult, George is not aware that he was once Jennifer, he’s just going about his life. One day, George decides to participate in past-life regression therapy and finds out that he was once Jennifer who lived in America. He finds it fascinating that he was once this person, but it doesn’t have any consequence for his life. He’s not Jennifer anymore, that’s his past. He’s George.
So George grows old and eventually transitions back into the spirit world. He has a beautiful reunion with his parents and the friends he lost. It’s a joyous time. There’s only one major problem with this beautiful scenario.
George enters the spirit world as George.
Stop. When you returned from your next lifetime, did you expect to be you again? Well I did. That is until I really thought about how absurd and ego-centric that idea really was in practice.
George doesn’t return to the spirit world and turn back into Jennifer saying, “Wow, that was a really cool life as George, but I’m so glad to be back as Jennifer again!”
No, only George remains. With George’s family, friends, memories and personality.
So where the hell am I? Where is Jennifer’s memories and personality now? Did she completely disappear when she decided to reincarnate as George?
Taking that a little further, what about all the lives behind me? I’m sure when they chose to reincarnate into me, they didn’t want to give up their own existence. And when I die I certainly don’t want to turn into them in the spirit world, I want to be me – Jennifer. And I’m sure George wouldn’t want to give up his personality when returning to the spirit world and become Jennifer again. That would be absurd, from both his perspective in the future, and mine with regard to whomever decided to become me.
I know that’s a little confusing, but walk through a few lifetimes in your mind, complete with the traditional afterlife reunion – life review – reincarnation scenario and you’ll understand why reincarnation isn’t as simple as it sounds. So do we lose our identities each time we take on a new one?
So how do we resolve this conundrum?
Faced with this existential crisis, I began poring through all of the books in my spiritual library for answers. I’ve cobbled together some sort of understanding how our identity is preserved through multiple incarnations, and how or when we can revisit our personalities and memories again, even if we can only identify with one personality at a time right now.
Before we can make sense of the mechanics of reincarnation, we need to explore two aspects of the multidimensional afterlife that work differently that we are used to on earth: Time and perspective.
Time is described by Spirits as ‘the spacious present’, or ‘a spiral’. Ultimately, time as a chronological series of events is an illusion. It doesn’t mean those events didn’t happen sequentially, but they are like little vignettes in a larger now that doesn’t itself have a chronology. When you are watching a story on TV, you don’t expect the time that passes in the story to alter the time in which you are watching television. The television show are simply characters acting in a made-up time – a year that passes in their made-up story life has nothing to do with the time that exists in the real world. That idea of illusory time is not very different from how our experience of time relates to time as it exists in the higher dimensions. Just like the characters in the TV show are bound and absorbed by their time, we are similarly bound and obsessed by our time. Outside of our dimension, it bears little semblance to reality.
Highly evolved spirits such as Elias (channeled by Mary Ennis, www.eliasweb.org) who have communicated with earth say that we are living all of our lives at the same time, or more specifically, in the same now. Although we are living our lives concurrently, we can only currently understand them chronologically. The human understanding of reincarnation is by definition sequential, so the illusion of chronological time is maintained loosely in the spirit world until we become advanced enough that we no longer need to incarnate. When we evolve spiritually to higher levels of the afterlife, we are introduced to a more sophisticated understanding of time (we become the TV watchers in the above metaphor, not the story characters).
Because we are living all of our lives concurrently, there will be some point at which we will stop incarnating and all of our lifetimes will end at the same time. In our terms, that is in our future. But in other terms that has already happened. Confused? Hang on, it gets worse but I’ll try to explain why the concept of time or lack of it is vital to understanding reincarnation in a bit.
The definition of the ego means something different in the afterlife – it’s more pliable and can be shared. We don’t lose the ‘I’ in ‘I am” but as a matter of perspective, that ‘I’ can move around, split up or be combined. This is a bit brain-twisting, but stay with me.
The multidimensional afterlife is set up as a nested hierarchy of consciousness.
Think of an atom. A single hydrogen atom is a self-contained unit – unique, individualized and sovereign. This atom can join two others to become a molecule of water. The molecule is composed of, and contains the same properties of, the atoms that make it up, and yet the whole is more than the sum of its parts. That molecule is also part of a larger system – a cell, which in itself is a self-contained, sovereign entity. The cell then makes up the circulatory system, which is a component of a human, which is a component of several larger system of organizations. Each part of the system is whole and independent, and yet comprises even larger systems that are also whole and independent.
Now, think of this in terms of consciousness. Imagine you are floating above the earth, and that you can see all of the 7 billion people who live there. Let’s say you have the ability to zoom into any one of those people’s mind and see their life from their perspective. Then you can zoom out, pick a different person and zoom into their perspective. Now imagine that you can do this all at once, with not just people, but with everything that creates the universe – every atom, cell, flower, dog, person, planet, the whole of human consciousness, the whole of the consciousness in the universe, or just the consciousness of a small sparrow – all at once, and all at the same time.
That is God’s perspective.
That is because God IS the consciousness of all that exists. Now this is a bit speculative, but it’s the best understanding I can come up with based on the limited information we have about God. God makes up the consciousness and material of everything that exists, and yet he/she/it is greater than the sum of the parts. Now, is God also made up of a larger system? I haven’t come across the answer in any spiritual literature I’ve ever read. The closest we have come is Seth’s description of God or All That Is. I bolded the important part, but the whole thing is really worth reading for it explains the nested hierarchy better than I can.
God is the ultimate “I” (or eye, depending on how creepy you want to be about it). Spiritual advancement is by definition the expansion of consciousness – moving more toward God-consciousness. This expanded version of ourselves is what we commonly think of as our ‘higher self’. So who is this ‘higher self’? Well, its the personality that developes as a result of the sum total of all of the lifetimes we’ve lived. My higher self contains Jennifer, George, Mary, Chan, Maurice, Hans, and whomever else I may have been or may be in the future.
Now here’s where time comes into the picture and makes it really confusing. Fasten your seat belts.
Although we are living our lives in what seems to be one lifetime after another, we are really living them all at once. Our higher self is done incarnating. We are their past. They are our future. We will evolve into who they are now in the future.
Seth often talked about an entity called ‘Seth Two’. Seth Two could be described as Seth’s future self, which had a more evolved, more expanded consciousness which included the ‘smaller’ Seth One. Even though Seth Two already exists (because, you know, time = illusion), Seth One won’t gain Seth Two’s wider perspective until he himself advances spiritually. Seth Two is Seth One’s higher self, and also his future self.
Mind spinning yet?
One more example, then I’ll try to wrap this up in some way that is half-way understandable with our original Jennifer/George scenario.
I read a book recently called ‘Rita’s World: A View from the Non-Physical’. This was a book written in 2015 by Frank DeMarco who collaborates with The Monroe Institute. He worked with a woman by the name of Rita Warren, a teacher at the Monroe Institute on another book where they contacted higher entities. After Rita passed away, Frank attempted to contact Rita himself and was successful. In this passage, Rita describes what happened when she passed over, and the consciousness expansion that she went through. Rita was spiritually advanced when she was on earth, so this isn’t necessarily what everyone will go through at death.
Expanding my awareness changed me, in effect, yet left me what I always was. It changed me in the way that any new way of seeing things amounts to a new experience, which, integrated, amounts to a slightly or significantly altered being. It left me unaffected in the sense that the particular individual consciousness that I had just laboriously fashioned in nearly 90 years of Earth-life was not altered or expunged (which would defeat the purpose, would it not?) but remained a resource. […] I am the same old Rita you know, and that is our connection.. but I am also so much more than the Rita you or I knew because I am the being of which I only partially and occasionally partook. Both, not one or the other. And I am aware of this because my consciousness expanded, rather than choosing or alternating, once free of the confines of 3D time […] I ceased to function as an autonomous individual in the way I thought myself to be while in 3D, and resumed functioning – rather, assumed my position for the first time, “Rita” not having been previously in existence before the life that created and shaped her – as part of the larger being.
Rita was sufficiently advanced upon going to the spirit world to recognize her connection to her higher self and assume the perspective that not only included Rita, and all of Rita’s personality and memories, but likely all of the life-times that she’s lived. If someone from her past life wanted to connect with her, she could assume the personality she was to that person through the shared experiences and connection they had together.
Okay, so what if Jennifer – or George – is NOT sufficiently advanced enough to incorporate the memory of those past lives? Rita explains this as a type of amnesia for people who are overly fixated on the 3D world upon passing. They identify so wholly with their ego that they cannot comprehend incorporating past lives, or else are fearful of losing the identity that they have. This will unfortunately be what happens to the majority of us, simply based on all of the afterlife experiences I’ve read. Galen Stoller, who I wrote a post about recently, tried to find out about his own past lives in the spirit world and was blocked from doing so by his guides because he wasn’t yet ready to incorporate the knowledge into his current personality.
You might say, but people on earth have memories of past lives, or participate in past life regressions – why are they allowed to if the knowledge is so sacred? The answer is simple. There is a big difference between the intellectual knowledge of who we were and how it relates to who we are now (the basis of past-life regression on earth), and actually incorporating the consciousness of those spirits into our current personality (what occurs in the spirit world as part of our advancement).
Let’s get back to our example. George, my future self, has died and entered the spirit world. Although his higher self has been enriched with all of the knowledge he’s gained through that lifetime, George himself cannot relate it back to Jennifer’s perspective because he is too attached to himself as George (understandably).
Although Jennifer will always exist and be reachable through my higher self, my first-person perspective is now as George. George doesn’t care about Jennifer, in fact he probably doesn’t know she ever existed.
Think about it terms of yourself. If you believe in reincarnation, then you were probably a completely different person before this life. Do you really care enough about who they were enough to abandon your current personality to assume theirs? No, and I would expect that as George I wouldn’t care about who I was as Jennifer either. I’d be too busy being George!
So what is someone from my lifetime as Jennifer wants to find me and speak to me as Jennifer? Well, Jennifer is always available – my higher self will narrow the scope of its perspective and become just Jennifer again. No problem.
Now, it goes without saying that our higher self is not where the hierarchy ends. Our higher selves are components of even more evolved hierarchies – and it goes all the way to the top, to source, where God is the highest self of all. And yet, the beauty of it is that God is also the lowest self of all – for its consciousness is alive and presently aware in the smallest atom. Now that is an awesome concept to consider.
So this brings up a final question that I hear a lot with regard to reincarnation. Many people worry that a loved one in spirit will reincarnate before they join them there. I’ve heard only two responses to this question and both are correct.
- Your loved one will wait until everyone he/she was close to is in the spirit world before you all decide to reincarnate together again.
- You leave part of your energy in the spirit world, so you never really leave it and can simultaneously be incarnated on earth and in the spirit world.
So how can they both be right?
I believe that every lifetime you’ve led is a part of your higher self and is always available, even when a different portion of your higher self is simultaneously incarnating on earth at the same time. On the other hand, whatever identity you and your soul group are currently assuming at any given incarnational cycle will wait until the group is together before planning your next cycle.
There is a lot about how these hierarchies of consciousness work in theory and practice that we can’t possibly understand. We may not even understand it while we are in the spirit world. The good news is that we can go at our own pace. It’s perfectly fine to continue to conceptualize reincarnation as a chronological succession of lives. It’s good to know that our experiences and personality are never lost, even if we don’t consciously remember them from lifetime to lifetime. We will one day be our own higher selves and assist in helping us make better decisions than we did at the time. After all, Seth tells us that our choices affect our past as much as they affect our future (yikes). Love is a constant even if much else doesn’t seem to be – the people we love have been with us for eternity – even though we may not have known it.
Even though I don’t fully understand the process – and may be completely wrong about what I have surmised here – I have faith in that process. While we are independent beings, we seem to be vital components of the vast structure that comprises the God-consciousness. We are important because we are a part of the source, and loved immensely for that reason.
So if you’ve read to the end, I thank you. I know my posts are long and I appreciate your time. This is how I pieced together the process of reincarnation based on research and a little logic, but let me know how you think the reincarnational process works.
Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, by Jane Roberts
The Nature of Personal Reality, by Jane Roberts
The Education of Oversoul Seven, by Jane Roberts
The Elias Transcriptions @ www.eliasweb.org as channeled by Mary Ennis
Journey of Souls, by Dr. Michael Newton
Destiny of Souls, by Dr. Michael Newton
Rita’s World: A View from the Non-Physical, by Frank DeMarco
Many Lives, Many Masters, by Dr. Brian Weiss