As a Catholic, we are taught the doctrine of Purgatory. It is a “place” where the soul is “purged” of it sinfulness (refined in the fires of love) so that it can withstand the pure light and love of God. There are some references to it in the Bible and when I saw myself as a Catholic apologist, I had them handy in order to “combat” Protestants who might challenge the belief. An example of this is “in Matthew 5:26 and Luke 12:59 Christ is condemning sin and speaks of liberation only after expiation. ‘Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.’ Now we know that no last penny needs to be paid in Heaven and from Hell there is no liberation at all; hence the reference must apply to a third place(http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/where-is-purgatory-in-the-bible/).” How can someone earn money while in prison in order to pay to be released? There had to be a third option… purgatory.
A.C. :We are not about doing apologetics, however, that there is a purging after one dies even in the Christian is best expressed in my Protestantly-oriented mind in 1 Corinthians 3.
For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12* Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– 13* each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14* If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15* If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
The already justified person (true Christian, not just cultural Christian—i.e. one who has genuinely “received” Christ and made “just as if” they had never sinned by Christ through total gift and no merit of their own) is shown to have their soul survive the purging experience. Thus they are not “lost” but “saved” through this judgement of “works”. Justification is not by works—only reward. The judgement here described is not thought to put the soul in danger of eternal “lostness” in evangelical thought. It is just for administration of “rewards” of the Christian. It is thought of as instantaneous and not long and arduous as seen in Roman imagery. I point out to my evangelical friends that “eternity” means outside of time and thus time is irrelevant in that realm. Thus, the proper interpretation of the scripture could mean either instantaneous or long—both are the same in that realm. Nevertheless, a “process” is depicted. Thus there is a “purgation” whether there is a “place” (if “places” exist outside of space-time) called “Purgatory” or not.
Aware34:–This is very good. Thanks for it. The verse you quoted is also used by Catholics to defend the Purgatory doctrine. I like the notion you laid out in your paragraph.
Years later, long after I was interested in apologetics of any kind, I was talking to a friend who worked with me as a therapist in Catholic Charities in Chicago. He was from the Coptic tradition and told me that he believes in reincarnation!
A.C.: That’s interesting. I wonder if the Coptic church sanctions that belief or if it is just his individually.
–Aware34: -I’m not sure. When he said it to me it was in the context of his faith tradition. It was matter of factly given.
What!? He asked me what is purgatory if not reincarnation? That made sense to me. One can quite easily see that reincarnation is the process where a person slowly, through lifetimes, learns the ways the Law of One and is thus purged of anything that still holds on the to the illusion of separation from God.
A.C.: Yes. This is so emotionally satisfying to me and highly integrative of traditions.
After I was exposed to the Law of One, which teaches that there are two paths to the Creator: the positive polarity and the negative polarity. The Bible verses that speak about “hot and cold” started to make sense. In Rev 3:15-16, we find this: “15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Might this be a way to understand the different polarities? When a planetary harvest approaches, those who are unharvestable to 4th Density positive or negative (hot or cold) are thus “spit out” or recycled to another planet that is in the 3D cycle for more soul evolution to take place until the soul makes the choice of polarity.
A.C.: Yes, yes!
If reincarnation is true, then why does the church condemn the idea? This is complicated and many other writers offer good explanations, better ones than me. Just do your own research if you are interested.
A.C.: The data that convinced me was not churches proffering arguments but seeing the research that has come forth in the last 20 years of so many children telling stories of past lives before they forget them. I don’t have the authors immediately but there are several highly reputable ones who have headed academic departments, etc.
Aware34: –Yes, I’ve read some of same people. You are right, it is so compeling. There’s a youtube video about children’s reincarnation experiences. I’ll try to find it. It was powerful.
Still, I’ll say this. Some see that the Church, under Constantine’s rule, wanted to control the lives of the believers. If the powers that be could remove the idea that people can learn the ways of God through their own experiences and evolve over lifetimes towards God, then they could insert themselves as the sole intermediaries between God and humanity. It was a power thing so that people would become dependent on the Church of salvation, thus bolstering the power structure. There may be some truth to this and I am not opposed to thinking this way. However, I don’t think its the only reason.
This is my opinion. If one lives a life that follows Christ, imitating his loving service to others, and surrendering to the will of the Father, then one very well might only need to live one life. In other words, the Christian life if lived authentically can be a pathway up and out of the octave and no rebirths would be necessary. Its a real shortcut! The Christian life is less a belief system where one needs the right beliefs but more a “doing” system where orthopraxis is more important. If we follow Jesus’ life and imitate him and “die” to our false self’s needs, then our soul would be harvestable to the 4 Density. If we truly dive into the mystical aspects of Christian living and follow Jesus’ death, Resurrection, and Ascension, then we become a Christ as well, or vessel of Christ Consciousness,
A.C.: This is called “divinization” in Eastern Orthodoxy—another integrative and liberating teaching.
Aware34: –Theosis, too, right?
and may well gain access to the realms beyond 4D; even up and out of the octave altogether. So, omitting the teaching of reincarnation in favor fully engaging in this lifetime by following the life of Jesus might be a way to help people to focus on the here and now rather than the next go around, as it were.
A.C.: A generous thought. But the church called reincarnation an “anathema”. That’s a bit strong for an organization with a generous spirit. The spirit of the time of the council, it seems to me, was to separate black and white very strongly—very dualistic.
Aware34: — Agreed… and perhaps I’m stretching it. Still, I read somewhere (I’ll try to find it) that what the Church was really against was transmigration in that human souls evolved from animal souls. This is what Daskolos also taught. A LoO perspective would see both as potentially true. A harvestable 2nd D soul would be one that through love and self-awareness started to splinter off of the animal oversoul and begin to individuate on the level of the 6th Density. There must be some kind of process or quantum leap in soul evolution that the soul would pass through to ready it for 3 D life. Daskalos said that the Holy Monad passess through the Human Idea and becomes a human. Maybe there’s a way to tie the two here.
Lastly, as I reflected on the previous post, Christ’s death did metaphysically pierce the cycle of global karma and thus alleviated much “debt” that needed to be paid. He was the instrument of Christ Consciousness that entered into 3D existence and took on the negative energy that was being transmitted and recycled in a closed circuit of karmic debt.
A.C.: The transmutation of evil and sin done to us is our job as well. It is done through radical forgiveness—the strong message of A Course in Miracles. That’s the one useful message I got from that material—forgiveness should be radical.
His life and death became a transformer of energy and thus opened up new possibilities of freedom from the effects of sin (choices based in the illusion of separation that perpetuates the illusion; acting such that one is separate from the other). Suddenly, the playing field opened up and allowed people to be much more detached from their negative individual and collective thoughtforms or elementals they created from previous lives that would have been the “monkey on the back” keeping them repeating the same lessons.
A.C.: Well said.
Then, with the Advent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, humanity gained empowerment to move forward as Christ(s) and ignite the world in love as their own heart chakras were overflowing with a new kind of power and light. Karma and the need to keep repeating lives to learn lessons would be less necessary because people now had a living icon to follow and new power source inside them (Holy Spirit) to drive them right through soul evolution to the verdant lands of 4th Density vibrations (and beyond, for mystics!).
A.C.: Yes. This is what I think 1 Corinthians 3 means when it speaks of building upon the “foundation” of Christ. Works that endure will be done through the motivating power of love and the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is also possible that there is wisdom in not teaching reincarnation for another reason. In cultures and in people whose consciousness still moves within strong dual tendencies, reincarnation can serve as a structure in which to build caste systems.
A.C.: Christianity has mitigating teachings that could prevent such a thing if properly used, and we could still teach reincarnation. Your idea is interesting, however.
Clearly the Christian life, following Jesus’ example, should allow for all and everyone to be ontologically equal. By removing the concept of reincarnation at that time may have served as a way to mitigate a culture’s placement of people into rigid social systems that allowed others to judge, condemn, and treat harshly. In other words, for humanity to learn to live in the now and live a life of loving service now, removing the teaching of reincarnation may have been appropriate so that people could break from an older paradigm of classifying people. Unfortunately, humanity found many other ways to put people below themselves and thus perpetuate other forms of caste systems.
A.C.: True, true. It is the nature of lower level consciousness. Not until Fowler’s “Universalizing” stage can one really give that up completely, I suspect.
The time has come, I believe, to reintroduce the fact of reincarnation, or soul evolution. In actuality, it has never left us as the esoteric traditions have always kept the teaching alive by those who could handle it better than the general public. I’d like to propose understanding reincarnation in a way that might be more acceptable to the Sunday School Crowd, as it were. What if reincarnation could be seen this way: You do only have one lifetime, and it lasts for thousands of years with periods of wakefulness and sleep. There is a macro life and a micro lives. The micro life is one that we are familiar with, for it is the life we live today.
A.C.: I like this.
We are awake during the day and we sleep at night. However, in the realm of 3rd density, there is a veil of forgetting that is placed on us so that we learn how to make the choice of polarity most effectively. That is to say that in the 3rd density, when we are “awake” we are actually “asleep” to the larger cosmic reality because of the veil. And when we go to sleep at night, we re-enter the world behind the veil to various degrees and “awaken” to the larger reality. See the irony? In our micro 3D life, our awakened states where we carry on normal daily lives are actually types of “sleep states” because we are “asleep” or unaware to the full picture beyond the veil. But when we actually sleep at night, we can participate in higher realms of reality and “awaken” to existence beyond the veil of forgetting. To put it simply, when we think we are awake, we are really asleep, and when we are asleep, we are really more awake. The illusion is just the opposite of reality behind the veil.
However, on the macro side of things, in the macro lifetime, we can see the full picture. Many NDE’s show that when people die, they come to find that they are returning to the normal state of things. There is a, “Ahhh… it is good to be back home!” feel to it. Taken from this position, a person is “awake” when they inhabit the subtle realms and this is the soul’s normal state of being. In their wakefulness, they attend trainings (for the next life and soul evolution), they meet people (soul mates and soul groups that they’ll meet later in 3D existence), they relax and enjoy recreation, etc. Then, when it is time, the person re-enters (or reincarnates) into 3D reality and “goes to sleep” again. For in 3D reality, the real work of soul evolution happens during “sleep” when a person “wakes” into the veil. Thus, in one macro lifetime, a person also experiences periods of sleep and wakefulness. The sleeping just happens to be when they are awake in 3D veiled reality. After their body dies their soul awakens again to life beyond bodily death and they can review how they progressed during their time in the veil.
So to sum up, a Christian can believe in living only one lifetime AND reincarnation at the same time. You do just get one life and the goal is to experience the world of separation when you go to sleep and learn there that All is One. When you awaken from the 3D “slumber” you are robust with new experiences that would be impossible to achieve in any other way.
A.C.: Well said. Keep it up.
One thought on “One Life, Many Cycles: Reflections on Reincarnation”
The dream state can sometimes reveal that I am being taught..Just wish I could remember more of it.