Many lives or just one?

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“To live is by universal consent to travel a rough road. And how can a rough road that leads nowhere be worth travelling? “

A well known philosopher, MacNeille Dixon, asked this question in a series of lectures at Glasgow University in 1938. Good question as they say.  He was discussing the concept of re-incarnation. Another writer, Gina Cerminara, has suggested that: ‘Perhaps we have reached a stage of our history where this knowledge (re-incarnation) is necessary to us – otherwise it would not be appearing in so many places.’

The word re-incarnation often provokes the same sniggers that a belief in angels does, but it was an accepted part of Christian belief until the sixth century. Since then the records show that although people have assumed it was banned, according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, it actually wasn’t. It’s a common belief in many other cultures, though it’s earned itself a bad name for the mistaken interpretation that we come back as animals or insects if we lived a questionable life. In all the cultures around the world re-incarnation is seen as an opportunity to continue the life of the soul and perfect the things that were left undone in other lives.

In most of Asia, and in cultures as far apart as Mexico and Egypt this belief has always been a constant. In Christian history, the Gnostics, the Cathars, the Templars, the Bogomils, the Albigensians  were all believers in other lives, and they were all wiped out by the Christian church.

Today, it’s not a dangerous belief in the west, but “a very private belief” according to a survey in the UK which showed that twenty five per cent of people believe in re-incarnation irrespective of their church or creed. It’s the same figure in America.  Many orthodox Christians tend to regard it with the same suspicion as clairvoyance. And because it’s been considered a rather eccentric belief – to put it mildly – there are also many misunderstandings about it. The word karma for instance, is often used in a mistaken sense that when bad things happen to us – it’s karma – sort of payback time. But karma is really the unfinished business from other lives, which we choose in this life to complete.

Henry Ford said: ‘The discovery of Re-incarnation put my mind at ease’ … and he wanted others to know what peace of mind it brought. He also said: ‘Genius is experience. Some seem to think it is a gift or a talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives… ‘ When one thinks of Mozart writing music at five, and all the other artistic geniuses and child prodigies who understand branches of mathematics and can speak many languages from their earliest years, this sounds like a logical explanation.

Many famous writers, scientists, philosophers and others believe in re-incarnation. Gustav Mahler the great composer  said: ‘We all return; it is this certainty which gives meaning to life, and it does not make the slightest difference whether  or not in a later incarnation we remember the former life’…

There’s been a lot of research into what is sometimes called life before life in the last forty years, and there are other methods of returning to previous lives than by hypnosis. Joan Grant who wrote books about her former lives in Egypt in great detail, which could not be faulted by Egyptologists, later used her gift for divining other lives to heal fears, phobias and other psychological traumas in partnership with her psychologist husband. This is how it’s used today, for healing, not for curiosity.

Sometimes people spontaneously return to a time in the past where they faced the same challenge but had failed to understand or respond to it. They see the pattern in this life and are able to work through to a better outcome this time round. And there are many documented examples of children giving the details of their previous life, and the facts being checked and found to be exactly as the child has said- even the family history and family members which they’ve described.

Some people feel that time as a straight line is a human concept which may not bear much relation to reality, and that we may be living parallel lives in a parallel continuum. Joan Grant used to say that her lives were like beads on a string, and the string was the eternal part of her which never died. There are instances of people going forward to lives in the future, as well as lives in the past, and also of lives overlapping, so that a woman dying in a German concentration camp was also living as a five year old child in England.

Whenever we seem to recognise a place or a person, we instinctively know that this is not the first time. When we find certain skills easy or are drawn to different books or periods in history we can be fairly sure that we have known those times before. The Greek philosopher Plotinus said that ‘the spiritual life cannot be described to those who are not living it’. The same applies to re-incarnation. Some people know in their bones that they’ve lived before, while others cannot even imagine the possibility.

The point of re-incarnation is not to go on plodding along making the same muddles and mistakes, but to rise to a higher level of consciousness with each fresh opportunity for growth on earth. This makes nonsense of the cruel beliefs in hell or  heaven – a human concept which projects onto the Creator human notions of judgement and punishment. It means that instead, we know that we are part of the long history of the planet in which civilisations rise and fall, in times far beyond our knowledge or recall, in both the past and in the future. And we have been there, and will be again.

 Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Organic minced chicken was on special at the village delicatessen, so minced chicken it was. I’d been wanting to try a recipe with it. Take one cup of grated or torn up good bread, ciabatta or sour dough, and soak it in quarter of a cup of milk. Chop three cloves of garlic and two tablesp of parsley. Mix them with 500g of chicken and the bread and milk. Add half a cup of freshly grated parmesan. Season and mix well. Form into walnut sized balls and roll in flour. Cook in hot oil in batches.

Put aside and gently sauté two large leeks, the white parts only, with a dozen sage leaves, until the leeks are soft. Add half a cup of wine and when it’s bubbled up, add the stock and the chicken balls. Simmer for twenty minutes, and then add salt and pepper, a cup and a half of frozen peas, the grated rind of a lemon, and lots of cream. One night we ate it with mashed potatoes, another night with rice.   

Food for Thought

They will come back, come back again, as long as the red Earth rolls.

He never wasted a leaf or a tree. Do you think he would squander souls?

Rudyard Kipling 1865 – 1936  Writer and poet, first Englishman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the youngest person ever to do so at 42.

 

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51 Comments

Filed under cookery/recipes, great days, life and death, philosophy, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

51 responses to “Many lives or just one?

  1. A very serious subject indeed. It’s indeed hard to believe that nothing is left after death.

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  2. yes… I think such a belief takes away the fear of death… since it is not the end….

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  3. Dear Valerie,

    I have always believed in reincarnation. Never a doubt. Early on I found the book, The Search for the Girl with the Blue Eyes http://www.amazon.com/Search-Girl-Blue-Eyes-Reincarnation/dp/0876043953 and have been hooked ever since. Loved your level-headed examination of the subject, the quotes, the works. Thank you for posting this.

    How is winter treating you?

    Aloha,

    Doug

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    • Dear Doug,
      So good to hear from you, I’m glad you enjoyed it… I always feel it’s risky talking about such “a private belief”… Must check-out the book you mention… I have quite a library on the subject, but not that one…the best of mine is called ‘ Reincarnation in World Thought’ by Joseph Head and S.L. Cranston, which I’m sure would be around on Amazon, Abe Books or the Book Depository( Have I got that right ?) if you were interested…

      Winter has not yet crept up on us, we’re still enjoying those glorious bright autumn days, warm at mid-day, but chill at night, which I love. Autumn is my favourite time here in NZ, and now that the long drought has been been broken I can enjoy the sun again!.
      Do you have seasons?
      Love, Valerie

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      • Dear Valerie,

        Here on the Big Island and by and large in all of the Hawaiian Islands the season are divided between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ with wet running from November to the end of April and dry taking up the remainder.

        Thank you for the lead on your favorite book re reincarnation. I will try to find it. Where I live on the edge of the desert just west of Kamuela it often seems as though dry lasts 10 months and wet only two.

        Can’t wait to get to New Zealand. From all that I’ve seen and heard, it is heaven on earth.

        I’ve been keeping a low profile on my blog. Trying to get a novel edited for better or worse. I read all that you write and if you knew the sense of peace that washes over me when I read your writing, you’d be amazed.

        Aloha,

        Doug

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      • Dear Doug,
        So glad you’ve told me why you’re not writing… I’d wondered if you’d slipped out of my ‘following ‘ list… I do understand why you’re lying low… I’m not getting on with my writing either! I just feel I’ll know when it’s time to start again…
        All good wishes with your writing..
        I will be very disappointed if you don’t contact me when you come to NZ – it’s not quite heaven on earth, but one of the last empty places, I think…man is as destructive or thoughtless here, as anywhere else, but there are so much fewer of them! four million in a land as big as England…
        I love to know that you are reading my blogs…you, like me, may have a theory about our connection in the light of this post…Love Valerie

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  4. Thank you so much – good to hear from you..

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  5. I know so very little about reincarnation. I now feel better informed especially about its place in Christian beliefs. I do believe I am part of a continuum but I don’t know if that would count as a belief in reincarnation for myself. Yet I am completely able to support a dear friend in her absolute belief that her beloved daughter will be reincarnated. I admire the clarity you have developed in your beliefs.

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    • Thank you for your comments… I thought that phrase of the chap writing the report on people’s belief in reincarnation, said it rather well – ‘a very private belief”…
      As for my beliefs… none of them are set in concrete! There is so much that we don’t know….

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      • Yes, so much more to know. I think many people who know that I am sometimes a church goer are rather surprised to see that Bibles, Buddhas, Coptic crosses, Ganesh statues, prayer beads etc all have a place in my home. I am far from concrete.

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  6. I really don’t know what to say about this, Volvo. Whatever the truth is, I feel that I must try to be the best person I can be during this lifetime. I could write for ages about it. But why? What happens when I die? Is the grass greener on the other side? Would I return? Or move on to higher dimensions, different universes? That is not in my hands to say. So, at this time, I am me, here, writing this comment and eating a banana 😀 Ralph xox

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  7. I absolutely believe in reincarnation. Long ago I read Many Lives, Many Masters and was blown away. It led me to read many other books on the subject. The stories that swayed me most are those told by children…. the detail, the remembering, etc. Dare I admit to having several memories of ‘little things’ but my mother absolutely denies any possibility that I was ever in the place I ‘remember’ as a child. Hmmmm. Great post as always, and I’m inspired to read some more (it’s been a while). 🙂

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    • I’m sure you had memories, Kathie , I did and i know other children who did… I’ve just written this on Ellie Nelson’s reply, and I think you’d enjoy it too.
      …” I was reading the newspaper today, and there was a story about the funny things parents say to their children…Tracey K’s four year old son told her ” when I was a girl I fell off a cliff, and hurt my chest, and that’s how I died”… and another: mother driving past the cemetery where her father was buried, and three year old son asked ‘ how good was grandpa at accordion playing…the mother wondered: accordion – ‘no-one ever said that word to him, and certainly he never knew my dad played one…’ It’s everywhere, isn’t it… Years ago I remember reading the jokes in Punch magazine and how a baby in a carry cot in a doctor’s surgery suddenly called out ” Vive l’Empereur! ” I knew exactly what it was, and not a joke! IT’s a fascinating subject isn’t it !

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  8. Wonderful and brave post. I happen to believe in reincarnation. I was fascinated by a book called Journey of Souls. The methodology did not appeal to me but the content did. It is worth reading. It is a mind changer because it makes so much sense!

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  9. Valerie, you have made my day by thoroughly and concisely discussing a subject that is dear to my heart and the foundation for much of my writing! Thank you for your bravery in bringing up a subject that is still so controversial!

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    • Thank you so much Shirley for your understanding and appreciation… I did have to screw myself up, thinking I might lose a lot of readers and my credibility at the same time!!! Interesting that there are so many believers in our blogging world it seems….so good to hear from you…

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      • Valerie, I started an information blog about reincarnation back in 2009 but only kept it updated for about a year because no one seemed very interested. Perhaps some of your readers here may be…it has a lot of great resources on the subject. http://www.discoverreincarnation.blogspot.com/

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      • Shirley, thank you so much, I got stuck for hours exploring your blog… and haven’t finished yet!… I too have so much info about past life experiences, including my own and family…but have always kept it quiet in the interests of my journalistic credibility!

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  10. Amy

    It’s a belief takes away the fear of death; it may also make life more meaning, hopeful, lasting…

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  11. I wanted to add a word about science and reincarnation. Doctors Jim Tucker and Ian Stevenson studied over 2500 cases of children and reincarnation over a forty year period. They believe it is strong evidence for survival of the spirit and re-embodiment. Their book is titled Life Before Life:Children’s Memories of Previous Lives. There has also been some fascinating research concerning the brain and micro-tubules that another doctor believes may be the mechanism by which the spirit in energy form survives. When you examine the latest research in quantum physics, this whole idea becomes understandable. I’m firmly in the reincarnation camp but would rather not come back if I don’t have to.

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    • Thank you Ellie, fascinating information… I was reading the newspaper today, and there was a story about the funny things parents say to their children…Tracey K’s four year old son told her ” when I was a girl I fell off a cliff, and hurt my chest, and that’s how I died”… and another: mother driving past the cemetery where her father was buried, and three year old son asked ‘ how good was grandpa at accordion playing…the mother wondered: accordion – ‘no-one ever said that word to him, and certainly he never knew my dad played one…’ It’s everywhere, isn’t it… Years ago I remember reading the jokes in Punch magazine and how a baby in a carry cot in a doctor’s surgery suddenly called out ” Vive l’Empereur! ” I knew exactly what it was, and not a joke! What interesting research… do you have a reference – would love to read it…

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  12. Here’s an article about Dr. Hammeroff’s theory of microtubules and soul survival. He’s also been on a couple ot TV shows discussing it.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2225190/Can-quantum-physics-explain-bizarre-experiences-patients-brought-brink-death.html

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  13. I was brought up to believe it and though I have set aside some things I was brought up with, reincarnation has stayed.

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  14. I will vote for many lives as I have been told I am on my last after having lived 2012 which is kind of interesting and somewhat nerving as this is 2013. The same medium who mentioned my “age” also mentioned connections as to whom, where, and why as far as close relationships. She closed with a question. Who did I need to connect with? Of course I said my mother. She said your mother didn’t stay long after she died and was now a toddler in Northern Scotland. She had a purpose and needed a life there to accomplish it. This fascinated me since my mother was born and raised in Scotland and the medium had no possible way of knowing that. My mother is now a 6 year old boy. I wonder, am I meant to meet this boy one day? Will I sense it if it does happen? So many questions.
    I am good with the fact I am on my last life – I am tired. 🙂
    Thanks Valerie for perking memories that can only make me smile.

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  15. I was just thinking of this subject the other day. Because we are afraid of the unknown, we canonize our lives and limit the possibilities. We are made of stardust…so that means anything and everything Is within reach. I will live this life with the greatest amount of enthusiasm and willingly embrace what comes after. We live a finite existence in this timeline, but we recognize that infinity is within our grasp. We are all participating in an remarkable community that spans a global world that cannot be held to time constraints. Another wonderful post!

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  16. What a wonderful and clear eyed look at a weighty subject. I don’t know what I believe. I continue to read and think. My mother is a great believer, she and I have had many long discussions since our first meeting.

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  17. Thank you Val, always so good to have your generous and perceptive comments…I don’t think it really matters whether we believe or not – it’s a lovely belief if you want it, and it makes sense of some things…and in the end all will become clear!!!!

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  18. I find all that quite fascinating, both your piece and all the comments. I’m with Ralph here in that my beliefs are that we have one life and must live it the best we can, find the beauty in it wherever we can and be as kind to others as we can. However, your stories intrigue me!
    As always , much food for thought and some food for the thinkers! I love your posts! 🙂

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  19. I hope we are all part of something larger than ourselves, universal energy for lack of a better description. I’m not sure that I can believe in reincarnation nor am I certain that I can’t because I have experienced an uncanny familiarity in places I have never been before and frequent bouts of deja vu. I am trying to accept that I won’t recognize any of this after death so I won’t be afraid when it’s my turn to die. I enjoyed this post and your calm outlook.

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    • Good to hear from., and thank you for commenting …. many people, many viewpoints… we’ll only know for sure when we set off for “that bourne from which no-one returns”!! Glad you enjoyed the blog….

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  20. I’ve always believed in life after death, although I was never keen on the idea of reincarnation—the idea of coming back here and doing it all again? No thanks. However, in recent years I’ve come around to accepting that we have all probably lived many lives. I’ve heard and experienced too many weird things not to be open to that possibility.

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    • Good to hear from you Madame… I actually think I’d rather come back than drift around with a harp and a blissful smile for eternity ! Yes, ‘ there are more things in heaven and earth Horatio….’ life ( and death ) is still a mystery! I love hearing about other people’s ‘weird’ experiences !

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  21. Valerie – first, happy mother’s day.

    Second, what a write! It’s Bookmarked!

    When Ainslie MacLeod, author of “Instruction”, told me of a past life, it brought definition, meaning and purpose to this life. I hadn’t expected it would so profoundly contribute to my self-esteem and confidence. (Plus, I loved hearing I’m an old soul, on my last incarnation. Yay!!)

    Of the 20 who joined Ainslie on a Soul Safari in South Africa, one person is a doctor of psychiatry. Another Canadian, she is also on her last incarnation. This helped explain why she was willing to step of the box. Though past life regression is not recognized by her Association, she has learned techniques and done wonders for clients who were stuck. Simply looking at this incarnation gave insufficient clues for their recovery. However, when she, on her own time and outside of psychiatry, worked with them by doing past life regression therapy, it was like a lid had been lifted. They blossomed!

    Throughout my Christian upbringing, I couldn’t quite grasp the whole Jesus experience. I accepted it, but I wanted to “understand”. Through a deeper understanding of reincarnation, it finally makes sense to me.

    Thanks for all the references and clarity, Valerie.

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    • Hello Amy , Thank you re Mother’s Day. Actually I had to flag all the blogs about Mother’s day,. I’ve never had my buttons pressed so hard. They brought home to me how much I missed by not having a mother, even when she was there for the first six years….Nuf of that… So glad you enjoyed the re-incarnation blog… it feels so logical, doesn’t it? I don’t even do regression any more with my clients. I simply ask them when they first felt like this, and regardless of whether they’ve even heard of re-incarnation they go straight back into the mists of history and even pre-history . One went to her life with the Dogon tribe aeons ago… which you may find interesting after your African experience….I feel that anything and everything we experience in this life is the sum of all those hundreds of other lives… I ‘ve always been conscious of so many of mine…and often wonder whether to write a book on the subject… Amy I’m still so ignorant… what does Bookmark mean???

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  22. Pingback: The Karma-Kulture Krisis | ageoflucidity.info

  23. What a thought pre-voking post. I am not sure if I have been re-incarnated or not but some of the people I meet in my life I very feel connected to, like I have known them for ages, maybe in a previous life – Although I don’t remember any details of that. Who knows, maybe I am just good at connecting with people? I think some people possibly have been reincarnated so I am open on the subject. Lately, I keep wondering what it would be like to be frozen after death – That may be another topic for a blog post.

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    • Don’t think I have the guts to write about choosing to be a frozen Rip Van Winkle !!!! My feelings on re-incarnation are that either everyone is re-incarnated or no-one is ! I don’t think people can pick and choose, any more than they can pick and choose whether to die or not !!!

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      • I really respect your view. I don’t think it’s about people picking and choosing. It’s just I have known people to give details of their previous life in detail so that I believe it may have happened to them. Just from my point of view I am not sure but I had things crop up when I was young that were not quite normal but I don’t want to go into detail. I actually think that some people are reincarnated whilst others may not be. I am not so black or white on this and usually I am a black or white thinker. I believe that some people who have had a troubled life get to put it right in another one. Sounds like a story I know but I believe anything is possible.

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  24. One of the interesting things about people genuinely recalling their previous lives, is that they are rarely glamorous, more likely to be a slave than a queen… so if someone thinks they had grandiose past lives, I’m always somewhat suspicious….

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