Is there reincarnation?

Discussion in 'Other Stuff' started by Johnny, May 11, 2015.

  1. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    Chris Impey (Moderator): A postscript question on this from the panel: What is your personal view on rebirth?

    Bruce Greyson: What is my personal view of rebirth? Many of the cases that we have are unexplainable in terms of Western medicine, but they are also unexplainable in terms of the reincarnation hypothesis. Sometimes we’ll see two children who seem to remember the same past life; Sometimes We'll see a child remembering a past life
    of someone who died when the child was six months old, so the two lives over lapped. It does not fit into a clear model that we can follow.

    - Dr Bruce Greayson

    http://www.scienceformonks.org/Scie.../Resources/Text_Is_Consciousness_Produced.pdf
     
  2. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    Based upon that fairly brief example, perhaps a more appropriate question might be something like, "What different models of reincarnation are there?", or maybe more simply, "How well do we understand reincarnation?". The subject may be difficult to get to grips with, but I'd suggest the main problem isn't in whether or not reincarnation is a legitimate phenomenon, but in the assumptions or ideas we have about it. And perhaps further, reincarnation can only exist in the context of some broader framework. How well do we understand such frameworks?

    I think one problem may be that we are trying to place this physical existence as primary, and then try to make the spiritual (for want of a better term) world fit within it. Perhaps these things make more sense if we visualise this physical existence as simply one small component in a much larger picture.
     
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  3. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    It's probably worth including the remainder of that paragraph from Dr Bruce Greyson. It isn't just reincarnation which presents problems. NDEs are impossible to understand too.
     
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  4. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    Makes sense to me... The popular idea of reincarnation doesn't fit. And the popular view of NDE which interprets the experiencers imagery as about the afterlife doesn't fit either. Neither does the popular idea that in the verifiable NDE OBE something has left your body. Neither are ghosts the literal spirits of the dead.
     
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  5. The subject of reincarnation is complicated but limiting the issues to those raised in the OP, spirits communicating through evidential mediums on many occasions have said that the same entity can incarnate in more than one person at the same time. It is sometimes described as "different facets of the same diamond". The human concept of identity is limited by our physical existence and it is not really the same as what we experience when disembodied.

    Something that is not exactly the same phenomenon but, in a way, related and corroborates the plausibility of the above is this:
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/realizing-ultimate.html
    You might have heard it said that "we are all one". What does that mean? The quotes below explain it. These quotes from: an ancient text, an advanced meditator, a near-death experiencer, a spirit communicating through an evidential medium, and a person using psychological methods all describe something very similar:
    ...
    He saw this Beingness as something like a comb. He was at the spine of the comb and all the teeth fanned out from it, each one thinking it was separate and different from all the other teeth. And that was true, but only if you looked at it from the tooth end of the comb. Once you got back to the spine or source, you could see that it wasn't true. It was all one comb. There was no real separation, except when you sat at the tooth end. It was all in one's point of view.​
    ...
    Moving awareness to "the base of the comb", as Lester Levenson described it, is not like losing individuality, it is like remembering who you really are.


    Instead of a comb you can imagine a tree structure to explain the types of reincarnation "anomalies" described in the OP.

    The evidence for reincarnation includes:
    • Children who remember past lives sometimes have an unusual type of birthmark on their body where they sustained an injury in the previous life.
    • Many NDErs learn that reincarnation is true during their experience.
    • During hypnotic regression, subjects recognize people they knew in past lives as incarnating again as people they recognize in their current life.
    • Past life regression has been shown to have immense therapeutic value.
    • When people communicate with spirits they experience it as a type of vision, but with past lives they feel it is a memory.

    What NDErs say about reincarnation:
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/06/what-near-death-experiencers-have-to.html

    More on evidence for reincarnation here:
    https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence#summary_evidence_reincarnation
    https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/short_topics#short_topics_reincarnation
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
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  6. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    The problem with ghosts is that the small word 'ghost' can be applied to a wide range of completely different and unrelated phenomena. Before making any such sweeping statements, I think it would be necessary to be more specific.
     
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  7. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    Ah, I see, you wanted a reason to inject "...sweeping statements..." into your reply.
     
  8. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    I don't think it's a case of applying different models, I understand that some arguments for reincarnation carry some weight in favour of reincarnation, But when faced with some contentions as stated by Dr Bruce Greyson, That should cast some serious doubt , Such as the claims mentioned above, however brief.


    Sometimes we’ll see two children who seem to remember the same past life; Sometimes We'll see a child remembering a past life
    of someone who died when the child was six months old, so the two lives over lapped. It does not fit into a clear model that we can follow.


    I don't think in these cases it's about applying a different model regarding re-incarnation, It might be that we are looking at things the wrong way with regards to reincarnation being a viable conclusion. To me it seems impossible that reincarnation can account for such discrepancies. And maybe we are looking at things wrong, From the top of my head I would suggest some type of morphic resonance of intelligence that we are all drawing from, like a pool of collective consciousness.

    I am not sure, but it does cast some doubt.
     
  9. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I don't see a problem with proposing a model for this. We might consider for example the rather old case of Mary Roth/Lurancy Vennum where the deceased Mary apparently entered the body of Lurancy when the latter was in her teens. In that case it was only temporary and is sometimes termed "possession" but these are just labels we use to try to give some picture of what we think is going on. If the child was only a few months old, it might be reasonable for such a 'possession' to simply become a permanent 'incarnation'.

    We should also consider the evidence from Dr Helen Wambach. In her data, the point at which the soul entered the body varied widely, from somewhere around the time of conception, to the time of birth or perhaps a little later.

    In my opinion there is on the one hand too much that is unknown about the way reincarnation is 'supposed to' work, for us to discard the entire phenomena on the basis of a few anomalies, while on the other hand there are some cases which seem to conform more or less precisely to a rather uncomplicated (if there is such a thing) view of reincarnation. I'd suggest that of Robert Snow as one such example.

    Of course we are all entitled to our opinion, I'm not trying to imply that there is only one valid way to look at such things. But personally I've been studying reincarnation for over thirty years and it still seems the most plausible explanation from my perspective.

    edit: I realise that I've not addressed all of the issues here. I will simply state that I don't know. I approach these matters from the point of view of living daily life, not as an academic or mystic. I'll willingly admit that I've only just scratched the surface of this topic.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
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  10. Steve

    Steve Member

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    From my viewpoint as a layman, even if there is anything different when it comes to subjects like reincarnation, I think any models we can devise may be miles off the mark. Who can say with any certainty about things that we talk of like souls and spirit, time is possibly manipulated in a way we can't comprehend.

    Jurgen Ziewe posted (earlier on Facebook)an interesting view :

    All we know is that we know nothing at all

    Watching a horizon program last night about the cosmos they finally admitted that we know nothing and that our greatest theories about the universe are almost certainly wrong.

    Despite the fact that consciousness is with us 24/7 we know even less about what is our very essence, despite the valiant attempts by the greatest sages on our planet since time immemorial trying to break it down. I am sorry you great ones, you too have all been wrong, have failed miserably and been leading us up the garden path. Though in your defence I have noticed that the greatest amongst you are silent and say nothing at all.

    I am just winding down my new book "Vistas of Infinity", which is mainly a travel journal documenting some of the many hours spent in non physical reality, and despite my most sincere attempts I have never found any divisions or been able to count any sub levels of the astral or mental planes at all. Admittedly I am only an amateur and a beginner and unlike the sages I had not locked myself into a cave for years at a time, I simply noticed, and I don't even have to leave my body to notice, that everything I look at is beyond my grasp. So I am also one of those people who knows precisely nothing at all, and whenever I tried to find evidence of what had been written all I have found so far is that the theories proposed are almost certainly flawed and nearly everything I encountered was mostly beyond the grasp of language and hence beyond any means of our human understanding.

    I am glad I am only a reporter and not a scientist, a sage or a mystic, only an insignificant pair of eyes and ears gawping in baffle- and wonderment through the cracks in the door at reality totally beyond my grasp of understanding. The greatest thing we can hope to carry away with us is not knowledge but the utter admission to our failure of understanding and the resulting humility. I am sorry but in my humble opinion anybody who pretends to know, which includes all our greatest minds, philosophers, theosophists, theorists and mystics, are just as mislead as all the cosmologists trying to find the answer to the mystery of our universe by staring through their telescopes.

    The beautiful thing about accepting not knowing is that it can lead to stillness and engage the heart.
     
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  11. In order to make sense out of any report of past life memories you have to look at the details of each case individually and see what the evidence really is and how it was investigated etc.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
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  12. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    It doesn't make sense to me to say that the transmigration of a soul can happen after birth, Who soul was it that inhabited the body at the time of birth, There must be a soul inhabiting a body for the body to develop, Does a soul claim priority over a body over another soul, whilst the other soul already posses a body? I can't see that as being true, For instance, is it possible for you to be ejected from your body by another soul who wishes to inhabit your body. That sounds ridiculous. Forgive me for saying.
     
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  13. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    Funny how much we need to know before we know how little we know
     
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  14. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    For me the idea of reincarnation is less concerned with obtaining snippets of recalled information and trying to verify it. Instead it is a necessary requirement in order to solve issues of the type described by Dan Booth Cohen:
    "Often our worst problems and most destructive behaviors and impulses come from remnants of memory from the distant past."​

    If we can match not just pieces of information, but in effect traumas and character traits to some specific prior lifetime, then the current existence begins to make some sort of sense. In the absence of such an explanation, we find ourselves going through life carrying burdens for which we bear no responsibility, there is a tremendous sense of injustice unless these things are in some sense our own.
     
  15. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    I can see that reinacarnation is a way of explaining the phenomena of children who can remember details of someone who existed in a previous life, I can also see that reincarnation is the most likely explanation for people who carry injuries from a past life into a new life, and also have memories that correlate with the past life. I can see how people assume reincarnation, and I can be easily convinced myself.


    But when Dr Bruce Greyson who took the position as director of perceptual studies at university of Virginia, which is to my knowledge is the only university in the world dedicated to studying paranormal phenomena, and Dr Greysons position allowed him to oversee personally the progress of the cases of Dr Ian Stevenson for reincarnation, So when Dr Bruce Greyson mentions anomalies in the data that don't fit,

    such as two children who remember the same past life,

    Or a child obtaining memories of a person who died six months after the child was born.

    I think that should cast some serious doubt,

    They need to be explained.

    I am not saying no explanation is viable, only that it is a serious anomoly that requires serious study and attention.

    It could be that our assumptions about reincarnation are wrong, and that somehow there is someway where information is transferring or being recieved by individual, which has nothing to do with reincarnation at all.

    We have to follow the evidence where it leads, and although a very good case can be made in favour of reincarnation, the annomilies are remarkable.
     
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  16. manjit

    manjit New

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    Hi All,

    Interesting discussion which has got me reminiscing about my own perspective & experiences on the matter, thought I would write down some thoughts & experiences, perhaps more for my own benefit more than anyone elses. Will share some personal experiences that I've rarely discussed either online or in real life.

    Born into a (UK based and not particularly religious) Sikh family, "reincarnation" is a core tenet of the religion, so I've grown up with the concept. Since a very young age, I was (in contrast to the rest of my entire near-family!) extremely fascinated by religion, mysticism & the nature of our existence, and the concepts and stories of sikh mysticism, buddhism & hinduism (and the person of Jesus Christ, but not relevant here I suppose, at least what I knew of his teachings back then as a child....gnostic verses are a different matter of course) are the ones I resonated with most. Basically, I conceptually fully believed in reincarnation.

    It's ironic that the more experiences (and indeed teachings, concepts & experiences of others) I've had over the decades, apparently suggestive of reincarnation, the less certain & more sceptical I've become of the narrative of "reincarnation" - most certainely of the linear kind as taught by Eastern religions. I think there's some sort of profound insight in that fact, somewhere :eek:)

    To start before the beginning (an experience I've shared only shared with family, very few close friends, and once on an obscure forum) - my mum was quite old when she had me (my brothers are 10 years older than me), and had a difficult labour (incidentally, my parents tried unsuccessfully to abort me 3 times but were unable to do so each time due to a series of what they call remarkable coincidences!). During that labour, she experienced what she called "God" talking to my "soul", and that I kept begging God to let me be born, and God kept saying back to me "I won't let you be born, you will forget me. See, look how difficult it is to get a human life" or some such. This went on for a while. At which point my mum said that me & God went "spiralling off" into the distance so far that she couldn't hear or see what was said between myself and God, and that all she knew was that I made some sort of "promise" to God, after which he "let" me be born, at which point I was born!

    Incidentally, my mum is not at all religious (to Indian standards), never before or since had any such "mystical" experience, and doesn't really know what to make of the experience, though she 100% believes it was "true", and she tells the story with much emotion. Caveats; She was on some sort of medication/gas (whatever was used in the 70s!). And in the Sikh holy book there is an obscure verse where it is said "whilst in the womb we beg God to be granted a human life". Whilst it is highly unlikely she was consciously aware of the verse, it is of course possible she had heard it in the temple and retained it subconsciously. She is certain she has/had no conscious awareness of the idea of begging for human birth.

    Much later, following a variety of "mystical practices" (no drugs were used for several years prior or before) I experienced what seemed like millions of "lives" of all types of animals in all kinds of environments. These felt so real, so radically different from human consciousness that I have no doubt it signifies some kind of truth about the nature of our being & consciousness that we simply do not understand. I was a very proficient lucid dreamer, astral projector and had used all sorts of "entheogens" - the nature of these experiences is radically different from those, more "primal" - to be a spider, see and sense and think like a spider in a rainforest (a particular memory of all the thousands or millions of "lives" that remains particularly strong) is beyond anything we could simply imagine - it was primal and raw.

    Even at the time, when I was fully immersed & had faith in a paradigm within which "reincarnation" was a given, I got the sneaky suspicion these experiences had more to do with our genetic memory, rather than experiences of literal individual incarnations my "soul" had had. It's just the "feel" I got from them.....

    Further along, many years & several "realisations" and "awakenings" later, I started experiencing (somewhat along the lines of Jurgen Ziewe, already mentioned in this thread) some very strange multi-dimensional "visions" where my identity was split up into numerous beings/planes of reality which were all existing simultaneously, only my point of awareness was cycling through them all - it really is an experience impossible to describe, but mind-shattering in it's implications. Identity or "soul" is no longer the simple thing I believed when I followed all the eastern mystical traditions, it is far more profound than any of us can imagine, I feel....

    These experiences, alongside an extensive research of all the avenues of data (everything that's ever been discussed on this forum, such as mediums, channelling, hypnosis, Stevenson etc), an analysis of that data, and all the numerous contradictions in that data suggest to me, at least, we are dealing with a phenomena for which there are no current sufficient conceptual models or explanations. Actually, I think all the models I've heard are like clutching at a shifting mirage. (this includes even the more recent, more intellectually sophisticated models such as "higher soul", aspects or dimensions of soul splintering off etc. I guess we can say these are reformulations of older Sufi, gnostic, Greek mysteries etc ideas).

    In fact, I don't believe we (certainely en masse, in public) are MEANT to know the "truth"....

    I feel I should also mention that, to me, we could be dealing with several types of phenomena which possibly erroneously get lumped together under the term "reincarnation". For me, personally, I'm highly suspect about the true nature of "experiences" had either through hypnosis or "entheogens", both areas I am quite familiar with, experientially as well as conceptually. I know these are, actually, probably the most popular routes to direct "experience" of reincarnation phenomena (outside Stevenson type cases), and people can get highly defensive if you question these methods of "approach", but through personal experience I would be highly sceptical of any experiences through these means, and also an openness to the possibility they are actually a completely different type of "experience" than the "reincarnation" type experiences had through, for example, meditation practices. But each to their own.

    Basically, after a shit load of experiences and learning, I haven't got a clue what's happening...at least not intellectually :) However, I feel an information based paradigm, as opposed to individual souls living linear "incarnations", is closer to the "truth"....but that ultimately the "truth" is stranger than what any human has ever conceived conceptually.
     
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  17. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Although there are multiple incarnations, ultimately- there is no reincarnation. :) Reincarnation is a concept based on looking through the framework of linear time. While we in physical use that overlay as a default, at the levels from which incarnations generate, it's all there - present as present. Sort of like how the frames on a video all exist at once but we choose to view them one after the other.

    As I've mentioned on here before a succinct portrayal of the actuality is in DS9 when Sisko first encounters the Prophets.
     
  18. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    Always glad to see Manjit posting. I could just as easily add this to the "What is Spirituality" thread, but I will add it here. It is really only reflecting what Manjit has said above, but apparently I want to add another two cents worth.

    The "system" that we exist within and call reality includes all the things, all the ideas and conceptions--everything. When we refer to something like "reincarnation" or "spirituality" using language and ideas, we have narrowed our focus. It is like wearing a "Hi. My Name is Chuck" name tag at a convention. What is the difference between the sign and what is ultimately signified? As long as people try to "understand" reincarnation, or try to become more "spiritual" they will be wildly missing the mark. What is beyond the conception? What is beyond language? Anything? Nothing? What is left when you have removed all these "filters" from your already limited means of understanding that we call the physical form? Much better to stop trying to better define your ideas and work toward what is left when there are no ideas, no language, no conceptions. All understanding is relative to this particular manifestation of reality and probably becomes meaningless outside of it. Let it go.
     
  19. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    Reading this reminds me of an old quote by Joseph Campbell: "In loving the spiritual you cannot despise the earthly."

    It may have been Campbell also who said we are not humans trying to have a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings trying to have a human experience.

    Using our human rationality including language and symbols to identify the unknown aspects of our reality is fundamental to our human experience and in my opinion, is the spiritual reason why we exist. Abandoning our human rationality and search for knowledge to some vague non-defined Buddhist "itness" is not only useless, it is counter-productive to our spiritual and human growth.

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
  20. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

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    Good on you. I will gladly stay in my place as the man who knows nothing. I will gladly leave knowing to you--you do it so well!
     

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