What do you think? Does the belief in reincarnation make us lazy about seriously moving ahead spiritually?
Does the belief in one life only have a positive effect spiritually?
Thinking one has only one life, an all or nothing shot often leads to guilt and depression over thinking one will not make it. Guilt always stifles progress.
Personally there are days where I feel the full force of, it seems, thousands of lives. I feel positively ancient, and as though it has taken me aeons just to reach this rather primitive stage of spiritual development. I do feel an urgency to 'get on with it'. I am grateful however, that we have limitless opportunities to get it right. I am sure I have needed every one of them!
Interesting comments, as well as others I do not have time to include.
When I look at how much I have learned from this current lifetime it is evident that you are correct. I'm sure we needed each of our lifetimes to get to where we are today, no matter how humble our situation.
Notice that the teachers of the human race have emphasized different doctrines in differing ages and climates. Also notice that in certain circumstances reincarnation is openly taught and then other times it is not but the total emphasis seems to be on the here and now, as if this life is all important.
Sometimes this emphasis has occurred because of the need of the students, but other times it was because the public mind-set was too biased against reincarnation and the teachers had to work with what the students were willing to accept.
Does the teaching of reincarnation cause some to procrastinate their spiritual progress? The truth is that for many beginners on the path who view all things in black and white it does create some problems. Some of these people will seek for any excuse to delay the hard work and will indeed think that because there are many lifetimes they will eat drink and be merry in this one and correct any current problems in the next one.
But even these people can be set straight if they have wise teachers to set the true path before their eyes. But if the majority of the students tend to fall into this error the teachers will often avoid mention of multiple lives and teach about dealing with the here and now. In addition these teachers will sometimes form an inner group and teach the higher principles.
In other circumstances the teachers will openly teach reincarnation. Such circumstances are:
So what effect does the teaching have on the prepared student? It has the opposite effect on him as on the black and white student. Instead of procrastination the spiritual student sees cause and effect as real and imminent.
Have you ever noticed that spiritual infants who believe in an eternal hell will often risk going there for a simple pleasure or two?
It is difficult to imagine how unreasonable such risk would be if their belief were centered in reality. Compare the pleasure of an affair, for instance, to burning in fire and being stabbed with pitchforks for eternity. The fact that this deters so few who are tempted tells us that the person internally does not really believe in such punishment or he is ignoring all logic associated with his negative beliefs.
The interesting thing is that for the spiritual advanced student the possible loss of a day's time is more of a deterrent to him than are the eternal fires of hell for the neophyte. Why is this?
Because the spiritual student looks at true cause and effect and sees future effect as if it were in the present. He thus works to solve future problems with as much energy as current problems. The beginning student only lives in the past and present. He is incapable of seeing the future as part of the eternal now. In his consciousness it is as if the future will never come. This person will be more concerned about losing $5 today then the possible loss of everything he owns several years from now. He will be more concerned about his $10 increase in social security check now than the possible bankruptcy of the entire system 20 years hence. He will be more concerned about a little pleasure now than of a lot of pain down the road.
The exception to this would be if the person was programmed to plan for the future, as in a standard retirement package, but in this the neophyte would be unable to plan outside the box.
The advanced student sees the future as a true part of his reality and the beginner, though he realizes the future exists, does his best to ignore it and concentrate on the now.
Many New Agers tend to fall into this trap and attempt to only live for the present day emphasizing the cliche, that the present is all there is.
While this is a true statement it is a great illusion to assume we can ignore the past and the future and live with no influence from either.
These facts must be realized.
I have met people who preach about living in the present, whose present is a living hell as far as I am concerned. The wise will see the past, present and future linked as one in the dimension of time and take them all into consideration as they work on the great task of capturing their part of the great Law of Dominating Good.
Now - how does the principle fit into the idea of right human relations? We'll cover that soon.
Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)
Copyright 2005 by J J Dewey