Well, guess what! I've had lots of dreams and waking memories of being a German who associated with and helped Jews in Nazi Germany. I(?) was shot for my efforts. Is it possible we knew each other and have found our way together again? That's the kind of thing that's meant to happen, right? (I take it the first quote is WC, Phil?). Nah, too much, too much .
I've had a number of other memories and amazing connections as well, though. Some of my father's dreams spookily coincided with one set in particular, where I was a freed negro slave in the United States (a topic that interested me greatly as a teen, before I was ever interested in reincarnation).
I tried resisting these for ages because of my orthodox Christian upbringing, but the coincidences and sense of karmic continuity are overwhelming I'm afraid.
Amazing how no one reincarnated was a former Nazi death camp warden, or a janitor of a school, or common thief.
I don't know, Stephen. I've seen quite a few war movies -- plenty for my unconscious to latch onto symbolism that expresses deep anxiety about where things are going in my life. I haven't had such a dream in awhile, but it felt pretty real when I did, but so have lots of other dreams. Don't forget your recent episode with "twin flame" symbolism.
I place the revelation of Christ concerning the body above all personal experiences, dreams, past-life recall, Eastern teachings, etc. His Resurrection demonstrates that the body is integral to human personhood and not an accidental vehicle for soul-expression through numerous lifetimes. The notion of "one-soul, many-bodies" seems metaphysically flawed, imo.
"The notion of "one-soul, many-bodies" seems metaphysically flawed, imo."
I am with Phil on this. I have a niece who lives with me and she is strong on reincarnation. She says she was Miriam, sister of Moses, and also a princess on Atlantis. She knows my belief is that in the collective unconscious we may tap into the experiences of others, especially as the soul progresses in the evolution of oneness.
I can think of a few folk who might have been Nazi death camp wardens .
Yes, I understand the implications of the resurrection. But to me it seems that the transformation of Christ's physical body was necessary because a) he was sinless and b) it's through that resurrection that our lives are transformed. Our bodies, on the other hand, see corruption, while our souls are renewed. Is there such a thing as a purely "human" personhood in the afterlife? Our humanity is part of it but it's really about the personality of the soul for me, and that transcends humanity. I can see where a spiritual body which projects characteristics of our physical body might be part of the set up, and in that sense there is resurrection.
I certainly don't buy that these memories are just unconscious symbolism (just as I don't accept the twin flame thing as purely symbolic) or downloads from a morphogenetic field. It's just not how I experience it. There are too many external connections and corroborations. Granted there are implications for Christian teaching, but you know how flexible that can be for me, and I just can't deny the tenor of my experiences and the subsequent implications when they run contrary to a fixed orthodoxy. That seems all wrong, perhaps even damaging.
this is a little something to throw into the soup. The Blessed Mother, Our Lady Queen of Peace, told the 6 visionaries of Medjugorje that there is no such thing as reincarnation.. yes i know this apparition has not been approved by the Church .. but She did say this to them. i have read it in a number of books.
thought i would share....
I found myself wondering this morning what might happen if you chose to place your sense of things aside for a period of time and submitted yourself to the teaching of the Church. At the end of the set time you might simply go back to your sense of things, but something else might happen as well. You may find that by submitting your sense of things to the Church, which is the body of Christ and has the mind of Christ, your own sense of things may change.
This has been my own experience and, I would submit, the experience of many others who have chosen to allow the wisdom of the Church to guide their own intuitions about the world.
Through my own intuition I have at times believed in many things contrary to the the word of God and the Church - things like the equality of all spiritual paths, reincarnation (I believed I was the reincarnation of Moses, John of Patmos and even the Archangel Michael), pantheism, antinomianism...I could go on. The point is that the more time I spend truly meditating on the Churches wisdom the more I perceive with growing clarity the truth of the churches teaching.
What I may have dismissed as ridiculous at one time suddenly contains a hidden depth. This depth only became visible once I chose to submit to the Church as the visible body of Christ and heir to the promises of the Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth.
Like a person who suddenly comes to the saving knowledge of Christ, at the very moment they choose to surrender to Him, I believe the same happens when we choose to surrender to the wisdom and authority of His Body, the Church.
Much Love to You Stephen and Grace for the continued Journey.
Thanks for your love and concern.
Believe me, Jacques, I have and did, and it merely felt like suppressing something I knew to be correct, and like most things which are suppressed, it simply gushed back up with an even greater intensity. I tried oh so hard to deny it, to submit myself to church doctrine for a number of years. To no effect.
Be sure I'm not attached to the belief however. It just makes sense out of lots of the crazy, crazy things that happen in life.
Why are we born into the circumstances we are born into? You might simply answer that it's God's will, God's providence, and that would be enough if it weren't for some of the afflictions that some people have. It's still God's will, God's providence, but managed through the cause and effect dynamic of successive lives.
There are certain bizarre events I've gone through, too much to share here, which are brought into healing focus with an awareness of a past life cause. This doesn't diminish my faith in Christ, nor the fact that he is the source of the healing. The awareness is a conduit for his Light. Nor does it postpone the fact that now is the time. Now is always the time.
Our humanity, in metaphysical terms, is incarnational. It informs our spiritual identity in the afterlife, but is not its essence imo. That God would need to resurrect some dusty old bones, some of which have been lying in the ground for century upon century, just to give us identity in the afterlife, seems superfluous. Christ's resurrection, otoh, is actual, and part of the revelation of himself to us as we live here in bodies on earth. His essence in glory, seated by the Father, seems so much more beyond our comprehension. We enter into that resurrection in our lives and into his essential glory in our identity as children of God.
Stephen, the resurrection of the body doesn't necessarily entail incorporation of the matter of the corpse left behind. Jim Arraj delved into this issue in some depth in his book, The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, which is available online. It's a fairly complicated topic.
For me, reincarnation presents a most inadequate explanation for birth place, time, etc. People born into cultures of abuse and starvation, for example, would be considered somehow reaping consequences of past lives - - i.e., it's "their fault." India is awash with this sort of thing, and it's awful! Such notions undercut an impetus to work for justice, which is one reason why the caste system endured in India. Everyone gets what they deserve, and so you have to improve your karma for a better rebirth and, eventually, liberation from the wheel of rebirths. Christianity rejects this.
We live in a fallen world, so what we see going on is not what God intended. Human sexuality, pregnancy, birth, family life -- all of this has been wounded and distorted in ways we cannot begin to imagine. Recall, too, the teaching that even death itself was not in God's plan for the human race. That came with sin. It's possible that in a non-fallen race, we would have lived a long life and then "passed over" into the next one with resurrected bodies similar to that of Jesus. This separation of body and soul that comes with death is part of what God is dealing with in the Incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus. There's great mystery about it all!
Phil, Christ himself said we reap what we sow, and this seems to be a universal principle, regardless of what system we follow. I don't think reincarnation is punitive in this regard, or even someone's "fault" as such, but something purely consequential from which we can learn and develop. That certain systems abuse this idea is indeed awful, but comes from a notion that karma is individual and separate, when in fact it's more accurately seen as collective and holistic.
I also don't think it's necessary to follow an Eastern model of liberation. It's quite conceivable, to my mind at any rate, that union with God is experienced after a cycle of purification through a number of lives, and that Christ and his cross are catalysts for this.
Well, maybe so, Stephen, but "reaping what we sow" isn't about reincarnation, not in Jesus' teaching, at least. Also, I was sharing how the doctrine has generally been understood in the East, which has embraced it for a very long time. But it's a topic the Church has looked into numerous times and has always rejected and for many good reasons. You're free to believe as you wish, of course.
I cannot think of one Christian mystic or Saint who has claimed to have been in touch with past-lives, or was convinced that they were someone else in another life. That's quite telling, as well. It seems to me that there are numerous explanations for what people consider to be past-life experiences, some of which we have discussed here.
Remember that Christ has conclusively dealt with karma and evil, so there is no need for anyone to work that out in multiple lifetimes. It is also likely that we continue to grow and develop our consciousness in the afterlife, and certainly after resurrection, so there's no need to reincarnate for that purpose, either.
Another possibility to consider is the Buddhist notion that it is karmic stuff that is reborn in a conception.
Of course, the Buddhists do not affirm an immortal soul that is rewarded in heaven or punished in hell, so their system is ultimately pantheistic. But perhaps it's possible to take their notion of disincarnate karmic transmission and integrate it somehow with the Christian teaching on the soul in such manner that it is not the soul that is reincarnating in a new body so much as it is that karma from the family system or beyond attaches itself to the newly conceived person.
Just wondering out loud, here . . .
Stephen, just one last nudge here and then I'll back off, thanks in advance for hearing me out and accepting that I really am speaking in love and concern...
My thought is that, just because we once tried something and it didn't work, that it doesn't automatically speak to the reality being considered, so much as it speaks to where we were personally at the time of our "experiment".
I once tried to integrate Buddhism and Hinduism into my spiritual path. At the time my drug use and psychosis produced negative results. When I became a Christian I abandoned all Hindu, New Age and Buddhist concepts.
Had somebody asked me to reconsider my position on some of these concepts I may have given various phenomenological reasons for having rejected them...foremost would have been the very negative/demonic experiences I had while exploring certain truths related to these worldviews and spiritual paths.
But later on my spiritual journey, beginning from a Christ centered perspective, I reconsidered these very concepts and realities I had rejected. I found new ways to integrate them based on my new starting point. These sorts of changes have worked both ways for me, acceptance of previously discarded truth and discarding of previously accepted truth. Of course there has been continuity and visible progression and development...it's not like today I think red is green and green is red and that Jesus is God and tomorrow I think red is purple and Krishna is God...but never the less having attempted something or considered something in the past is no reason not to reconsider it today...that is all
I do respect that you are on your journey and I am on mine, my motivation is simply to share what has been a very positive and beautiful development for me and hold it up for your examination and consideration.
Love and Grace for the Journey.
No need to back off. Your nudges are pleasant enough
I'm not sure I'm following your logic here though, especially given that, in my case, re-adopting the position I had previously tried to reject has resulted in growth and healing and a fuller understanding of who I am. It seems a little ironic too when you speak in terms of integrating Buddhist and Hindu ideas. Am I not doing what you did, only with different facets of Eastern thought? Or am I misunderstanding you?
I have a lot of time for this idea, and I reckon the karma we are born with draws from a wider ground. We no doubt carry the energy of past family members, locality, nation, perhaps even the world. It's not just about individual karma. But the predilections of an individual speak of a personal continuity to me, more than a collective inheritance. One can talk in terms of memory, rather than association, as it seems that memory may be integral to who we are.
A word for you, Phil, with love and appreciation:
I like where you both are going with this. Karmic realities playing out in terms of family, nation, religion, culture etc. Definitely seems more congruent with Christian doctrine and worldview.
And yes Stephen, it is true that we have both tried to reject elements of our experience that seemed incongruent with our Christian faith, only to have them brought back to us again. At first my Christian faith was very narrow, and I struggled to incorporate the earlier ideas...but as my faith grew so too did my ability to incorporate other ideas. But the ideas themselves had changed along with my Christian faith so that I received them in ways that were now congruent with my Faith and not in exactly the same form as I had tried to hold them in before coming back to Christ.
Catholicism has been most helpful here since it actually allows far more diversity, or rather, it acknowledges goodness in many more places than more conservative forms of protestantism do. Through a deepening of my Catholic Faith, even before I actually became Catholic, I was able to reintegrate some of my previous experiences and intuitions.
But, the main difference I still see is that I have found it highly beneficial to continue allowing the Church to set limits on how far I'm allowed to speculate and how far that intuition can make conclusive statements about speculative realities. I trust that the Spirit really has had reasons for placing certain doctrines or beliefs out-of-bounds, deeming them heretical. I don't think these positions are mere human constructs meant to safeguard tradition. I really trust that Christ founded a Church and protected her from error...I find great comfort and security knowing that when the Bible tells me to submit myself to the Church and her leaders it is for my own good.
Alone there is far greater room for shortsightedness and blindspots to set us on the wrong course...I say this not as a rebuke, but as a reflection on my own struggle with discernment and the narrow path...I really feel a greater sense now of being held safely by the Church who is my Mother, as I am drawn by the Spirit of Love into communion with Christ my Brother and God my Father.
I understand and appreciate your position, Jacques. I just don't feel the same way about the church as an institution. There have been too many errors, divisions, bad decisions, persecutions and atrocities even, for me to trust her whole heartedly. I'm not convinced the Holy Spirit is always in control. Let's just say I have one foot in and one foot out, a balancing act I find quite invigorating, and one which allows me to pivot and pirouette quite nicely. Episcopalianism suits me . I'm also a firm believer in the freedom of individuals, which I'm sure everyone here is, but my belief won't allow be to submit to a system which has shown signs of corruption so easily over the centuries. A slightly unorthodox Protestant, I'm afraid, for now at least, with no desire to be Hindu or Buddhist. I really do love Jesus, and trust him and him alone.
I hear you, sadly the Church has often been her own worst enemy. Not unlike the Nation of Israel before her.
I suppose for me it equates to the human and divine element in the Church. The promises of the Spirit are true and sure, but they will always exist alongside the sin of fallen human beings.
Jesus Himself predicted this in the parable of the wheat and the tares. The Son, through the Spirit, sows only good seed in His Kingdom, the Church. But Satan is quick to monopolize on our weaknesses and sows bad seed amongst the good. The disciples ask whether it is a good idea to uproot the tares, but are told not to as human beings don't have the depth of discerment required to uproot the bad without doing damage to the good. Fortunately for us we are told that the bad becomes self-evident as time progresses and the plants mature. This is easily seen when considering the Church in historical context...the bad is not hidden forever and eventually the sins of the past are revealed as such.
Unfortunately this parable is seldom taken into account when judging whether or not the Church truly is the Kingdom. We look at the Church rife with tares and assume this invalidates its' claims to be the One Body of Christ, filled by the Spirit and led into ALL truth. The tares were never part of the Church, even if they claimed to be at the time of their existence. To judge the Church based on the Tares is to fail to see that only the Wheat is the True Body of Christ...the rest, the sowing of the devil.
Does that parable refer to the church? The kingdom, yes, but the church? Are the two synonymous? I'm not so sure. The kingdom may very well be within. The wheat and the tares may be within us individually, not just corporately. When it comes to finding truth I can only respond to the king in my heart. And besides, my church is all around me. It doesn't have to have central office in Rome.
Back to reincarnation, this may be of interest:
The Boy who Lived Before
It's in 5 parts and gets interesting in the middle. Some may find the accents difficult.
Stephen . . . what (doctrinal) errors? Reincarnation is a matter of doctrine, not church practice, which is where problems usually arise.
But your "magisterium" turns out to be your own private judgment. Christ's guarantee is that that the Spirit would lead the Church into truth and protect it from error.
We've been around this mulberry bush before and it does turn out to be a rather typical Protestant-versus-Catholic debate about doctrine and conscience. And how many Protestant denominations have we ended up with? What does that tell us about the Spirit and truth?
Maybe it would be better to get into the implications of reincarnation for spirituality rather than debating doctrine. There are significant considerations on both sides.
Yes, but weighed against the judgements of my friends, family, those in the body of Christ I associate with and consider to be church. Not altogether private and detached then, just not in submission to an official magisterium, which seems to me be a way of organising the Spirit rather than giving her organic expression through individual liberty in community.
Errors perhaps in accusing individuals of heresy, before bringing them back into the fold, even canonising them later on down the line. Some doctrine must be open to a little tweaking, although I wasn't necessarily talking about doctrinal errors. Perhaps mistakes is a better word.
Splits in Protestantism are rooted in the same human flaws that caused mistakes, even abuses, in the Catholic Church - same weaknesses, different expression. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice.
Stephen, with all due respect, your understanding of the Catholic magisterium is deeply flawed. To speak of it as a "central office in Rome" or "a way of organizing the Spirit" is a biased and ill-informed perspective.
Catholics understand magisterial teaching to be a charism of the Spirit in fulfillment of Christ's promise to lead the Church into the fullness of truth and protect it from error. Its exercise is not something separate from the "sense of the faithful," but an expression of such. The magisterium cannot teach what the Church does not actually believe nor can its teaching go against Scripture. During times of division and confusion, magisterial teaching can help to preserve the unity of the Church, as it has, in fact, done many times through history.
See http://www.vatican.va/archive/...techism/p1s1c2a2.htm (beginning with 85) and other links on the meaning of the magisterium.
Read and reflect, Stephen.
Yes, you're right, I don't really get it, and even reading the link I still don't. Well, maybe I do but my whole being just reacts against what I think it might mean. When I read words like "docility", I resist. When I read that only the bishops can interpret scripture, I resist (I know Episcopalians have bishops but it's different). I'm not even sure I agree it's the church that teaches. Individual teachers teach the church, because the church is surely just the people. By your fruits you know them. How can the church teach if the church is just the people? What the heck is the Church doing teaching the church?
That family karma you talked about, or at least some sort of genetic inheritance - I have generations of Protestantism behind me, in my genes, in my blood, under my skin - my nation is deeply Presbyterian - our original heritage is Celtic Christianity not Roman Catholicism. The magisterium still seems a little mysterious. But then Protestantism is severely limited.
My first thought when I think of the church is that it's holistic, not hierarchical.
Ultimately though, I don't see how it's possible to deny the implications of certain experiences. When kundalini moves through my throat and releases certain memories from a past which I wholly identify with and which connect certain aspects of who I am now, how I behave, explain what's happened to me in life, there's a huge temptation to understand that memory in terms of reincarnation. None of the other explanations do it. They all hang limply. So marrying the experience to the theory allows me to make sense, to deal with things, to heal, to develop new space to love. How can I deny that and submit to tradition? I don't get it. Our whole spirituality is based on the individual decision to believe or not believe, to follow or not follow. We're not compelled to accept everything we inherit. We start on the basis of individual choice. Why shouldn't we continue with that, making up our own minds, understanding ourselves for ourselves. We make mistakes but when we tune into that place of pure consciousness, that place which is a shining expression of the divine because the Spirit dwells there, those mistakes diminish, karma is worked out and understanding increases.
Maybe I should reflect some more on that link.
I feel happy and able to balance things however. As I say, one foot in, one foot out. That works for me.
Everything in nature is hierarchical. Holism and hierarchy do not contradict. What holds the various lower levels of being together in integrated wholeness is a higher level of being.
It's good that you mention and own your Protestant heritage, for there may be much about that which does indeed bias you. Long traditions of belief, especially if held with strong affectivity, create what Rupert Sheldrake calls morphic fields, which may actually be part of what people experience as previous life material. All very interesting.
But no one is saying you should discount your own experiences and intuitions. Catholics do not do this, either. What we have with our doctrines is boundaries within which one may safely encounter God as revealed by Christ, and outside of which there could be dangers. E.g., belief in reincarnation can easily lead to a devaluing of the body, undercut impetus for justice, and move people to try to explain tendencies in their lives in terms of what happened in previous lives, which they can become deeply invested in exploring. Not much good in any of that, imo, and all flow naturally from belief in reincarnation.
There are other good links on what the magisterium means in Catholicism. You don't have to agree with them, but it would be good if you at least understood what we mean by this and why we value it. We view it more as gift to the Church, which is indeed the people of God, who are a mystical body in Christ. That body has a head, as Paul noted, and he stated that first among the parts of the body was the head, which he identified with the Apostles. Et voila. Early beginnings of this understanding.
There is a lot of conjecture here, Phil - lots of mays, could be's, can do's, none of which are necessarily the case regarding a belief in reincarnation and none of which address the need to follow intuition to its logical conclusion rather than fall into the safety net of doctrine.
I know a little of morphic fields, but if the memories are from various locations in the world and connect directly to a sense of self in ways which involve foreign cultural associations, I don't see how they can be downloaded from long traditions of belief in family and nation which may have created the field. In other words, the memories lie outside the influence of morphic fields as I understand them, and connect directly with personal history. The connection you make between possible bias and past life memory seems quite a leap. If anything, experience is leading away from bias and out of personal heritage, just not in the direction of Catholicism. I mention my heritage as starting point of the journey, not really its direction.
I like your summary of holism and hierarchy, however. That makes sense. Although I've always understood Paul's teaching to mean Christ is the head, not the Apostles. And maybe I should explore the magisterium, but as I say, things are leading in different directions. Christ is my rudder still, if not the church, so I may not go too far astray .
Good deal, Stephen.
You're right about Paul saying Christ is head of the Church. In the priority of ministries, however, first came the Apostles, then prophets, etc. (1 Cor. 12:28). The bishops are the successors of the Apostles and have been entrusted with the same priority of teaching and leadership. The gift they bring is authoritative leadership, which doesn't preclude individuals forming their own opinions about things, but does at least recognize an order in the Church to assist in discerning truth from falsehood. Without such order and authority, the early Christian community would have splintered into many pieces, which is precisely what happens when this authority is not recognized or is rejected, as the history of post-Reformation Christianity demonstrates.
You sound like you've got your mind made up, however, and have decided that your personal experiences and intuitions about reincarnation take priority over the teaching of the Church (including most Protestant traditions here as well). So be it. . . not much anyone can say to that.
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