The concept of reincarnation has been a part of the human consciousness since early man perched upon a mountaintop, contemplating life long ago. When I was a U.S. Navy man, I went AWOL once in port at Bremerton, Washington. Long story short, I took a bus to a mountain and followed a trail to the top. It was cold, and I had only a light jacket and a bottle of Jack Daniels to keep me warm. My journey took half a day, and soon after, darkness fell. I improvised and made a bed of leaves, but didn’t sleep. I shivered all night long and walked back down the next morning. Luckily, a buddy covered for me. I didn’t achieve any spiritual revelations, but I certainly had some physical ones. But I digress, so back to where I was going with this.
Recently, as I considered the state of the world, I was dismayed by mankind’s future. Many have said they are troubled by the legacy we are leaving our children, their children, and so forth. Contemplating that, I thought back to when I studied the Eastern philosophy of reincarnation. In some beliefs, there is a tenet that you may come back as something other than human. Perhaps a cockroach? Please, no! The believer may avoid stepping on any insect or even swatting a fly. Sorry, if you land on me as a mosquito, your short life would be much shorter.
Many believe you always come back as a human, and the life you are given next is determined by what you did previously, known as karma. I think I’m experiencing that myself. The stork carrying me to the Rockefeller family on the East Coast must have gotten tired over Western Oklahoma and unceremoniously dumped me on a poor farmer’s wife in a doctor’s office over the First National Bank in Geary, Oklahoma. Instead of being rich and famous, I was born poor and obscure. Was that my karma?
Forgive my rambling. The whole point is that if we come back, it is not just our children who will suffer the consequences of the messes we make. It likely would include us. The first thing that may happen in our new incarnation would be losing all memories of our previous existence and having no clue who or where we are. If lucky, at least you have the comfort of a mother’s breast and a warm meal.
What might happen in your next life? What if you are born into a white, poor, racist family; or born into a low-income drug-riddled town with junkie parents. Worse yet, you might end up in a third-world country refugee camp, or – my next thought, I would rather not say. The possible scenarios are endless, and the chances of being born into a privileged life of wealth are slim.
Do you see where I am going with this? Even if you have a choice of where, how could you predict the circumstances? If we live life after life, would we choose to believe that or bury our heads in the proverbial sand?
If reincarnation was an absolute fact of life believed by everyone, how would that affect our thoughts, behavior, and actions regarding the future? Would we be so quick to think of only short-term solutions? Might we be more concerned with other people, other places? Would we make such a mess of our environment?
Even if we don’t believe in reincarnation, shouldn’t we behave toward this life as if it were?