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Reincarnation- a likely story or a likely truth?

“This time THEY didn’t give me a clever mommy”. I am dumbfounded so I ask, “who are THEY and what do you mean THEY didn’t give you a clever mommy.” He answers, “Mommy because you forget things. They didn’t give me a clever mommy but I like you still.

My son, who just turned four years old is talking to me about something. I am half listening and agreeing with some of what he is saying without really knowing what he is talking about. I am busy folding clothes and he is very talkative this morning. He decides to leave me and while on his way downstairs he turns to me and says, and I quote. “This time THEY didn’t give me a clever mommy”. I am dumbfounded so I ask, “who are THEY and what do you mean THEY didn’t give you a clever mommy.” He answers, “Mommy because you forget things. They didn’t give me a clever mommy but I like you still.  Mommy I like you”. And that was the end of it. He went downstairs and I am left in shock and pondering how to address the whole thing. Is he talking about his past life with a different mother? Did my son have a past life before his current one with me? And more importantly, who are THEY?

Reincarnation may be defined as a rebirth of a soul in another body. A person or animal in whom a particular soul is believed to have been reborn is said to be reincarnated. According to Hinduism life does not always end in death. Karma law controls reincarnation. Good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds punished. I assume if you were a cruel and inhuman person in this life it is likely that you may end up a victim of cruel and inhuman treatment at the hands of the ones you oppressed in your past life. That is karma. Rastafarians also believe reincarnation follows death. They believe in physical immortality.

First off, I do not believe in reincarnation. I am a Christian. Reincarnation does not exist in my religion.  I am also a humanist to a certain degree. Without empirical evidence I do not believe. There is no empirical evidence for reincarnation or existence of past lives. That said, I cannot rule out the fact that there are things in this world that science cannot answer or prove.  Despite my scepticism and my leanings towards science, I cannot, for the life of me, help but wonder and maybe want to believe that past lives exist. The following is another example, also coming from my four year old which I had dismissed earlier as the ramblings of a small child.

My seven year old son was relating a story about what happened at his school earlier in the week. My four year old was with us but playing by himself. At some point my youngest son walks towards the window and turns to us and says “when I was Daddy’s uncle I used to go to town with him and I took him fishing.” I didn’t take him seriously then and I remember laughing and telling him to tell his father to go fishing with him again.  In the wake of this new revelation that I am not a clever mommy compared to his supposedly past mommy I recalled this story and got goose bumps just thinking about what could be. Perhaps reincarnation does exist and I am not open minded enough.

A while back I read that there is no such thing as a rebirth (unless you are talking about Jesus) and that the purported “rebirth” is actually demon possession. That a dead spirit can possess a person and  recount its past life to this person – hence the perceived reincarnation whereas it is simply a dead spirit talking through the mouth of this particular person. In this case an exorcism can take care of the situation. Catholic priests (and new age charismatic evangelists/prophets) to this day perform exorcisms to those who are victims of demonic possession. The scientist in me does not believe this. I have always believed that the so-called spirit possessions are a sign of mental illness and can be helped by medicine and therapy. I do not see this view as an aspect of reincarnation.

Another view is that science and religion can meet on common ground and unlock the miracle of reincarnation. Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist who specialises in past life regression despite his scientific medical background. He believes that hypnosis is the key.  In 1980, Weiss, who did not believe in reincarnation at the time examined a patient under hypnosis. This patient began recounting past life experiences. After confirming elements of the patient’s stories through public records he became convinced of past life regression and future life progression. Like the renowned neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, he believes that recovering childhood memory can help resolve present day problems.

To be honest I do not know what to believe anymore. The thing with my child is too close to home. I cannot with full certainty discount the presence of past life regression, spirit possessions and karma, that is, pseudoscience. As to whether science and the spirit world can meet on common ground is a little bit far-fetched in my view.  The question is, what is your view? Can you shed light on this matter?

 

 

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