Reincarnation and Karma
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by:

Karen Berg-Raftakis 

“I’ve been with you before and I’ll be with you again” Stevie Nicks 

“What do you think has become of the young and old men?  And what do you think has become of the women and the children?  They are alive and well somewhere.  The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, and if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, and ceased the moment life appeared.  All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, and to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.”  Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” 

When I first read this excerpt from “Song of Myself”, I liked it and was immediately struck by its beauty, but I really didn’t understand the true meaning of it.  Originally, I just thought it meant that although people die, life goes on and that when things in nature die, like plants, insects, animals, etc., that new plants grow out of the soil and decay.  Now, years later I read that passage again in the context of reincarnation, and I find it even more insightful and beautiful this time around. 

I guess, what has always bothered me most about the “we have only one life” theory is the unfairness and injustice of it, especially when innocent children are born to horrible people.  If good people go to heaven and bad to hell after death, according to certain organized religions, then why do some good people have horrific lives, and other good people have great lives, and yet they both end up in the same place?  What about good souls who have horrific childhoods and then do terrible things, or retarded or mentally ill people who do bad things, do they go to hell?  What about kids who die before the age of five, how can you tell if they are good or not?  If there is no hell and only heaven, what is the point of having only one life?  How does God decide who is graced with good families and who receives rotten ones? 

When you realize that death is not the end, and that people who do “bad” things might not have to “pay” in this lifetime but certainly will in another, you begin to live your life differently.  Some people who are difficult in this lifetime may be here to teach others patience, tolerance, etc.  There are reasons behind every single thing that happens in this world.  Any handicap a person is born with, is there so that the person may learn specific lessons through that handicap, teach others through it, or “repay” past “debts”.  We are not forced to come back and pay our debts.  We want to, as we are perfect in our soul state, and so there is no question of not wanting to right previous wrongs and learn from doing so. 

A friend of mine’s wife died in her early 40’s.  He had told me that when she was younger, she was frequently depressed and constantly struggling.  However, at the time she had contracted her cancer, she was in her late 30’s and had finally hit her stride in life.  She loved her work and her family and was very happy.  He commented on how unfair he thought it was that she die now.  It is my opinion, that my friend’s wife had not learned what she needed to know and did not accomplish what she desired to in her 20’s.  She did in her 30’s; however, and so there was no further purpose for her to be here.  If we look at life in this way, we can perhaps see a life cut short as an early completion of a lesson – a positive.  A long life can either mean the soul has not learned nor accomplished what they needed to, or a long life can mean that their particular purpose is something that can only be achieved by a long life. 

There are quite a few mystics, seers, etc. who believe we make agreements with souls while we are on the other side and ask them to help us with certain issues when we incarnate on this side.  Here’s an example:  Perhaps to a few souls whom you feel especially close to, you might say, “Friends, I did not handle criticism well in my last couple past lives, will you please help me deal with it directly in this next life?”  They, of course, agree to help.  Now in this lifetime you are confronted with a next door neighbor “Phil”, who is constantly criticizing the way you keep your yard, your house, and the way you raise your kids.  This drives you crazy, and you usually deal with it by ignoring him, and then silently questioning yourself about whether Phil is right.  This does not work, and Phil keeps up criticism for years, until thankfully he moves away.  Soon after, you are faced with a co-worker named “Peg”, who constantly criticizes the way you look.  You deal with Peg the same way you dealt with Phil for years, and it never stops.  You cannot figure out why you keep running into people who constantly criticize you.  Then suddenly one day you decide to confront Peg.  You say to her, “Peg, I like the way I dress and do my hair.  I realize it is not the same way you dress and do your hair, but we are all different and that is what makes the world such a great place.  You may not realize it, but it hurts me when you make critical comments about my appearance.  You may think you are being helpful, but you really are not, and I would appreciate it if you would stop it.”  You take a deep breath, preparing to face whatever consequences may come from your outburst, and to your surprise, Peg apologizes and from that moment on, she never criticizes you again, and you both become pretty good friends.  She knows now on a soul level that she doesn’t need to criticize you anymore.  You also do not face that type of criticism from anybody ever again in this lifetime.  That is because you learned your lesson, you see.  The other souls that were also willing to help you, do not need to now.  Even though they cannot consciously remember they promised to do this, their higher selves know on the other side, and therefore the pattern is eliminated.

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