• Stefanosis

Here We Are

Updated: May 17

Welcome to key 3. In the previous key, we discussed the Earth.

Eventually, we humans were created among a multitude of creatures. Just like the origins of the Earth and the questions surrounding the 'how' and 'when', humans also raise many theories and questions. Science and religion hardly find any common ground on this topic, at least for the most part. We have no records nor substantial evidence of the first humans, and although we do share identical DNA to other primates, there are still traits which set us apart. Still, we can conclude that earlier humans would have been quite different from us, because our environment was different. We had to adjust and evolve to things like societies, civilizations, industry and technologies. Somebody had to discover fire... by accident.

One thing can be agreed upon concerning humanity... we are all related by a common ancestry. Our physical differences which manifest as "races" are very subtle. Genetically, we are quite the same. We have the same bodies, tissues and organs. We have the same needs. If we trace our genetics roughly 50 generations back, we are all related. Because of communication technology, we are now more connected than ever. Cultural and social barriers that existed a century ago are now obsolete. In fact, a realization arises from this - we have more in common than previously imagined ! Despite knowing this more than ever, we humans are still in constant conflict with each other. Why so ? I believe it's the same reason siblings fight as children - they know they're related, but their desires cause conflicts. We see this in animals constantly. Even the sweet looking hummingbirds fight each other over territory.

Although humans are similar to animals, there is something fundamental that sets us apart - our sense of purpose. Animals understand that they need to eat, survive and reproduce. Humans understand this, while questioning the reason of our existence. Animals understand what they see, while humans attempt to understand what they can't see. We're not sure if animals contemplate the concept of death, but we know that humans do. This leads us to spiritual and religious pursuits. In the last key, I declared that the Earth is a school. In this key, I focus on us humans as the students. Like a timed test, we have a certain lifespan allotted to us for this purpose. Just like in a school, many will fail the test. What happens then ? Are we re-tested ? Personally, I believe we are. It seems like we've been to this school many times before, under different names and bodies. Yes, I am referring to reincarnation !

To give you the reader a basic summary of reincarnation, it's important for me to discuss its origins. "The idea of reincarnation has roots in the Upanishads of the late Vedic period (c. 1100 – c. 500 BCE), predating the Buddha and the Mahavira. The concepts of the cycle of birth and death, samsara, and liberation partly derive from ascetic traditions that arose in India around the middle of the first millennium BCE." (wikipedia) The gnostic in me embraces reincarnation as a way for the human soul - that eternal, energetic aspect of human consciousness - can learn and progress constantly. It answers many of the questions concerning Divine justice, mercy and fate. According to Hinduism, our actions are so significant during our short lifetimes that the karma carries over from previous ones. It would explain feelings of deja-vu, phobias and psychic imprints we can't explain rationally. In Buddhism and Sikhism, the goal of our lifetime is to attain samadhi, which is freedom from samsara - the cycle of life and death (womb-hopping). This is the 'crossing over'. Perhaps this is why Jesus said "My Father has many mansions." Perhaps these are the realms and planets for 'advanced students' ?

Interestingly, reincarnation is not limited to Hinduism. It's also embraced by gnosticism, certain esoteric sects of Judaism, and "Kardecism". The latter is a sect of Christianity which originated from the French spiritist Allan Kardec. Unlike traditional Christianity, Kardecism accepts medium-ship. The consultation of spirits to aid and guide humanity includes the confirmation of reincarnation in their messages. Before my yoga studies, reincarnation did not make much sense to me. Eventually, I understood it better through analogies. Reincarnation is best described through the concept of the "body garment". Basically, our body and its temporary nature is similar to a garment that we eventually change or discard. Just as everything material eventually breaks down or decays, yet energy is never destroyed, only transmuted. Through reincarnation, we are purified, taught new lessons and given new opportunities to address wrongs committed in the past. It's a win-win !

So why would we want to 'break-free' from reincarnation ? Because as Buddhism also teaches us - the Earth is a place of suffering. No matter who we are, we all experience some degree of suffering whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. Think of it as part of the lesson. I like to compare it to the scene from the Doctor Strange movie (2016), when the hero discovers how to manipulate time, returning over and over to his constant death caused by a malevolent diety trying to take over humanity. This evil diety gets so frustrated by Doctor Strange, that it makes a "deal" with him to leave our dimension forever. Reincarnation blackmail ? Hmmm. No doubt, reincarnation is a matter of faith. It cannot be proven, but there are some interesting cases of people having revelations of these past lives.

In summary, consider how little we learn in an average lifetime. If indeed we were limited to one lifetime, it would seem like an injustice on the part of Providence. It would be like expecting a 2nd grader to fly a plane after a crash course ! Perhaps reincarnation is so difficult to accept because we become so attached to this body, and this present lifetime. In the Bible's book of Psalms, number 90 says about God: "A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has gone by, or a watch in the night." In the bigger perspective, one lifetime would be like the pitiful fate of the mayfly, which lives for a day only to find a mate before dying. I think we can all agree that humans seem to have a grander purpose, which requires multiple "changing of garments" for our own benefit.


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