Thoughts by Richard Bleil
The Hindus believe, as I understand it (my apologies if I say anything incorrect or offensive), that reincarnation is a means of development of the soul. I’ll be honest, I find this hypothesis appealing. One of the problems I’ve long had about the Christian faith (and I’m sure some will find this oversimplification offensive; my apologies) is that it’s basically a single-question true/false test. If you lived a good life, it’s heaven, and if not, hell it is. The idea that the soul can be developed, grow, and learn is something I like probably because of my experience in education. The idea is that if you failed the test, you come back as a lower life form to live and learn a lesson you missed. If you pass, you come back in a higher life form for your next lesson.
Here in America, people do contemplate reincarnation, but it’s different. Here, when we think of reincarnation, we think of simply coming back as a different human. We have mystics that claim they can see our previous lives. I always found it curious that in past lives, everybody was royalty and important. Somehow, nobody was a sanitation engineer. None the less, we were simply some other human.
This vision of reincarnation strikes me as exceptionally sad and, frankly, more than a little bit frightening. The concept that you’ll come back with nothing, absolutely nothing, is just devastating, and I don’t just mean wealth and possessions. I’ve worked very hard to be a good person. With some slips, I try to be kind, accepting, and open to other people’s ideas. But, if I’m reincarnated as simply another human being, I will have lost all of this, what I’ve learned, and the progress I’ve made in my personal and spiritual growth. How do I know if I’ll come back as a good person, or somebody I would find morally reprehensible?
I’m a problem solver. Honestly, I think many men are. There was, a few years ago, a very funny video called “it’s not about the nail” clearly demonstrating a common problem between men and women, where he clearly saw the solution, but she just needed a sympathetic ear. As a theoretician, I am not afraid of contemplating even hypothetical situations. Today I found myself contemplating if there is, indeed, a way to pass what I’ve learned on to my future self, assuming of course that I am reincarnated as a different human. Interestingly enough, I believe I’ve found a way.
No, not science fiction, and not directed messages that will find my future self that can recognize this from my past. Nothing so extreme. Rather, I believe that by living my life in a fashion that I believe is honorable, I believe I am touching those people around me, and maybe, just maybe, I’m making them happier, and more likely to emulate this behavior.
If reincarnation is real, we, all of us, are building the world that we will see as infants (of whatever species we return as). Some of us are treating the earth as a source of resources to strip for profit, and other people as worthy of nothing if they cannot be of advantage to us. If our society moves in this direction, our future selves will be born into a world that has been stripped bare, polluted, socioeconomic inequity, and perhaps even a world of war, genocide and lack of basic human rights. Many people, in many countries that sadly include the United States, views the world in this manner. Pipelines are being run through sacred and protected lands, voter rights are being restricted based on race and socioeconomic standing, and brutality against people based on gender or heritage are all too common. Even if those responsible are reincarnated in this nation, the odds that they’ll be born into the elite class is virtually zero, so their actions are moving us towards a future world where they will pay the price for their actions today.
Me? I’d rather live in a world of beauty, socioeconomic equality, enlightenment and education. The Freemasons believe that the best way to change the world is to live in a manner so as to be a model of the behavior you believe is best for others. Even if not for reincarnation purposes, it is important to try to move society in a direction we would like to see for the future generations that come, whether or not through reincarnation. We can protect our children and pass wealth, belongings and teachings down to them, but our influence wanes with each passing generation. Great grandparents are rare, and great great-grandparents are almost unheard-of. This is only five generations, and we are gone. If our world doesn’t support what we would like to teach our great great-grandchildren, the lessons are likely to be gone.