This page falls into the subject of Metaphysics;
a vast subject, incredibly old yet increasingly modern; stretching from dry scholarly complexity well into the generality of religion. I don't attempt all that here.
As it's so far reaching, I offer my own very simple model, just as it relates to humanity, to serve as a context for the ideas you find on this site.
There are several stages required to form a picture, most people stop part way, I have stopped at the point of discarnate entities more evolved than humanity (on whose evolution I do not presume to comment) and gone straight on to Eternity. How far you go depends entirely on you.
A proposition about cause and effect
As a result of listening to Melvyn Bragg, and having claimed an interest in causation, I have to say something about David Hume, not least because other people may also have heard Lord Bragg’s show about Hume.
For those who haven’t, let me give a simple link to David Hume. His starting point was with Plato, that we can know nothing of the external world; but he became a starting point for a great deal of modern philosophy himself. Firstly because great figures such as Kant wanted to refute his position that God is not necessary to understanding the world and morality, secondly, because modernists wanted to do the opposite.
In looking at why we experience the things which happen Hume started with wish (“passions”) and reason. Of the two ‘wish’ is the more important, but our experience tells us that some happenings result from certain actions or causes and others do not. This is the ‘Problem of Induction’ by which our reason or “logic” imprisons (my word) the will, so only the wishes we have experienced coming into reality remain possible and, even then, they only become possible through actions our reason recognises as causing them.
People; not least philosophers, leaders of religions and government, like order and certainty. Let me put the anarchic and chaotic view that a person who rejected reason and logic, contrary teachings and experience, could realise any wish, however ‘impossible’, subject to various rules such as internal consistency and absence of internal resistance. I am going to put it to you that the correctness of this position is recognised in religion by the acceptance of ‘miracles’; an example from my book, Edward, is that Margaret Beaufort placed on the throne of England her son, Henry Tudor, despite his poverty in honour, power and wealth, as well as his physical absence, and the total lack of any lawful claim. To achieve such happenings, from the base of wish, it is usually considered necessary to appeal to the Grace of God – to overcome our imprisonment by reason.
David Hume assumed the improbability of miracles, and based his conclusions on that assumption. A philosopher ought to be aware of the slovenly incompetence of assumption, and, in fact, he was completely wrong, miracles are commonplace. Consider the miracle of sustaining the existence of an organism as complex as the human body. The improbability of this goes unremarked because it is commonplace, but note how rapidly the body breaks down if the wish to live is completely removed.
To come back to Reincarnation and Spirit, if it is your wish to explore past lives and communicate with other spirits you can do so, if your reason tells you it is possible. If you have already experienced that communication this will instruct your reason.
You have encountered this on other pages, simply, does the normal, physical world constitute all there is? If you answer "no" you have already taken this first step.
If you believe who we are is not just the product of our brains and we have a spirit that survives the death of the body, then the further stages open up to you. There are many
implications of the existence of spirit outside and separate from the body -
here are just a few:
Our bodies are individual and separate, as our spirits inhabited such bodies, some separation of spirit follows, but does it follow that spirit is naturally separate, or remains so, just because it happens to be true of our bodies?
My answer to this is both yes and no, in other words there is a higher degree of connectedness, but to answer the question properly you have to go to a higher level.
Time flows for physical bodies at a rate set by physical existence, it definitely is not the case that time flows at the same rate or in the same way outside the physical.
If spirit can exist outside the physical does it contain entities which have never been incarnated in human, or even animal form? The answer here is again perfectly clear, it is yes.
Just acknowledging the existence of spirit opens limitless vistas, in the last point alone opening the door to the full range of angels, demons and others, from religion and myth and more.
I am not going there, it's enough here to restrict ourselves to human spirits.
You have also encountered this on other pages, simply, is life in a physical body a 'one-off' experience or is it repeated? You wouldn't be reading this unless you at least believe it might be repeated, but there are questions. Allowing the first unanswerable question, Why would it not be repeated? let us ask the following:
Can experiences such as George Patton's, and some of my own in Edward be verified?
The answer here is again yes.
Can knowledge of these experiences be accounted for without memory from past lives?
It is argued, but not proven, that they can be. There are very serious weaknesses in this argument, one is a failure to distinguish fact from emotion, another is an absolute failure to show causation, a third is a failure to demonstrate instrumentality.
What causes incarnation in one life rather than another?
The Buddhist answer is Karma, an answer from some modern hypnotherapists is choice.
Of course there are other questions, but it is time to take the last question into stage 3.
This is the real point of the page. When any action is taken there is reaction and there are consequences. Even as a child I was interested in action and consequences and the 'Arrow of Time.' I am going to suggest here that any action sets up a 'reality' in which the consequences can be worked out, it's a bit like a recoilless rifle. If the action did not set up a new reality Isaac Newton's law, 'There is no action without an equal and opposite re-action,' would mean the action would automatically be compensated and no change would be possible. The new reality accompanies the action, and the Arrow of Time? This is simply the measure of the manifestation of the consequences, it is called 'arrow' because it moves in only one direction, from past to future, from cause to effect.
There are, of course, countless new actions in every moment, perhaps some of them, perhaps many, are compensated and have no significant effect, create no new reality: but the problem with the concept is it instantly blows away the finite human brain, which cannot contain the vast range of realities which simultaneously exist on this model.
How does this affect reincarnation? It may have escaped your notice but the human spirit is sticky, we attach ourselves emotionally to anything and everything, relationships and the consequences of actions (karma) we become attached to realities.
Are there other realities apart from the one of which we are now aware? Most certainly.
Can we move between realities? We do so constantly but imperceptibly, as to making a major shift from one reality to another, say from being poor to being rich, this brings us to Cosmic Ordering, the Law of Attraction and Quantum Jumping. There is a little on the page Other Links, but here I stick just to the principle.
Can we escape from reality and reincarnation altogether? Yes, by giving up our attachment to the chains of cause and effect which currently bind us. And where do we get to if we do escape? Answer, for all I know we may evolve through any number of higher discarnate states, call these Stages 3A, 3B, 3C and so on, before we come to Stage 4.
This is Eternity. I'm sorry I cannot relate Eternity to Heaven and Hell in the conventions of Western religion. Heaven and Hell are value judgements about the realities we put ourselves in, or the lives we chose to undertake in those realities, through our choices, our actions and the karma or consequences they attract. Eternity is what there IS, without the karmic tracks of all the countless realities. Of course it is too big a concept for humanity because it contains all the possibilities of existence, and, because all that could be already is, no action or change in our human sense is possible. This does not mean Eternity is lifeless, to the exact opposite, you can BE in any part of it that what you have chosen to BE allows.
It is at this level that spirit ceases to be separate. As the Buddhists put it: if a human being is a drop of water, is that drop of water still an individual when it joins the ocean?
As always with Metaphysics, this over-simplified summary is an hypothesis; it is as right or wrong as you find it to be and its only purpose here is to offer a context in which to view reincarnation - I hope it helps.
Because it is so much on the subject of this page, you can download a copy of Reincarnation, the Secrets of Past Lives, recorded on September 24th 2011: this episode is about Reality, and gives you Christine and Diane's view as well as my own.
As to other people’s ideas – on YouTube: you may or may not like all these links, they’re here because there is no effort of reading and their terms are simple (historically, students of the arcane and occult habitually shrouded their ‘knowledge’ in mystery, partly from fear of religious persecution but also because the ideas themselves were thought to be dangerous). There is a danger in accepting anything in metaphysics uncritically; further, the way different people understand and apply the same ideas is often radically different. See what you think: -
Divine Metaphysics An Introduction (An introduction to the science, philosophy and religion of Divine) Metaphysics as explained by Rev. F. Reed Brown)
Physics, Metaphysics & the Consciousness Connection 1 of 18 Tom Campbell – author of 'My Big T.O.E.'
What is Metaphysics Reading of Gerardus Tros