Reincarnation - Do We have More Than One Life?

Chapter Extract

'I hold that when a person dies,

His soul again returns to earth;

Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise

Another mother givers him birth.

With sturdier limbs and brighter brain

The old sould takes the road again.'

John Masefield 1878 -1967 (Poet Laureate)



   "Reincarnation in its varied forms has been taught in the East and the Orient for thousands of years and is currently accepted by more than half the Earth’s population. Although I would add that it is not exclusively a Hindu or Buddhist concept, it is also a doctrine known to Judaism, Islam and early Christianity. I say early, because in 553AD at the Council of Constantinople, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and a tiny majority on the Council decided to ban the teachings from the scriptures – a gross historical blunder that plunged the Christian Church into the philosophical wilderness, where it has stayed ever since. Apparently, they didn’t like the concept and thought it an anathema. This denied them plausible answers to life’s traumas and tragedies, which were then explained as ‘the will of God’ or ‘the works of the Devil!’. 


   The Ancient Egyptians as well as the Greeks and Chinese were also well versed in the pre-existence of the soul. Reincarnation was also well known to many world cultures throughout history, including the Maoris, Aborigines, and the North and South American Indians. It was also taught to initiates in the Ancient Wisdom teachings.

   I was fascinated why all of these religions, philosophies and cultures had embraced the doctrine of having more than one life when the vast majority of the Earth’s population had only known poverty and hardship. Out of interest, I have asked numerous people if they would like to come back to this Earth in another lifetime. This produced many raised eyebrows and remarks like ‘you must be joking’ – or words to that effect! So if people are not too enamoured with life here and don’t want to keep coming back, why is rebirth such a prominent doctrine? Could there have been a vast amount of evidence throughout history?

   The Emperor Napoleon, Mahatma Gandhi, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, George Harrison, Henry Ford, H.G. Wells, Bernard Shaw, David Lloyd George, Count Leo Tolstoy, Carl Jung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Blake, Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Masefield, Walt Whitman, Benjamin Franklin, J. B. Priestley, Dean William Inge, Lord Hugh Dowding, General George S. Patton and Shirley MacLaine are just a few of the famous people who accepted reincarnation and were convinced through personal experiences that they had lived before. Gautama the Buddha was reputed to have remembered hundreds of previous lives.


   Having investigated the life after death piece of the puzzle, I was intrigued by the doctrine of reincarnation, or rebirth, as it is also known, and felt that the subject was another important piece of life’s puzzle worthy of investigation. By reincarnation, we mean the ability of the soul (consciousness, Overself or spirit if you prefer) to enter a body of flesh in a world of matter any number of times. That is to say, many births, lives and deaths. 


   On face value our materialistic world appears to chastise the good and reward the bad, with many complaining that ‘life just isn’t fair!’ So, what if we did have more than one life? What if we had hundreds or even thousands of different lives on this planet – or any other for that matter? What if we had been male and female, rich and poor, killed and been killed, died young and old and lived in many countries – could that make a difference to our thinking about the fairness of life here?


   If we had only one life, how would we explain or define the fairnessor justice of the following? ................"