For those who look out into the world and question why things are the way they are; will recognise it can be a painful practise sometimes. It certainly isn’t always obvious why the difficulties that befall us as individuals, or the troubles that play out across our globe, happen the way they do.
I always believed in a God, and as I have said previously, being born into the Catholic Church, this was my reference; but I also had an awful lot of questions that I couldn’t seem to get an answer to. Too many to mention here, and to be honest some were probably more worthwhile than others; but there seemed to be a lot of judgement going to be coming my way by the sounds of things, and it threw up all sorts of paradoxes in my young mind about the arbitrary way life was metered out.
I asked about people being born in different places, into different religions, being born penniless or rich, healthy or sick, dying as an infant, having no chance to make decisions or mistakes; or living a full life with many challenges. I was simply told that God understands everything – and don’t be a cheeky monkey asking questions like that. Well I believe God does understand everything, but I did question our understanding of God and his practices – as much as we ever could. The random nature of life’s hand didn’t seem quite logical – that God would create a life, to be over in a week, and that soul in a mewling babe would be judged on that untested seven days forever.
In my late teens my life crossed paths in London with a woman called Paddina, who had started a charity with her husband Gordon called The Erasmus Foundation. It offered healing, which was always given without charge, and spiritual tuition and discussion for people of all religions or none. In speaking to Paddina and some of the volunteers and regulars, one topic that came up was reincarnation. I had never really thought much about this too much before. My only understanding of it was a loose grip of knowledge from certain Eastern religions. What kept it at arms’ length for me was the thought of reincarnating as an animal or insect for poor choices made in a life; again, it didn’t sit comfortably with me as an act of logic or reason for a Creator. This law of Karma, for me, was just the same as the judgemental God of punishment put forward by the Bible. Why would God create a child and then cut it down for its ignorance? This insistence that God had to be bad tempered and retaliatory wasn’t my cup of tea at all.
Reincarnation as it was offered by the Erasmus Foundation was a lot simpler, and I seriously began to consider its merits for the first time. If the Spirit within the body goes on, which I believe unquestionably – as I look into the eyes of another, I do not see just material matter – then what if we were to take other lives there after? Lives that we ourselves choose to take, not for punishment but with knowledge of its challenges, to progress ourselves with spiritual learning.
Pretty quickly, it felt a natural fit as I considered its ramifications. It resolved for me apparent injustices in the variety of lives people had. Paddina used to call the Earth the University of Life. If we experience lives that touch all circumstance: the beggar, the king, the tyrant, the nurse, the strong and the weak; only then could we really have a full education on what it is to be human and the purpose of the lessons contained within.
Lives would be reviewed upon returning ‘Home’. When revisiting scenes within the life, now with eyes of truth and clarity, with an elder Spirit, you would see and feel what played out, not only from your point of view, but from the other peoples too. No chastisement or scorn for your mistakes, – “You should have done this!” – but gaining the knowledge of what impacts you made on others is enough. You will hurt others, and others will hurt you. Your achievements are tempered by your failings, and your failings are buoyed by your achievements. You see the life in balance and the lessons it gifted you – and those you touched. We are stronger in some areas and weaker in others. We teach others as we learn ourselves. The threads of silk interweave delicately to make the majestic tapestry of the whole.
Your knowledge opens up to certain eternal truths; the steps of learning can be hard, but can never be unlearnt. Each life, a little earned wisdom for the soul, passing from one grade to the next.
You might hear people saying – ‘If there was a God, why would he allow this suffering/pain/injustice?!’ If the understanding was brought to bear upon this statement, that maybe it might take an older Spirit to choose such a life. Not only for their own progression, but to stir something in the rest of us, so we might act in the name of these others that suffer; to wake us from our slumber of self centred thinking – we might start to glimpse the foothills of the wisdom that is beyond our own.
A physical life comes, and is gone, you enter the fray, you play your part, you exit the stage – in a second, a day, a century – it matters not. When the last breath is released, and we head towards the light, all suffering, anguish and pain is left with the body – Home once again; the memory, the learning and the wisdom, remains for all time.