There is some empirical proof of reincarnation because some people can remember actual events, places, etc. from a past life, however, what is it that reincarnates? What is the "I"? People usually think that there is a unity in their personality that they call "I", that is conscious and free and that they understand. However, if you have bad karma, you see people doing whatever it takes to obey what a higher power that rules karma has decided. They behave against their reason, instinct, the idea that they have about themselves...all to punish you, and they don´t know what they are doing. The "I" is an illusion!
In addition, there doesn´t seem to be a continuity of memory from one life to the next. Most people don´t remember past lives at all, and most others don´t remember from birth, they only remember later in life. A new personality is created, and I guess that there isn´t continuity. The same happens with relationships: maybe you´ll meet the same person again, but if both of you don´t remember, you´ll create a new relationship. A Christian friend told me a similar thing about Heaven, she said that there wasn´t a continuity because there is nothing in Heaven that reminds you of this life.
Is there an efficient way to remember, and to preserve your purpose, knowledge and relationships from one life to the next? I don´t mean spending eternity doing only meditation, because then you would live forever but you wouldn´t live anyway.
In Taoism there are several ideas about the soul. There is the idea that we don´t have a soul and need to create one. There is the idea that we have many souls. And there is the idea that we have one soul. Which idea of the soul should I choose? It is quite confusing. Also, the embrio of immortality, is it I, or is it a different soul? And I don´t understand the creation of many souls in the last stage of inner alchemy, by doing that aren´t you splitting your consciousness, creating souls that are clones of you, but that have less energy and intelligence? Maybe it would be better to maintain a unity in your mind, personality and soul.
There's plenty of proof. Dr. Ian Stevenson has some books on the matter.
There is continuity of memory (indeed, i myself remember a little bit of my stay on the astral plane, on what we call "inter-lives period") - however, accessing this memory brings difficult to remember the whole.
As much as an amnesic may not remember everything, so it is with past lives memories. You need to recall it, bit by bit, in continuous exploration of your own mind.
What continues is a deeper form of mind which is devoid of Ego or Personality, not to mention some superior things. Why people always relate mind with ego ?
The ego is just a small sub-product of the mind. Anyone who studied a little bit of Freudian Theory (needed to talk about Ego) knows that the Ego is a product of much larger and titanic forces within - the Superego and the ID, to say the least (not mentionin pre-birth unconscious, which Freud also recognized as existing...).
In fact, you don't even have a fully formed ego before you're 7 years old!
That's when most of your personality and ego settle in, and to change that you need some pretty intense stuff, for some pretty long time.
All memory is preserved. Because it isn't like a movie you store on your mind. It is actual connection from your mind with the Past and the Future. Memory is an insight on being beyond time.
So once you reach a higher level of awareness, your mind shall have room to develop enough and to naturally allow this kind of memory to keep existing, yes.
What I find interesting to contemplate is what it is that is "carried over" from life to life.
From the Buddhist perspective, there is no self - so what is "carried over?"
If it is the "spark of the Divine" then how is that "spark" differentiated from every other spark?
What is "carried over?"
If it is the "soul [which] returns to God," is that soul somehow separate and distinct from God or does it return to the source?
If the latter, what is it that is carried over?
It is quite easy for me to accept a concept of reincarnation.
There is birth, life, death, birth, life, death, ad infinitum - this is the cycle.
I can easily accept each birth to be a reincarnation of whatever substrate one postulates as that which gives rise to life.
What I have not yet formulated to any degree of satisfaction is something that remains intact and isolated from the substrate, such that it "carries over" as a distinct and finite entity from one life to the next.
Perhaps it works that way, perhaps it doesn't - I'm not too concerned with knowing "the truth" if there is such a thing, but I do find it fascinating to contemplate from time to time.
What if i tell you that it isn't one "it", but many "it" ?
The problem is the perspective that death actually means a lot. Death is just losing your physical body.
Everything that isn't physical remains with you.
Now, what is and what isn't physical... i can tell some things i have experienced as beying not physical, but that would just smell like lies.
It's easier to experience by yourself
obs: Our "divine spark" is the so called "Christic Body" or simply our "Body of Will". It is the higher individual stance of existence we have.
Yes, higher individual stance.
We are collective beings above this.
And no, it can't be simply destroyed.... because it exists beyond time and space. How can you destroy something which is a singularity on itself?
The spirit of Jesus or the spirit of Buddha lives in our minds, because we carry forward to the future generations the stories of them but with each generation there is a mutation in the story which makes that at some point in the future they will be so different than the original content that will be unrecognizable. The evolution plays in the spirit realm too.
Sorry, DNA doesn't carry stories. It's just protein and sugar basis which contain information on BODILY construction, not mental.
Also, it isn't even all-powerfull in this sense, since ambient factors can determine the activation or deactivation of DNA parts.
What you're looking for (things which live in our minds) is either collective unconscious/arquetipes or meme theory (a favorite from Dawkins).
Also... is what you're calling "mind" a "brain" ?
You may be making wrong assumptions there, since dr.Freud and dr.Jung where VERY specific on saying that the "mind" ISN'T the "brain".
That's also why psychiatrists, neurologists and psychologists all treat different illnesses with different methods.
They do not share the same field of study, as much as people tend to think they do.
Thank you UFA for the explanation. This is what I knew and I agree with you. The problem is with those finer bodies that you refer to in the Hermetic theory (which I know about them because I studied extensively the subject over years). I tend to believe that as soon as the body that provides energy to them like a power-plant cease to function, then those bodies dissolve too. So probably there is a point in the reincarnation belief, but there are two contradictory beliefs:
One that says everybody reincarnates and your mission is to escape reincarnation, to put an effort and stop this cycle due to inertia.
The other is that nobody really reincarnates and if you really want to reincarnate you have to put an effort to build those finer bodies so that when your physical body dies they survive for a while on the energy you gather until you find another body that you inhabit and continue another life in the new body and you continue the cycle endlessly.
Which one of the two beliefs do you think is true? It can be only one true and the other false. Or both of them are false because they can't be both true.
If you allow me, there are two missunderstandings on your theory.
The first is to believe the energy which keeps the finer bodies alive comes from higher plans of existence.
Just like what happens bettwen our physical bodies and our astral body, there is a small amount of energy which interacts between both (in the aetherial body), but it isn't the source of energy for our physical body.
It keeps it togheter, but doesn't feed it. Energy from eating feeds it.
And in the Astral and Mental plane both things also apply. One needs a constant supply of substance to nuture their astral and mental bodies.
So there isn't a single "master powerplant", but, rather, there are many energy sources.
About your beliefs, they hold true to a certain extent but on different planes.
Many hermetic students draw from different sources and, therefore, mix different kinds of knowledge.
The first theory is valid for astral-physical reincarnation. Everyone does it and proof is both on some hermetic books (which talk about necromancy in finer detail, going beyond the typical mistake of evoking pranking spirits, elementals or discarted aetheric bodies of the dead), and physical spiritual phenomenon.
As the second is valid for aetheric-physical reincarnation. This one can only be done if you build finer "physical" bodies (with aether, much like one can create qi vessels to hold their souls) which you can then use for a multitude of purposes, one of them being reincarnation.
The major difference between both is what composes the new finer bodies you will be getting. Like which monads will you be taking part of, which determine, for instance, which will be your Spiritual Clan and your Spiritual Heritage (which you will need to study beyond hermeticism and into xamanism to explore into greater detail).
Those are important, but aren't as big as some hermetic studies make them to be, and don't mean your higher existences or memories will be wiped clean and you will "return to the creator".
No more than destroying your current mind and making it back from zero would. That can't destroy who you where (and the individuality of the "divine spark" we carry is actually
Unfortunately, the different small "cruzades" the hermetic draw one against another (for instance the Martinists against the Ars Goetia practcionners) avoid for knowledge to be better understood and comprehended. Not to mention their skirmishes with other forms of knowledge.
I don't know what anyone is really talking about when they talk about reincarnation. There is nothing in here, whether you're dead or alive. It's a big post-hoc fallacy... that because you've always existed, you must have had an origin, and because that origin is unchanging, it must be immortal and transferable. What is the spiritual evidence of this? Past life memories? How do you know where they come from?
I've had very, very vivid experiences that could be called past life. But why attribute it to anything? Why label it? It's just what's happening, in the now. You're not in control of what happens to you on Earth so karma or not, you can't really outsmart the system. It goes on and on and you don't have a say in that.
There's no way to know if insight into dependent origination is a product of mind or something else because you can't know anything beyond your own experience of knowing. Even when people think they're being not-mind, there's still mind. As soon as a concept arises, it's mind.
I used to get mad at Christians for referring to karma as "what goes around, comes around". Then I realized that karma is fundamentally flawed no matter who is talking about it. What does karma attach to? Can you point to it? Subtle mind? What's that?
I'm not trying to be crass. But honestly, just what do we think we're talking about here? That there was some "me" before this "me" which is just as empty?
The bigger spiritual evidence is physical phenomenon derived from spiritual effects.
Like spiritual healing, materialization of spirits and the such.
In fact, past memories should always be checked throughly. Somethimes we create false memories, and we can indeed insert them on ourselves like that.
In fact, on regression theraphy, it is a must to not label the products of a regression as real or not - since what has therapeutic value is the effect the thing had in you, the simbolism it carries and how you can deal with present life questions and challenges more positively after seeing it, and not if the thing was real or not.
About your past lives and existential questions, i believe they can all be answered with a thought:
It's not about transcendence.