Reincarnation is often a very misunderstood concept, it does not mean rebirth only on this planet. Reincarnation is the on-going and universal process by which awareness takes on ever-new bodily shapes and forms, each of which in turn allows the realisation of new potentialities of awareness latent in our soul. It occurs not just between lives on this plane and planet but within any given life, and in all planes of reality that make up the multidimensional universe of awareness. Through human existence on Earth, the doorway to many other planes of existence is possible, including entrance into higher planes of consciousness. It only depends on how we use this life.
I often think of the great masters and imagine beings who have their depth of realization as magnificent mountain eagles, who soar above both life and death and see them for what they are, in all their mysterious, intricate interrelation.
To see through the eyes of the mountain eagle, the view of realization, is to look down on a landscape in which the boundaries that we imagined existed between life and death shade into each other and dissolve…
What is seen directly and with total understanding by the masters is flowing movement and unbroken wholeness. What we, in our ignorance, call “life” and what we, in our ignorance, call “death” are merely different aspects of that wholeness and that movement.
– Sogyal Rinpoche
No Seperate Soul
Take a pitcher full of water and set it down on the water – now it has water inside and water outside. We mustn’t give it a name, lest silly people start talking again about the body and the soul.
Another misunderstanding is the idea of a soul that is somehow separate from everything else. People have questions about where my individual soul goes, which gives them great worry. Truth is, we are all part of the universal dance of supreme intelligence; all souls merging as one, and then separating again out of sheer joy (see Tantra).
We have given up the idea that there is a soul separate from our minds and bodies. Far from being terrifying, this idea is very liberating. If you think you’re something special in this world, engaging in a lofty inspection of the cosmos from a unique vantage point, your annihilation becomes unacceptable. But if you’re really part of the great cosmic dance of Shiva, rather than a mere spectator, then your inevitable death should be seen as a joyous reunion with nature rather than as a tragedy.
– V.S. Ramachandran
If we imagine the world as an ocean, we are like the ripples on the ocean. Formations like ripples and waves occur, because of wind, tides, and other kinetic forces. In the Buddhist analogy, the universe is in motion due to karmic forces. A ripple, a wave, or a billow may seem as an individual entity for a moment, creating the illusion that it has a self, but it is gone in the next moment. The truth is that all individuals are one. A ripple is a temporary phenomenon; it is just water in motion. We know that kinetic energy causes wave forms on a body of water and it would be ridiculous to say that a single ripple or wave has a self.
Similarly, in case of beings, the process of coming into life and being conditioned in a particular way is caused by karmic forces. The up and down of the ocean’s waves corresponds with the rotation of the wheel of life. The sea that surges, falls, and resurges, is the life that is born, dies, and is reborn again. It is therefore obvious that we should not focus on the temporary phenomenon of the wave, but on the force that causes, forms, and drives it.