24. IS REINCARNATION SO? PARAGRAPH 3
3 For our purposes, it would not be helpful to take any definite stand on reincarnation. A teacher of God should be as helpful to those who believe in it as to those who do not. If a definite stand were required of him, it would merely limit his usefulness, as well as his own decision-making. Our course is not concerned with any concept that is not acceptable to anyone, regardless of his formal beliefs. His ego will be enough for him to cope with, and it is not the part of wisdom to add sectarian controversies to his burdens. Nor would there be an advantage in his premature acceptance of the course merely because it advocates a long-held belief of his own.
Its obvious that it does not matter if someone believes in reincarnation or not. The only thing that matters is if the person uses it to help him reach his goal of awakening, and not to delay his goal. As a teacher of God I would neither encourage nor discourage because the concept itself is not important. If someone believes in reincarnation it can be used to help him understand that life has nothing to do with the body. I believe that this was very important to me at one time.
When I discovered the concept of reincarnation and then read up on it and some of the studies done which seemed to prove that we live many lives, I lost all belief in death after death. Before that time I had the idea of something living on in heaven or hell but no real feeling for it. I saw it as a body, maybe a little different, but definitely a body, because something had to burn for its sins.
I only concerned myself with my many sins because God would torture this other body for eternity if I didn’t find absolution for my sins before I died. It sounds so crazy to me now that it’s as if I’m joking when I say this, but it was my belief at the time. I don’t know how we humans live with this belief. There is virtually no way one can go their lives without “sinning” and the only hope as far as I could see was to get lucky enough to die immediately after confession. ~smile~
I loved the idea of reincarnation because it gave me hope that I had more chances. Even if I died with all these sins on my soul, that soul got a chance to atone for them in another life. I still had a strong belief in the body though, because when I imagined meeting myself from a past life I thought I would have, not just the same personality, but I would look like myself.
It took a lot longer for me to go any further in my beliefs. But at that time, the belief in reincarnation gave me hope. I still believed in guilt and punishment, but at least with reincarnation there was hope the punishment would end when I finally got it right. I would do something wrong to someone in this life and I would have to make up for it in another life, or someone would do the same thing to me and that would even the score, cancelling out my sin. This would obviously never end because I was so far from living a perfect life that I would be lucky if I got it right before the earth went nova. But at least it would keep me away from God’s judgment and hell until that happened.
The concept of reincarnation, in my experience, can be a helpful stepping stone, a bridge to a deeper understanding of a mystery that may forever be just out of my reach, at least as long as I am dreaming a dream of separation. Would I ever tell someone they are wrong for their beliefs? No. That would be foolishly arrogant of me. That would be like a child making fun of his friend for believing in Santa while he dreamed of being just like his hero, Spider Man. I don’t know the truth of things, and only have metaphors to help me bridge my ignorance until complete enlightenment. It’s enough for me.