The question of reincarnation

A few days ago, my 12 year old nephew asked me if I believe in reincarnation. My brother was sitting with us, so I had to be careful in how I answered. He’s one of those people who believes that if science can’t prove it, then it can’t be true.

I was grateful to have my brother involved, as I really had to consider my response.

Nobody can say with great certainty whether or not reincarnation exists. Certain things we will only ever know at the moment of our passing, but even then lies the question, at the point of death, does our consciousness still continue?

As the laws of physics state, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed.
We are still not certain of exactly what consciousness is. Is it something that arises due to processes within the physical brain, or is it an external force/energy that is merely housed within the thinking brain? Is it just the result of a series of chemical reactions, or are the chemical reactions just responses to the processes of consciousness?

The contemporary scientific model tends to have a bias towards consciousness arising from the processes within the brain, however there is no proof to that. It is merely theory.

From what I have experienced in this life, I tend to believe that consciousness is an energy that is independent of the brain. Consciousness does not require the brain to exist, however, once consciousness is no longer part of a living, physical body, most of us can no longer clearly perceive it.

So, with that view:
If consciousness is a form of energy and, as the laws of physics state, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed, then I favour the idea that reincarnation does indeed exist.

Every effect has a cause, so if reincarnation exists, I choose to create causes that will have positive effects in both this life and the next.

If you have taken the time to read this, then I say thank you.

May all being be well.
May all beings be happy.
May all being be healthy.
May all beings be at peace.
May all beings be free from suffering.

3 Likes

I really like this question you’ve brought up. I do agree that consciousness can exist without a brain, but I also believe that the brain contributes to the consciousness, adding to it and enhancing it. Spiritual teacher and founder of Integral Theory, Ken Wilber, points out that by virtue of the multi-layered nature of all things, each object, organism, organelle, and molecule each has its own assemblage of awareness or consciousness. The larger and more complex the system/being, the more and higher consciousness it possesses, or exercises. Even abstract concepts on their own enjoy a kind of fundamental awareness, according to the Integral Theory.

I also believe that another important aspect of this question is whether the energy, or consciousness of living organisms would be transformed via reincarnation, or simply transformed another way. According to Christian, Islamic, and Judaic traditions, a person, after dying, can potentially be elevated to a higher degree of existence, which would account for the transformation of the consciousness without necessitating being housed in a new form. The Bible, though, does speak of the righteous being resurrected via reunification of the spirit and the body. In a looser sense, this would qualify as another kind of reincarnation, in which the spirit is put back into a fleshy form, albeit the same form they inhabited previously.

There are a number of directions to take with this question of post-mortal processes. As a Christian, I believe in the insight offered by the Bible on the subject, but I also think that exploring these other threads of thought can yield some very meaningful perspective on the subject of what it means to be alive or dead, but more especially on our own mental framework.

Thank you for posing this question. I would love to see more discussion on topics like these here on TalkTime.

2 Likes