The basic premise of reincarnation never made sense to me. As
far as I’m concerned, the typical story of reincarnation is incorrect. There is
still validity to the idea, however. Let me explain.
The basic point here is that it does not make sense to say that one life that occurred in the past is yours, yet another is not.
If reality is consciousness itself (i.e. a dream; see subjective reality), then everything is you, and all lives are yours. If you are consciousness itself, nothing cannot be you.
I could end this article here, but further explanation and ideas will help (and intrigue) us.
The Multiverse and the Decision-Space (are the same thing)
There is a lot of talk these days about alternate universes (sometimes referred to as other dimensions or parallel universes). You hear this in both modern physics and spirituality/metaphysics. The basic premise is that we exist in a multiverse which contains an infinite number of universes. In each of these universes, a different timeline of your life and the world is playing out.
For example, if I cross the street right now, and I look both ways first, I will probably make it to the other side first. However, in one of the alternate universes, I got hit by a car. In another my neighbor pushed me out of the way, and he got hit by the car instead. In another the car stopped right before it hit me. And in yet another universe, the world spontaneously combusted into flames, and we all died.
Assuming this idea is functional and holds true, there is plenty of speculation as to its implications. Why and how do I experience one particular timeline and not another, for instance? Well, on a superconscious level I am able to preview/view/review (simultaneously, since time is ultimately illusory) all of the universes and make a choice as to which one I desire to experience in any given moment. And that’s that: the one I choose is the one I experience.
The idea may seem far-fetched at first glance, but it’s really very simple. This idea can be re-interpreted in very concrete terms.
Basically, in any given moment there is a decision-space accessible to me. That decision-space holds all of the possible choices I can make in any instant.
What is in my decision space in this exact moment, as I’m writing this article? As far as I can tell, the possibilities are nearly endless—infinite, if you will. I can turn around and eat one of the clementines that is behind me—or two, or three, or ten… I could open the fridge and eat a pear. I can take a clementine and a pear and put them in a juicer. Then I can drink the juice. Or I can pour the juice down the toilet. Or I can take the juice outside and offer it to a squirrel. Or I can…!
The statement, Or I can…, is the beginning of infinity. It is a statement you can continue on with forever. It enables you to explore all of the possibilities, if only you have the time (which you do… and, well, you don’t).
The entirety of the decision-space is analogous to the multiverse. Each individual option is analogous to each universe. In both cases, the one I select is the one I experience, and that is that.
Others’ Lives are Your Alternate Lives
Now, here is another possibility I am considering (of course, in a multiverse that consists of an infinite number of universes, all possibilities have validity, wherein the validity of each possibility is tied in some way to the validity of all possibilities; so, keep talking).
If there are alternate universes where alternate versions of our lives are playing out, this means we have alternate lives. So, one possibility is that these alternate lives of ours taking place in alternate universes are really the “past lives” people who believe in reincarnation keep yapping on about. Fair enough.
That being said, reality can ultimately be explained in both highly spiritual terms as well as incredibly concrete terms. Another way of saying this is that spirituality and hard science basically say the same things—they just do it in vastly different ways.
As such, here is my concrete version of the alternate-lives/past-lives concept.
It is perfectly valid to say that these “alternate lives” of ours are no more than the lives of the people we see around us, existing at the same time as us. In this perspective, my alternate lives don’t exist in some other universe, nor are there some past lives that are mine yet others that are not. Instead, my alternate lives exist simultaneously and alongside me—not just in principle, but CONCRETELY. This means that my mom, dad, siblings, friends, Mr. Trump, Putin, the garbage man, and the guy I saw smoking weed by the side of the road yesterday all represent my alternate lives. They are my alternate universes. I can view all the possibilities available to me- the alternate timelines of my life- by simply observing the lives of the people around me.
In this line of thinking, it makes sense to say that the lives of people who have died also are my alternate lives. By extension, it makes sense to say that the lives of people who are yet to be are also my alternate lives.
These all are my alternate lives equally. I don’t “just” have past lives, nor are there only a few past lives that are mine. All of these lives- past, present, and future- are equally all of my “alternate” lives.
By extension, my alternate lives/alternate universes can include the alternate lives and universes of each one of all these past, present, and future people. In this case, the collection of all humans who have existed, currently exist, or have yet to exist sufficiently represent the entire collection of alternate universes.
By the way, a human’s alternate lives can include taking on non-human forms. As long as consciousness remains, the life/universe is valid.
All Life is Yours (and Yours is Life)
So, what do we make of the idea of reincarnation?
In any given moment you feel drawn to one storyline or another. You may perceive this storyline a having taken place in the past—perhaps hundreds or even thousands of years in the past.
Assuming an objective reality and the existence of linear time, it is possible that this storyline really did “happen.” But, of course, the main character in/narrator of that storyline was you. It is all you.
Here’s another thing. In a subjective reality, where all of reality is consciousness itself (therefore it all is one, and you are all of it), any thought you have is you/an extension of you. Therefore, any perception you have about a particular “past life” is indeed you/your life, because all of your thoughts are. Indeed, all of consciousness is.
The point is, it is fallacious to say that one “past life” was yours, but another is not…
They’re all yours.
They’re all ours.
Now, how do you apply this information to your life? When someone calls you an old soul, you can answer two ways: either (1) DUH, so are you! We’re infinite!; or (2) What are you talking about? I just got here! ;)
I myself have written an article purporting a belief in reincarnation. I am now conceding that it only makes sense given the above explanation.