The minutes tick away hours into days, sweet cotton orange-pink into the indigo of night, marking the passage of time gently as the soul careens through the universe in the frail physical form that is the human body. A lifetime is arduous and can pass in what seems agonizingly slow increments of time or it can flash away like the final rays of the setting sun. But what constitutes a lifetime?
Conventionally speaking, a lifetime begins at one’s first breath and ends at one’s final gasp. There is much debate on when exactly one’s life begins. Is it at the moment of conception, when we are all but cells bundled together? Or, is it when the brain is formed in the nurturing warmth and safety of the womb? Or, then again, is it when that first cry rings out from tiny lungs breathing in for the very first time? Regardless of when you believe life begins, there is a definitive marker in your mind as to when that is and when it will end; that is, life ends when the body dies and it begins in its creation, somewhere in between, or during the entrance into the world.
Reincarnation challenges the understanding and perception of what life is, what a lifetime actually is. In simple terms, reincarnation is the belief in multiple lives. Though the body may die, the soul is immortal and simply moves from body to body for each lifetime. This is the foundation of reincarnation.
However, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking of multiple lives as being separate from each other. Though in each life we have different names, different bodies, different experiences, each lifetime is interconnected. Your life does not begin when you are born and it does not end when you die. Your life started when your soul was created. Whether your soul has an end, I do not know. But having many separate lives is an illusion of the body and physical reality.
Once you understand and see that the separation between lives is illusory, you can begin to gain access to your accrued wisdom. Everything you learned in your previous incarnations, all of that wisdom gained, begins to become accessible to you. You can also start remembering your previous lifetimes. So yes, there is a seemingly contradictory idea here, but think of it as multiple lifetimes being parts of your overall, whole lifetime.
Because we are physically reborn many times over, our ability to retain and access our memories is blocked. This is because of many reasons, primarily to avoid prolonged suffering. The second reason is because there are certain lessons we need to learn, certain karmic debts to pay. The third most obvious reason is because of physics and science; though the debate of whether we are born with a personality or grow into our personality places some doubt. There have also been cases of people remembering their time in the womb. There is not one definitive answer, more like a conglomerate of answers that provide a comprehensive whole.
Hinduism is the biggest proponent of reincarnation. In Hinduism, not only does reincarnation apply to humans but also to the Gods. The finer points of reincarnation as described in Hinduism are the principles of karma and dharma. People throw around the phrase, “Karma’s a bitch,” with no understanding of this universal law. In actuality, those who easily use this derogatory phrase are only insulting themselves, for they are the ones responsible for their actions and the reactions thereof. Spirituality, whether Hinduism or otherwise, reveals the complex layers of reality that are beyond the reach of the physical. It puts things into perspective, seeing your life as a very, very long string of consciousness with its rises and falls.