The Perks of Past Lives
Attitudes toward reincarnation and karma usually stem from one’s belief system. But is it possible to believe in this stuff without being religious or spiritual about it? Or, once removed from a belief structure, is it all just fluff?
Obviously, there’s no scientific proof to reincarnation. Yet, while this lack of underlying evidence makes it hard for some to take these mystical beliefs seriously, we often forget that notions of rebirth are rooted in well-founded and established religions, like Buddhism.
Maintaining faith in reincarnation can have positive effects on your current one, beyond making the prospect of death easier to swallow. Let’s have a look at some of the perks of believing in past lives.
Karma and reincarnation
Proponents of both Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation, the idea that a person may be reborn into one of five classes: god, human, animal, hungry ghost, or denizen of hell.
Obviously, there’s a certain hierarchy at work there, and the class that you’re born into is largely a matter of karma. Karma is the total measurement of a person’s actions and deeds. Build yourself some good karma through honorable deeds, and you might be reborn as a god. Saddle yourself down with bad karma and you could find yourself a denizen of hell.
East meets west
Although reincarnation and karma are central components of Buddhism and Hinduism, more and more people outside of those religions are incorporating these principles into their own lives. The notion of karma has become an especially popular one in Western culture, with a wide array of adherents. This isn’t necessarily a sign that Eastern religions are making inroads, as in the West karma has become a shorthand way of saying, “what goes around comes around.” In this sense, most of us believe in karma to some degree. Reincarnation, on the other hand, is a belief held mostly by those who define themselves as Buddhist or Hindu. So what would compel a non-believer to adhere to just one notion of a larger belief system?
Not just a spiritual impact...
The immediate answer is that a belief in reincarnation serves the same purpose that tenets of many other religions do: it fills a void. Beyond this function, belief in reincarnation can carry many other positive emotional and mental benefits.
Provides a sense of empowerment
For those concerned with their own mortality, the notion of karma can be quite empowering, as it gives them control over their own fate. Furthermore, it has the appeal of simplicity: lead a good life and you’ll move up.
Helps through uncertain times
We all need something to get us through the hard times. For some guys, it can be something as simple as a positive attitude; keeping faith that better days are always just around the corner. For others, believing in karma or reincarnation can help them make sense of a complicated and difficult world.
When it comes to matters of the soul and spirituality, it’s up to the individual to fill their own cup. There probably aren’t any right answers, and even if there were, you’d have no way of proving them. So the best solution is to learn all you can and find out what works for you.