By Brian Foster
Now that you understand what reincarnation is for (your path to perfection), the question is how do you succeed? What should be the governing philosophy of your life that will not only allow you to survive your trials but emerge victorious?
Many religions have told us this before, and of course we try to selectively choose what we wish to follow in order to create that balance between being a good person (in our own minds) and living in the culture that we were born into. We all understand that life is one of constant choices, between good and evil, comfort and hardship, honor and advancement; nothing is totally black and white to us.
Society forces us to compromise daily, the little lies we tell to smooth over difficulties, the moments we advert our gaze away from problems that seem insurmountable. The times that we have to restrain our secret desires, the times we give in. The spirit world doesn’t expect us to be chaste saints. They fully understand the thousand burdens we are exposed to as soon as we take on a physical mantle.
In fact we are expected and even pushed to go out into the world to accomplish two goals. First, to learn how to survive in many different situations from multiple points of view, so we have amassed the experience to fully comprehend every possible combination of life events. To internalize the message from these trials, so we may be able to extend our love and understanding to others caught in the same circumstances. Whereupon, in our next life we should be able to effectively surmount problems and assist others in their endeavors, with a cool head and a calm heart.
Secondly, if at all possible, we are present to set an example. To help lead society to a kinder, more inclusive state, which shall move our planet a bit closer to the goal of a just world. Most probably, not by any active role, but simply living an honorable life, a pillar to all, where others know you to be impartial and wise; a person to come to for advice and comfort. An example for those around you to follow, in which we must partake fully in our civil duties to show that we are all in this together and we all must provide guidance and solutions. Solutions which are equitable to all and still allow those who need to strive for betterment in their lives to achieve that goal. Learn how to flow through life with the guidance of the spirit world by reading, 7 Tenets of Spiritism – How They Impact Your Daily Life.
Every religion or doctrine has their list. We have the Ten Commandments, separate rules for Buddhists, Mormons, and countless others. There are similarities and there are differences. The major difference with Spiritism is there are no ceremonial or dietary rules, only moral, because whatever rituals you perform, clothes you wear, or food you consume is unimportant and has no effect on your spiritual condition. If you wish to follow any type of non-moral regulations, that is entirely up to you.
Here is my list, not in any particular order, and this is not the official Spiritist list, I have gathered what I believe to be pertinent from the books by Allan Kardec, Francisco C. Xavier and others Spiritist writers. One other caution, do I practice what I preach? No, I fail constantly. I wrote this more for myself than you, to give me a goal post, anything where I could think back and measure my progress or stagnation. Hence, please discover for yourself what is pertinent to you and ignore what you deem unrequired.
Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? I look at this list and think that I am pretty far along! I am ready for a higher level! But take a second look and decipher what is the opposite of each, for that determines what we can’t do.
The opposite of love is hate. Therefore, don’t hate; not even your local corner drug dealer. Don’t wish that he or she could be placed on a garbage barge and towed far away to be dumped in the ocean. Don’t hate those people who are killing others in YouTube executions. See this is actually pretty tough!
Most of us know, not to hate because of race, sexual preference, religion or any other differences; society has come far. We can intellectualize why it would be wrong. But when we see a specific example our first impulse is to smash it like a bug. Without hesitation and without pity.
Why is that? Because our instinct, created by multiple lifetimes of primitive survival, informs us to remove threats to our life and to our tribe’s welfare. After all, wouldn’t the vast majority of society be better off without such vermin? The short answer is of course it would! But, that would be the answer if we only had one life and protecting our gene pool is our greatest imperative. The sad fact is that we too have been the equivalent to a worthless piece of scum within society. Hence, we need to pity that person and pray for their enlightenment. This is not to say, they shouldn’t be locked up; after all a good decade or so behind bars may give them the suffering required for them is think twice about embarking on the same career in their next life. Who knows, that thug in prison could be a great leader in a thousand years.
Control your hate, you can be indignant, which focuses your energy on solving a problem. But for pure hate, it’s a bad habit, so try to break it. Practice when you think about the monsters ruling North Korea, that no matter how good they think they have it, while their populace is terrorized and starving, that they shall wake from their bodies with the realization their actions wasn’t such a good idea. Through suffering, in the spirit world and in their next physical life, the despotic leaders will understand the wrongness of their approach.
No problem including everyone into your sphere of assistance and caring, right? Except for that lower class family down the street, or that girl with the piercings that sells coffee. The reverse of fraternity is exclusion. We all do this every day. Every time I walk down the street and pass by beggars on the sidewalk, I exclude the ones that look like drug users or alcoholics and I may give to those who at least have a somewhat decent appearance.
This is a normal human reaction. We find it very challenging to be indiscriminate. Try to think how we too have been on the outside and have needed help. At the very least a polite nod and an accepting smile. The spirit world doesn’t expect us to all be Mother Theresa’s. But we can be like that statue in the park, looking down at everyone with absolute impartiality; supplying shade to those who choose to sit in our shadow.
Miserly comes to mind as the antonym of charity. I hear you saying, ”You can’t call me miserly because I can’t give to charity.” Yes, you are right. Most of us just mange to get by and the constant stream of request for money from governments, schools, churches, girl and boy scouts drain whatever is left of our spendable cash. This is where governments work to absolve us of our feeling to be charitable. They take money from us and distribute it to the poor. All laudable, but this robs us of that closeness to helping others and the joy to see the deserving poor gain relief and a little slice of happiness because of our efforts.
You aren’t required to give money, only your heart and time is enough. What you give is up to you, be it advice, spiritual help, mowing the lawn for one who can’t, whatever will let you feel the accomplishment of performing an altruistic service.
Dishonorable, cheat, lie, skim off the top, take more than your share all forms of behavior to avoid. Most people do shun these acts. A vast majority try every day to be fair and honorable in their daily interactions. We have an innate belief in justice. We wish to live in a just society and we realize that without our behavior conforming to that precept, we can’t hope to attain our noble goal. Everyone has that feeling. It is the inheritance of the spirit world, where all of God’s laws are just. Punishments are meted out, but those are souls descending to the level of their choice and redemption is always waiting for each individual like regular spacing of bus stops. Each time a spirit gets off one ride, they have choices to board the bus to righteousness or stay on the line to sorrow. It’s our free will.
So why is honor sometime difficult to maintain? For those who goal is to amass wealth at the expense of everything, honor simply isn’t part of the equation. But for the rest of us, we are forced to suffer nicks and cuts in our honor shield due to many causes. Just the daily work routine, where the culture is to derive a profit above all else, influences our actions. Flexibility is required given the pressures we are under. We must be careful not to deceive or take advantage of others.
For example, during the internet boom, in the late 1990’s, I consulted for a software company that would issue a press release for vaporware (software that doesn’t exist), in hopes that it would raise the stock price. Amusingly, soon afterwards another company would issue a press release announcing they had software that could connect to our non-existent software. At one event, where software businesses would gather to speak to Wall Street, I talked to a consultant for a firm that reported they could work with our vaporware. When I told him the truth, he looked at me, and we both laughed and shook our heads. What could we do? Neither of us was in a position to halt such a practice. Therefore, I did what I could, bide my time until I could get another job. Thankfully, I didn’t have to look for another position for long, because the lies finally caught up with them and the company went under.
I truly believe that it is harder for a rich person to enter heaven. What I saw during the times when people went wild chasing after that multimillion dollar payoff made an impression. From that time, I understood that if the prize is large enough even basically good people will abandon their principles to grab their pot of gold.
The belief in Spiritism and in the Doctrine that spells out we must pay our debts and reincarnate to learn our lessons effectively removes the quest for the ill-gotten gain. Why should we shed our morals and expose our immortal soul for a brief instant of pleasure.
Emanuel Swedenborg in his book, Heaven and Hell, talks about how selfishness leads souls to remain tied to earth and unable to ascend. He marvels at that, since we all must be selfish to some extent, otherwise why would we work, why would we invent, why would we open a business, except to gain rewards. He asks the question, how could selfishness be so bad?
He finds the answer in “Love of self is to wish well to oneself alone, and to others only for the sake of self, even to the church, one’s country, or any human society. It consists also in doing good to all these solely for the sake of one’s own reputation, honor, and glory; and unless these are seen in the uses he performs in behalf of others he says in his heart, How does this concern me? Why should I do this? What shall I get from it? And therefore does not do it.”
As opposed accomplishing for the accumulation of possessions for the uses of good that can be marshaled for the benefit of others and society. In this case we use our selfishness twofold, one to accumulate credit to allow us the power to guide changes in our life or society to use for good, and the other to use the wealth, or part of it, directly to benefit those who are in need.
Therefore, the question to ask yourself, do you perform acts for only what can be given to you? In your work, do you let others fail, so that you may look better? Do you take credit for another person’s idea? I know I have! When I was intent on moving up the corporate ladder and saw the tactics utilized by those at the top, I copied them. I didn’t feel good about it, but I consciously acted selfish in a most base manner with the hope that I too could reap rewards. I felt like a shark circling the bait ball, picking off the most naïve and trusting. What a fool I was.
Do yourself a favor and get into the habit of giving credit where credit is due. Help out those who need a boost, even though it may reduce your share of the raise pool at the end of the year. Some enterprises may wish to pit us against each other like fighting dogs, but that doesn’t mean we have to play the game.
This should be easy! We can all bless others and read more about how to improve. Yes, that is certainly part of the equation. However, as we ponder our spirituality, listening to satellite radio in our leased car, while wearing the latest fashion, do we feel the weight of materialism pulling us down, like gravity, to earth?
The reverse of spiritualism is materialism. The age old struggle between turning our focus higher or lower. Maintaining a balance is difficult. After all, we work hard and deserve a reward. There is nothing wrong with material pleasures as long as they aren’t the driving factor of our existence. As an example, you work two jobs to afford that new car, while your kids are left to figure out their homework and problems on their own. This type of behavior may signal that your priorities need to be altered.
Own your possessions, don’t let them own you. Know that you can live simply and in the process be stress-free by little acts of denial. There is a whole movement for simpler living currently thriving, full of people who realize that burdening ourselves with a mountain of debt really doesn’t buy happiness. Just the contrary, it brings worries and anxieties.
If you think you can’t cut back because of what your friend would say, then are they really your friends? They don’t care more for the latest gadget than you. It is you they want to associate with, and you they wish to be part of their lives.
Instead of shopping, pick up a book or search the internet for information about Spiritism and read it. Learn what is gained by making small changes in your life.
The purpose of the list is to guide us to appreciate that by focusing our energies on knowledge and understanding others with love and caring we enable our pure spirit. We lighten the ties that connect us to earth. As we gain wisdom we realize that everything in the physical world evolves into decay. Every building, every statue will one day be dust. One day the earth, the sun and the entire solar system shall be dead planets shrouded in darkness. But you, an immortal soul, shall remain, performing good works on other planets in other universes.
With that knowledge, train yourself to be in the habit to think positive thoughts, to wish all well, bless those unfortunates as you pass them by. Restrain your malicious gossip and concentrate of building up others. You may not be recognized in this life, but that is totally unimportant, for you shall be on your way to perfection. And with perfection, you have the ability to aid others more effectively and to be a difference in the destiny of Earth.
To learn more about the origins of your life and what part you have to play here on earth, please take a look my book, The Case for Reincarnation – Your Path to Perfection.
Find out what people who had near death and other experiences learned from spirits taking them out of their bodies and into the spirit realm – they too were guided to the best path for them – read The Spirit World Talks to Us.
Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at http://www.nwspiritism.com.
Swedenborg, E. (1758). Heaven and Hell. Europe: A Public Domain Book.
 Swedenborg, Emanuel, Heaven and Hell, Public Domain, section 556