If we do reincarnate, then how it is done? Do we remember who we were, what we did? Why must we endure childhood? How do we keep “ourselves” through the first stage of our life? The process is fully explained by Spiritism.
How do we reincarnate? How does our spirit, our personalities, our memories of the spirit world and of our lives, get packaged into a human body? And if God is all powerful, why must we be infants and children first? If we truly need to come to earth to learn and pay for our past sins, wouldn’t it be easier to come out as an adult and start the process? To start, let’s examine what Jesus taught us;
At the time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. (Matthew, chapter 11:25)
As with many passages in the Bible, this could be interpreted in different ways. According to the doctrine of Spiritism, the most likely answer is that little children represent our humble aspect, where we look up to our parents and gladly take in what they offer us, without question, and with the trust of an innocent. Not, with the attitude of a teenager, questioning everything and secretly (or not so secretly, depending on the mood), thinking that we know best and everyone else is irretrievably stupid. Hence, we should accept the Word of God as children accept the word of their parents, knowing their love will see us through and that we shall become wiser with age, but the foundation of our moral code is strong, stable, and everlasting.
And what was hidden from the wise and learned? First, the attitude of humility, the knowledge that we have little knowledge, that we always have more to learn. Next, the fact the Universe does not rotate around us, but that we must be the givers and not the takers. Lastly, love is a powerful force that doesn’t bloom in a field of pride and selfishness. How many of the wise and learned understand this? I am sad to say, it took me a very long time.
So, how does the Spirit world set us up to learn and to grow into responsible and respectful humans?
Forgetfulness of the Past – Why?
When we reincarnate, we are not allowed to remember our past lives or our time as a spirit on earth. To determine why this is so, let’s examine a case of a spirit who was reincarnated with the ability to remember past lives. In the book, The Messengers, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, dictated to him by the spirit Andre Luiz, Andre encounters a person who completely failed in their mission on earth. Joel, the spirit who laments his failure, tells Andre;
“My failure was not because of too much sensitivity, but because of how I used it. As I understand now, God allows some individuals to have superior sensitivity so they can use it as a tool, a kind of powerful magnifying lens that helps them see the right course of life for themselves and others they are supposed to help. This extra sensitivity can help to perceive life’s path, identify dangers and shortcuts, and clearly see obstacles. Instead of using the gift in that way, all I did was use it to satisfy my warped curiosity about myself.”
“To fulfill my role of helping others, my expanded perception included the ability to remember my past lives. Most people can’t recall their own past, and for good reason. In my case, I was supposed to use that knowledge in my service to help others, not to obsess about it, and that’s where I failed.”
“I began to obsess about a previous existence in which I has been Monsignor Alejandre Pizarro who participated in the last years of the cruel Spanish Inquisition. That’s when I started misusing the spiritual magnifying lens I told you about. The excitement of the sensations was inebriating – it was as if I was addicted to drugs or alcohol – and I neglected all of my previously accepted responsibilities.”
“I started spending all of my time trying to locate the people who had been my companions during my time centuries before as a religious man. I forced myself to find each and every one of them in space and time, reconstituting their biographical sketches, completely ignoring the work I was supposed to do.”
“So I spent my life in this fashion – going from revelation to revelation, sensation to sensation. I, who had reincarnated with the unusual ability to remember in order to be useful transformed my gift into a tool of addiction. I’d thrown away an opportunity to redeem myself, and I lived tortured by intermittent bouts of hallucination. The misuse of my sensitivity generated an imbalance in my mind so that I became painfully unstable.”
A perfect example of what could happen when we know too much and are unable to focus on what we need to learn. Imagine sitting in a classroom, with the TV blaring, showing you scenes from your previous existence while at the same time attempting to comprehend the basic facts of Algebra. One could not possess the mental force to concentrate on that valuable lesson, especially if you had had some type of mathematics background before and tried to merge it with what you are learning at the present time. Not only would you reject parts of what were offered to you, but you would be exasperated with having to sit through this lecture again, even though spaced out by hundreds of years.
There are other reasons as well, in The Gospel According to Spiritism, it says, “A spirit is frequently reborn into the same environment in which it has already lived, and finds itself in relationships with the same individuals in order to repair the evil it did to them. If it were to recognize in them those whom it used to hate, perhaps its hatred would reawaken. In any case, it would feel humiliated in the presence of those it offended.” Therefore, the need to forget the past, not only in our present life, but from other lives is a necessity to be able to learn and to forgive others and to grow spiritually.
But, are we a completely blank slate, always starting over? No, for again in The Gospel According to Spiritism, we are told, “God has given us for our advancement precisely what is necessary and what will be enough for us: the voice of conscience and our instinctive tendencies, taking from us what could harm us.” The underlines are mine. These are the two main levers of our behavior. If our conscience (or instinct) tells us something is wrong, I suggest it is doing so with the wisdom of hundreds, if not thousands, of years of experience behind it.
Why We Must Endure Childhood?
Traveling through childhood is a vital part of our learning process. The importance of this is explained in The Spirits Book;
383. What is, the use, for a spirit, of passing through the state of infancy?
“The aim of incarnation is the improvement of the spirit subjected to it; and a spirit is more accessible during childhood to the impressions he receives, and which may conduce to his advancement – the end to which all those who are entrusted with his education should contribute.”
Therefore, while we are young, we have the opportunity to change our basic dispositions and instincts for the better, since we are in a more open and trusting state. Hopefully, this will allow us to improve our performance in later life and help attain a higher awareness of spirituality. This point is reinforced by the statement later in The Spirits Book, “The weakness of corporeal youth tends to render them more pliable, more amenable to the counsels of those whose experience should aid their progress. It is thus that evil tendencies are repressed, and faulty characters are gradually reformed.” What more does one need to fully understand the significance of being good parents? Our first mission here on earth is to create a loving and enriching atmosphere for our children. It is our duty to supply the structure, morally and physically, to give our children the best chances possible for a successful life.
But why do we sometimes see examples of horrible parents? Why does God allow this? The Spirits Book supplies the answer;
891. Since maternal affection is a natural sentiment, why is it that mothers often hate their children, and even, in some cases, before their birth?
“The absence of maternal affection is sometimes a trial chosen by the spirit of the child, or an expiations for him if he has been a bad father, bad mother, or a bad son, in some previous existence. In all cases, a bad mother can only be the incarnation of a bad spirit, who seeks to throw obstacles in the path of the child, in order to make him succumb in the trial he has chosen, But such a violation of the laws of nature will not remain unpunished, and the spirit of the child will be rewarded for surmounting the obstacles thus thrown in his way.”
When does the Phase of Childhood Innocence End?
When does the instinctive tendencies and the conscience of the spirit start to reveal itself and make the child less pliable? The answer is slightly variable, as shown by this passage in The Spirits Book, about when a child starts to be more influenced by it past experiences, “But, when children no longer need this protection, this assistance, which has been given them during fifteen or twenty years, their real character and individuality reappears in all of its nudity. He who is really good remains good; but, even then, his character reveals many traits and shades that were hidden during his earlier years.”
Therefore, it is not just teenage rebellion that is occurring, but a reawakening of a person’s true character. If the parents had been successful in their molding of the child, even a relatively bad spirit will benefit from the past years. A good spirit, will take the learning given to them and build upon it.
What Happens When a Child Dies?
Most Spiritist believe that when a child dies, the spirit returns to an adult form, so they may start over. In some of the books by Andre Luiz, there are mentions of places where spirits care for children. One would think this would be a rare occurrence, after all newly formed spirits are first reincarnated upon primitive worlds. There is an explanation to this mystery in the book Between Heaven and Earth, by Francisco C. Xavier, inspired by the spirit Andre Luiz. Andre Luiz is talking to his companions when they are visiting a center for spirit children and as usual Andre is curious about such centers, he records the following conversation;
“According to the old, classical theology, newborns remained in limbo after death, without the glory of heaven or the torment of hell, whereas of late, with the new concepts of spiritualism, such discarnates have been thought to immediately resume their adult personage.”
“A lot of times that is what actually happens.” Explains Blandina. “When the spirit has reached an elevated evolutionary level and has assumed mental command of itself, it acquires the ability to easily disengage itself from the imposition of the physical form, overcoming the difficulties of pre-adult discarnation. We know of great souls who were reborn for a very short time, simply with the objective of awakening beloved hearts to the acquisition of moral values. Then, right afterwards, they recover their former appearance. However, the same does not apply for most children that discarnate. Souls that are still prisoners of unconscious automatism are relatively a long way from self- governance. They rest and are led by nature, like babies in their mothers’ laps. They are unable to undo the ties that bind them to the rigid principles that guide the world of forms: thus, they need time in order to be renewed. That is why we cannot do without the recovery time needed for someone who has left the physical vehicle in infancy, because after the biological struggle of reincarnation or discarnation for those who are in the early stages of acquiring mental power, time has to function as an indispensable element for restoration. The length of that time depends on how the learner applies him or herself to acquire inner light through his or her own moral growth.”
Hence, once again, our ability to free ourselves from the materialistic world and concentrate on love and helping others, does make a difference in subsequent lives. With a superior pool of knowledge we are able to recover our spiritual form, while those who have been reincarnated to begin another trial without first attaining a taste of the wonderfulness of spiritual life are at a disadvantage. We truly are creatures of our own mind. We should invest as much energy in the development of our inner bodies and we do in our outward appearance.
A more detailed explanation of the process of reincarnation is in my book, The Case for Reincarnation – Your Path to Perfection.
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.
Kardec, A. (2008). The Gospel According to Spiritism. Brasilia (DF): International Spiritist Council.
Kardec, A. (2010). The Spirits Book. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
Xavier, F. C. (2008). The Messengers. Philadelphia, PA: Allan Kardec Educational Society.
Xavier, F. C. (2011). Between Heaven and Earth. Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.
[ 1] XAVIER, Francisco C. The Messengers, Allan Kardec Educational Society, p. 52
[ 2] XAVIER, Francisco C. The Messengers, Allan Kardec Educational Society, p. 53
[ 3] KARDEC, Allan The Gospel According to Spiritism, EDICEI, Chap. V, Item 11, p. 103
[ 4] KARDEC, Allan The Gospel According to Spiritism, EDICEI, Chap. V, Item 11, p. 103
[ 5] KARDEC, Allan The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Book 2 , Ques, 383
[ 6] KARDEC, Allan The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Book 2 , Ques, 385
[ 7] KARDEC, Allan The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Book 3 , Ques, 891
[ 8] KARDEC, Allan The Spirits Book, White Crow Books, Book 3 , Ques, 385
[ 9] XAVIER, Francisco C. Between Heaven and Earth, EDICEI, p. 68