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INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER





INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER



Meetings With Remarkable People   Mephisto & Pheles    Intrusion   The Kabbalah  
 The Čapek Brothers    Struggle of the Magicians    
The Fools' Pilgrimage  Contact 




12.  REINCARNATION 

 

Most people weaned on the Western culture solve the problem of death by moving it onto a sidetrack, where it isn’t much in their way. That’s where it stays, until like a steam-powered train it roars into our quaint little railway station, bringing mayhem and confusion with it. At other times it might stand more or less patiently outside the station, waiting for the semaphore to give it way, only occasionally reminding us of its presence with tooting, until it gets the green light so that it can in a dignified manner sweep into the station. The wheels slow down until they stand still, the steam is being let out…

Departure from this life too is rather like departure by train from a railway station. Of course, we don’t know the place of our destination. Three questions that most often are being asked are:

 

1. Is death really the end of all?

2. If there is an afterlife, have we had any previous lives?

2. If we have, why do we not remember anything of those lives?

 

Odysseus in Hades -painting on Greek vase from 5th century BC


Unlike the eastern religions, Judaism has never concerned itself much with reincarnation. To a Jew there is only one important thing – it is living in the world in which he or she was born. This is all that has a meaning and purpose, while all else is of secondary importance. Christianity has taken essentially the same course; the reason for this probably was that both these religions wanted to be free of fatalism, which inevitably invades the society that embraces reincarnation as one of its stock beliefs. In Biblical Judaism, afterlife is almost never mentioned, and on the rare occasions when it is, it appears to be of a similarly meaningless nature as we find it in the myths of the ancient Greeks concerning Hades, the underground kingdom of the shadows, where the souls of dead people lead their dreary existence. When Odysseus needs to contact the inhabitants of Hades, for instance, it is made possible for him. However, those souls of dead people he meets, including that of his own mother, are only dim vaporous shadows, not even interested in conversing with him. To get any information at all, Odysseus has to bribe the shadow of a prophet by sacrificing a lamb, so that the seer can drink its fresh blood. After that he tells Odysseus that a great deal of hardship awaits him before he would return to his homeland; nothing that the hero wouldn’t know. Basically, for him it was a waste of time and effort, tripping to Hades… The Biblical king Saul’s attempt at contact with the departed prophet Samuel turns out to be a fiasco too. The king is desperate to get some advise from the man who had such great reputation as spiritual adviser. The witch of Endor, whom he summonses to act as a go-between, obviously is what spiritualists of the latter-day would call a “voice medium”. The sorceress manages to invoke the soul of the prophet, but when the king tries to get some advise from him on how to handle the situation that is getting desperately out of hand for him, he is told that the troubles he finds himself in are of his own making and that it is too late to do anything about the Philistines, who are going to kill him and his sons. Once again, the spirits cannot offer any useful advise to the living.

Ancient Judaism did not appear to have any doctrine that could be used in the way Christians do it. The latter usually dangle the carrot of reward for those who are pious, and threaten with punishment or even with eternal damnation those who are sinners. Indeed, the very concept of a dual nature of human beings, with the soul being separate from the body, which is found in the Kabbalah, is missing in the early Judaism. This would appear to support those theories that put the beginnings of Kabbalism to times not earlier than the 5th or 6th century, approximately the end of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. Like everything else in this world, Kabbalah too is a living entity, which goes on developing with the times.

There are some hints in both the Old and the New Testament that would seem to point to reincarnation, and even in the earlier times it must have been more or less up to the individuals how they might interpret them. Closer to our times, reincarnation had begun to slowly creep into the teachings of some of the Jewish scholars, later still to be recognised by the more important teachers and mystics, such as the already mentioned Isaac Luria (1534-1572), or Baal Shem Tov. Isaac Luria died very young, and his disciple Chaim Vital compiled the work known as Sha’ae Ha’ Gilgulim (The Gate of Reincarnations), based on Luria’s teachings, in which laws of reincarnation are described in an intricate way.

Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760, left), who is considered to be the founder of the Hasidic Judaism, while acknowledging reincarnation, at the same time was of the opinion that it was not necessary for every person to know about its existence. According to him, if we knew about our last life, it would not be very helpful to us in the one we lead presently; on the contrary, it might even be restrictive. Overall, this doctrine is not too different from that of the Theosophists, to whom reincarnation is probably the most important part of the teachings. The theory of Earth Globes, which come in the chains of seven, essentially declares that there is a large, though not infinitive, number of souls finding themselves at various stages of spiritual development, who are associated with the realm of the Earth, and whose spiritual developments happens here. Because of this they return to Earth again and again, descending in a certain order, while gaining more and more experience with each successive incarnation. In Fools’ Journey, the novel that is an allegory of initiatory journey, one of the pilgrims leads philosophical debate with a wise hermit he had met. The question about reincarnation is also asked. The hermit dismisses it succinctly: 

- We are all hermits, in our ways. We all have to pass certain initiatory trials, no matter which individual path we choose. Some of these trials might prove specifically more difficult for us and they may demand that we focus our attention on them for a time, sometimes for months, sometimes for years, for the whole life.

- But, then we could never reach our goal!

- We would not be able to reach it in one particular lifetime, that's true.

- Which leads to the question I particularly wanted to ask you. Do you believe that we live more lives than one?

- I know that I’m going to disappoint you, but I would rather not discuss this subject with you at any great length. I can really only give you this one advice: always and under any circumstances try to act as if your time was running perilously short, as if you were to pass on tomorrow. From time to time you'll inevitably run into people who would claim to have lived more lives than one, people who might talk to you about their times as some Egyptian pharaoh, usually Akhenaten or Nefertiti, or as a Roman emperor, very likely as Cesar or perhaps as Cleopatra. It is strange that for some reason they never seem to have lived as ordinary slaves, soldiers or peasant girls. Or could it be they just forgot about living such lives?

Believe me, the only thing that really matters is who you are now, at this very moment, and not who you may have been in some past life. If it had any relevance to our present life, I’m sure that somehow we would be allowed to remember. If we don’t remember, there probably is a reason for this. Even if I had a power of prophecy, even if I could tell you that, let's say, a dozen lives lie ahead of you before you reach perfection, what use could such information be to you? Why, you may even misuse it, fall under a false sense of complacency, decide to defer your journey and live eleven lives of revelry, because you might convince yourself that you’ll be able to make it all up in the last remaining life. When you will suddenly blossom and become some future Akhenaten. Want some more tea?

When one thinks carefully about reincarnation, it is possible to understand both sides of the argument: should it be openly taught, or should the knowledge be restricted, perhaps given only to those who are a little more advanced on spiritual path? To a thinking person not hindered by materialistic views, the doctrine of reincarnation makes a lot of sense. It happens to fill many gaps, some of them quite glaring, which an orthodox Christian or Jew, for instance, must certainly also be able to see, but would tend to push aside, because they do not fit too well with their faith as it was taught them in their formative years. For instance, how could it be that some people are born with terrible handicaps, physical or mental, which they seem to be able to somehow accept and live with? If they had but one single life, wouldn’t it be senseless, futile, and even unfair? When thinking about this, some people might even become angry over an apparent injustice, to the point of abandoning their church, their faith. But if such a person were to have the experience of having to live in a disabled body and learning to cope with the restrictions, couldn’t that perhaps be useful in another life, doesn’t it suddenly make more sense? In any case, we do get some glimpses of what disability is like, as we get older and our bodies become to age.

But back to the question of why in our present existence we don’t remember anything from our previous lives. The simple answer is that we do remember. However, what we do have is only a remembrance of the principles that we have extracted from our previous experiences. Enough to fit into that little purse the Tarot Fool carries over his shoulder, not too much to burden him. Because, imagine what it would be like if we were to carry with us all the trivia, all that ever happened to us, all the little incidents we went through, all the mistakes, big ones and small ones, that we had ever made and that made us feel guilty and angry, if we carried with us the memories of all those friends and all those enemies we had ever met, all the relationships we’ve been in and all the responsibilities that went with them, all the letters we have not written or phone calls we had not made, all the books we have borrowed and never returned…

Consider the case of Kim Peek (left), who died in 2009, aged 52. He was a model, or at least an inspiration, for the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man. Peek apparently was able to remember all the trivia he had picked up over many years. Still, what became obvious from watching the documentary about him is that the things Kim remembered were indeed trivia, nothing that would have burdened him overly. His autism doubtlessly also acted as a shield and, of course, he was unable to look after himself; everything had to be done for him by his elderly father. The case of Kim Peek indeed highlights the fact that it is impossible for a normal person to carry a load of trivia, even from day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year, let alone from one life to another. We would never be able to advance spiritually under such conditions.

People who play too much with the idea of reincarnation make their lives unnecessarily complicated, because they really need to move forward. Like Orpheus, who in the Greek myth was allowed to bring his wife Eurydice with him from the underworld, but disobeyed the command not to look back, and consequently lost her. Lost her forever, or only till the next life? This legend, and many others, such as the Biblical story about Lot’s wife, all have the same meaning: Do not look into your past lives, get on with your present life, walk and look forward, into the Sun. Still, some people do insist on looking back, behind their shoulder.

 

WAS I A CLEOPATRA?

        Or a Nefertiti? Perhaps a Cesar or a Napoleon? Presently there must be thousands of such former historical personages running on the surface of earth. Almost everyone, who ever had anything to do with reincarnation, even making a half-hearted enquiry, would have probably bumped into one or quite possibly into all of them, if not in real life then at least on pages of some books. It’s strange that so many of the professional “reincarnationalists” seem to always have lived such glamorous lives of opulence and importance. Hardly ever were they born as ordinary slaves, serfs, soldiers or servants. Or could it be that they only forgot about living such lives of obscurity?

First of all we must realise that by trying to look into our past lives we enter a forbidden zone, and that we do this at our own responsibility. While it might be possible to glimpse some fragments of past lives, we can never be quite sure of what we are actually seeing, whether we see our own past life or are spying on somebody else’s life and deluding ourselves that what we see is truly our past incarnation. We are in the zone of what Carl Jung had named the “collective unconscious,” and here we are probing in the realm that is common to all human beings. Our experiences here would be mingled with other people’s past, or even with their future, all forming a kaleidoscope of broken images. There is a large system hidden within us that is covering the unconscious, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious, the latter being the deeper end of the pool. Somewhere locked up in all this are the inner voice, our instincts and emotions; they may be divided and given different names by psychologists and different names by esotericists.

Previously we had talked about the two sides of the brain. In fact, we can say that we have four main divisions in our brain. As I have stated, the right side of the brain relates to creativity, to the inner voice, it is Netzah of the Kabbalah. The left side is connected with logic, mathematics, analyses, or with the Kabbalistic Hod. There are also the front side, called cerebrum, which is concerned with our present life, while the cerebellum, the back side of the brain contains our past life that extends some thirty million years and more, to the beginning of Creation.  This is what has been discovered about the brain so far; there might be many other divisions, but more important then anything else is that the conscious mind is the one that ultimately decides what to do. However, its choices are limited. The breathing mechanism, the cardio-vascular system, the organs of digestion, the glandular mechanism, all this is operated by the unconscious mind, and while the conscious mind is capable of taking over any of these functions and can for instance slow or speed the flow of blood, there is no need for it. The miraculous beauty of the human body is that most of its functions proceed automatically and unconsciously.

 

TO: 13. PSYCHOLOGY


Meetings With Remarkable People   Mephisto & Pheles    Intrusion   The Kabbalah  
 The Čapek Brothers    Struggle of the Magicians    
The Fools' Pilgrimage  Contact 



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