There are some extremely controversial and offensive theories going around what some would describe as ‘New Age’ religions. This came to prominence recently when William Roache made an insensitive remark which was to do with karma inherited from past lives. Bill Roache is an actor I much admire for his Spiritual beliefs as well as his portrayal of Ken Barlow for over 52 years in the soap ‘Coronation Street’, but he is not alone in voicing views which, though well-meaning, are very insensitive.
I recently joined a debate on the Internet about Adolf Hitler and whether or not he would have ended up in one of the unpleasant lower astral planes after he passed over to Spirit. One suggestion was that he might have been on a special mission to teach the world a lesson, and there are theories in these New Age/Spiritualist circles that murderers and victims agree before their births to play out the roles they do.
All these theories are, in my view, ill-informed, deeply offensive, insensitive and actually nonsensical. To even suggest that people starving of famine in the underdeveloped countries, murder and torture victims, including all those who died in the Nazi concentration camps, were either paying karmic debts for misdeeds in past lives, or that they voluntarily agreed to be victimized to ‘teach the world a lesson’ is as offensive as suggesting Hitler was some sort of saintly figure who played Devil’s Advocate to encourage the world not to repeat his crimes.
I have studied the after-life for quite some time now, and while there are a lot of mysteries and even Spirits on the Other Side don’t know everything, we can piece together a reasonable picture of what actually must happen.
Firstly, we all have free will. So if we were pre-programmed, albeit with our consent, before birth to act out certain roles with no freedom of choice, then we would just be robots. What would be the point of life on Earth at all, which is supposed to be a learning experience for all of us?
Yes, there are teachers like Jesus and the Buddha, some would include people like Mahatma Gandhi and atheists like Sir Bertrand Russell and Karl Marx, who in their own ways tried to teach us better ways to live. Some of these, notably Jesus and Karl Marx, had their teachings twisted and misused to justify things like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Stalin purges and the Pol Pot massacres.
However even these people had free will, they were not pre-programmed robots. We may all have basic life plans, in the sense that before birth we set out to achieve certain objectives, learn certain lessons, but we have free will in what choices and decisions we make and so these life plans are not always fulfilled.
As I have come to understand it we, as individuals, do not lead endless lives on Earth in a process of reincarnation. We have a Higher or Greater Soul which encompasses many aspects, sometimes likened to facets of a diamond. Contained within this Higher or Greater Soul and linked to it are many different personalities.
It seems the Higher Soul creates personalities which then incarnate to learn lessons, and evolve. Also to help others and teach them lessons, usually by example.Â These individual personalities, once created, remain as separate individuals even after death. Indeed I’ve read one account of a woman who actually met a previous incarnation of herself in the afterlife.
All these different individual personalities in the Greater Soul share the lessons and experiences of their various lives, but you as the individual you are now will normally only live one life on Earth. That individual will continue to exist indefinitely after death, though will evolve. Eventually it may merge with other personalities in the Greater or Higher Soul, but not immediately. Only when it is ready to ascend to even higher Spiritual levels. We simply don’t know if there are cases where individual personalities volunteer to reincarnate. Maybe in some Eastern cultures, or in the cases of some who die very young as children. However there are many more cases, the vast majority, where children and even stillborn babies grow to adulthood in the Spirit world.
It may well be that before birth on Earth a new personality of the Greater Soul discusses with guides what the objectives of that life will be, but always there is a degree of free will. Take the case of a murderer for instance. It might be pointed out before birth that this could be something that could happen, but when actually living their life it would be their free choice whether to commit murder or not. If they do, then they will surely have to accept the karmic consequences in the sense that everything we do, good or bad, reflects back on us eventually. This is because of the law of cause and effect and the fact that we are all connected, ultimately we are all one.
Just one example: in the Life Review which occurs in Near Death Experiences and when we actually pass over to the Other Side, we re-live every action and thought of our life outside of time and space. We feel the effects of these actions and thoughts on others as well, whether positive or negative. The negative ones we then feel impelled to put right by regretting them and learning never to repeat them. Hopefully any new personality created by the Higher Soul of that individual will not repeat the same mistakes.
You cannot assume, however, that people who suffer in any way have either brought it on themselves due to actions in past lives by other personalities within their Greater Soul; that they are paying karmic debts, or that they volunteered to be victimized in this life. If they suffer at the hands of others, then they are victims of the free choice of those other people which could not be foreseen with any certainty in advance. If it could, then it wouldn’t be free will.
Life and Death take on a different aspect once we are in the Spirit world. Since our brief lives on Earth are but a tiny part of our greater existence to look at them in isolation is like just looking at the very tip of an iceberg. If you look at the whole picture, you’ll get a very different impression. I suspect all of us have come thru the plant and animal kingdom in some form or other and in these and our various human lives, linked in our Greater Soul, we have both suffered and experienced much enjoyment. Not as the individuals we are today, but sharing these experiences in the Greater Soul.
So going back to the Hitler argument, he had a choice. So too did those who drew up the Treaty of Versailles after WWI which treated Germany so unfairly it permitted the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. Once Hitler and others had made their choice, then they would have to feel the effects of their actions on others eventually, and pay the karmic consequences. It does not follow that Hitler’s victims all had karmic debts to pay or that they had volunteered this role. They could well be totally innocent, and the most that can be said is that before birth the possibility of what might happen due to the actions of others could have been put to them. Since nothing is written in stone, it would only have been a possibility, just as a husband who might or might not murder his wife would have had these possibilities put to them. In that sense they could be said to have volunteered the roles, but not the outcome.
To use the analogy of actors in a film. Various plots are written and the actors are given the different plots and scripts to read, but not told which one will be used in the final cut. This is left to be decided later, by the actors themselves. So nobody knows for sure in advance how the film will end.
That, to me, is the only thing which makes sense. Otherwise we are pre-programmed robots who can learn nothing and cannot evolve. Without freedom to make our own decisions, without human free will, there is no point to anything.
What we can say, with scientific certainty, is that this life and this material world we live in is a virtual reality. Nothing, for instance, is really solid, and quantum physics suggests everything is created by Mind or Consciousness. This also applies to the Spirit planes which are similar to Earth. The only ultimate reality is Mind, Spirit or Consciousness itself, for ultimately, we are just One Spirit. Thought Energy and Consciousness is what creates everything else, and everything we experience.