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Old 09-19-2011, 09:10 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,406,666 times
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I think believing in reincarnation puts an onus on a person to try to figure out what their purpose is in the particular lifetime.

People of religious faiths that do not include the idea of reincarnation basically just have to live a so-called "good" life and will be rewarded in Heaven . . .

But people who believe in reincarnation tend to also believe that the Earthly experience is for learning . . . so it is incumbent upon the person to actually learn something of value while on Earth, otherwise, the life purpose will not have been realized or successful (from my limited understanding of the concept).

I am a person who has figured out a life philosophy by myself, without the advent of an early religious education in reincarnation or any of the religions that espouse it.

I was raised Catholic, so had to shed all of that baggage and cobble together my own spiritual beliefs and though I got started early (in my teens), I did not actually figure it out for myself until I was in my late forties! So all of the time I could have spent doing my Dharma was spent just randomly living and trying to figure things out . . .

So now I am old and I am wondering about the point of my life - if I actually did anything or learned anything that would have furthered my spirituality. I have done a lot and I have learned a lot, YET I cannot think of anything that has made me a better person - a more loving person, a more forgiving person . . . in fact, through my life experiences, probably just the opposite has happened . . .

I do believe I have "helped" others in various ways, and I suppose that is "virtuous" and "good," but not as far as it helps me with my spiritual evolvement . . . I did not have to learn to help, it just came naturally . . .and I did it because I wanted to . . .so nothing was learned through that experience (except some negative stuff, which doesn't help me expand my self) . . .

So, to any of you who believe in reincarnation, do you feel you are living your Dharma or that you are evolving your spirit through this lifetime? If so, please give some examples of how you feel you have evolved.

The entire point of "this" lifetime is to go out a better person than you came in and I don't think I have done that. I think I was far "better" before some pretty gnarly stuff happened to me . . . and then I became cynical, closed up, etc. I have done quite a bit of forgiveness but I do not feel my spirit has expanded the way I think it "should" have . . .so I basically feel my life has been a "waste," just in terms of sheer time and the people I chose to incarnate with have been no basket of roses . . .In fact, I hope I don't ever see or experience many of them ever again - in any world . . . so you can see I have had some trauma around people . . .

I do feel I have successfully paid back some karma . . .so that is a good thing . . .

Can anyone say how it has been for them?

I think it is too late for me to actually do anything of merit for myself . . .
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:30 PM
 
Location: playing in the colorful Colorado dirt
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You're wrong about one thing. It's never too late to do something of merit.

That being said, honestly, I don't think any of us really know if we've learned what we are meant to learn in this incarnation until it's over.

In order to know, we would need total recall of our past lives and the mistakes that we need to learn from. Personally, I may have the occasional "overlap" of a past life but that's all.

I think that if we live a good life, do our best to improve ourselves and help others in need, we're on the right track.

Simplistic view perhaps but it works for me.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:41 PM
 
Location: earth?
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The problem is that I do not know what would be "something of merit" for me . . . for me to have learned something in this life . . . I see I did not explain myself adequately. I feel I have been a "good" person, a mostly moral and ethical person with occasional lapses - From my "mistakes" I did learn, yes, I did . . . so maybe it was the mistakes - the "bad" stuff I did . . . I have seen a lot of my karma from this life in my earlier years play out . . .but if anything, I have learned just to "be careful" and to "deny myself" - and maybe stay present . . .

I wish I had more of a good feeling about my life but I don't . . . nor probably should I . . .it will be interesting to see what it was all about once I have the greater perspective. Right now it seems mostly very wasteful.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:07 AM
 
Location: playing in the colorful Colorado dirt
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None of us are perfect, we were never meant to be. All of us have done things we regret. Since we can't go back and change things, we learn from our mistakes, make amends and strive to do better. That's as it should be, it's called being human.

I don't get the feeling that you're a waste of oxygen, just someone who's beating themself up over past behavior.

In order for others to forgive you, first you need to forgive yourself. You can't dwell on past stupidity. You can only make the effort to do better. Apologize for the wrong done to others. Whether they accept or deny is up to them. Regardless of the outcome, life will go on. Look at each day as one more chance to improve yourself, to do and be better than yesterday.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:26 AM
 
Location: earth?
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No, I am not beating myself up - if I had known better, I would have done better.

I am not explaining it correctly. The things I did that were "bad" were just unconscious and selfish, mainly . . . I was thinking of my own self-interest and not thinking of others - and I do regret hurting people from my unconscious acts, but I loved doing what I was doing or I would not have done it . . . so what I have learned is that you cannot do whatever you want to do because it can hurt people . . . so I have learned to restrain myself and deny myself . . .I don't see how that helps my soul evolve . . . the only reason I have "learned" anything is because I became aware that I hurt people through my actions . . . so if faced with the same choices, I would not do the same things, but I also would be denying myself in the process . . . so it's a win-lose . . . win for them, lose for me. Just being honest.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:29 AM
 
Location: earth?
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I am not interested in being a paragon of virtue (nor could I be) . . . What I am trying to address is that I believe I came to "Earth school" to learn some lessons and I don't think I have learned them . . . I can point to things that I "SHOULD" have learned from, but I really haven't . . . I only "learned" because my karma was a punishment . . . I did not have an "aha" experience over any of the learnings . . .I did not become a "better person." I became a worse person because I felt stupid for making the mistakes in the first place, then angry that I was "punished" (in terms of the karma) . . .
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:43 AM
 
Location: playing in the colorful Colorado dirt
4,486 posts, read 4,342,615 times
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Actually, the fact that you felt stupid for making mistakes is a step forward. In a way, you did learn something.

I'm probably not phrasing what i'm trying to say properly either. I think my brain's a little fuzzy from one too many what did you have for breakfast threads. Lol

There is one person on this forum you might consider chatting with. Ptsum. He's one smart cookie and he makes a lot of sense.

I hope you find the answers you seek. Be well...
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
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imcurious, why were you so quick to abandon your Catholic heritage? It's like you dismissed it out of hand with exploring it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:54 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,406,666 times
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Pamela: Thank you for your comments . . . I hope I get some insight . . .

Theophane: How could you presume to know about my exploration efforts? Let me reassure you that the Catholicism was not "dismissed out of hand." I do not actually care to go into the details but I have done much more exploration of religions than the average bear . . .I took my exploration quite seriously and still do.

Organized religion is not for me and I do feel it is a blight on the world at this point.

Read "Power Vs. Force" if you are interested in a different perspective on fundamentalism of any kind . . . and particularly religious fundamentalism . . .

I did a retrospective survey of my childhood school and religious training. I do have very many fond memories of Catholic art and archetypes - so it was not all for naught.

But this thread is not about Catholicism, it is specifically about reincarnation and how to find meaning in each life, especially if you did not have the benefit of the religious training that teaches a person about how to live from the vantage point of reincarnation . . .
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:16 AM
 
Location: Nanaimo, Canada
1,808 posts, read 1,525,013 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
I think believing in reincarnation puts an onus on a person to try to figure out what their purpose is in the particular lifetime.
. . .

Quote:
But people who believe in reincarnation tend to also believe that the Earthly experience is for learning . . . so it is incumbent upon the person to actually learn something of value while on Earth, otherwise, the life purpose will not have been realized or successful (from my limited understanding of the concept).


. . .

Quote:
I think it is too late for me to actually do anything of merit for myself . . .
I'm not certain that we can really know our purpose in a given lifetime; mankind has been asking 'What is my purpose' for centuries, and has yet to reach a satisfactory answer (if such exists at all).

As to your second point, that's by-and-large what reincarnation's all about -- that we reincarnate to learn the lessons we may not have picked up the last time around.

And finally, in reference to your final point, I have both a story and a word of advice (the story comes first, though! ):

Several incarnations ago (I don't know how many) I was a soldier, fighting for my badly-outmatched country. I don't remember the details of the war -- all I know is that it was brutal, and we all did some pretty despicable things, most of which my CO (who reincarnated with me in this life and remembers a lot more than I do) is still trying to put behind him.

I've evolved, since that life, by embracing the traumatic memories and using them as a catalyst to change this life. While I once, untold lifetimes ago, went to war, now I have a chance to make up for the trauma and destruction I caused.

And now, the word of advice: you said that you didn't have to learn to help people, it just came naturally -- well, perhaps that's not the lesson you came here to learn this time.

Maybe you came back, like me, to learn how to help your battered spirit recover from its wounds.

For what it's worth...you're not alone.
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