Today’s subject is non Tarot related. While my blog is “That’s Totally Tarot”, a blog about Tarot I do want to discuss other topics regarding spirituality. I am an avid studier of religions, philosophies and all sorts of spiritual beliefs. This may be due to my early in life awareness of death as a child. An awareness and understanding that has caused episodic anxiety attacks, since the rough age of six. So it would seem logical that I would invest much of my time seeking the answers to the most important question, does consciousness continue after death?
My religious background is Greek Orthodox, however I never felt it had any real impact on me. I never felt that I identified with it much, it has been a complicated relationship, one that has changed as I was able to better understand it in comparison to western christian denominations.
Typical christians often believe that after someone dies they go to heaven or hell. This notion is incorrect according to actual original Christian teachings. The idea that our soul would rise to a higher plane is Platonic in originations. To the early Christians the goal was not for us to go to heaven, but for heaven to come to us. In the Orthodox church their is a belief in the two judgments. The first is partial and the second is the Last Judgment. In the partial judgment souls all go to the same place, we could call this the underworld, hades in the classical Greek sense. They are then separated based on righteousness. The souls that lived well are in the “Bosom of Abraham” and are comforted. While those who were not righteous are alone the in the dark. Souls stay in this state until the Final Judgment.
In the Abrahamic faiths you basically get one shot at life, fuck it up and you are damed. Do well and you get an ultimate prize. However when you move eastward we find the notion of reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism. Reincarnation has been imported to the west by new agers, pagans and others which has lead to a misunderstanding of the original connotations of what reincarnations is all about. In the west reincarnation is in many ways glamorized and viewed as a good thing. The idea of having past lives is appealing because we like the idea of being someone famous in the past, but actually most of time you were not. If anything you were probably the servant to the Queen of England than then Queen herself. Life in the developed world is generally good and we like the idea of coming back and living in this world again to enjoy more of the pleasures life can offer.
The western spiritual view of reincarnation often follows like this, we as souls choose the lives we want to live before we are incarnated. We as souls have lessons to learn in this world and we work at learning these lessons over many incarnations. Reincarnation is seen as an opportunity to experience more and do more in this world.
In the east reincarnation was a bad thing because the goal was not to be born again in this world, instead of being an opportunity, reincarnation is viewed as a burden. The ultimate goal was to escape the cycle of rebirth, known as moksha (liberation). Once you escape the cycle, you never incarnate again. Karma was the key to moving up. Karma is the law of cause and effect. With good actions came good, higher rebirths. Bas actions followed with lower rebirths.
My personal views on reincarnation is that is sucks. Why? Because ultimately reincarnation says you as an individual is impermanent. This is central to Buddhism, there is no soul like in the Western view. No fixed entity that is me or you. Instead there is a stream of consciousness from one moment to the next that always changes. So me being Angelo Nasios, reincarnation says that the life I am in now is but one of many and their is no true Self, no Angelo. Being a Leo, I shutter to think their is no Me, no Self no Angelo. I prefer the idea that my soul is fixed, Angelo is Angelo and their is a unique Self, distinct and individual. Reincarnation also sucks in my view because life on this world is not all the great. This may be pessimistic but it is true. The fundamental teaching in Buddhism is that all life is discomfort/suffering. Life is very hard, why would we want to reincarnate in a world of discomfort continuously?
I have been reading “The Mustard Seed : The Revolutionary Teachings of Jesus” by OSHO. This book is a commentary on the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. So far everything I have read has been eye opening. In one section OSHO talks about Jesus knowing about reincarnation and that reincarnation is real but Jesus knew that reincarnation made people lazy. People postponed doing spiritual growth, they could simply do it in another life. There is no hurry, do it later. Jesus knowing this fact made it his message that there is no time left, you only get one shot so “repent” now. When you believe in reincarnation you begin to relax, Jesus does not want you to relax, there needs to be “frication” so you can become crystalized, which is the loss of ego.