People today throw the word “karma” around in modern conversations without really understanding what it means. Most think it means you get what you give. Most equate it to the saying that you “reap what you sow.”
There is truth to those general ideas about karma and that concept makes it acceptable to several religions as most religions believe in the idea of consequence to actions. However, there is much more to the idea of karma if you concentrate on the religion it came from. Hinduism associates karma with the idea of reincarnation. Buddhists also believe in reincarnation.
While people don’t have a problem believing in karma, reincarnation is another more challenging concept. Most mainstream religions don’t accept it as they preach the deceased go to either heaven or hell. Yet, Hindus believe humans live time and time again to try to work out their flaws in the next life with what they learned in the previous life.
How Does It Work?
According to the ancient Indian text the Bhagavad Gita, the soul leaves the body at death. It waits to be reborn into another womb. The rebirth carries things from the previous life with it like the soul, the way they think, actions, fears, and joys. What the new baby receives depends on actions of the past lives.
No one knows exactly how it works, but those who believe in reincarnation think all deeds are recorded. That includes both good and bad and everyone is accountable for all of their deeds. The actions then create a certain way of thinking that results in them continuing the actions of their past life in their new life.
The one thing that can change is if someone learns a lesson in a previous life that encourages the person to change a habit, attitude, or action. They will continue with working on that part of themselves in the next life if they believe in the ideas of reincarnation.
The Eternal Mind
Behind the concept of reincarnation is the idea that we are eternal souls. In that thought, the mind never stops working even after physical death. It is a type of computer with millions of files on the hard drive. You put the original hard drive in a new computer and the new model will function the same as the old one. The programming is identical.
Those who believe in reincarnation point to certain unexplainable science as evidence for reincarnation. Center for Sleep Medicine director Charles P. Pollack stated what science tells us about babies in an article for the New York Times titled “Do Babies Dream.
Pollack said REM sleep dreaming happens in every life stage, even in infancy and in unborn babies.
The natural question most ask is what would an unborn baby dream? After all, dreams are a collaboration of events, situations, and people once experiences in life. Unborn babies haven’t had those experiences so some presume they could be dreaming of past life experiences.
Others express wonder at children who have memories associated with other people in unknown places at times before their births. One little boy kept insisting he was once an adult woman who died in a fire. He gave his parents a name, a city, and details of the fire. The parents found every detail to be true upon investigation. This woman lived years before their son in a place halfway across the United States. There was no way he could have known about her life.
Some children also suddenly speak other languages under hypnosis, presenting other questions about how they subconsciously know these dialects and languages perfectly.
When Does It End?
Those of Hindu and Buddhist religions believe the soul stays on the move from body to body until it is completely purified. That means the soul has put away things like greed, envy anger, and pride. They see life as a circle rather than a line like Western religions view it. For some, the idea that things can be worked out in the next life gives them hope.