I had some thoughts today on the soul, reincarnation, and heaven while in the shower and eating at McDonald’s (not at the same time, of course)!
I’ve been able to follow Yogic philosophy (largely inspired by Hindu beliefs & Indian sages) up until the talks of karma and reincarnation. The idea that every person has a unique soul just doesn’t sit well with me. That would imply that every manifestation of life has its own soul…each clump of grass, each rock, each animal…unless, of course, you buy into the philosophy that humans are somehow special and only we got the souls in all of creation (not likely given the scale of US on the scale of CREATION).
The fact that we each have a feeling of knowing who we are after peeling back all physical and memory associations simply implies that we are expressions of ONE soul. In fact, you DON’T feel drastically different & unique if you take everything you know about yourself away.
It’s true that good and selfless deeds seem to bring prosperity…you reap what you sow, in general. But to extend that beyond one lifetime is challenging for me to justify. In science, we know that evolution does not always mean progression; sometimes biological evolution means regression. The only goal of evolutionary adaptations is to further life in any form, not to grow toward one ultimate expression of life.
All religions seem to focus on a person becoming more and more pure and good, with the ultimate goal being peaceful and joyful immortality (as opposed to tortuous fire & brimstone immortality, or coming back as something else immortality). But why must this require lifetimes (or just one lifetime) of progression? Perhaps it is in our competitive or contriving human natures to think that there is some kind of goal to be acheived while existing. As if it weren’t hard enough just trying to stay ALIVE, we must also acheive some kind of PURPOSE in life.
What if the goal in life was just to live? Religion must be an adaptation in an of itself. Ethics and morals and how-to-live stories must lead to more stable, prosperous societies.
Which brings me to the subject of peace on earth. A silly concept if I ever heard one! (And I live in San Francisco!) Even if everyone who could possibly antagonize you and disrupt your peace was wiped from the face of the earth, nature itself would be your friend one moment and your enemy the next. Can you negotiate with nature? Can you say to the lightning, or to the tornado “Let’s just be friends?” You could, but they would laugh at you like Montanans laugh at idealistic Californians.
The best you can hope for is inner peace, which will serve you in prolonging your life, protecting you from stress-related diseases and from retribution for rash, angry, or violent actions you would otherwise perpetrate against others, who are actually just you in another form.
Check back in 4 months to see how/if my views on this have changed!