Thursday, August 25, 2011


Hi Edward, (I've not yet found Edwards Essay that prompted me to write this response.  But I think this can stand on its own and make sense.) You say your reader speaks of her 'intuition of reincarnation being a reality.' I have no strong or determined belief regarding reincarnation but I feel it is important to keep an open mind regarding such possibilities and the potential  meaning behind such ideas. Most agree, the best I can tell, that  early church father Origen, Christian leader of the 3rd Century,  stated a belief in reincarnation. It was not until the sixth century that the church, as it often did, drew a line in the sand declaring any  such considerations heresy. There are N.T. references that can be read as reflecting some kind of reincarnation, all depending on  ones perspective and expectations.

I appreciate that you indicate that some kind of reincarnation has been a very strong and consistent intuition of people across most all cultures and religions, including  now your gracemail writer. From my perspective that alone is enough to not make an arbitrary statement about its possible meaning and reality. Reincarnation can be visualized in many different ways, not necessarily a direct transfer of one person from one time to another. It may be more like  our personal experience is translated as part of all others'  previous life experiences.  Or something along that line. This would mean that our personal experiences and learning are not lost to the whole of humanity but become a part of the resources of the Collective Unconscious that links us all together in a common psychological/spiritual foundation. Maybe nothing of meaning and value is ever lost through a reincarnation type of process.  There are some things that I have a hard time explaining without some kind  reincarnation being part of the mystery.

To cut off one's intuition regarding such deep ideas  is to shut down what has always been a primary avenue through which religious ideas and beliefs have  entered  human consciousness. As the church institutionalized and power fights began, any ideas of personal revelation(though admittedly they had been the source of Christian foundation) were demonized and labeled heresy. Such dogma is clearly a restriction of the Spirit of the Sacred which never accommodates dogma boundaries established by human power sources.  Intuition is a primary way by which  all of us have some measure of 'opening' into the world that is 'not of this world', the 'realm of the Spirit.'   It is natural for any religious hierarchy to deny and demonize any 'knowledge' that is attained this direct way for it undermines its attempt to maintain power over the system. This is, in my view, exactly what has happened to any suggestion that reincarnation may have a real basis and that it is  not  contradictory of  Bible story which it simply is not.

Jesus displayed the function of intuition, which your reader is seeking some support for his own, when  the story says he asked, "who touched me?' without seeing the woman who touched his clothing but being aware of 'power' coming from him.  To deny a person  taking seriously their own intuition(which means to also question it  when it comes.)  is another example of  distracting people from their awareness that they are indeed fully human 'like Jesus.'  John has Jesus describe  the nature of the Spirit as, ' like the wind, our not knowing by sensory knowledge from where it comes and where it goes'  All of religion is  originally based on a claim that  through non sensory avenues, such as intuition,dream and revelation,  the Spirit's reality can be  to some extent directly 'known'.  To discourage intuition and any direct knowledge or 'gnosis'  of the Spirit, is basically to discourage the aspect of a human that is at times able to perceive aspects of the totality of reality that is not available through sense perception alone. This has always been what the actual meaning of  'religion' is: to observe closely(beyond the pure sensory) any unconscious forces and powers that might become conscious. To discourage, to demonize, to declare  as heresy such openness and effort is to encourage a person to live as a pure materialist, which is where Western culture has fully come. Someone has said that, " to live with the attitude that sensory perception is the only kind of knowledge is to willingly live in a 'broom closet' when the door is open to the whole universe." Hopefully such 'sensory only' blindness  has begun to change in the past century and  intuitive notions across cultures and religions regarding such things as  reincarnation, near death experiences, out of body experience and  UFO encounters are part of the psychological  evidence of this change. I have no definite beliefs about such things but I sense the very fact that they are so broadly reported, even if as obsessions or hallucinations, that they reflect  important movements in  human collective consciousness.  That should interest and humble us all.

I am of the basic opinion that most of these  'experiences' and  'intuitions' are best explained by what we  are coming to know of the dynamics of human psychological(soul nature)  make-up. To me these things are likely  not a matter of  'physicality' and experiences of  'time and space.' But  as Jung insisted,   all  genuine experience is a 'psychological fact'.  To our materialistic minds that is heard as ' they are unreal.' And if anything is clear by all kinds of  related science it is that  'everything, even the material, is first, foremost and always psychological.'  Nothing is admitted into our consciousness except through the psyche.  Acknowledged  or not such 'psychological facts'  have been and are changing the perspective  every human who has any real interest in growth and change, and probably even those who don't. Such ideas have begun to powerfully  affect our daily lives. This makes 'believing in' the 'retiring religious myths' more and more of a determined effort expressed as defensiveness and argument.  And it makes the possibility of  'birthing myths' to have their effect on human consciousness and to be shaping  forces as to what our species will come to believe about ourselves and our total environment. In my view we are definitely reaching toward new understandings of ourselves and our world.  Yes these new reachings are 'tantalizing'  creating all kinds of exaggerations but the future has always been tantalizing to those who want to enter it as consciously as possible.  To take the intuitions that come seriously is not to swallow them whole but to let them be important tools and resources, to let them effect our powers of imagination which is the source of  our creativity, another primary aspect of God's image within us.   My heritage infused me with such  living beliefs that  we are 'made in the image of God.'  I now realize that image to be something  humans are to continue always to find out more about, and thus to find out more and more about who we are.

Edward, I wish you could  have been less discouraging to your reader so that she might be able to take that part of herself, that must be also part of the image of  God, i.e. her intuition, more seriously. Such intuition is a  sign of a grace that we Western humans need  to develop, exercise and take more to heart, not less. But I will acknowledge you are being very loyal to historically developed Christian  orthodoxy to give her the kind of 'get over it'  answer you did.

I recall the response from  D.R., my CPE supervisor, when I shared an experience in CPE. He  congratulated me on acting on the intuition I had while waiting for a hospital elevator. It was about the need that an unassigned patient had indicated a barely noticeable desire for my pastoral attention.(Is that similar to a 'who touched me' moment? It was for me.)  I heeded the intuition, unlike me up till then, and that began a  change in my attitude toward what I now consider to be the ' moments  of the Spirit.'  This was about two years before the breakthrough of 'visions' I was to later encounter.   So I have learned that 'intuitions' should be taken seriously. We can always learn something from such moments. These to me are 'windows to the unseen' and   'learning  moments' for us from the Sacred.
Blessings, Jim

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