Dynamics For Living
THE Western world in general looks upon reembodiment, or reincarnation, as a heathen doctrine. Many people close the door of their minds upon it, without waiting to find out what message it brings when interpreted in the light of Truth. It is the object of this presentation to set forth the Unity teaching concerning reincarnation; to show why we consider it reasonable, and to explain its relation to, and its place in, the Christ doctrine.
Jesus Christ Teaching
The teaching of Jesus Christ is that all men shall, through Him, be made free from sin and be saved to the uttermost–spirit, soul, body. Until this salvation is attained, there is death. To give men opportunity to get the full benefit of salvation, life is necessary. A body through which to express is also necessary. When man loses his body by death, the law of expression works within him for reembodiment. He takes advantage of the Adam method of generation to regain a body. Divine mercy permits this process in order that man may have further opportunity to demonstrate Christ life.
Generation and death must give place to regeneration and eternal life. The necessity of rebirth must therefore pass away with all other make-shifts of the mortal man. It will have no place when men take advantage of the redeeming, regenerating life of Jesus Christ and quit dying.
Reembodiment should not be given undue importance. It is merely a temporary remedy to be followed by the real, which is resurrection. The whole man–spirit, soul, and body–must be lifted up into the Christ consciousness of life and perfection.
Whenever there has been a nation of thinkers who were not bound in materialism, those thinkers have accepted reembodiment as a fact. It is rejected only where the craze for wealth and for fame and for the things of the world has darkened the mind with materiality.
The heathen who have not received Truth as revealed by Jesus Christ do not know where and how reembodiment fits into the race redemption. To them it is a fixed, unalterable law.
They believe in karma, the accumulated effects of the sins of past lives. The burden of karma they have carried for ages, and they expect to carry it for ages more until they have worked out of it. This makes them victims of a blind fatalism, weary treadmill travelers from birth to death, and from death to birth.
There is no such hopeless note in the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He came to bring a full consciousness of abundant life, complete forgiveness and redemption from all sin, victory over death and the grave, so delivering man from any occasion for reembodiment and from all beliefs of karma.
The heathen hold that reincarnation is one of the natural evolutionary steps of man’s development. We teach, and our doctrine is sustained by the teachings of Jesus, that rebirth is the unifying force of nature at work in its effect to restore man to his original deathless estate. Man, through his disregard of the law of life, brought death upon soul and body. A single span of life, from the birth of an infant to the death of an old man, does not constitute all man’s opportunity for life.
Life is continuous and in harmony with the wholeness of Being only when it is expressed in a perfect body; hence man must have a body in order to gain an abiding consciousness of life. Through repeated trials at living, man is finding out that he must learn to control the issues of life. The divine law, as taught by Jesus Christ, must be understood and applied in all life’s details, and when this is done the Eden state will be restored.
The objections that the natural man raises to reembodiment arise largely from the fact that he lives in the personal consciousness and cannot see things in the universal. He thinks that by reembodiment he loses his identity. But identity endures. Personal consciousness does not endure. The personal man is not immortal and he dies. This is clear to anyone who is willing to give up his belief in the reality and importance of the personal consciousness.
All the personal man–his limitations, his relations–must give way to the universal, the Christ. The privilege is ours to give up or forsake everything–father, mother, wife, children, houses, lands–for Christ’s sake, and so enter into the consciousness of the absolute. By doing this we come into the realization of eternal life and receive a hundredfold more than we have forsaken.
If we refuse and cling to the old family relationships, there is nothing for it but to meet the result of our choice, and to give all those relations up by death. It is just a question of giving up a little for the all and of gaining eternal life. So if reembodiment frees one from the old personal relationships, it is not such a dreadful thing after all. It cannot give anything more than new personal relations. Rising out of these into the universal is a work that everyone must do willingly for himself. Death and reembodiment do not give redemption. Reincarnation serves only as a further opportunity to lay hold of redemption.
The pure, incorruptible substance of Spirit, built by the transforming power of the Christ into the organism through true, pure, spiritual thought and word, makes the body incorruptible and eternal. As the mind changes from error to Truth, corresponding changes take place in the body, and the ultimate of these changes is perfection and wholeness in every part. Therefore those who are trying to lay hold of eternal life have ground for their faith in the promise that they will be saved from the grave.
Knowing that spirit, soul, and body are all necessary to man and that he cannot truly be said to live except in their conscious union and expression, the error of believing that death is the open door to a higher life, the gateway to heaven, is easily seen. There is no progress in death. Death is negation. The demonstration of eternal life can be made only in life–soul and body together working out the problem and together being lifted up.
The idea of progress in death has its origin in the mortal mind, which reasons from its own limitations instead of from absolute Truth. The mortal mind desires to preserve eternally the personal consciousness and all personal relations. Man therefore attempts to make and to people a heaven, or spirit world, where all the old family relations are as he knows them in his present life. He clings to this belief with a tenacity worthy of a better object, and it is usually only after hard experience that he is willing to drop the personal. Eternal life cannot be demonstrated in personal consciousness. The great family of Jesus Christ, the redeemed Adam race, are all one, and the little selfish relationships of the Adam man have no place in the new order.
Another illogical belief about the destiny of man is that the patriarchs and the prophets, and all others who have lived, have been lying in their graves, some of them for thousands of years, having no place in the onward movement of the race.
Another teaching, unfounded in Scripture or in reason, holds that they who formerly lived are now either in a realm of eternal bliss or in a state of unending torment. It is far more logical to believe that the race is a unit and that all its members grow and develop together as well as individually. Thus we find it only reasonable to think of every man and every woman as coming onto the stage repeatedly, keeping up connection with the race and its experiences.
Mortal consciousness has no power to lift itself out of ignorance and sin, so the mere matter of repeated births has not taken the race forward. It is the descent of Spirit from time to time, as the people have been able to receive it, that has made all progress. As man’s growth has made it possible, new truths have been discerned and new dispensations have come. When the time was ripe, Jesus came and brought the good news of salvation from death. His words had to work in the race consciousness for nearly two thousand years before anyone was sufficiently awakened and quickened to believe in a complete redemption and to strive to lay hold of it. The promise is that the leaven of the Word will finally leaven the whole of the human family and that all will come into the light of life.
From the standpoint of the universal it is plain that reembodiment serves a purpose in affording opportunities for spiritual development. All that is gained in spiritual growth in one life experience becomes part of man’s real identity. If he is faithful, he will finally gather such a store of spiritual power and wisdom that he can demonstrate salvation of his body through Christ. But reincarnation is only an opportunity.
If generation and reincarnation are not the means of restoring to their place in the race those who have died, what is the means that accords with the divine law? Resurrection.
Whether they still walk the earth, or have ceased to breathe and have been buried from sight, all are in a dead state, and all must be raised from the grave of ignorance and sin. Right now the resurrection work is going on. Men and women are awakening to a new consciousness of life, of understanding, and of bodily perfection. This resurrection work must extend to every member of the Adam race, whether he is what we call alive or whether he, as Jesus said of the dead, sleeps. All must be awakened and be unified in soul and body.
Many of the present-day beliefs about resurrection have come down from past centuries of ignorance, and have been accepted without question. They seem to be a literal interpretation of certain Bible texts. In these, as in all Scripture, we must get back of the letter and see the spiritual meaning of the parables and the symbols used to teach the truth about the raising of the dead. As we do this we find going on in ourself the very awakening and resurrection that we once supposed would come in a single day to buried people. When this raising up, redeeming process has gone far enough in us, we shall probably be the means of awakening and raising other buried ones.
Everyone begins where he left off. When reembodied, he has opportunity to come up into Jesus Christ, identify himself with the Jesus Christ race, and demonstrate through Him the deathless life. We must remember that there are steps and phases in this great process. When we understand them, we shall see that men will be raised to their place in the Adam race, then raised out of Adam into Christ.
Everyone who would demonstrate that he is risen with Christ must first lay hold of life by faith and affirm, without wavering, that he is raised out of sin and condemnation and death into life eternal. Then the word of life carries on, day by day, the resurrecting, redemptive work in the mind and in the body. Every day some old limitation or error loses its hold and passes away, and the imperishable, incorruptible substance of Truth becomes a little more firmly established in consciousness. In this way the body is transformed and raised up in honor, incorruptible, immortal.
It is not profitable to allow our mind to dwell upon mortal questionings about how the work of Spirit is to be done in and through us. It is our place to hold yourself in a positive life thought, realizing always the omnipresence and perfection of life in God, thus bringing perfect life more and more into manifestation in ourself and in others. When we realize how much our faithfulness means to the race, we shall rejoice in being true to the great truths that will bring to pass the time when death and the grave will be no more.
That you do not remember your past lives proves nothing. Neither do you remember the day on which you were born, but you do not on that account question the fact of your birth. Comparatively little of your present life is remembered. But that does not alter the fact that you have lived. Memory, to the natural man, is a matter of physical brain records, photographic or phonographic in character. The memories of experiences in past lives are not clearly recorded in the new brain structure of the infant. Such memories are usually in the nature of vague impressions. The sense of identity is blurred.
In the book of life, the great Mind of the universe, all identity is sharply marked. As the individual becomes quickened and raised out of personal consciousness into the universal, he will be able to bridge over the breaks in personal experience. He will come to himself. Realizing his spiritual identity as the son of God, he will not entangle himself with either present or past personality, but will claim and demonstrate his divine sonship. He will no longer limit himself in a brief span of life, beginning with birth and ending with death, but will live in the consciousness of eternal life, which has neither end nor beginning.
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Dynamics For Living by Charles Fillmore
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