Our Pets and Reincarnation

I had a totally different post planned to put up, but then I found this trailer on Twitter. Have your tissues ready.

I watched this and thought it one of the most heartwarming trailers I’d seen. It’s based on the book of the same title by W. Bruce Cameron and it spent 52 weeks on the NYT Bestseller list! So I was more than a little startled to see some haters calling this trailer “horrible” and “depressing” and “worst dog movie ever” because, you know, the dog dies.

Sorry. Spoiler alert. But maybe the title of the blog post was a clue?

The hardest thing any pet parent has to face is the loss of a much loved pet. The very worst part of letting an animal into your life and heart is the sure knowledge that you will eventually bid them farewell. I’ve done this more times than I want to think about, and with more species than your average pet owner.

There was Pagan, and Domino.

DHappy

Magic

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Honda

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Harpo

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Akela

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And that’s not even half. Each one takes a piece of your heart when they go, you feel like that spot in your soul will never again feel right. I have been so fortunate to have a deep bond to many, many animals, to experience the love, communication and understanding that looks magical to an outside observer. I know I’m not alone in this. I know that I’m not the only one to have a much loved pet return to me either, both in a body and in spirit.

What if the premise of A Dog’s Purpose were true? What if our pets (and us too!) come back to experience life after life? The above-mentioned haters also found this tragic. I’m sorry for them. I think it’s beautiful. It means we, collectively, never truly die. That we get do-overs, and a chance to explore every delicious, beautiful, and yes, painful, facet of life.

Reincarnation as a spiritual concept is found throughout many ancient, sacred texts. Even the Gnostic Christians claimed that reincarnation was the true, secret teaching of Jesus. The number of people who believe in reincarnation is staggering. Just counting those who claim to practice religions with reincarnation as a fundamental tenet you’re looking at about 25% of the human population. Even some quantum physicists are now saying our consciousness moves into another universe when we die. First Law of Thermodynamics, right?

But that’s humans. What about animals? Do animals have souls? Just ask that of anyone who’s had a pet that they loved and lost. You can read about how my cat, Magic, came back to visit after I lost her to bone cancer. The internet is full of stories about how the spirits of pets come back, both as ghosts and reincarnated into new, furry bodies.

But how do you know? Truth is, I can’t offer up any proof that would satisfy a cynic.

Answers to the most perplexing questions in spirituality are at their core inexplicable. They must be experienced. They must be lived. It doesn’t matter how many holy books you read, how many churches you sit in, or how many drum circles. They can guide you, point out a path, but you’ll never really know unless you make contact with the numinous.

I have. I know that everything has a soul. A spirit. That spark of the divine that is never extinguished. From the trees in my yard, to the cat curled in my lap, to the wolf puppy that greeted me with recognition in his soul. We had known each other in lives past.

How? You have to be willing to still your mind and listen for those subtle clues. You have to be willing to put in the time to practice – whatever method you choose. Yoga, meditation, dance, journeying all can help you with quieting the mind so you can hear the messages from your soul. More than that though, you have to trust the knowledge that comes to you.

That is the hardest part. Trust. Your mind will want to tell you you just made it up. So will science. So will some of your friends. You have to trust the message and put it into practice in your life. There is a certain element of surrender with this, because sometimes it’ll probably be pretty scary. Not in the ‘you should spend all your money on this stock’ sense. No, this trust usually involves risks of the heart.

Sometimes your heart will break. Sometimes the one you love will leave you. But what if the purpose of life is to experience love in as many different forms and varieties as possible? That’s pretty difficult to accomplish in just one lifetime.

Maybe dogs are the lucky ones. They have so much love to give, and we have so much to learn, that they voluntarily return to us again and again, helping to open our hearts and teach us about unconditional love. And loss. And how to love again after heartbreak.

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Weird Weekend – Reincarnation

 

That word conjures up a lot, doesn’t it?  Have you ever discussed, or considered that you may have lived a life, or many lives before?  Some are vehemently opposed to it, for religious, non-religious or scientific reasons.  Some believe it’s a lie of the devil.    Others point to the fact that there are more people alive today than in the past.  Their rationale follows; if we’re living over and over again, why would population numbers rise?

The question is often framed as:  Do you believe is reincarnation?  Or:  Is reincarnation real?  Very loaded questions.  If you ask the first, well, the answer is predicated upon the belief system of the person being asked.  A devout Christian will likely answer in the negative.  A Buddhist will give you an absolute affirmative.  Both are following spiritual belief systems, both have very different views of what happens to a soul after physical death of the body it inhabits.

Similarly the question of ‘real’ is going to depend on the views of the person answering.  To someone who thinks the concept of the soul is nonsense, or just superstition, asking if reincarnation is ‘real’ will only gain you rolled eyes and perhaps a snort of derision.  People who only consider scientifically verifiable facts as ‘real’ are unlikely to spend much time pondering the reality of the soul, or it’s disposition after death.

What if ‘belief’ was not necessary?  What if this world that we think of as ‘reality’ is only a stage for learning life lessons?  What if ‘real life’ is really on the other side of physical death?

I was listening to the September 11, 2012 podcast of Coast to Coast AM recently.  The guest that night was Rich Martini, an author and filmmaker who has looked at past-life regression cases and the experiences people have between lives.  He has a film and a book called Flipside, where he interviews hypnotherapists trained by Dr. Michael Newton and examines their cases.  Dr. Newton developed the Life Between Lives hypnotherapy method to help people access their soul memory.

After regressing 7000 people, a number of consistencies arose in the stories of what happens after death.  A meeting with loved ones and spirit guides who comprise your soul group, a review of the life just lived, planning the next life to be lived, and making agreements with the others in the soul group on who is going to play what parts in the upcoming incarnation.

Mr. Martini frequently used the analogy that life on earth is like performing a play on a stage.  Everyone in your life has a role to act out; as in a well-plotted story, the villain has a purpose as much as the good guy, who frequently learns a valuable lesson through the conflict.  Who plays the good guy and who plays the villain is something that is predetermined before birth in the between life stage, and roles are often swapped in multiple lives.  We are given the stage, but not a script.

So many other questions arise.  What about good and evil?  Why do some people do bad things?  Why, if we ‘choose’ this life, would bad things happen in it?  The answer is 42 (thank you, Douglas Adams, where ever you are now).  The answer makes no sense, because you don’t really understand the question.  It can be very hard for those of us on this side of the veil to understand why bad things happen, however once on the other side, these reasons become clear.  We only really understand when we are between lives.

Personally, I have had a past life regression that had a dramatic impact on me.  I went with a friend one day, about twenty years ago to a group regression session.  A little background:  since I was a little girl (like 3 or 4 years old) I had this horrible fear of dying in a submarine.  I had recurring dreams about it.  On my first visit to Disneyland I flat refused to get on the Submarine Voyage until my parents pointed out the submarine never actually submerged.  I can still remember tearfully asking, “It never goes under water?”  Only that reassurance convinced me it was okay to get on the ride.

Fast forward to my past life regression.  I found myself in a German U-boat that was sinking fast from a near miss.  The crew was in utter chaos, shouts in German, blaring alarms and flickering, fading lights filled my vision.  Nothing could stop our descent to the bottom, and soon we were in pitch black.  The hull crumpled after we hit bottom, we had enough time to realize we were all going to die.  My last thought was of my wife and son, left behind, and I could see them waving goodbye to me.  It was at this point the group leader brought us out of the regression, and I was still in the midst of dying and remembering my family.  To put it simply, I lost it.  I sat up, crying, sobbing and hysterical.  I brought the whole group to a standstill, the leader had to come over to help me, and my friend was looking at me like I’d grown a second head.  I know you don’t know me, but I don’t get hysterical.  You can’t, when you’re working with animals that might kill you.  I don’t have panic attacks, and I certainly don’t break down in front of groups, I hate having that sort of attention directed at me.  Yet, there I was in full meltdown.  Fortunately, the group leader was experienced enough to help me out, and I calmed down.

I have never had a submarine dream since.   I can look at submarines now without feeling short of breath, where previously, just seeing them in pictures or a movie would make me feel like walls were closing in and I couldn’t take a deep breath.  That whole irrational phobia has simply evaporated.

Was I once a German sailor on a lost U-boat?  I would love to take another regression and see if I can find out more details.  Do you think you have lived previous lives?  Are you interested in finding out more?  Have you had a past life regression session?  Check out Wikipedia for a really good article with lots of links about real research into past lives, and regression therapy.