from LonerWolf Website
There's a worm addicted to eating grape leaves.
Suddenly he wakes up, call it grace, whatever,
something wakes him, and he's no longer a worm.
He's the entire vineyard, and the orchard too,
the fruit, the trunks, a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn't need to devour.
"The Worm's Waking"
Once we've accepted the nature of our soul's existence, there are a few important questions that are raised.
What Is Reincarnation?
The first aspect that must be understood is that 'reincarnation' is a word that embodies many different ideologies.
Ancient cultures all around the world have believed in reincarnation since the dawn of time, and a few major religious systems have incorporated the idea into their teachings (e.g. Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism).
Reincarnation of an 'individual self' is only as possible to the extent of believing that your sense of 'self' - your ego - is real.
Two identities who are dwelling within two different physical bodies in the present, or in the past, will be two very distinct personalities. Our personalities are, to a large extent, determined by our environmental conditioning and physical genetics.
Traits such as Introversion or being a Highly Sensitive Person, for example, are determined by our physical biology's, while traits such as shyness, self-esteem, ideologies and neuroticism are the result of environmental psychological conditioning.
In truth, the 'I' is a transitioning, ever-changing phenomenon. We can easily prove this by catching up with a friend that we haven't seen for 30 years - both you and your friend will not be the same person as you both were in the past. 'I' is a transitioning, ever-changing phenomenon.
Although our identities and senses of self are ever-changing, there is something that remains the same. There is something within us that is constant and continuous, and that is pure awareness. It is this very pure awareness which serves as the experiencer and observer of life, and it is this pure awareness that we can refer to as our Soul.
This understanding of reincarnation closely resembles that of the Buddhist idea that the continuity continues, but the individual disappears. But how can a religion like Buddhism that doesn't believe in the soul believe in reincarnation? I believe the answer is that it was to prevent us from creating an ego identification with our "Souls".
The Buddhist idea of the Soul can be compared to the following analogy: You light a candle in the evening and leave it over night. When you go to blow it out in the morning can you say that it is the same flame that you had ignited in the previous evening? It is not the same flame, and yet somehow it is connected.
In this way, Buddhism understands our soul's as an energy, or an ever-burning flame. However, in order to prevent identification with it, they didn't refer to it as a "Soul".
As we mature in soul age we come to understand the wisdom in this Buddhist teaching.
The moment you start identifying with present or past life identities is the moment you begin creating a division between yourself and the world around you - and it is this that is the root of all disharmony in the world.
Why Do We Reincarnate?
So if we aren't the same person who is reincarnating over and over again - why do many people have memories of these 'past lives'?
Jungian psychology did a wonderful job in exploring the existence of the Collective Unconscious - a concept that Jung believed individual memories dwell in from past lives:
Freud referred to these karmic leftovers as "archaic remnants", or mental fragments whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's life, but rather appear to be primal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind.
The grandfather of psychology William James also shared his perspective, stating:
Essentially, the Collective Unconscious is formed of a pool of memories that some individuals, through the purification of awareness or evolution of their soul ages, have tapped in to, being able to remember events of a person's life hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years ago.
Past memories serve us in our journeys of Self-Exploration as ways to learn and grow.
The idea is that as we grow in soul maturity, the souls who have applied enough Soulful Energy in their lives will be able to remember the patterns of foolish and destructive behavior repeated in the past to correct, learn and move forward from.
The memory of this can prevent us from making the same mistake in our present life, and this is precisely what the Buddhist 'Wheel of Life' illustrates.
As long as we keep dying feeling unfulfilled from this life, as long as we keep dying carrying our superficial desires and expectations that create misery and suffering for ourselves and others, and as long as we continue to identify with our false senses of 'self' - we will continue to return to this world until we reach fulfillment.
Our reincarnation is a necessary process of refining our soul, of liberating ourselves from unfulfillment and of assisting us in quenching our spiritual thirst.
Why do We Feel Like We Need to "Return Home"?
It is during this process of our soul evolution that we mature and begin to feel alien and isolated in this world.
Suddenly, everything feels flat, barren and dry, and we struggle immensely to connect in relationships with other people. This is when we develop the deep longing to return back to our "true home" - to our divinity or conscious womb - the place where we feel we belong, and where we finally feel whole again.
At first it may seem like a terrible experience to go through the ordeals we go through in this life - and this is often referred to as the Dark Night of The Soul.
But when we begin to 'grow up' spiritually, we start to understand that awakening-enlightenment is not about having blissful experiences, but is about serving a much higher and more profound cause:
This is something we as individuals can never be separate from.
The last reincarnation is the one where we awaken, where we join opposites, where we transcend separation and duality and become whole so as to truly become responsible.
The 'Awakened Soul' is the final step - the progression of the Old Soul who has undergone immense spiritual work. It is impossible to awaken completely all at once - we must first begin to awaken for short moments, hence the necessity for Old Souls.
To awaken is only possible for those who seek it and want it - for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves and developing their authenticity for a very long time in order to attain it.
Most people will say that they are spiritual, and that they meditate or do yoga every now and then, but as Buddha put it:
Most soul ages will not have such a strong desire and will not be ready to die in order to find truth.
And this is what an Awakened Soul is:
Mystics in every religious system in every culture and in every age have reported this to be the highest truth. In fact, just as the unconscious works on a collective scale, so also does 'awakening' occur in waves of collective awareness.
Some Awakened Souls could be found in India such as,
...who were all spreading the same message, while in China there was,
...and in Greece,
...who were all contributors.
One of the most comforting statements ever made by Socrates was:
This is why our work is to encourage and support the evolution of the soul, to teach Soulful Energy and to apply it towards our collective journeys of Self-Mastery.