The process of a butterfly being reincarnated into a man.

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Does reincarnation exist? What are skeptics’ and believers’ takes on reincarnation?

In simple terms, reincarnation is the process of a human’s or animal’s soul being transferred to another body after a biological death. Reincarnation is a popular belief among many religions, but the concept isn’t universally accepted due to a lack of scientific evidence.

Let’s explore different perspectives on whether or not reincarnation exists.

What Is Reincarnation?

According to Karma by Sadhguru, reincarnation is a continuous process where the energy body—the nonphysical sheath linked to the body and mind—takes on various forms across different lifetimes depending on the karma accumulated in previous lives. The actions and decisions you take in your current life set the trajectory for future lives. Reincarnation is a progressive journey where each life, influenced by your karma, presents opportunities for growth and learning. However, as long as you keep accumulating karma, you remain stuck in the cycle of reincarnation. But if you successfully release yourself from karma, then you can escape the endless wheel of life, death, and rebirth.

Sadhguru emphasizes that you don’t need to believe reincarnation exists to benefit from a deeper understanding of karma. He argues that spiritual truths, including concepts like reincarnation, should come from a place of inner experience and realization rather than mere belief. 

Learning About Reincarnation Through Hypnotherapy

Psychologist and hypnotherapist Dr. Brian Weiss believes reincarnation does exist. In 1981, the course of Dr. Weiss’s career changed dramatically when one of his therapy patients, “Catherine,” suddenly recalled details of her past lives while under hypnosis. Though Weiss, like many scientists, is a natural skeptic, his experience with this patient convinced him that reincarnation is real, human souls are eternal, and there are spiritual “Masters” providing help and guidance from beyond the veil. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, Many Lives, Many Masters is a fascinating account of an experience that changed both Weiss’s and his patient’s lives for the better. 

After treating Catherine for 18 months with traditional talk therapy and making very little progress, Weiss began to suspect there might be repressed memories of trauma in Catherine’s past that were causing her current mental health issues. Weiss believed that if they could unearth those buried memories through hypnosis, Catherine would be able to confront her trauma head-on and cure her present-day phobias. Catherine, though skeptical about hypnosis, agreed to try it. 

While she was hypnotized, Weiss directed Catherine to go back to where her current symptoms started. He assumed Catherine’s mind would naturally regress to a buried trauma in her early childhood. Instead, however, Catherine began describing her first past life memory: She was a young woman living in a hot, dry climate in 1863 BC. In vivid detail, she described drowning alongside her young daughter; the memory was so intense that Catherine began to choke and gag while describing it. 

As Weiss and Catherine continued their past life regression therapy, Catherine revealed that she had experienced 86 lifetimes on Earth; however, during therapy, she only recalled details from about 11 lifetimes. Additionally, her past life memories were not limited to one geographical region or even one gender—she remembered living all over the world at various points in history, having various professions, and being both male and female. 

Reincarnation Clashes With Science

Carl Sagan says reincarnation doesn’t exist because there’s no evidence that it does. Science is about not accepting a claim to knowledge unless it can be proven, unless there is verifiable and reproducible evidence that confirms it to be true. The general acceptance of reincarnation is anti-science rhetoric since it can’t be proven.

In The Demon-Haunted World, Sagan claims beliefs in pseudosciences are becoming more and more common in the modern age. A pseudoscience is an idea or system of explanation that claims to be scientifically true but is actually based on faulty premises or insufficient evidence. In other words, pseudoscience is misinformation disguised as science. Pseudosciences come in many forms. As Sagan claims, for virtually every field of science, there is a corresponding form of pseudoscience. Geology, for example, has flat-earthers. Chemistry has alchemy. Astronomy has astrology. 

The supernatural, on the other hand, is something that exists outside the laws of nature. Supernatural beliefs often come in the form of religious ideologies. Both New Age spirituality and the old faith-based religions are broadly followed in modern times. Things like reincarnation, demons, angels, gods, or spirits are widely accepted. Supernatural beliefs can also come in secular forms such as magic or extrasensory perception. 

The differences between pseudoscience and the supernatural can be difficult to determine. The lines separating them are blurry. Astrology, for example, may fall into both categories. What they have in common is that they are unscientific.

Since Sagan published The Demon-Haunted World in 1995, unscientific beliefs have continued to spread. According to a 2018 study, roughly 60% of American adults hold at least one New Age belief, which includes both supernatural and pseudoscientific ideas such as reincarnation, psychics, and astrology. For example, a third of Americans believe in reincarnation. While pseudosciences usually rely on faulty or misleading evidence, supernatural beliefs usually rely on the absence of evidence. It is impossible to disprove that demons, spirits, gods, or reincarnation exist because they exist outside the natural world. 

Like pseudoscience, belief in the supernatural is largely driven by our desire to believe in it.  Supernatural beliefs assuage our negative emotions and help us cope with the realities of life. Belief in a psychic’s ability to speak with the dead helps us cope with our grief, for example. Belief in the afterlife or reincarnation alleviates our fear of death. Supernatural beliefs can also give meaning and purpose to our lives. They can help explain the unexplainable, filling in the gaps of our incomplete understanding of the world. 

Lessons to Take Away From Reincarnation

There’s no way to know if reincarnation actually exists. Despite the unknown, you can still go about your life as if you died and were reborn, such as drastically changing your lifestyle.

To demonstrate this, Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari tells the story of Julian Mantle, who suffers from a heart attack. He decides to make changes by giving up law and traveling to India to find meaning and balance in his life. 

Three years later, he comes back happier and healthier than he’s been in decades. His transformation amazes his former colleague, John. It’s almost as if Julian was reborn as an entirely different person. Julian promises to teach John what he’s learned in his time away so that John can experience a similar change.

While Julian wasn’t literally reborn, his lessons overlap with the principles of reincarnation: A lesson you learn in your past life is a lesson you live in your next life. For example, if you fail at time management in your past life, use your next life to manage your time better. Every chapter in life is a chance to evolve and grow from your past mistakes.

Final Words

The idea of reincarnation has been around for thousands of years. We can’t say for sure if reincarnation exists or not. But there isn’t any harm in believing it’s real, especially if it makes you live your life in a more meaningful way.

Does reincarnation exist in your opinion? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Does Reincarnation Exist? What Believers & Skeptics Say

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Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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