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September 2016 –“Rebirth” from The Wisdom of the Overself (2015 ed.), Ch. 7, “The Scorpion of Death,” Section 4

This could be read as a dialogue between the individual and the higher self, much like the one between Arjuna and Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. PB calls this section “Rebirth,” not “Reincarnation,” and this points towards a higher understanding of the process we call death and what lies beyond. To the somewhat frightening aspect of confronting the relative truth of our existence, the teaching speaks of the necessity of recognizing the transiency of life and death. The first paragraph on page 157 reads,”If anything changes and passes away, it is because it turns into something else.” Questions previously asked were “who,” “what,” “where”; now they include “why” “whence” “whither.” Once these questions are understood, a different understanding arises.

“Rebirth” includes a recall of previous chapters of The Wisdom of the Overself and reminds us that we need a metaphysical background to understand the mystery of life and death. Near the bottom of page 161, PB refers to the 5th chapter, “The Metaphysics of Sleep.” He explains, “…humanity can attain its fullest spiritual Self-realization only in the wakeful state of the physical world. Because the after-death regions here described are the equivalents to the dreaming and sleeping states only, it becomes needful for the imperfect spirit to return to earth again, where alone it can find the adequate conditions for its further progress. This is the final justification of rebirth.” When he explains once more the identification of the ‘I’-thought with the body-thought, which always arises second, he points out the initial error from whence our ignorance arises. The first paragraph on page 160 brings up the analogy of death to sleep when it explains that, “Each morning we reappear out of blank nothingness with all our personal character and particular tendencies intact.”

Page 158 explains, “For the released consciousness is only partially released by the critical transition of death. The multitude of expressions which it has gained during its incarnation have worn certain deep furrows of desire and habit. These tendencies attach themselves to and colour it completely. Not having yet understood that there is an ultimate and impersonal purpose to be attained in passing through these experiences in the earth-world, it has developed an excessive interest in them.”

The person asks, “Do we come back?” Well, no, if you mean “me”, the ego we identify with in body consciousness – no ‘we’ do not. Following the thread of the process, PB explains on page 157 that “those who ask for personal survival after death during an endless eternity are unconsciously asking for the everlasting survival of all their moral faults and defects, all their mental incapacities and limitations. This in turn implies that they are asking for the fixation of error and the stabilization of evil and ignorance.” Page 158 speaks of asking for ”the progressive change of personality, for evolution from the worst to the best, even though this involve a gradual letting go of the imperfect characteristics and traits of a particular personality and its gradual transformation into a diviner and grander being.”

Pages 158-9 deal with karma: “all [ties] are mental ties and so long as they exist, the ‘I’ necessarily continues to feel the need of the physical body which formed them.” Mentalism teaches that ”thought being creative, it will be driven by its own forces to return to earth again. All these ties need a new incarnation for their working out and adjustment. No world becomes real for us until we experience it, which means until we think it… Therefore, the spirit is inwardly impelled to think the space-time characteristics which will bring the earth back into its consciousness. Before this can happen, however, Nature so ordains matters that it has to pass through the intermediate period corresponding to dream wherein the earthly experiences just completed are first mentally digested.”

On page 159 we learn that” both mentality and perspective are, in the final analysis, results gained from former births. No experience is ever lost. All the innumerable memories of innumerable lives are subconsciously assimilated and transmuted into wisdom, into conscience, into tendencies, and into intuitions which spring from men know not where but which nevertheless influence their characters and lives….We cannot jump the hurdles which bar us from the winning post…. The one essential is right direction. There is no standing still. We must develop or degenerate.”