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..:: Rebirth ::..

By

Alan Schneider

         

            Rebirth and regeneration are the twin themes of life that most of us struggle with throughout existence as we confront the inevitable stagnation that afflicts human consciousness. This stagnant condition is two-fold in nature – the first phase results from habit formation, while the second is related to the fear of taking risks. 

            How and why do we form what are in many cases self defeating habits that then plague us for the rest of our lives? To answer this question, we must return to our old friend Karma, and Karmic predispositions. The human being is not born as a blank slate upon which anything might be written. In fact, any given person will have an extensive set of preexisting aptitudes and deficits that are inherited on many levels. This extends well beyond simple athletic prowess and intellectual capacity, to the more subtle considerations of personality expression and behavioral tendencies. When confronted with the myriad possibilities of life, why do we select only certain features of existence to explore and investigate? Simply because the Soul that is the ultimate director of our consciousness in incarnation enters (or reenters?) life on the Material Plane with a set of Karmic tasks laid out for It as part of Its ongoing evolution! This is the source of all of our propensities for experience while active in the physical realm. And that includes both negative and positive trends in consciousness as the Soul and its unruly assistant, the ego, mature.

            Of course, internal Soul Karma only determines the general tendencies of behavior and awareness. The other phase of this process is seen in the external manifestations that so very often are written off as coincidence or luck by the ego, but are known as synchronicities and destiny to the Seer. God continuously prods us through the external events of our lives to sense and understand the Soul and Karma. In the case of particularly unwanted experiences in life, we often find ourselves confronting a massive complex of interleaved internal and external habits contributing to their repeated, and customarily frustrating, occurrence. These old, dysfunctional habits are like icebergs – the great extent of their bulk lies beneath the surface of consciousness in the unconscious regions where our awareness has difficulty penetrating. The very tendency to avoid these depths is itself a dysfunctional habit – perhaps the root dysfunctional mode in human experience. What can be done to counteract and confront this avoidance?  

            First we must understand that the ego has an ingrained propensity to take the course of least resistance in any undertaking. Very often, this is the course of folly and ignorance – seen on display daily at home, and abroad. The ego takes this tack because it does not know any better, and finds the process of learning more effective, authentic behaviors to be uncomfortable enough to be motivated to avoid doing so, unless a sufficiently more uncomfortable alternative is present. We form negative habits because they’re initially easy to learn and practice, and only release them (or are released from them) when necessity requires this! Yes, necessity really is the Mother of Invention. The one characteristic that, more than any other, separates the achievers from the vast ocean of failures in this life is the much more willing attitude of the former to take calculated risks of all types, and then see them through with determination to successful completion. 

            The second feature of social conditioning that creates negative habits is FEAR. This can be fear of failure, fear of success(!), fear of social exposure, fear of embarrassment (this is a really big one for most people), or fear of many other varieties. The sad truth about life is that we are all so vulnerable to injury of such an enormous array of manifestations, and this makes fear a real factor to be dealt with much or all of the time in human consciousness. If a given individual’s Karma involved a significant amount of childhood verbal or physical abuse, a pattern of predominantly dysfunctional defensive behavior is often the result, a pattern that quickly becomes habituated into a lifelong pattern of self defeat – and this in spite of the possibility that the individual may even have some surface awareness of the largely unproductive nature of many of the preferred social responses practiced! Such is the power of habit in consciousness... 

            The process of psychological regeneration requires us to relive and release this trauma of childhood under relatively safe therapeutic conditions. This is the real key to rebirth – we must pass through the fire of the original wound, and relive it under more supportive, compassionate circumstances that will facilitate the healing process. It goes without saying, however, that life certainly does not always make the presence of such circumstances guaranteed! It even requires a certain amount of benevolent Karma to attain the luxury of grieving and growing. Many, many people in the world do not even experience that much grace and shelter as they struggle along with the enormous assaults of the universe. So, the Karma of rebirth is very conditional amid life’s endless turmoil. 

            Yet the process can and does occur, personally, socially, and spiritually, at the level of the Soul. Every time we gain an insight into the Psyche of the individual or the collective, we achieve a degree of personal rebirth, and this is something that applies to spiritual insight above all else. Knowledge of God, of God’s intent in creating Karma, and of God’s pure and complete, unconditional Love for humanity, is the most valuable set of perceptions that any human being embedded in the material condition can have. In this vein, let us return to the example of the Crucifixion mentioned in the last SEARCHLIGHT article.  

            As the New Testament tells it, Christ was apparently killed on the Cross – being for all knowable purposes completely without signs of life as He was removed from the means of His execution and then placed in a guarded tomb. Within a little more than twenty four hours, though, He became fully reanimated, reopened the tomb, and variously spoke over the next few days with His Disciples and significant others, before Ascending to Heaven. He is said to have displayed his wounds suffered on the Cross to Thomas, in fact, who actually inserted his fingers into the still-open wounds in disbelief. 

            Christianity takes the Crucifixion Legend as literal and factual truth, and proof positive that Christ surmounted death, as can anyone who accepts Him as their personal Savior, and His gospel and the teachings contained therein as the standards by which to live in the world. Now, beyond the literal interpretation of the Crucifixion and Resurrection as postulated by Christians, an extensive history of similar legends has existed since very ancient times. The Sacrifice of the Hero (or Savior), who is later reborn under miraculous circumstances is, in fact, a more or less common theme, even of many modern belief systems. Obviously, there are powerful underlying psychological motives driving this phenomenon. Let us investigate this phenomenon from the Ascension Theory perspective.  

            The Crucifixion focuses on several of life’s least popular subjects – suffering, victimization, torture, and at least transitory death. While most people would not mind the positives of the life of Christ – His popularity with the masses for a time, His enlightened and compassionate perspective on life and humanity, and His profound grasp of moral principal – the negatives that eventually befell Him were horrendous in the extreme. This is the essence of the sacrifice made by God through Christ – the Suffering of the Cross had to be graphic and extreme to emphasize the extent of the commitment to humanity on God’s end. The plain fact of life is that we are all eventually going to pass through the same gateway to oblivion that Christ did. Now, His experience of that passage appears to be an extreme case, but when the finality of death is considered for what it is – the complete cessation of all that is familiar, known, and knowable, with only faith and belief to confront this horrendous challenge – then we must admit that we are all existential embodiments of Christ on the Cross. Although it may be deeply repressed, this recognition is ever present in human consciousness, and finds expression in the wish for spiritual rebirth, as an extension of the wish for literal rebirth.  

            To be sure, spiritual and psychological rebirth are necessary for the maintenance of ongoing mental and general health. We must all chose to be either continuously born, through new experiences and education, for example, or accept equally continuous mortifaction through boredom and indolence. And the sacrifices required to maintain the cycle of rebirth can occasionally be very high indeed, if our Karma requires this of us. What we have to acknowledge is the fundamental choice to be made in our approach to life implied by the rebirth question, and then make that choice in the positive, proactive direction. This is the ultimate statement of the Crucifixion - Christ did not shirk His responsibility for us and for God. If we accept the Gospel, human beings who affirm the Sacrament will also be granted immortality. Only the outcome of faith will tell this tale, but what is right is still right in any culture, and this is what the life of Christ is really about – doing the right thing regardless of the consequences.  

            The Hero’s role in society is the sacrifice of personal interest on behalf of the general interests of culture and collective social well being. In this context, Christ was certainly a profound Hero. On one hand, He led a life of comprehensive sacrifice for all of humanity. On the other, the reward for this life of sacrifice is that He lived in a state of ongoing rebirth through the abnegation of His ego, experiencing Samadhi as His normative condition! The Saints and Seers live in a state of ecstasy while still incarnate, and Christ certainly was such an individual.  Making the supposition that sustained Samadhi amounts to crossing the barrier of death into union with God while still alive, we must then consider the further possibility that He simply relinquished His physical form in the ordeal of the Crucifixion, demonstrated the Resurrection as evidence of God’s promise to humanity, and then Ascended – into the collective unconscious, where He still resides as a primary archetypal symbol, and is accessible for interaction with the courageous who travel there. I have myself experienced the Astral Manifestation of Christ, although the reader will have to take my word for this, unless, of course, the reader has been Blessed with the same perception. All conditions are present in the Astral Light as the infinite symbolic realm of the collective unconscious.

             If we can manage to suffer the Hell of reliving our past trauma, and be reborn thereby, and embrace the uncertainty of life as God’s spontaneous gift of Love, then we can live lives of spiritual freedom in spite of the physical limitations of the material form that we find ourselves in. This is the challenge!

                                                - With Love, Alan -

                                        (CR2007, Alan Schneider)

 

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