Each person, each one of us, is now living in several bodies besides our familiar physical body. These bodies exist on what may be called Inner Planes, known as spiritual, mental, emotional. Each person acquires a physical body by the natural process of birth. He/she is born into this world, lives his lifetime, aware of his/her responses to joy and pain, and then his/her physical body dies because it can no longer sustain physical life. The occupant of the body is still living on the outer planes, while the matter of his/her physical body return to its primordial, chemical evolution. After a period of inner rest and growth, the occupant again acquires a body on the physical plane for further necessary experience. There is no other way available to him/her. In normal health and growth in this world, a person’s consciousness is more or less centred in his physical body. However, during sleep, or concentrated study, or by the use of possible harmful devices, his consciousness may leave the physical body. Actually, man’s consciousness is aware of things happening on the inner planes while he is awake on the physical plane.
For instance, when we are awake in our physical bodies, we respond to ideas, feelings of joy and pain, which come from causes that are not on the physical plane but in mental and emotional realms.
Sleeping and waking are profound mysteries to man; through these doorways he reincarnates each day. Birth and death are equally mysterious to man; through these doorways he reincarnates in life cycles. Man knows these phenomena are necessary to his growth and well-being. He is controlled by their limitations but someday he will learn to control them as have countless other men who have learned such secrets and earned such powers through lifetimes of study and training. The Law of Reincarnation explains the obvious inequities between men in any one lifetime; this skill or lack of it; his wealth or poverty; his suffering or wellbeing. Meanwhile, the knowledge of reincarnation may endow all men with the hope of attainment to such transcendent powers. Each thought, word and deed, guided by the Golden Rule, help man to expand his/her consciousness on all planes of existence.
The Temple teaches that not only men but every grouping of men, as families, nations, races, planets and stars, as well as every atom in manifestation in the organic and inorganic kingdoms, are all subject to this Law of Reincarnation, to gain the needed experience, to learn the lesson of unity with all that lives.
The temple teaches that each man’s life is better or worse according to whether or not it has been guided by the Golden Rule, and that the purpose of successive lives is to make man realise the fact of the inviolable power of the law of universal brotherhood. Man cannot exist outside of this law; he lives with it or against it, each way with its corresponding effect.
The Temple teaches that the very knowledge of his/her own existence compels man to acknowledge a power greater than himself; that this power may be called God, and that it is forever impelling man towards the recognition of that God as witnessed by everything and person around him, on every plain on which he lives. The Temple teaches that such a realisation is the difference between spiritual and animal man, and that such a belief is as necessary to the wellbeing of man as is air to his physical body.
The Temple teaches that to the extent that man abides by the Golden Rule he is living in harmony with all of creation, and that this harmony, which dominates the universe is clearly demonstrated by the solar systems in all space, as well as in the meticulous laws that govern all the kingdoms of nature – atomic, molecular, cellular. The Temple teaches that all of man’s universe is governed by 12 principles. The name of these principles are:
Love, Will, Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Hope, Truth, Justice, Loyalty, Honesty, Service and Obedience. These contain all of the possible goals for man to achieve, the very meaning of the word God in manifestation. The Temple teaches that the opposites of these principles exist but maybe generated only in the heart and mind of man, and that even these opposites may produce effects only as they are combined with some one or more aspects of the constructive principles. For instance, even disloyalty requires some knowledge in order to result in treachery.
The positive use of these principles supports life; their negative use destroys life. Most incarnations are a battle ground of these forces as willed by each man. Their abuse produces hatred, greed, prejudice, anger and egotism. It results in destruction by earthquake, volcano, fire, flood, drought, cyclone, pollution, pestilence and disease, as well as all war, rebellion, confrontation, hunger, poverty – all misery. All kingdoms of nature suffer from this abuse.
The primary reason for the study of all science, art, philosophy and economics is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Golden Rule. Mere technological skill without moral light is at best wasteful and usually intensively destructive. The purpose of reincarnation is to give man the opportunity to change the negative principles and effects back to their original positive and sacred purpose, the identity of man with God. Therefore, from this point of view, ideas, ideals, morals, ethics, as represented by one man/woman or groups of people, are equally subject to the Law of Reincarnation, the law of continuing life.
These forces unite people and compel them to reincarnate in physical bodies, because these forces which exist in the mental and emotional bodies of people do not die; until they are transmuted, they simply impair the physical body. The personality which has generated such forces in one lifetime may well be the victim of like forces in another. The purpose of reincarnation is served when such experience brings eventual recognition of its worth and ultimate transmutation through the inevitable suffering which is the obvious result of past actions.
In a like way, according to the Temple Teachings the good in man is never lost but continues to grow in successive lifetimes of experience. The individual becomes more and more a part of the brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God and so a person or many people who have been working with this kind of motive will find themselves compelled by these ideals to reincarnate again and again toward their realisation on the physical plane, with a corresponding reality that has always existed as the Plan of God, the 12 principles. In this greater and greater fulfilment or divine purpose, the lesser lives of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms and their immeasurable energies are themselves helped along their own series of lives toward the Godhead, and they serve in man’s creative use. Also to this end, for instance, the cells of an individual’s body reincarnate in a seven year cycle
The power which draws an individual into incarnation again and again rests on the bonds of love and hate, sympathy and intolerance, understanding and defiance. This attraction involves men, women, children, families, societies, professions, cities, countries, nations, religions, friends and enemies and man’s use of all the kingdoms of nature.
If a man fails or refuses to understand another man in one incarnation, in another incarnation he will find himself in a reverse relation to his first position. He will learn what it is to be misunderstood. If a man will not feed a hungry person, he will find himself one day facing hunger and may learn what it is to receive help to be denied. Therefore, any incarnation would be the result of previous incarnations and set up the causes of future ones. What we do in this life, today, determines what and how we shall do in future incarnations. Herein lies justice and obedience to the laws of life. There is no such thing as ‘blind fate’ or super-imposed predestination.
The study of the known history of man, from this point of view of the reincarnation of men embued with similar ideas, reveals a cyclic pattern of action and reaction. Barbarism, sophistication, cultural ebb and flow, siege, conquest, stability and rebellion are all reflective as cause and effect in the total pattern of reincarnation. Back of these patterns may be discerned the laws which guide and control people’s successive lives, teaching them the inviolability of the Golden Rule, violation of which only demonstrates in inexorable power.
Acceptance in reincarnation automatically brings many truths to light. When we read about past races and civilisations, we are reading about ourselves. We have lived in all races. We have lived as men; we have lived as women. We have lived in poverty, we have lived in wealth. We have lived in primitive societies and in highly technological eras.
The Temple teaches that every atom of the universe is progressing along the path of evolution by reincarnation, directed by God. All degrees of God’s consciousness are travelling that same path. We, as individuals did not reincarnate from animals nor do we in the future, though a man may have traits that can be called animalistic. As an analogy, a cabbage cannot grow into a rose bush.
Actually no man owns anything, even his own body or mind. Everything that can possibly exist – principles, laws, powers, ideals, ideas, chemicals, on all planes or worlds – are simply the realm of God, the Mind of God, and known to God always. Man, through successive incarnations, grows gradually into an awareness of these Truths. He earns the right to share these divine powers, to become a custodian of them.
Since we are all different it follows that we have each had different kinds of experiences in different incarnations. In reincarnation we unerringly retain that which we have earned; such is not forgotten. However, the memory of specific personalities identified with specific incarnations would service no good purpose for most of mankind at this time, intriguing as such speculation might be. Such limitation of memory is no doubt a merciful protection from such an overwhelmingly awful past.
Obviously some individuals have had more or fewer incarnations that others, thus accounting for differences between people, therefore, if a person is a great scientist or artist, they have earned the right and responsibility to use these certain powers of Deity through many incarnations of work in that direction. No Deity arbitrarily determines that one person shall be, without effort, a great performer while another shall remain hopeless. The genius of a Mozart is full-blown, the labour of lifetimes. Any evolving entity may, through reincarnation, one day reach any height to which they aspire.
Obviously, there is no possibility of getting something for nothing. Reincarnation is a profound argument for patience. Since no power, however great, can endow us with capabilities we have not earned, it follows that none can take away from us that which we have rightly gained. What we are today is the total of what we have earned in this and past lives. We alone can add to this total or take away from it, as we use our capabilities according to the Golden Rule of in violation of it.
The Temple teaches that each person is reincarnated in the only place and in the only conditions on earth which can give him the opportunity to take the next and only step he can take in his/her life’s journey and by which he can improve or degrade him/herself.
The interdependence of all men is made apparent by the fact that no man can incarnate by himself or live alone anywhere on earth. We are born among certain people and things, drawn to them by our former treatment of them and theirs of us. These relationships vary and provide us with the experience of learning about our fellow men and creatures, as well as an opportunity to repay what we owe and to be paid for what we have earned.
Necessarily we incarnate each time in that place which each of us alone can and may fill. Each of us must do a work which he/she alone can do, with their own individual strengths and weaknesses, sick, or well, strong or weak. If any one person were missing, the whole of manifestation would be incomplete. In this way, all people are equally important; each person counts. No measure of success or failure, as defined by worldly societies, affects this right of every man.
Man learns only by experience. Reincarnation provides the necessary experience. Since the Mind of God is infinite, we need countless incarnations to literally integrate ourselves with the Godhead consciously. Each moment of each lifetime is characterised by acknowledgement or neglect of this Wisdom in all its magnitude.
This daily opportunity is the Plan of God for all his creatures. Each form in each kingdom of nature is on its way to eventual self-conscious unity with God. He/she is to impelled by the existence of the divine spark of God within the centre of his being, his heart. Placed there by God it starts the least and greatest of His creations on the evolutionary path in a vast scheme of incarnations. All kingdoms of nature, atoms, stars, men and planets travel the same Path to consciousness of God.
The evidence of power, intelligence and harmony in the universe is a far greater order than what we as people can possibly demonstrate. It follows that these mystic capabilities are the custodianship of Great Souls who have lived infinitely more lifetimes than we have.
The highest of these Great Entities is called in the Temple Teachings the Central Spiritual Sun, the Christos. The Christos is the First Incarnated Son. The hierarchy of Beings who have followed the Christos are as Rays of His Light, guiding and making possible the manifestation of the universe. They are incarnations of His Will and Mind; as He is the expression of the Infinite Godhead.
As with all else in the universe, these Great Entities have created our Earth Planet. They guide and control its evolution, all things and creatures on it. They are known as Avatars, Christs, Archangels, Masters and Their Disciples. They serve continuously as leaders of mankind in all its constructive activities. Among them recognised, and unrecognised are incarnations as the world’s leaders in science, arts, state craft, religion, industrialists, teachers in all fields.
The Avatar, the Christ, incarnates for this humanity once every 2,000 years and gives a new impulse to human endeavour. Lesser, more frequent incarnations embody and express different facets of that Great Soul. They are seldom recognised by man and, as yet one way or another, always crucified by him. Nevertheless they represent a continuous line of incarnating beings between the Christs of all times and men of all times, today and in all of the past. They are also the embodiment of the future, representing as they do, the far distant perfection which draws man ever back into incarnation, towards the attainment of Mastery.
The karmic association of motives also causes the incarnation of those who oppose the expression of the Christ. They are drawn into incarnation to attempt to disrupt and destroy any effort of the Masters to promote the brotherhood of man.
These are some of the truths regarding reincarnation. They give to each and every man the right to choose and eventually attain to his own birthright, the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the dignity of self-responsibility to himself, his fellow man and all of nature.