I believe in reincarnation, definitely.
It might be because life seems to me too short (doesn’t it always feel that way to everyone?) and that the only way to get to experience all the things of life, good and bad, is to go on the ride more than once?
And it appeals to a sense of poetic justice that gets lost all too often in the mundane world. We all know of good people who just seem to have a constant shit tornado in their lives, just bad things happening one after another….and we all can think of bad people who seem to get good things just handed to them, without any effort at all. It rankles us at our deepest root of unfairness. So maybe my belief in reincarnation is an attempt to give a larger perspective on that, so that maybe that good person is dealing with the junk from their previous life when they were bad, and maybe that bad person is getting rewards or even new temptations of their own (people find it hard to be compassionate when they’re rolling in cash).
Reincarnation makes us feel that our lives have some purpose. I mean, movie after movie vomits up the cliche about ‘you are specially chosen by fate/destiny’ and most of us know that, yeah, that’s never going to happen to us. We wish it would. We LONG to be important, to have our lives matter, at least a little. So maybe reincarnation is a way of saying, “I am in the work of purifying a soul. This is important stuff.” It allows us a narrative that we can stitch the random patches of our lives together with.
In movies and books, when someone dies, it’s because their story is told, their arc is over, life’s work has done itself through them. Look at how people react to deaths of characters on shows like The Walking Dead. We…don’t have that here. Once you’ve seen someone you love die, you can’t say WELL their arc was over. There’s always something unfinished. There’s always things they didn’t do, didn’t say, didn’t finish, that defy the tidy narrative arc. So reincarnation is not the end of the book, but just, you know, the end of a chapter, the ultimate TBC…..
My sister tells me that in Jewish mysticism, women are actually the top of the reincarnation chain–that according to the mystics, being a woman is so difficult that once you’ve lived life as a woman…you’re done. You have your PhD in Life. It’s a strangely empowering thought, really.
You can tell I’m willing to be wrong. I’m willing to admit that my faith in reincarnation might be wishful hope and longing rather than a spiritual reality.