There is a question here about reincarnation. Now look. If God is individual life, can God die? No. If God can’t die, can God be reincarnated? No. Can life be reincarnated? No. What must reincarnation be? A part of the belief that we die. You couldn’t possibly have a reincarnation without a death. Now then. In our experiment we found that we aren’t in the body, didn’t we? How can we leave a body or come back to a body? You remember this afternoon? Could glass leave the tumbler? Could glass leave the tumbler? No. If it did, would there be a tumbler? No. Glass can’t leave the tumbler. Can glass come back to the tumbler? No. Life is God. God is life. And that God, that life, is the substance of your being. How can it leave you? And how can it return to you?
Reincarnation is an actual truth in this sense. That every day we can be reincarnated and in our lifetimes as truth students we will be reincarnated. Not once. Probably a dozen or more times. Paul gives us the entire secret of reincarnation. You must die daily and you must be reborn of the spirit. There is the true secret of reincarnation. If yesterday you were a sinner, desiring sin, enjoying it, and all of a sudden the Christ has touched your consciousness, so that sin is no longer even a memory in it, you have died and you have been reborn. You have reincarnated as a new individual, all without dying and all without being reborn. You follow that?
Every few years a truth student should die. They should absolutely lose so many of their former habits, traits, characteristics. You don’t lose it all at once. But every truth student should immediately become more loving, more just, more kind, more honest, show forth greater integrity. Every truth student should begin to lose the erroneous traits. Obscene language, vulgar language, vulgarities of one sort or another, coarseness of human conduct. All those things should go, slough off, and that’s dying daily. And while that is going on as a gradual process, one of these days something very sudden takes place, which is a real death. One day in meditation the voice says to you, “Know ye not I am God?” And your whole humanhood dies right there and then and you walk around a different person on earth. That is a sudden and very complete reincarnation. But there’s no reason why a few years later the same thing shouldn’t happen on a greater scale. And higher and higher you go into the awareness of your true identity. More and more of the humanhood drops off. And thus you find yourself reincarnating.
But never believe this, that life can leave your body. Because life isn’t in your body. Life is the substance of your body. The animating principle and quality and activity of your body. And life and your body are one. Inseparable and indivisible. And then in that realization you will have real reincarnation. You’ll have many of them. But they will all take place without being buried or cremated. Or without hanging around in space waiting for a new baby’s body to inhabit. Why, can’t you see too the utter impossibility of that theory? From the moment of conception, from the very moment that the seed takes root, don’t you know there’s life there already? How can it come from outside and jump into the body after it’s formed? That life is there expanding that seed, multiplying it, dividing it up into the forms. That life has to be there with that form. Not in it but with it, of it, right from the moment of conception. That’s not a hollow shell, that body. That’s not a dead piece of matter. It couldn’t expand, it couldn’t grow, it couldn’t take form if it were just a dead piece of flesh. From the moment of conception that child is a living being with its life and its soul. As a matter of fact its soul forms its body. Right there in the womb. Nothing external to that seed forms the seed into a body or into a living being. It is the soul itself which is the soul of the seed, the mind of the seed, the intelligent direction of the seed that forms it. How could something else come out, pop into it as if it were an empty shell? Never believe that any baby is an empty shell even five minutes after conception. It isn’t. It is a living soul. Whether or not it is yet self-conscious is another matter. But it is a living soul and it has its life. And the life of that seed is animating it and developing it and bringing it forth into its wholeness. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that your baby ever is, was, or could be an empty shell waiting for somebody to jump into it. Oh no, nothing like that.
Yes, reincarnation is true from the standpoint of humanhood. Not from the standpoint of spiritual development in which God already is the very life of our being.
You know, we have this teaching of Karma. And it is about as true a teaching as there is in all the world. Only it isn't called Karma in the Christian religion; it is called - "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." Now, all there is to that is the fact that what you are living with THIS MINUTE will manifest itself in the next minute or the next year or the next era or the next incarnation - if we consider the form of the continuity of life as incarnation or reincarnation. Regardless of what we think about reincarnation, the truth is that life is Eternal. And the Truth is that as we are livng that life - NOW - we will be living it eternally.
And we will be living it in whatever consciousness we ourselves unfold. Can you understand this just for a minute? That - NOW - THIS MINUTE - is the only life you have? And that - RIGHT NOW - in this very minute you have no past and no penalty to pay for a past? If you can agree that - "I now am living in the Fullness of God - I now am living in the Fullness of Love - I now am entertaining no animosity, no hates, no jealousies, no envies . . . " - can you imagine right here in this room how much LOVE thre is at this very minute! Love for me; love for you; love for each other; love for the Truth; love of God; love of Christ. It was only LOVE that brought us here!
from Joel's Original 1948 Second San Francisco Lecture Series, available here: 60th Anniversary Writing
Joel's comment in the Monthly Letter of July 1963:
"A Parenthesis in Eternity has been sent to publishers in New York and London. This book will raise many thoughts on the subject of reincarnation. If you are interested in the most authoritative book ever compiled on this subject, get Reincarnation, an Anthology East and West" by Head and Cranston.
Reincarnation and Evolving Consciousness
The Only Freedom
"The ongoingness of life makes reincarnation inevitable. But what that form of reincarnation is is entirely dependent on your understanding the degree of your unfoldment. If you have advanced far enough in spiritual understanding so that you know that God is individual consciousness, then you will also know that individual consciousness is immortal and eternal. It never dies; it continues forever and forever. Since the nature of consciousness is to appear or manifest in form, it is inevitable that your consciousness will appear as form throughout eternity.
"Reincarnation will take whatever form will be intelligible to your level of consciousness. When you were an infant, you had the body of an infant, but you do not have it now. Did you die to get rid of it? Or did you evolve out of it?Obviously, you evolved out of it...
"Spiritually illumined people do not die and wither away. They come to a fulfilled period of ripe mature years, and if or when they pass from this scene, they evolve out of one form into the next. Instead of dying they make a transition. That is reincarnation, the constant incarnating and reincarnating in one form after another which, if we permit it, will be spiritual development and unfoldment instead of a withering away with old age."
From Tape 607, Side 2
Divine Impartation and Reincarnation
"You see, the resurrection and the ascension is much more than religious symbolism, than religious rites, ceremonies. The experience of resurrection and ascension is a healing, it is THE healing principle, THE HEALING PRINCIPLE.
"Now, you don't require any ability to resurrect yourself. That wasn't any trick and it didn't take only a Jesus to do it. Everyone does it.
"The great trick is to be one of those who are able to behold the resurrection. There's the demonstration, to be able to behold the demonstration.
"Now, in order to grasp this, you must grasp immaculate conception. And you must understand that immaculate conception isn't a physical process, not even a half physical process.
"Immaculate conception is the idea of God manifesting its own infinite being. That's the only immaculate conception there is. God manifesting, expressing itself as individual you and me. That's an immaculate conception and a virgin birth.
"When we understand that, we understand our own immortality. And immortality, please believe me, immortality does not mean longevity.
"Immortality is the realization of individual life as eternal. And you can't understand individual life as eternal unless you can understand God as individual life.
"And when you understand God as individual life, you understand the whole secret of the healing work. Since then you can say there is nothing to heal and no one to heal.
"You know it's dangerous, metaphysically, to walk around saying, "There's nothing to heal and nobody to heal," as words, as quotations. There's no consciousness to back that up. And without the consciousness to back that up, you're leaving your patient in a sad fix.
"You must, to be healers, you must develop spiritual consciousness. And spiritual consciousness is only developed on the basis of an understanding of God as individual life, individual mind, individual soul. Then how can you be concerned for God in any of its individual form, variety, being?
"When you see that, you also understand those questions that come up over and over and over again about reincarnation.
"How can there be anything other than reincarnation? How can you avoid it?
"If you understand that the man who is a spiritual, or woman, who is a spiritual practitioner, healer, teacher today, but one time was a businessman. Or the woman who was a housekeeper and a mother and all of a sudden is a spiritual . . .
"Don't you know that that is a reincarnation, a rebirth? Don't you know that the spiritual healer of today is not the same individual who was standing behind the counter last year? Or beating the pavement selling?
"They're not the same individual. There has been a rebirth.
"Oh yes, look in the mirror and the same face is there. And ask the man the name and you'll get the same name, maybe even the same address. But it isn't the same consciousness. Not at all, entirely different one.
"Now, the child in grammar school, the child in high school, man in college or woman, they answer to the same name. Are they the same person? No.
"Each one has been a rebirth.
"And so as we go from childhood to manhood and womanhood, we have rebirth.
"But the real significance of reincarnation is really the rebirth from one state of consciousness to another, and that's always going on.
"Reincarnation is not a death process except in the meaning that Paul gave it, dying daily. Dying daily and being reborn of the spirit. There's reincarnation for you.
"We are reincarnated every time we pass from that mortality that we put off and go into that immortality which we put on. That is rebirth, that is reincarnation. And it's all done without what the world calls a death or a passing on process.
"The only death is the dying daily to the man or woman we were, to the belief we formerly entertained.
"Now, you see, in that light then, I, as a practitioner today can say that I have been reincarnated. And I can also say that I remember preexistence. Because I remember the days that I was carrying a bag out on the road. I can remember the days in the office. I can remember the days of pleading with banks for money. I can remember preexistence, my existence prior to my spiritual evolution. And every one of you can remember your preexistence, your existence prior to the time of your entrance into truth.
"And so, you will always remember that existence prior to the time when you received your impartations from spirit, when you had to look in a book for the quotation, or go to a practitioner or a teacher to hear it.
"Oh no. There is preexistence. There is the existence before this spiritual birth or resurrection.
"All these terms you see are real. But they're not only real about two thousand years ago. They're real today. We have preexistence today. We have reincarnation today. We have the resurrection today. And we will experience the ascension too. That in its own time.
"Do you see now why this subject is important to us?
"We must understand, if we are to fulfill our function as the light of the world, if we are to be the light of the world, we must understand preexistence. We must understand that we have existed as God manifest since before time began. And that our immortality is ours because God is our life and it is immortal and eternal.
"We must understand the words of the Master when he says, "Before Abraham was, I am. Lo, I am with you unto the end of the world." Isn't that both preexistence and reincarnation and resurrection all in two sentences? Of course it is.
"So let us take the orthodox interpretation out of those words and bring them into our mystical terminology, our spiritual terminology.
"And incidentally, I know that if we ever have more class work, we're going to have it in two different ways. We're going to have class work for those who have never been through an
"There's another word. You see, it happened to me and it'll probably happen to you if it hasn't already. In 1945 the words came to me that next year, 1946, is your year of transition. And I was so afraid of it. I didn't want to make that experience. Oh, I didn't want it.
"But I've made it, made it painlessly, joyously. You see we must make the transition, and we must make the transition out of those old theological meanings of terms into an awareness of those same words applicable to our experience of today.
"Now, you know, with that we ought to be able to have a most wonderful, wonderful meditation.
"Thank you until tomorrow."