Reincarnation: Truth, or an Addiction?


A hawk that visited my backyard wall yesterday

Someone talked about ‘reincarnation,’ or a desire for reincarnation in some cultures, as an addiction. Here is a response…

Perhaps only in part, for this – reincarnation – is a subject where the answer is most definitely “It depends!” – on a whole lot of things. 🙂 A change, an expansion, in perspective is most helpful here.

Consider energy as a foundation for all things. That can only be reincarnated into varied forms as we know it. Or matter, atoms in our bodies – say Carbon – most, if not all, have been reincarnated from other living forms, such as in the hawk in the picture above that consumes other living things, and even from dinosaurs, and plants, from hundreds of millions of years ago. Complex molecules and even structures are commonly reincarnated: offspring, to the extent of full physical form, are changed reincarnations of their parents, and carry the same or very similar DNA. Energetic life therefore involves reincarnations at almost every conceivable level. The ancients were not all that wrong in their observations here.

Now consider the symbolic (based on relationships, for example), or the abstract. The salinity of the womb, and of our blood, matches that of the oceans. Can we say that the same distinctive characteristic has been reincarnated in life forms said to have originated from our oceans? Some mental aspects – behavior (habits, traditions), and even language and culture – are often repeated or re-instantiated in succeeding generations. The curious mind – reflected in our artistic, intellectual, and technological capacities – is similarly reincarnated, with changes that facilitate a harmonious blend with changing circumstances.

Extending this train of thought, into the very essence of humanity, is the soul reincarnated? Without questioning what a soul comprises, this is the search that many cultures have been engaged in over millennia. Tibetan Buddhists, for instance, seek desperately to identify and believe in the reincarnation of their Dalai Lama. But what is it, really, that they hope for, deep within their own souls? It may well be the yearning for the constant presence of an enlightened soul alike the Buddha, one who can offer solace in a world of immeasurable suffering, uncertainty, and confusion. When they go looking for a new Dalai Lama, they may, without conscious registration, be looking for seeds of the very qualities honored over the ages…seeds that can bloom into the soul the Buddha became.

But – if you are asking for the reincarnation of a specific, belief-based, non-physical, ethereal thing, with no physical encumbrances, that nevertheless continues to think and feel all those wonderful thoughts and emotions that are known to arise only from complex physical and neural forms, now that, I can well accept, is a possible ultimate addiction!



About Rian Nejar

Rian Nejar is an Indian-American author. He trained and worked as an engineer in India, lived briefly in the Middle East, and arrived in America in the early 90's. After a Master’s degree in electrical engineering in America, he worked as an academic instructor, engineer, entrepreneur, and technical writer over the two decades since. Humbling and Humility ( is his first mainstream nonfiction. He lives and writes in the Southwest United States.
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