“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
— Dylan Thomas
We have been programmed to believe all kinds of things, even if there is no possibility of verifying the truth of them. One such belief is that of reincarnation. The ego is desperate to make sense of death and to fabricate a reality that is somehow comforting its fear. People tenaciously cling to their lives and cannot accept the uncertainty around death. They cannot accept that death is a mystery, and they want to reassure themselves through their beliefs. What is a belief? It is the mind’s inferior – and often mistaken – attempt at knowledge. Some people desire to be reincarnated because they desperately want to prolong their existence, while others fear it because they are tired of being stuck in the dimension of suffering.
The concept of reincarnation was born within Eastern spirituality, where it became an integral part of its vision of reality. Because Buddhism and Hinduism see life as a cycle of suffering and ‘maya’, one the main motivations underlying the Eastern spiritual path has been to reach liberation from the prison of reincarnation through becoming dissolved in the universal self. The concept of reincarnation in Buddhism was taken from Hinduism. But because in Buddhism there is a complete denial of self, that concepts actually makes little sense – for who is it that is supposed to incarnate? Still, Buddhism needed a concept of reincarnation to justify a spiritual path whose main goal was the liberation from suffering; without reincarnation, their vision of the path would lose its attraction. Why bother practicing if there is no life after death, no coming back to finish one’s evolution?
In spite of their sophisticated philosophy, Buddhist thinkers did not connect to the essence of me. In their view, what incarnates is not an identity, a distinct self, or essence, but a mixture of personal constituents that they call the ‘five skandhas’. These five skandhas are what create the illusion of self, and they will keep reincarnating until that illusion is dissolved through enlightenment. There are many flaws in this vision of the path and of reincarnation, but perhaps the main one is that the five skandhas simply could not exist without the elementary sense of self that underlies them. We call this self ‘essence-me’, and define it as the original sense of me which is inherent to all living beings, but which is unconscious in those who live in ignorance. The whole structure of one’s personality could not exist if there were not an essence-me to which it referred. In that case, is it the essence-me that is reincarnating? Yes, it is. But as we shall see, it is only reincarnating according to very specific laws of evolution.
If all human beings are reincarnating, there is another logical question to ask: Where do all the new souls come from? Some of the ancient schools of Hinduism believed that there are only a finite number of souls in existence. But in this age of continuing population explosion, this does not make sense. So many new souls are appearing on earth, as if from nowhere.
One can speculate that they are coming from another place or plane. Alternatively, we could believe, as some do, in a cycle of reincarnation into higher and higher forms of life: from plant, to insect, to bird, and so forth, culminating in human life. But at what stage on the evolutionary road is this type of reincarnation supposed to start happening? From atoms, molecules, viruses, bacteria? Anyone who imagines that there is reincarnation of anything substantial on this very elementary level is not thinking straight. People believe in these kinds of things because they are unwilling to question outdated ideas and beliefs. Do we really believe that after an insect dies it will reincarnate into another creature, carrying forward its old sense of identity? This idea is ludicrous. It is said that after his awakening Buddha saw all of his lifetimes, even as inorganic forms. But what he saw was more a product of collective memories than his own personal story. The same goes for most people who have ‘revelations’ about their past lives. What they experience is the mixing up of their personal memories with the collective memory.
There is no such a thing as the automatic transmigration of souls carrying an individual sense of self from one body to another body, either within a single species or from one species to another. It is not that the ‘souls’ of animals have now evolved and incarnated as human beings. These concepts are the product of conjecture and fantasy. Moreover, in many ways, they are deeply counterintuitive.
So there are clearly a lot of flaws in the way that reincarnation has been conceptualized and understood. We need to ask ourselves: What if the reality of reincarnation is very different than what has been supposed? Perhaps to discover the truth of it, we need to look into the subject with completely fresh eyes. Are we ready to question our basic assumptions, even at the risk of losing the false security that our pretensions give us? How long can we live in a psychological sandcastle before it collapses on us?
Selective Reincarnation: Only the Awakened Soul Can Reincarnate
The main confusion around the subject of reincarnation has to do with who or what actually reincarnates. The fact is that humans do not have any fixed identity in their existence at all. What is there in them that can reincarnate? Their sense of self is no more than a mixture of various collective programmings. It is only a relatively solid physical body combined with a stream of fragmented thoughts and personal memories that allows us to claim ‘this is me’.
So here is the first important realization: Reincarnation cannot happen unless our essential sense of self has become truly solid, substantial, and real within us. Only such a solidified self, a solidified ‘me’, can sustain the continuity of its existence after the death of the physical body. That fundamental substance of our existence is what we call ‘essence me’, and in order to become solidified and real, that me must awaken to its own identity beyond the mind and personality, and realize its own divine nature. Such an awakened me, we could call the ‘soul’. Ego and personality cannot withstand physical death. For the ego, entering death could be likened to an astronaut stepping into a black hole – he would instantly vanish and disintegrate. It is the soul, our real me, given that it has evolved sufficiently, that can withstand death and reincarnate. That is why we call it selective reincarnation: because this vital criterion simply does not apply to the majority of souls here on earth. Therefore, only a select few will actually reincarnate – all the rest will simply perish.
And what is transferred from one life to another with that soul, that solidified sense of me? It is primarily the continuity of its inner evolution and its increasingly expanding spiritual potential. A soul does not take with it conscious memories or knowledge from a past life. Perhaps it carries with it various more abstract propensities, such as talents, abilities, and likes and dislikes as well as certain inclinations. For example, if one had been a devout Buddhist in one’s prior life but is born into a family of a different faith, it is very likely one will be drawn to Buddhism again. But above all, the soul takes her level of spiritual realization, her level of inner evolution, with her into the next life. If the soul has realized pure consciousness, for instance, that information will be retained within her ‘DNA’, so to speak, for her next incarnation. This means that it can be much more easily reactivated given the right circumstances. It is possible that a person with great negativity or enormous attachment to their illusory self will crystalize something of a psychological entity that may temporarily survive after the physical death of the body. This is what people call ‘ghosts’. A ghost is a phantom of oneself created by a self-obsessed mind, and its development is a negative and retrograde movement on the path of spiritual evolution. *
So it is our me which can potentially reincarnate, but only a me which is awakened to its own pure subjectivity, one which has a stable existence beyond the mind and personality. Having said this, in order to survive death, our me does not have to be fully realized or even deeply awakened. It just needs to be sufficiently solidified. In order for our me to solidify sufficiently, we can say that it is not enough just to have had a glimpse of its deeper inner identity, or even to be able to access it occasionally; we have to have reached a continuity of being our awakened me. Even if our me is not fully stabilized and embodied, such a relative continuity must be established.
Another way that we can describe this requisite solidification is to say that our me has crossed the threshold that lies between personality and our real me. This passage, or boundary, is what we call ‘threshold-personality’. It represents a point at which our me steps out of the collective me, the collective mind, and begins to become a true individual, meaning that it begins to exists autonomously of personality.
It is important to understand that solidifying our me is not about making it dense and concentrated, but about establishing the unbroken continuity of its subjectivity. Two essential aspects of that solidification are the purification of our intention (to serve the higher purpose of the soul) and the awakening of pure subjectivity’s inherent quality of self-love. Without self-love and profound intimacy with our essence, there can be no real me. Solidification of me is not a result of rigid practice, but of higher remembrance and a reconnection with the original love of creation. To meet our own self is the pinnacle of the whole timeline for this universe; it is an event of immense celebration, because at that point in time and in that particular me, the supreme purpose of creation has been accomplished.
We must keep in mind that being able to reincarnate does not in any way imply that one is complete. The solidification of me is just a beginning of the complex process of its evolution into completion. To become complete, our me has to be fully realized as a whole soul, and this happens in the context of our evolution into samadhi (which is our surrender to and absorption in universal subjectivity) Knowing this, we can say that it is always possible that a soul will regress in her evolution if she is drawn back into the plane of collective me and forgets her purpose and who she is. So even if such a soul has reincarnated to continue her evolution, she could still be dissolved upon a subsequent death; that me would then be annihilated. That is why we emphasize the importance of stabilization in our pure subjectivity and the need for the embodiment of our true self over and over again. Unless our pure nature is fully embodied, there is always a danger that we could lose the awakened relationship with the light of me and forfeit any progress we have managed to make on the path. Stabilization of the real me is our only assurance of eternal life.
Selective Reincarnation and the Urgency of Personal Evolution
The reality of reincarnation may be much different than we thought. To understand it, we must have the courage to drop all of our old ideas and stand naked in front of the unknown. Reincarnation is a fact and does happen, but its occurrence is actually rare in this manifested reality. Only a soul who has solidified her me can survive death. This means that the vast majority of those who are born here on earth do so as their first incarnation. It also means that in virtually all cases, it is their only lifetime and only chance to awaken.
What does it mean to incarnate, to be born? It means that our essence-me is being given to a particular life form. The purpose of incarnating is ultimately to awaken and realize that essence-me. If we fail in this purpose, our essence-me will be dissolved and recycled back into the original energy from whence it came. It is common to think that incarnation means that the soul comes from ‘somewhere’ and then enters the human body. But as we said, in the case of the vast majority of humans, this incarnation is their first birth, and they, as a specific person, could not have come from anywhere because who they are simply did not exist before. Their essence-me that has incarnated has no separate past; it has just attached itself to human DNA and collective consciousness, and it has begun to form the construct of personality.
This is a very important message because it confronts us with the tremendous fact that unless we evolve into our me, our very existence will be taken away from us. Only a realized individual can live in eternity, and to become realized, we must solidify the light of me. Our me was given to us by the power of creation to awaken, and if we do not take sufficient advantage of this opportunity, our me will be returned for recycling. Gurdjieff was the only teacher of recent times to have voiced this fact, and he said quite bluntly that anyone who does not solidify their me will “die like a dog.”
A similar understanding is also present in some of the more esoteric teachings of Taoism, where they say that most souls just return to the Tao, or the general cosmic energy, for recycling. However, they recognize that there is a possibility for reincarnation on rare occasions if the ‘original infant’ (their name for the soul) is developed in the tan t’ien (the portal to absence in the lower belly) as a solidified entity. Is there any truth in this? Not really. In fact, it highlights an important point, which is that the solidification of me which we are referring to here primarily refers to the awakening of conscious me, which is located in the front of the head. The awakening of pure me is the further extension and development of our pure subjectivity, but it is the awakening of conscious me – which is the direct flowering of essence-me – that is the most essential here. The ‘original infant’ of Taoism was basically pure me of being. And while its awakening is very positive, it is not directly connected to consciousness or to solidifying essence-me (and in fact, the ‘original infant’ was often associated with acquiring paranormal powers and other such diversions). In truth, it is possible that essence-me develops indirectly by working with pure me (with pure me of consciousness in particular), but unless essence-me is approached directly through the awakening of conscious me, such approaches will almost certainly be ineffective.
There are some teachings in Taoism that work more with consciousness directly, such as by attempting to activate the third eye, which they call ‘the mind’s eye’. These practices usually involve concentrating on a point between the eyebrows, which they refer to as the ‘higher tan t’ien’. It is similar to the yogis who concentrate on the third eye chakra. But such practices are misguided. It is possible that essence-me can develop indirectly through different forms of concentration, but the main point is to meet essence-me as who we are, to meet our subjectivity. The third eye is not an eye, but our identity beyond the mind. Unless that identity is met and awakened, me can never be solidified in a correct way.
A similar pitfall applies to working with the ‘original infant’ by somehow making of it an object of attention. Working with objects in meditation means one is not in touch with one’s me, not awakened to one’s true individuality. What is the point of concentrating on a physical point or activity, such as breathing? It can only result in energetic tensions and imbalances. To awaken essence-me, one has to recognize who one is, to meet oneself. Focusing on an objectified ‘third eye’ might, at best, develop one’s meditative awareness. But is more likely to result in one’s observer becoming unnaturally solidified, which is certainly not the way to awaken the light of me.
The Probabilistic Nature of Existence
Out of the billions of humans on earth, why are there so few who are realizing their light of me? Because existence is using every means possible to create the opportunity for true individuality to be formed. While creation has a clear purpose, it is also a lottery: billions of people are born so that just a few of them can reach existence’s noble goal. From this truth, we can begin to understand that the spiritual path is not just an option: it is required of us that we do everything in our power to guarantee our survival and continuance following our physical death. This also underlines how rare and precious our life and the essence of our me are. Unless we honor this opportunity with our whole existence, nurturing and serving our awakening, we will disappear back into the melting pot of creation.
The tragedy of human spirituality is that it is not in touch with our purpose. In fact, it is often actually opposed to our purpose in most ways. The antagonism against our me that is at very the root of Buddhism and Advaita is a crime against the soul. Not only does this vision of our spiritual purpose not support the realization of our me – it sabotages it. This is the original sin of non-duality in all forms – that abhorrence of me which encourages its followers over the precipice of annihilation. It is time that humanity wakes up, and that spiritual teachings radically evolve in their vision and purpose. For each of us, this is our only opportunity to work towards ensuring our continued survival.
One may ask, “Isn’t it cruel that so many people will cease to exist?” Why would that be cruel? It is no crueler than life and death itself. From the perspective of our human personality, physical death seems breathtakingly cruel. Just thinking about it can break one’s heart. Those who die will just forget that they ever existed and dissolve back into the universal state of dreamless sleep. However, perhaps this is not cruel or unjust, but merciful. It should certainly be seen as a release from the suffering and inevitable entropy of physical life, particularly when the life concerned has not made progress on evolution’s path.
So life is a meeting of destiny with chance. Our whole universe took billions of years to develop from cosmic dust, and from that chaos, we find ourselves living on this small and insignificant planet, as if alone in the cosmos. How could all of this happen? Life has invested tremendous energy into this universe in the hope that somewhere, at some point in time, sentient beings will come into existence. Life is constantly seeking a way, like mountain streams carving corridors through uneven rocks for their flow to the ocean. One of them might never reach it, but then another stream may succeed. Life is bountiful, and it can expend unlimited energy without becoming depleted because its force is infinite. How life works can be seen in the act of impregnation. A man usually releases hundreds of millions of sperm in a single ejaculation, though only the strongest is able to reach the woman’s egg – and often none of the sperm arrive at this destination at all. Why is nature so wasteful? Why does it need to create so many sperm? Isn’t one enough? It is not, because the law of chance has to be taken into account in the big picture of life. Despite its clear purpose, life is unpredictable.
The Meaning and Purpose of Incarnation
As we said, there is an idea that enlightenment is meant to release us from further incarnations. What does it mean to incarnate? It is to exist as me. To exist, we have to embody a form, a body. And if anything, the release from transmigration refers to transcending another incarnation in this low plane of evolution. Our world is not the only place to exist, and there are forms other than the physical body which one could assume. Still, a soul that has reached inner peace does not mind incarnating on earth. It is as good a place as any other, but once our work is done here and our lessons have been learned, we are most likely to transcend this particular dimension.
Traditionally, it has been thought that we reincarnate here as a result of our continued ignorance or the pull of our worldly desires. Having worldly desires might well be one reason for choosing to incarnate as a human, because it is here on earth that our root karmic desires have their origin. There is nothing wrong with the fact that our desires might be one of the reasons for incarnating, since their fulfillment is required for our completion. But the only truly valid reason for incarnation is to evolve as our me into our divine subjectivity. If our me fails to realize itself, no amount of desire can cause us to reincarnate because there is simply nobody to incarnate; a false self that dies will simply disappear.
Our me is a gift from creation. But it is a conditional gift, and it does not truly become ours unless we embody it. If we do not fulfill our part in owning it, we will have shown ourselves as being unworthy of it, and it will be taken away from us. For the creator to endow us with the potential of me can be likened to an investment. He invests in billions of life forms, but only here and there do his investments bear the fruit of self-realization. Even though most humans fail to solidify their me, their ephemeral existence nevertheless has its own purpose: being a temporary manifestation and celebration of the light of creation in the wonder of this world. It is the dance of Shiva. But if we enter the service of existence’s higher purpose and fall in love with the divine essence of me, serving its awakening with total devotion, then we may also begin to dance together with the lord of creation.
Questions from Students
How the Consciousness of Me Evolves
It has been previously said that we have been evolving as me for millions of years, from a very subconscious me into its more and more conscious forms. How can this be the case if me only exists for one lifetime?
We have been evolving as me for millions of years, but this is not individual evolution – it is collective. Collective me has been evolving. The difference between incarnation and reincarnation is that when we incarnate, it is collective me incarnating. The essence-me which enters creation without any history, without carrying any past, without bringing with it any continuity from its previous evolution, is collective in nature. In reincarnation, on the other hand, it is an individualized me which is returning, incarnating again, and there is a continuity of evolution attached to that specific individual me. This specific me can then begin to evolve further from the point it left off in a previous lifetime.
Human beings do not automatically own their me. They are not in possession of it because they have not yet evolved to being individuals. They think that they know who they are, and they feel like an individual, but who they think and feel they are is not yet theirs. It has been given to them by life, and if its potential is not realized, it will be taken away from them – who they think they are will disappear. That which perishes is just that very illusion of personal ownership over their identity. That perishable identity is collective in nature, and it is this collective me that has been evolving for millions and millions of years, becoming more and more sophisticated and, in some ways, more conscious. Generally speaking, it is not an individual specific me that evolves through all the stages of subconsciousness: developing the mind, developing self-reference, and so forth. This is the evolution of the species. But ultimately, we begin to evolve from the collective into the individual, and to cross that threshold is the difference between impermanence and eternity. Once we have made it through this passage, we begin to own our me, and we begin to evolve as that me from one life to the next.
How can selective reincarnation be reconciled with the statement that our me has been evolving for millions of years and through countless lifetimes in order to reach the threshold of becoming conscious of itself? Is it not a specific me that has been evolving through all the levels of subconsciousness towards meeting itself? If not, how does the evolution of me work?
To answer your question, you need to consider two scenarios: the first one is where it is one’s first lifetime, and the second one is where the me in question has already existed in past lives. The second scenario implies that that particular soul has already crossed the threshold in evolution where her me has undergone enough solidification to reincarnate The first one implies an initial coming into existence, rather than a reincarnation from a previous lifetime.
When we speak of the evolution of me throughout millions of years, we do not refer to a singular me, but to the collective me. The original essence of me does not belong to anyone; it is collective and experienced in the context of the evolution of species. Even the karma linked to all of those mes is collective, but we assume that it is personal because it expresses itself through each of these mes in a unique way. There is also a personal karma that is created through our individual evolution in a specific lifetime, which is related to our thoughts and actions, and is ruled by the law of cause and effect. This latter kind of karma is the one we create individually, but the collective karma we are born into is connected to our country, society, family, education, and other external influences which contribute to our personality.
So initially, our personal evolution is directly tied to the collective consciousness. And whether a particular me has a chance of individualizing, a chance of awakening, depends on many factors. For instance, the odds of awakening spiritually were one to incarnate in medieval European society were close to none, considering that concepts like meditation and the evolution into the light of me were entirely unheard of. One could have tried to evolve within the framework of the Christian religion, but that would often have largely been limited to emotional worship. Some Christian mystics undoubtedly had spiritual experiences, but their interpretations of them were conditioned and biased through seeing them in a Christian belief context. Only very few people could have reached spiritual awakening in those times, and only ones with great evolutionary capacity.
The second scenario is where our me has already evolved through a number of lifetimes, has reincarnated, and now continues its further evolution from the point where it stopped at its previous physical death. In this case, collective karma can apply, as well as the individual karma which has been carried forward from previous lives.
What about the fact that many people feel that there is consciousness after death? Isn’t this intuition connected to reality?
There is no consciousness in collective me even when it is alive and living in a physical body. How, then, can collective me have consciousness after death? What happens at the moment of death is that both the body and personality disintegrate and whatever remains of them is recycled. Since the first humans became conscious of their mortality, they developed all kinds of strategies to allay their fear of dying. And religions flourished through monopolizing the fear of death. In many past cultures, people wanted to be buried with their possessions in the hope that they could carry them over to the afterlife. There are still many people who follow Christianity or Islam for instance, who believe that they will be resurrected and receive the same body they had when they were alive on earth. This demonstrates just how out of touch with reality and intelligence collective me can be.
Why do so many people want to be remembered after death? Artists, scientists, and even business people want their names to be remembered. In the past, warriors were prepared to die so long as songs would be sung about their great deeds. They knew that the only thing that would be left of them would be in living people’s memories. Unlike collective me, our real me, the soul, does not want or need to be remembered by others, because she remembers herself. She actually prefers to be forgotten in this relatively low evolutionary plane of forgetfulness.
The question also mentioned feeling and intuition. What most call ‘feeling’ and ‘intuition’ are actually just impulses connected to our beliefs, rather than something of our own. We have been programmed for so long with various beliefs about living after death that these are now experienced as inner convictions, even though they are all just conjecture and fabrication. If you want to live after death, realize your soul, become your true self. This lifetime is your only chance at true immortality, the only chance to cross the threshold between impermanence and eternity.
Karma: Collective and Personal
Say it is my first and only life. Whose is the inertia of unconsciousness and bad habits that I am trying to overcome if it does not pertain to my individual past?
Such inertia is not yours at all. It is collective. You are a product of collective unconsciousness – a replication of the collective man. It is your struggle to break free and discover your true individuality that allows you to bring forth the spirit from within. What is your own individual past is the chain of conditionings imposed on you from this lifetime’s birth up to the present. But it is in the present that your power lies: your opportunity to cease being a puppet, to stop reacting from past conditionings, to wake yourself up from the collective spiritual amnesia, and to open the doorway to your higher future.
How does this view of selective reincarnation relate to the concept of karma, such as having negative or positive karma, having to burn karma on the path, and so forth? If not through past lives, how is such karma accumulated? Or is the concept of karma inaccurate?
Those who are incarnated for the first time only come with collective karma, but then they create personal karma during this single lifetime. If one follows one’s lower tendencies, has no compassion, and resists the awakening of the spirit within, one creates negative karma. When one serves one’s highest good and listens to the inner call of the soul, one creates positive karma. Such karmas apply to that person in that single lifetime. In either case of creating negative or positive karma, if a person does not evolve to the level of at least beginning to have a soul, such karma will only serve to influence the general collective karma, as no one has been established to be reincarnated and carry forward such karma in an individual sense. Only in the case of a soul that existed prior to this present birth can we speak about having karma which was planted in a past life, in addition to having the karma created in the current life.
Evolution into Individuality
So, every person has just one chance, one life, to accomplish the task of solidifying their me, of becoming an individual?
Yes, every new person, which means every new essence-me, has only one chance of solidifying their me, or else it will dissolve at the time of death. Each essence-me evolves within the frame of human consciousness, which is the vehicle for this particular manifestation of me. The intelligence of that vehicle will determine whether this me will succeed in fulfilling the purpose of its creation. Initially, our human consciousness is collective, meaning that who we start out as is dependent on many others both past and present. As an example, the concept of enlightenment is one we initially become aware of from others. In a similar way, we are greatly dependent on the collective evolution of humankind in general, for it has culminated in the conditions where we can begin to become a true individual. But there comes a point at which our free will and the higher intelligence of the soul are activated, and this is when we begin to move beyond collectivity into individuality.
Some people have more of a sense of ‘individuality’, but this is generally only in their personality. For instance, they are original thinkers, artists, or rebels against social constraints. But they are not individuals because they are not in touch with their subjectivity, their light of me. The individuation of personality is an important stage in human evolution, but it should be seen as a preparation for spiritual awakening. Most of the more ‘original’ people fail to take the next step and progress from that level. They may be unique and outstanding personalities, but they are not individuals – and any attachment they form to being unique and outstanding individuals can often be a trap which prevents them from further evolution.
Collective consciousness is like the skin of a snake. The snake is dependent on this skin up to a certain point, but then he outgrows it, and it must be shed. Otherwise, that skin would confine the snake in its old form. Similarly, we are fully dependent on collective consciousness, but we also need to break free of it so that we can evolve, enter universal consciousness, and embrace our divine individuality.
If a particular me is not evolving through incarnations over time, how does it come to reach the threshold of becoming conscious? Are some mes just given a higher, more conscious ‘starting point’ than others?
Our internal ‘starting point’ is hidden in the essence of each me as the inner instinct of self-remembrance. Why are some mes able to activate it while others do not? Because even though each me is given the potential to break through its forgetfulness, only some have enough force of spirit, courage, and intelligence to honor that ancient call. This is the place where free will enters our existence, and this is the beginning of the birthing of our individuality. There are many mes on this planet, but only a few individuals – and even fewer souls who actualize their whole being.
In addition, people’s circumstances vary greatly. Some people are more fortunate to be born in environments that are supportive of their evolution. They are not more privileged or deserving because of good deeds in their past lives. They are just luckier. It is similar to having one child born with a serious disease and another who is born healthy; this is just the nature of life, rather than because of any higher reason. However, in the case of old souls, they may choose their particular life circumstances, including sickness or health, in order to obtain particular lessons.
We live in times in which we are generally fortunate to be able to access spiritual information and wisdom. The concepts of awakening and enlightenment can readily be found and read about. But we are also ‘unlucky’ because of being overwhelmed and constantly distracted by a tidal wave of information through the media, internet, and mobile phones. While the humanity of today has a big opportunity to move forward in its collective evolution, this does not necessarily mean that it is more evolved than it was in the past. On some level, humanity may even be more confused. But a more conscious individual in the West of our times has an increased chance of awakening spiritually than he would have had in the past; in Asia, the knowledge of spiritual practices and enlightenment has been fairly widely available for a long time.
In general terms, each one of us has the same starting point. Even ‘inferior’ circumstances can be a motivational help for awakening; being born into suffering can be the strongest incentive to follow a spiritual path. Each one has the same starting point, but one still actually has to start! To become more conscious means to awaken the original instinctive inner longing to connect with the intimacy of the light of me. Since most people are experiencing their first incarnation, they have just the one shot. Missing this opportunity means wasting the precious gift of a human life.
Determinants of Evolution
What makes one me different from another if they are made from the same essence of creation and have not evolved over time, thereby gaining different qualities, attributes, and potential? If it is not our past decisions, choices, and evolutionary path that determine our capacity to awaken in this lifetime, then what does determine that? How come one me is able to activate his spiritual longing and potential, while another is not?
These are very difficult questions to answer because the answer is not only found in the very root of our existence, but also depends on countless other elements. First, there are the circumstantial factors: our DNA, family influences, and upbringing, and the information and inspiration we may obtain from our culture, society, and education. Then there is the factor of free will, which some mes are able to access more than others. Free will is the divine spark of creativity and co-creation that is contained in each me, but it requires the evolution of our intelligence to become accessible. But even if we consider all of these elements, the question ‘why?’ remains. Why is one me more ‘fortunate’ than another in being able to activate the spiritual instinct of evolution and self-remembrance? Why does one me have more spiritual potential than another? Is it a potential given at the moment of conception or birth, or is it received later on, like divine intervention impregnating this me with the inner spiritual longing? And in each of these scenarios, why is one me chosen while another is not?
We live in a totality which includes more than just our earthly circumstances. Our relative, or physical, home is not just on the earth but the whole of the cosmos. We have countless factors influencing us. Even the galactic alignment at the moment of our conception can have profound effects on our spiritual potential. Moreover, we not only live in the outer cosmos, but also in the inner universe, even when we may not be conscious of it. How different realms are in relationship in the inner universe at the moment of our conception leaves its own universal imprint – with a direct impact on the essence of me. This imprint is itself a significant factor in determining our subsequent spiritual potential.
Just having the potential does not necessarily mean that we will begin serving the noble goal of awakening. Our free will and the evolution of our intelligence also come into play. We can still choose to follow lower intentions and succumb to the influences and ignorance of the collective mind.
We can assume that a great number of spiritual seekers have somehow been touched by the inner spirit, but they too will fail on the path unless their intelligence becomes aligned with their higher purpose. Such seekers will become distracted and lost in the complications of their human existence rather than honoring the will of the divine. They will not recognize what an absolute imperative it is to evolve, the urgency of realizing their true self. They will succumb to laziness, spiritual lethargy, or find comfort in following superficial teachings or traditions that are based on self-denial. They will get nowhere, even though they received the grace of spiritual longing, because of their failure to properly honor the gift and grace bestowed on them. If they abandon their spiritual calling, they will never connect with, awaken, or establish their real me. They will end up no different than the mountain streams that run dry on their way to the ocean, or like the seeds of flowers that fall on rocky ground and never germinate, dissolving and disappearing back into the universal energy.
There are also people who do have spiritual longing but do not appear to progress on the path. What prevents them from realizing their evolutionary goal?
Those people who truly long for their self are like rare diamonds. Of course, the personalities and egos of people long for all sorts of things. They want to be happy. They project this desire onto their imagined concept of enlightenment. But in reality, they have no idea what they are longing for; they are not even clear who is longing. If one really longs for his true self, it is an instinctive call from that still unawakened deeper self, and there is no force on earth that will prevent him from following and realizing it.
Then, there are a group of seekers who are in-between. They long to realize their true nature, but their intelligence is not sufficiently aligned to achieve this. These ones must receive proper guidance to be able to make progress, so a major obstacle for this group is that the spiritual teachings available are not supportive. On the contrary, such teachings are the enemies of our essence and insist that our me is an illusion. To put it bluntly, these non-dual teachings are mistaken and harmful. Ignorance in the guise of benevolence has many faces, and sometimes it hides in the most unexpected places.
One may reach some kind of ‘awakening’ through such non-dual paths, but it cannot be the true awakening of me. Worse, though, it can actually turn into an obstacle on the path because the seeker who experiences such an ‘awakened’ state is given a false comfort inside and stops evolving – the soul’s flame of spiritual longing is extinguished. The deceptive satisfaction of experiencing some of these states beyond the mind lulls one into a false sense of confidence that one has attained spiritual completion. From such an example, it is clear how the spiritual path can be misunderstood and manipulated, jeopardizing (or even completely blocking) the seeker’s chance of bringing his higher evolutionary goal into his present now.
Most seekers have no clue what they are seeking or how to go about walking the path. They live in a spiritual fantasy dream. They are not really seekers at all. And those who have actually been graced with the spark of true longing inside their hearts but are satisfied with the answers from non-dual traditions or other superficial teachings are weak, lazy, or lack spiritual discrimination and intelligence. Settling for such ‘answers’ is no different than selling one’s soul. Where spiritual evolution is concerned, any compromise of one’s soul is not only inexcusable; it is a disaster one is unlikely to recover from.
How does collective me solidify and become an individual? What is the process for moving from collective me to the real me?
Collective me can never reach individuality. Collective me is just personality. It gives the impression that there is someone inside, but this is just a mirage – there is nobody there. Collective me has an illusory sense of being a particular person, but it has no real identity and is constantly being recreated by the subconscious mind. To go beyond collective me, one has to reach what we call ‘threshold-personality’, which is the point in the evolution of personality where essence-me crosses over from being personality to being the real me. This is the process of the birthing of our true self.
True seekers are of two sorts: those who have already crossed threshold-personality and are already evolving within their real me, and those who still struggle to cross over into their individuality. The second category of seekers is particularly vulnerable because collective me can pull them back into personality and they can lose their way.
It is important to understand that most ‘seekers’ have not attained threshold-personality; they are just collective mes. Collective me cannot evolve spiritually; such an attempt to evolve is futile, because such a me has no connection to reality. Only our real me can evolve. Collective me believes it is our real identity, and wants to achieve enlightenment or to reach god. Or it wants to awaken its kundalini energy and space-out through the crown chakra or through ungrounded Indian spirituality. It has no idea what it is doing. Most spiritual teachers and teachings only add to its confusion. Collective me hopes it can receive enlightenment through transmission or grace, but this also cannot happen because only our real me can be touched by these higher energies. The potential for collective me to cross the threshold of personality and enter reality is hopeless.
Spirituality on our planet has been dominated by collective me. Collective me is drawn to non-duality because through it, it is given the illusory promise of spiritual evolution without the need to cross into threshold-personality. Non-duality promises enlightenment without the need to awaken me; in fact, it denies the reality of me. Who are the people who attend all those neo-Advaita satsangs? They are not really specific people; they are collective me experienced in many bodies. A collective me goes to a satsang to sit at the feet of another collective me who calls itself ‘awakened’ because it has established itself as a ‘collective Advaita-me’. This is the tragedy of almost all spirituality; it actually takes us away from, and blocks, the path of our evolution into pure subjectivity.
It is very important to be clear about this fact: the concept of enlightenment has been hijacked by collective me. This applies to collective me in Advaita, Buddhism, and many other traditions. These traditions are self-extinguishing, because they advocate a type of existential suicide. You cannot realize Brahman or Sunyata without first realizing the light of me. But since the collective me has no real me, it loves the idea that me does not exist. It looks for a shortcut to enlightenment that does not require its own awakening. But this shortcut sabotages its very chance to reach threshold-personality and any lasting spiritual realizations beyond that.
What does this tell us? What message can we decipher from this? It is that the true seeker is alone on this planet. Unless he compromises and sells his soul to non-duality, he remains alone. But if he begins to honor this aloneness, if he has the courage and integrity to persevere and not give in to the collective self-hypnosis, he will be taken care of by the grace of life. There are some, if very few, other seekers who honor the sacred light of me, and in this sense, we are not alone. Those rare places where seekers devote themselves to evolve into their higher individuality are the enclaves of truth in a world of the false, the refuges of the sacred from the ‘spirituality’ of the mundane.
How can we step into the real me? It is when we are ready to renounce the lower me and begin to pierce through the construct of personality. Moving beyond personality is a gradual transition, but stepping into the real me is sudden, not gradual. This is the true meaning of spiritual awakening – a complete and unconditional acknowledgment of our inner me and a falling in love with who we are.
People almost never respect their me. To them, their me feels commonplace and unremarkable. No one teaches them to love who they are. There are many courses, workshops, and therapies where people are being taught to like their personalities, to accept and forgive themselves, but since this is not who they really are, it is all just about becoming comfortable with the false. To step out from collective me into one’s real me, thus crossing over one’s threshold-personality, is a great event. But it is also very simple. It is, after all, our birthright, and nothing could be closer to us. From the world of the false, one must choose to become real one day. Why not today?
How can collective me reach threshold-personality if, as you have said, there is no free will present on that level?
Free will is inherent to essence-me. The nearer we come to our individuality, the more access we have to that ultimate creativity. But because essence-me is universal and also present in collective me, everyone has a minimum access to free will. So it is not so much that people do not have any free will, but more that they refuse to use even that modest initial amount. They only use their free will at a rudimentary level and strictly within their personalities. For example, when someone changes their religion, it appears as though they are making a conscious choice, but based on what collective consciousness has to offer, all they are doing is choosing one belief system over another. To choose to follow Buddhism or to follow Christianity is not that far from choosing to have short hair or dreadlocks – such choices only have to do with one’s subconscious self-image, and as such, they are very limited.
What allows a particular collective me to reach threshold-personality? Firstly, the personality involved has to attain a certain level of evolution that allows the specific person to become more conscious. But this in itself does not guarantee that they will come closer to their threshold-personality. They may just as well live happily ever after in that more developed personality.
The two main tools existence uses to awaken our evolutionary instinct of self-remembrance are suffering and longing. Everyone is suffering, but they are either not in touch with their suffering or do not understand why they are suffering. Unless we recognize that the root of our suffering is the absence of our real me, suffering will not serve as a motivation to evolve. Longing is another of life’s valuable tools. Who is longing for what? Seekers often imagine that they long for their true self, but how can they long for their me if they are not in touch with it? They long for a change or to find some meaning in life, but both of these are longings of the collective me, and the last thing their collective me wants is to realize their real me. They channel these vague and idealistic longings into unconscious spirituality that then hooks them with unreal promises of enlightenment or god-realization. Real longing is not of the personality or collective me; it is the essence-me’s longing for itself. To be in touch with such longing means that there is already at least a subtle connection with the object of this longing – which is me. One cannot long for this me unless one already feels it; otherwise, what one is feeling is no more than one’s imagination, a delusion, or pretension.
The essence-me is in everyone, and if they are drawn to valuing and honoring its call, each person has the potential to access it. Falling in love with our me is the only way to reach our threshold-personality. And one can fully cross this threshold only through complete devotion to one’s self, thereby entering the dimension of the real me.
If, as you say, we must solidify the essence me in order to survive death, does it follow that the most important realization for a human being is that of conscious me? And if so, should that realization be prioritized above other realizations?
Yes, indeed, conscious me is the core of who we are. As conscious me reaches deeper levels of evolution, it transforms into primordial me and the primordial I. But even in those very advanced stages of its evolution, the essence-me remains the same. Essence-me is the essence of creation, which contains in its nucleus the original light of I am. That real ‘I’, which is initially realized as conscious me, is the king of consciousness, the ruling identity behind our existence.
However, to truly realize the conscious me, we must have access to the universal reality and establish pure consciousness. This is why the first step on the path is the awakening of pure me and not conscious me, and both are very important. It is only after having established the foundation of pure consciousness that we return back to the essence-me to embody it as conscious me. This is when we directly work to solidify the light of me in its essence, and this is when we establish the substance of our identity that can survive death and continue its evolution beyond this lifetime.
Can We Really Know What Happens After Death?
Regarding your recent revelations about selective reincarnation: Can we really know what happens after death, or what the secret laws governing reincarnation are? Does the soul’s intelligence have access to this type of knowledge in an absolute way, or is it always speculative and intuitive to some degree?
This teaching speaks of two dimensions of truth: pure truth and relative truth. Esoteric matters and spiritual cosmology have never been the focus of this teaching in any way, because most of those subjects are only speculative, and they do not resolve the most pressing issues facing us. Our problem is spiritual ignorance, and the only solution to this is our intelligent evolution into our complete self. The occurrence or non-occurrence of reincarnation is occasionally spoken of to give students some higher perspective on their path, but this is never meant to imply that reincarnation is an absolute truth. However, quite recently, after contemplating this subject more deeply, the truth of selective reincarnation became apparent.
This topic is important because it radically affects our perception of human life, evolution, and creation’s purpose. The message this revelation gives is a wake-up call for anyone who is conscious enough to realize that the spiritual path is not an optional entertainment or just a means to escape from suffering, but the only way to ensure the potential for our survival as souls beyond this brief, ephemeral life. Seekers think that they have all the time in the world, but they don’t. The time available in each one’s lifetime is limited and quickly runs its course. This is by far our most pressing issue – the urgency of realizing our me – which can then be viewed in the wider, cosmological perspective.
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