Many ridicule the notion of reincarnation. In this interview, Dr. Omoniyi Fagbemi, Medical Director, Longing Medical Centre, Ijaye, Lagos, says whether we realize it or not, whether we believe it or not, we have all been here times before.
Is reincarnation a fact, a figment of fertile human imagination, or both?
In order to answer this question, I shall first define and explain what reincarnation is.
Re-incarnation is a process whereby a human being whose body has died is permitted to live again on earth in another physical body. Who is a human being? A human being is not the physical body of flesh and blood that we all carry and can see and feel. A human being is a spirit or soul whose origin or home is in Paradise. He has to leave paradise to come to earth so as to attain spiritual development (maturity) because, by the nature of his spiritual specie he was too weak to withstand the pressure of activities in Paradise. The Almighty God in his infinite love and Grace hearken to the prayers of the unconscious human spirits and allowed them to come to earth to learn and mature. The spirit, because of its finer consistency relative to that of matter (the earth), cannot be functional on earth without a special vehicle. This vehicle is the Gross material body of flesh and blood which we all carry. Hence, the human being is spirit while the physical body is only a tool or vehicle it needs to function on earth.
The physical body by its nature has a lifespan. The maximum lifespan of a physical body is not adequate for the spirit to learn all it needs to attain maturity so as to return to its home in paradise in full consciousness. The Almighty graciously permitted the spirit to return to earth in a new body to continue its experiencing (maturation process). This process of a human spirit returning to earth in a new body is RE-INCARNATION. Without this, no human spirit will be able to mature well enough to attain paradise; all would have ended in perdition. So re-incarnation is a reality and a special grace.
What I have briefly explained is the real re-incarnation. There are some teachings that state that human beings can come back as animals, trees, stone etc. This is not correct. The human spirit by the nature of its specie in accordance with the laws of the Almighty God can only use the human body-form on earth.
If Reincarnation is a fact, why is it that we cannot recall our past lives? Why do most people reject the notion of reincarnation?
Most people reject the notion of re-incarnation mostly because of doctrines and dogmas of various belief systems as currently postulated, especially contemporary religions. However if you research into ancient and traditional beliefs you will find it known and accepted in almost all cultures though there may be some distortions in the concept here and there. For example the concepts behind names like Iyabo, Yetunde, Babawande in Yoruba culture; Ino uwa in Igbo culture reflect acceptance of re-incarnation by these cultures.
We are not permitted to remember (except in some special cases) because if we know our past lives, we shall not concentrate on the present. We shall not imbibe our current experiences which are needed for the maturity of our spirit. Re-incarnation is for further maturity (redemption) as well as restitution. So let us imagine a poor man who was very rich in his previous life; it will be difficult for him to learn the humility he needs to imbibe from his current experience. Also imagine someone who committed a lot of atrocities in his previous life; his awareness of his past couple with the knowledge that he has to make amend in accordance with the law of sowing and reaping will make him despair so much that he virtually will not live! Hence, The lord in his Grace does not permit us to know. However when we drop the body (at death) the bandage placed on our spiritual eyes shall be removed and we shall then survey all. In fact, there is no one on earth today who has not re-incarnated! There is no first timer on earth today. However some people have been permitted to recall their past lives both in ancient and contemporary times. Some of these have been documented both on the internet and in books (including scientific journals).
Understanding the concept and workings of reincarnation will eliminate tribalism, envy, intolerance, racism, corruption, man’s inhumanity to man and other sundry evils.
Is reincarnation punitive, redemptive or restitutive?
Re-incarnation is a Grace given to us human being by The Almighty God. The Almighty God is love, he does not punish! Part of our learning and maturing process is for us to understand and experience his laws. One of the adamantine laws of Creation is the law of sowing and reaping or law of retributive justice or law of Karma. Which simply means that: what a man sows, he shall reap. If you plant yam you will harvest yam and not rice. So if one sows love he will reap love from others in fullness of time, ditto if he exhibits wickedness to his neighbor he should expect to reap same. All what we do in our current live will not be ready for us to experience until our next life. All experiences (whether pleasant or not), if properly used shall lead to our redemption and maturity, though there may be restitution along the way.
Is reincarnation a medically sound doctrine? Is there a relationship between this concept and genetics?
Re-incarnation refers to the Spirit (the essence of man). Medical science at present is mainly intellectual and deals essentially with the outermost cloak the spirit wears i.e. the physical body. However, medical science shall evolve to become truly holistic when it shall encompass the knowledge and study of the physical body, other bodies (e.g. the astral), the intellect, and the spirit. Then reincarnation shall become one of the doctrines.
Genetics and reincarnation
The coming of man on earth (to experience) consists of three stages procreation, incarnation and birth.
Procreation is essentially a biologic process in which the male gamete (sperm) and the female gamete (ovum) come together to form the body that will be inhabited by the spirit (soul). The genetic code is embedded in the body. The genetic code is derived from those of the parents.
There are many human souls in the beyond who are striving to come to earth; to come and experience. As soon as a process of conception has taken place, many souls in the beyond jostle around the pregnant woman desiring to take over the forming body. Incarnation is the process whereby one of the souls around the mother enters the growing body in the womb of the woman. This usually takes place at about the middle of the pregnancy i.e. four and a half (4 1/2) months of the pregnancy.
Forming of the body is biologically determined, but what determines the type and nature of souls that jostle around the pregnant woman and the soul that eventually takes over the body are spiritually determined, principally by the re-incarnation needs of the incoming soul and of the mother; nature and characteristics of the mother as well as neighbours and environment. In essence, the mother and the environment attract the homogenous soul but the individual soul makes the final choice. So, it is the individual human being who determines his parents, sex, family, race, tribe, nationality, body types (size, shape, colour, susceptibility to diseases and illnesses,) in accordance with what will be spiritually beneficial to him, what it needs for spiritual maturity and redemption.
Can one apply the doctrine of reincarnation to improve one’s health or other circumstances in life? How?
Yes, one can apply the understanding of reincarnation to improve one’s health and circumstances.
If one come to realise that one has lived on earth before; that this is not the first time one is living on earth, if one realizes that one’s current health and social status is a part product of how you lived in the past, one realizes that he chose the body that he carries (with its deficiencies and strength), one understands that the way we live today will determine the nature of our future incarnation; realizes that we shall reap what we sow whether now, in the beyond or in our next incarnation; come to know of the law of attraction of homogenous (similar) species. Come to realize that being a member of a particular family, community, tribe, race and country is not by chance.
We don’t need to be told that we should care for our body properly, we should show love and consideration towards our neighbor; show contentment and empathy to our fellow travelers, drop greed, selfishness and envy; strives to improve and uplift our society by being exemplary and not join the band wagon of wrong doers; because we shall then know that the Lord is not mocked, he shall repay everyone in accordance with his deed in fullness of time. Above all, we shall be able to show genuine Gratitude to The Most High for the Grace he has permitted us irrespective of our health, social and material status. We shall then be in a state of complete physical, social, mental and spiritual well-being irrespective of any infirmity that we carry.
From sickle cell to cancer to diabetes and hypertension, the genes play a huge role in many of the health conditions affecting humankind. What is the place of reincarnation in all this?
We choose the body that we want to use on earth based on what we need for our spiritual maturity and development in our current earth life. The choice of body that we make is determined by the totality of our nature in our previous life. If our weaving or current need does not require us to experience any of these diseases we shall not take over the body that has any of these tendencies. However even if we have the tendency (genetic predisposition) it may not manifest, or it may be ameliorated based on the state of our weaving as well as our current attitude, disposition and environment.
In the light of reincarnation, is it proper to blame one’s parents, ancestors or even oneself for carrying or habouring a genetic impairment?
We ourselves choose the body into which we incarnate, because it was the best that will aid our spiritual development which is the essence of our being on earth. We should not blame anyone. Anybody who has any genetic disorder or anomaly should realize that he or she made a choice of entering that body that was developing in the mother’s womb. If no soul enters the body, the pregnancy would have ended up in a miscarriage. The human soul that carries the body is the one that needs the body with genetic impairment for spiritual redemption , for purification or for advancement.
We should be conscious that The Almighty God is not arbitrary in His activities; He is love as well as justice. He gives us what is best for us all the time. Rather than blame oneself, one should be Grateful to the Most High for the gracious opportunity. The alternative is to continue to struggle in darker realms. Everybody has one challenge or the other to face. Even those without genetic impairment have some other health or social challenges to battle with.
And to those who are associated with people with one disease or the other (whether genetic or not; preventable or communicable) as parents, relatives, neighbours, co-workers and care givers (doctor, nurses and other health workers) they should not be judgmental. They should realize that their association with the person is not by accident! They have something to contribute to ameliorate the person’s ‘suffering’. By giving genuine help they redeem themselves from even greater karma. In the help you give others you are only helping yourself many times over. And if they fail to give conscientious care they would have failed in their spiritual duty and would have to reap it in the fullness of time (whether now or when they re-incarnate).
Permit me to relate a true story: There was this family in whom the eldest son (who is over 40 years now) has Sickle cell anaemia (Genotype SS). He used to have severe vaso-occlusive (bone pain) and anaemic Crises, with several blood transfusions annually. One of his younger siblings (a female) had little or no empathy for the elder brother. She even behaved as if the brother’s challenge was a bother to her and the family. Her genotype was ‘AA’. She got married and bore children. The second child she had, a girl, was getting sick frequently. The child’s genotype was done, and was found to be Genotype SS! She repeated hers (in several laboratories) and was found to be AS. She had believed in a wrong result for decades. She is now the mother of a child with Sickle Cell Anaemia. Maybe, if she had shown more empathy to the elder brother she could have been spared the experience. She is lucky to have had to experience hers in this earthlife. For most people, the experience will come when they re-incarnate; they then start wondering ‘Why Me’?