Until humanity recognises that death is a full and important part of the life cycle we will remain in this benighted materialistic philosophy. When this life is perceived as the only life one has, then the danger is to try to experience every possible event or desire in the limited time allotted to a single life. When one realises that life goes on from one body to the next, some desires and ambitions can be laid off until another lifetime where they may be more appropriate.

In the West the idea of reincarnation has been outlawed by the Church, the supposed repository of all spiritual wisdom, ignoring the lesson that Christ left us through the form of Jesus centuries ago. It was felt by those in power that such knowledge was dangerous for the ordinary people. So the knowledge and teaching was hidden away. In its place we were given Hell fire and eternal damnation. And a God who was far from the loving parent we meet in other traditions and in His (or Her) place an angry judgemental figure whose purpose seemed to be to test His children to extremity, dangling temptations before them at every turn. Such an unkind vision of Creation.

Those following an initiatory tradition in Europe accept that death is not the end and accepting the recognition of an incarnation they have had some two centuries ago, take this as evidence of immortality of their soul. Few look beyond this. The idea of looking back a thousand or more years seems impossible and so they do not bother. They have their answer, I do not die, and look no further.

What a shame, when there is so much more to experience. Taking their one or two past incarnations as being examples of their soul, they mistake some great figure of history they once inhabited, as being the soul itself and growing into that identity perpetuate their former life with all its faults and failures, while missing the essential key that it was only a single personality. Not the union they thought they had achieved.

But while Death remains the big bogey man in the mind of humanity the rapacious aspect of the self will continue. There is no moral sensibility in it. There is no reason to act with a conscience at all. A conscience is seen as a sign of weakness and something to be exploited in others. Look at the way the current government – and successive governments before them – treat teachers and nurses, even policemen, and others with a sense of vocation. They are exploited, paid poor wages, and weighed down with extra demands, with little thought of their own well-being nor recompense for the sacrifice they make on behalf of society.

This is all due to a failure to recognise that there is a price for the attitudes adopted and actions made by those in power, and it will be paid. While they see success in terms of a large house and much money and status, they will blame those who do not have these things as being through their own fault and laziness as signs of a failure to progress, forgetting they themselves went to a private school, never knew what it was like to be hungry, or unable to afford a pot of jam to put on the bread. Some even claim they started with nothing, estimating several hundreds of thousands of pounds as nothing. Such is the poverty of vision we find among some in public life.

Still they hold success in finite terms and forget that true success comes in building strength into the self through perseverance and endeavour. To build strong virtues as a prerequisite of a good life. This is true strength and wisdom, in my estimation. It is founded upon personal responsibility, not a question of agreeing with the mighty and powerful, or changing one’s cut to suit the prevailing winds of fortune. Better to die in poverty never having cut another’s throat than to die in wealth and status having trodden down those who stood in one’s way.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.

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