Q: Dear Susie, I believe that we are reborn again into various lives and that throughout our lifetimes, we grow spiritually. My question to you is about the possibility of “spiritual regression.” In other words, do we typically keep ascending (growing) in our spiritual growth throughout lifetimes, or is it possible to be a highly spiritual person in one, and a serial killer (to use an extreme example) in the next? Thank you.
A: I love these kinds of questions, because nobody REALLY knows for sure. We can only just hypothesize, so that’s what I offer to you (it’s also what makes sense to me at this time). I believe in reincarnation, not from any religious angle, but just from a common sense one. I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again): if we’ve only got this one shot at life in a body, what happens if we die two seconds after we’re born? That would really suck, and I don’t think that’s fair at all. I also don’t think that’s how this whole thing operates. I think our progression through life is like the process of life itself.
In the beginning we don’t know much of anything about this life, so we spend our early months just trying to get acclimated to everything – eating, sleeping, body functions, heat, cold, other people. It’s all about survival and getting our “sea legs.” Once we get the hang of that, we learn how to sit up, roll over, crawl, walk, then run. We’re still learning and acquiring basic skills necessary to get us through life. Soul-wise those are the young souls – there isn’t much awareness of right and wrong, there’s just action and trying to get by.
We learn how to talk, and write, and at that magical age, we ‘get’ to go to school. Before that, we’ve had our loving caretakers guiding and teaching us the basic principles of life – mainly play nice, eat your vegetables and brush your teeth. But still we hit each other on the head when we get mad, we kick, we pull the cat’s fur. As my father once said, “It’s a parent’s job to civilize the beast.” (not that he was talking about us kids – hah!) So you can imagine from a soul standpoint these are the times that there’s all kinds of violence in people’s lives who are at this soul stage. They just don’t have a lot of inner guidance and wisdom.
As we move up through the ‘grades,’ we have a curriculum of things we learn, and the lessons build on the previous ones so that we can fully integrate and master our subjects. Think of math – first we start with basic “one plus one equals two” then move up to subtraction, then multiplication, then division, then fractions. Translated to the development of our souls through lifetimes we would find ourselves in different situations that will allow us to learn simple concepts.
In one lifetime I’ll be the variable (create karma by doing something to someone else), and in the next lifetime I’ll be the sum (be on the receiving end of karma through someone else’s actions). This allows me to feel and experience BOTH sides of the equation, thereby giving me more solid understanding. We get to work it both ways so we can see how it all fits together. In one lifetime you’re the serial killer, and in the next, you’re the victim. Now you can strongly see the consequences of your actions – you’ve been on both sides of the gun.
As you work your way up through the ‘classes,’ your learning becomes more focused. You’re interested in English, so you take more classes, learn more about that. If you choose to go to college and beyond, you pretty much focus 100% on those subjects. These are those avatars on Earth that know what they are here to do, and they are focused on their work.
Why, if you’re one of those avatars, would you choose to go back to the playground and start hitting someone else with a 2 by 4? You just wouldn’t – your life is so far removed from those early days that you have no desire or need to take part in any behavior that’s hurtful, childish and undeveloped. Wouldn’t you be surprised if you saw a fully grown woman dressed in a suit, sitting in the dirt, screaming and throwing things? You’d wonder, I’m sure.
So when you ask if spiritual regression is possible, overall I say no. I think we keep moving toward the more enlightened, with probably touches of sliding, but not to the extremes. I can imagine having one life where you’re extremely spiritual and having the next few lives that are more mundane and ordinary. I know for myself I have a very powerful internal moral compass. If I do something that is less than enlightened, I feel icky inside.
I bought a pumpkin bag at Halloween for putting raked leaves in, and they accidentally gave me two. I returned one to the store, and the clerk didn’t know what to do with me. It had never happened before, she explained. I didn’t understand – why would you keep what didn’t belong to you? So while I DO kill spiders occasionally (we covered that in a previous column) I couldn’t imagine killing someone in cold blood. I also can’t imagine stealing or even hitting someone. Slide a little – kill a spider but not a person.
If you’re an infant, you stay an infant until you’re a toddler. Then you’re a toddler, although you still probably have some infant behaviors. If you’re a pre-schooler, you act like a pre-schooler. Grade schoolers stay in a grade school until they go to junior high. Junior highers don’t hang out in kindergarten, although some of their classes may be lower level (or higher level). Overall, you stay in the class that you’re currently enrolled in until you move up to the next grade. See? If you’re taking 6 classes, one may be a lower level class, and 4 may be average, and maybe even one is an advanced class (you’ve shown an affinity for that particular subject and can move faster through it).
Again, this is just what makes sense to me. I think we do most of our really active karmic work in those baby/young soul lives, and by the time we get to high school, college and beyond, are more focused on our life’s work than on causing trouble. So the monk is pretty much going to stick with monk-like activities, and will leave the serial killing to those that enrolled in that particular course at that particular level. Where are you in this whole scenario? It might be fun for you to try to figure it out. Nobody else can tell you where you’re at, but I can tell you love life, and love to learn, and I’m 100% positive you’re taking some accelerated courses along the way! Now go meditate…
- Members only features
- Members can email articles, add articles as favorites, add tags to articles and more. Register now to unlock additional features.