Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What I'm Reading Now-The Reincarnationist

The Reincarnationistby M.J. Rose-Meh. For me, this book was just a series of extremely telegraphed events, and I never reached that point where I just couldn't put the book down. I'm okay with telegraphed, but it has to be intriguing. Sometimes you know what's going to happen, but you still can't wait to see if you're right because if you are, it's going to be really funny or super sad or totally awesome and you want to see it play out. Not so much with this book.

So, quick rundown: Josh is living in present day NYC, but he was injured a few years ago, and ever since he's been having what seem to be memories of a past-life; but they are more than just memories, they're more like lurches from the present into the past. The Phoenix Foundation works with children who are experiencing similar episodes, but they normally don't work with adults. Josh, of course, is the exception. In Rome a major archeological find has been unearthed; a tomb of one of the Vestal Virgins has been discovered and in this tomb is a box that is rumored to contain the legendary Memory Stones. These stones are supposed to be able to help with past-life regressions, and if they exist they are worth a lot to different people for different reasons. Someone breaks in, the stones are stolen, and chaos ensues. Also, the woman in the tomb was probably the love of Josh's life around 390 A.D., but is she really? Why was she buried alive? Did she really have the stones? Who has them now? Why are they killing people and kidnapping children? See? This should be intriguing, right? That's what I thought too. I'm not saying this book was terrible; it was interesting, I just wasn't ever on the edge of my seat.

The one thing about this book that I did find fascinating was the quote from Rudyard Kipling at the beginning of Chapter 1 (that's Location 158-65 for those of you following along on your Kindle readers in the second-smallest font. For the rest of you, I would assume this is somewhere near page 1. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can go here). Anyway, here's the quote:

They will come back, come back again,
As long as the red earth rolls.
He never wasted a leaf or a tree.
Do you think he would squander souls?

Ooh, doesn't that just give you goosebumps (or chicken skin for those of you in Hawaii)? Reincarnation is one of those things that I certainly don't think is impossible, but it's also a pretty big stretch to say, "Yup. That's the way it works. I'm certain," but those last two lines right there make a lot of sense to me. That brings up a whole new quandry though.

What are we right now, about 6,000,000,000 people worldwide, give or take a few hundred million? Ok. Well, what happens when we get to 7,000,000,000? Where do those extra billion souls come from? Are those the souls that have finally evolved (devolved?) enough to be human? What did they evolve or devolve from? I don't know if evolve is quite the right word, but you all know what I mean, right? Does a super-courageous rescue dog who has saved many lives finally get to come into the world as somebody's beloved baby girl? Does an elephant that went on a rampage and killed her baby have to come back as an amputee beggar in the streets of India? (Because, you know, elephants are the physical manifestation of Nirvana. I'm pretty sure.)

Did the world start out with one soul, and has it just been stretched thinner and thinner as each new person comes into the world? Do we all get souls? What if there is only a set number, and some of us have them and some of us don't? Does it change throughout your lifetime? Can you lose your soul? Gain a soul? This reminds me of the questions that were brought up in Unwind, by Neal Shusterman.

Okay, I'll stop now. I'm sure if there are any religious scholars reading this, they A) stopped reading a long time ago or B) continued reading but have made a notation in their wills to have their graves dug extra wide so that they will have plenty of room to roll over in them when they finally get there.

If anybody has any thoughts on reincarnation, I'd love to hear it.

Other people who have reviewed this book:

If you have read this book and want me to add your review here, please let me know!


Jeanne said...

I found The Reincarnationist forgettable, but I loved Unwind. I tend to think that the idea of reincarnation is pretty much summed up by this saying: "the young want justice, while the old want mercy." What I mean is, I think young people enjoy thinking about reincarnation, but you don't find as many older people taking the idea as seriously. Shirley Maclaine aside.

Laura said...

When I read about "The Reincarnationist," I contacted MJ Rose because I'd written a book about my possible past lives with a famous rock band. She has a blog on reincarnation as well which I've found very informative.

You bring up some very good questions about the soul and how all of this can be possible with over 6 billion of us on the planet. I ask those questions as well, but have spent years exploring the possibility of reincarnation, as well as having a mind blowing spiritual awakening where I saw the future, so I'm a bit biased.

Anyway, there are some very good books written by PhD's that not only explore reincarnation, but the in-between state (where our souls hang between incarnations). "Journey of Souls" and "Destiny of Souls" by Dr. Michael Newton is where I send people to start. Dr. Linda Backman, who has trained with Newton, just released "Bringing Your Soul the Light" about her research into the between-life state.

Then there are reincarnation classics like Dr. Helen Wambach's "Reliving Past Lives" and "Life Before Life." Based upon my own experience, there seems to be some aspect of our consciousness that does transcend death, and that we return in soul groups to heal and co-create with one another. How all this happens is still a mystery, but for me, is is very real.

Enjoy the mystery!

Dreamybee said...

Jeanne-I still want a lot of justice, so I guess that means I am still young, right? ;)

Laura-Thanks for the recommendations. They sound like they would make some good follow-up reading to this book.

Ellen said...

I had the opposite reaction to the Reincarnationist - I really connected to it and couldn't get it out of my head for weeks... esp the ending which was one of the better ends I'd read in a book in a long time. If you want to read something else on the subject there's an older book called Green Darkness and I think that's by Anne Seyton.

Dreamybee said...

Ellen-Oh no! I didn't even talk about the ending! I thought it was...ok. I read the last sentence, turned the page, and went, "Eh! That's it? Well...whatever." LOL. I wasn't necessarily disappointed by it, I just felt like it was kind of abrupt I guess.

Green Darkness sounds interesting. Maybe I'll like that one better! Thanks for the tip.