Many interpretations of Bible texts are alienating; do this, don't do that. Often we reach superficial conclusions about the meaning of Bible texts.
More than ever, we need to crack the code and get into the Bible to see how it is relevant for our modern lives. Otherwise, the Bible is just a relic.
The Bible is certainly not a tool to moralize; it is a tool for personal development. Nor is it a means to fantasize about a God we know very little about. We will never achieve lasting personal development based on a skewed interpretation of sin and faith. If we unlock the true meaning of the words in the Bible, we will develop our capacity to think things through to the truth of the matter. The trouble is, we often find thinking painful, feeling is much more fun. Test this out by reading aloud the next sentence.
The single most important piece of information missing from our daily lives is an understanding of reincarnation.
There are texts in the Bible that make much more sense if we apply the principle of repeated lives. I know that many people find the concept of repeated lives on earth difficult to understand. However, we have reached a point in our development where we can begin to remember snippets of our past lives. These are the déjà vu moments. Déjà vu, according to Wikipedia, is a French phrase meaning "already seen," and it refers to the experience of believing that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously.
Here is a brief explanation of reincarnation for those unfamiliar with the basic concept. Our actions in previous lives cause consequences in future lives - we can call this karma. For example, if we stole from others in a previous life, people may steal from us in this life, not just possessions but stolen time, stolen effort, stolen ideas, etc. If we looked down on others in a past life, in this life we might be short so that people physically look down on us. If we didn't take in what we heard in a past life, now we may be deaf. Isaac Newton's third law of physics, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," echoes the ancient mystery teaching about reincarnation.
We can bounce around with actions and reactions or we can embrace our experiences and be in harmony with them.
The eighth Beatitude speaks about reincarnation.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Mt 5:10
This is not speaking about being a martyr, as we shall see when we look at the meaning of the Greek words. The 'ones having been persecuted', dediogmenoi in Greek, indicates the ones who are driven away. Who do we drive away from us? The ones we have difficult karma with, the ones who cause us to react.
If we think about reincarnation in terms of the age of the human race, then we have incarnated many times, so many that most of the people we meet have a karmic connection to us. This karma needs balancing. This makes sense if we think about the way friends can fall out and marriages can break down.
If we place the word dediogmenoi, driving away, in context with righteousness a very different story emerges. Righteousness is dikaiosune, which means justice or being just, balanced and in harmony. The scales of justice give us a good understanding of the meaning of righteousness. Justice is a continual series of adjustments to restore balance and harmony. This also means that we have the ability to judge when things are 'just right'.
If we want to understand our own past lives we need to look for clues. One big clue is this: notice how we are attracted to some people, and repelled by others. There are so many clues in even the smallest events in our lives.
Another clue can be found in facial expressions. Some people have an uncanny resemblance to people who lived long ago. Obviously, only the faces of famous people have survived, and not all of us were famous people in past lives, but the similarity can be uncanny.
When Prince died recently my friend Adriana Koulias discovered that his facial features were a very close match to those of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten who died around 1335 BC. She then looked into the lives of these two men and discovered many similarities - many actions and reactions.
If we act on these ideas instead of reacting, we can make a great deal of sense of world events as well as events in our own lives. This brings us peace and harmony and a deep respect for the wisdom of the universe - "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
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