Those souls who opt for reincarnation face obstacles. They would have to plan their new lives carefully. They would have to plot out a new “life plan” (discussed in chapter 3). Life plans contain all the particulars that the soul wants to accomplish during his or her lifetime. They also contain all of the significant people he or she will meet, the challenges he or she will face, and several exit points to be used to escape the life at the soul’s discretion. Note that if a soul chose to reincarnate, it would have to reincarnate in a body with a new brain and an entirely different set of physical impulses for the new life than it had in the life it left behind.
It would not be easy to reincarnate into a successful new life, and it would take years of planning to do it correctly. An inexperienced soul might jump right back to earth without properly planning, but it runs the risk of not having any say in its future situation, including its parents. Properly planed, a new life would teach spiritual lessons that might not otherwise be encountered if the soul simply remains in Spirit forever. Poorly planned, the soul might encounter a life with abusive drug and alcohol addicted parents, friends and lovers. These are lessons, to be sure. But they are “common” lessons that would be too easily repeated life after life after life, and I suspect (based only on observation) that too many souls would do exactly that.
No new life is guaranteed to turn out the way it was planned. The vagaries of life on earth could produce conditions that might be a detriment to the soul’s evolution. Suppose an Albert Einstein returned to earth to complete his theory of everything but found himself forced into a life of poverty and crime through circumstances beyond his control. Again, these are lessons to be sure, but a life in and out of prison for such a soul would serve no purpose and might at least temporarily derail his spiritual journey.
Ian Stevenson’s studies have found little evidence that “reincarnated personalities” actually do much planning for their next lives. Nor do they demonstrate much spiritual evolution in their newly reincarnated bodies. Furthermore, as I explained in the discussion of Karma, if a soul had to repeatedly reincarnate over and over again, there would be no real need for a spiritual world at all since all spiritual evolution would have to take place on the earth. Why bother with a spiritual Heaven or Hell if both conditions had to be experienced again and again right here in the world of matter?.
I agree with Frederick Myers and have concluded that souls are not forced to reincarnate over and over again as is taught in oriental religions, but Instead they carry the memories of the past lives of other members of their group soul. It would be these memories that people recount when they experience past life recollections. Reincarnation of the same soul probably happens, but I suspect that it happens only a limited number of times and then only voluntarily on the part of less evolved souls with very specific reasons for returning. As I have stressed throughout this book, celestial law is based on individual free will. An endless chain of involuntary reincarnations contravenes this law.