Life in the summerlands is easy and offers little in the way of resistance while life in dense matter on earth is very difficult and requires a lifetime of work and learning. On earth, the constant presence of evil people, evil political events, natural disasters and self-inflicted damage makes people learn lessons that they would never choose in the context of their idea of a “perfect life”. Spiritual evolution is probably faster during an earth life than it is in the “friction free” atmosphere of the summerlands. On earth, you are forced to make the best use of your free will in totally unexpected circumstances. That’s the reason you are here. For some souls, living multiple lifetimes in a world that offers resistance might represent the quickest way to shorten their journey toward their ultimate union with God.
For the most part, a single lifetime should be enough to teach a newly hatched soul the basics of socialized behavior and give it a proper sense of what constitutes good and evil. No matter how troubled that life may have been, once a soul has crossed into the mainstream of spiritual life, it would have learned enough about itself to start the long climb toward its spiritual goals. The world of matter is just basic training for spiritual life; just a kindergarten of sorts. However, some souls might enjoy their life in matter so much that they want a repeat performance. Some might feel that their first life was such a disaster, that they want a do-over. Others might have an ongoing project that they want to see to its conclusion. And of course some may want to reincarnate just because life in matter is just more fun.
As was mentioned in chapter 8, eternity is a very long time. A frictionless thousand years in the summerlands gets boring and always compels even relatively content souls to desire a change of venue. While most of the more highly evolved souls in this situation will opt to progress to a higher and more challenging plane, others who long to indulge in the more animal-like pleasures of earth will opt to go downward for another round of earth life. Stafford Betty has told of a passage he read in Letters from the Afterlife, channeled by Elsa Barker in 1914.
Judge David Patterson Hatch was a rather remarkable man in life:
“Hatch gives an example of a spirit who eagerly waited for his earth lover to die. When she did, they were reunited and lived in a “state of subjective bliss” that excluded almost every other experience: Now they have each other; they are in “the little house” which he built for her with so much pleasure out of the tenuous materials of the tenuous world; they see each other’s faces whether they look out or in; they are content; they have nothing more to attain (or so they tell each other), and they consequently sink back into the arms of subjective bliss…. They will enjoy it, I fancy, for a long time, living over the past experiences which they have had together and apart. Then someday one or the other of them will become surfeited with too much sweetness; the muscles of his (or her) soul will stretch for want of exercise; he (or she) will give a spiritual yawn, and by the law of reaction, pass out—not to return. Where will they go, you ask? Why, back to the earth, of course! It’s worth noting that Hatch himself is in no hurry to reincarnate.”
BY: Betty, Stafford. Heaven and Hell Unveiled: Updates from the World of Spirit. (p. 129). White Crow Productions Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
QUOTED FROM: Barker, Elsa. Letters from the Afterlife: A Guide to the Other Side (p. 121). Atria Books/Beyond Words. 1914. Kindle Edition.
However, even 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 choose an entirely different set of personality traits 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. 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 a majority of souls do not reincarnate, but instead, carry the memories and lessons of the 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 may happen, 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.