Spiritism And Identity
The question “Is there life after death?” has been the subject of profound discuission and controversey in both the religious and secular world for as long as recorded history. It’s a question that leads us to consider another just as intretsing question. “Why is it so important for us to need to know? Yes, a basic fear of death, the seperation from loved ones, a deeper reason for existing, are all parts of it, but the answer is much more basic, it is all about identity.
Identity is defined as: The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known. We define ourselves and our resons for being as certain characterstics which are our identity. Charcateristics such as gender, which is our sexual identity within a society. Race identity, the general group from which we are descended, share a common heredity. National identity, how we relate to our country of origin, or of the one we call home. Religious identity, our beliefs about the supernatural, the devine, and the dogmas that accompany those beliefs. Intellectual identity, the role reasoning, learning, questioning and the seeking of knowledge play in our daily lives, the way we or our society sees our intellectual capacity. . Psychological identity that relates to self-image, self-esteem and individualisation. There is also the role identity which is our profession, obligations and our family relationships such as parenthood.
Collectively these factors of identification and all the memories and events which influenced these individuial factors are what we would define as our identity on this Earthly plane. And this collective identity is what we are desperatly hoping will transend death, when we ask that question “Is there life after death?”.
At first glance, in Spiritisim, identity would seems a simple enough topic. Yes, you go on forever because your actually an imortal spirit. The truth is actually not that simple.
Yes, we are all imortal Spirits, but neither “you” nor “I” will go on forever. Why not? Because of identity. The person who we are right now, the personality, habits, abilities, traits, quircks, virtues ,faults and even the gender that make up our identities, are in fact only a tiny fragment of who we actually are. Our true identities are that of our Spirit outside a matterial body. For the spirit, an existance in a matterial body is just a short temporary altered state of being.
The person you are right now, is only a tiny part of your spirit’s identity. Think about this in terms of the events in a matterial life time. Is the person you were in 5th grade , the person you are now? No, why not? Because that was only a small part of your life, countless identity altering experiences have occured since then. Does that mean that the person we were then is completely foreign from who we are now? No, those events are still a small part of who you are, but definately not the total of what you call your identity today. This is the perplexing revelation Spiritism shares with us. Lets try to get a clearer picture of what this all means.
How our identity is formed
How is identity formed? It is formed through events and experiences, how they affect us and how we react to them. This is both true for our Spirit self, and for us here on earth. Since a large part of a spirits primary state of evolution occures though a long series of rencarenations, it is the product of those reincarnations which form the identity of the Spirit. So lets clarrify some important points about the how science here on Earth has learned about identity, then go on from there.
Nature vs Nurture
For science this has been the great debate over the factors that influence identty. On one side there is ‘nurture’ the idea that enviormental factors like family, uppbrining, economics, amoung others are the most critical in making us who we are. The other side of the argument is ‘nature’, the belief that it is our dna , our genetic makeup, that defines and determins our identity.
The scientific discoveries that have most influenced the nature vs nurture argument are the identification of the genes that make up our dna (the human genome projerct) and new studies of the diffrences in twins who have been raised in seperate enviorments. As with most science the more that is discovered the more questions appear that need answering. The newest discovery to influence the debate, are ‘epigenetic markers’ which control the intensity of certain genes in our dna, and the fact that these markers are influenced by our enviorment. After so many years of study, for scientists the overall conclusion remains the same, both enviorment and genetics factors define our idetities.
Spiritism’s lesson on the Nature Vs Nurture debate is that while both are important factors, the main factors are the particular trials and experioences a Spirit has choosen to endure in a particular life time. A spirit chooses the location of its rencarnation, with knowledge of the enviormental factors found there. Chooses the parents to which they will be born, knowing the level of evolution, intensions and limitations these parents posses, and how that will effect how they grow up. The Spirit also balances genetic predispositions as important factors in choosing their parents.
Making these choices:
As discussed in other sections of this Spiritism Guide, when a Spirit disencarnates it relives the major events of that past life both from its own perspective, and from the perspective of everyone he/she has effected with the choices made in that life time. In most cases, this results in a Spirit’s desier to make up for these mistakes and the harm the mistakes caused to others. To achieve this goal, the Spirit wants to put themselves in a possition where they are forced to change their ethical shortcomings. These are the considerations a Spirit has when it is considering the details of its next rencarnation.
When the time comes for a reincarnation, a Spirits’ more evolved guides (with help from even more evolved Spirit Teachers) provied all the information the spirit needs to know in order to make these choices. This includes a list of potential parents that best fit the reincarnating Spirit’s needs. The possible parents come to an agreement with the Spirit who wants to be born as their offspring. This process occures before the parents themselves are rencarnated on Earth. The agrement with these possible parents is that if they are choosen, they will allow the Spirit to be ‘born’, and they will raise this newely reborn Spirit the best of their abilities. When the moment comes the Spirit makes its choices and the long process of reincarnation begins.
Parents and identity
Other than providing an enviorment and genetic matterial for the rencarnated Spirit, parents in fact have an immencely important role in the identity of a Spirit. As science tells us, childhood for all renmcarnated spirits is a critical time for learning. Not just are the pathways of the brain forming, growing, but the child is litteraly a sponge limited in its capacity for learning, only by the willingess and resources that parents can provide. Parents also have a role in terms of ethics, childhood is a critical time for ethical growth. The bond being formed between parents and offspring are not just physical but also on a spiritual level, it is a trust so great that a Spirit during childhood is very suceptable to a parents influences on their ethical code. To learn about the Ethical Code read the topic ‘Spiritism and Ethics on th Special Topic ssection of this Spiritism guide.
So if parents are willing, viggilant and wise enough, they can profoundly influence a major factor in their childs identity, their code of conduct. Changes the will have lasting effects in every aspect of that childs development, and of the identity that will form throught the child’s lifetime and beyond.
As said before, a Spirit chooses its parents partially because of their genetic predispositions. For the Spirit it is important that this new matterial body include certain traits, both positive and negative ones in order to best pay the past debts and achieve the lessons needed from that existance. Traits like predispositions to diseases, artistic pursuits, a higher IQ, athletic ability, and even mediumship can all be factors in a rencarnated Spirit’s development throught a matterial lifetime.
The suffering that comes from disease is a common path for paying past debts, and for learning the critical lessons of empathy, humility and patients. While a high IQ is usually a trait in those who wish to use an existance to contribute medical, technological or other knowledge to mankind. At the same time a high intellect is a powerful temptation that helps such spirits overcome the follies of greed, pride, arropgance and abuses of power. Athletic or artistic abilities too can result in great contributions to humanity, while also provideing the much needed lessons that come from the temptations of substance abuse, selfishness, and abuses in power. Mediumship is an immencely powerful tool for paying past debts and for profound contributuions to humanity, while at the same time providing the powerul temptation to abuse and exploit this ability. Each of thsse experiences and temptations will further alter identity. While overcoming these trials and temptations are critical steps in the overall path of the Spirit’s evolution.
Remembering Past Lives:
Every time a Spirit rencarnates it begins with a clean slate, with the exception of its Ethical Code, having no memory of the countless past lives that have come before. Would it not be easier to learn if a rencarnated Spirit recalled its past mistakes and understood why it was facing the trials and temptation in this life? No, first recalling past lives would neturalize the power parents have for poositive change, such memories would weigh a person down with feelings of guilt, fear and aprehention predisposing them to failure. Second, in order for a person to truly change they must act not out of fear or with forwarning , but out of a deep seeded need for change that comes from enduring the trails and temptations with only their ingrained ethical code to guide them.
There are rare exceptions, people who recall aspects of, or entire past lives. For these individuals recalling these past life events are part of the learning experiences in their present lives. With knowledge of past life events, these individuals are many times compelled to confirm the validity of these memories, and in that way become living testement to the imortality of the Spirit. For others these memories serve as comfort when facing their mortality, while for others they are a powefull eye opener to those who had a closed mind to the idea of the afterlife, God, and the Spirit.
THE SPIRIT’S IDENTITY
In order to explain how a Spirit’s identity is shaped, lets explore the aspects of human identity, and how each one does or does not become part of the Spirit’s identity.
A spirit has no gender. The concept of gender comes from the matterial world, animals particularly mamals posses certain reproductive organs and mechnaisims, and certain instincts for repoduction. In humans, gender is determind by gonads, hormones and by psychological normes. A spirit’s form called the ‘perispirit’ has no gonads, and no endocrine system or their hormone secreting glands. The Spirit through its perispirit does expresses an inate sence of gender identity based on its most recent rencarnation. If in its last rencarnation a Spirit inhabited a male body then its gender identity after its disencarnation will reflect that of a man, the same reflection of past gender applies if the last rencarnation was of a woman.
Gender and Reincarnations
In the series of rencarnations of a Spirit in its evolution, gender is a factor. A spirit can choose to be born male or female depending on how this factor will influence the trials and learning experiences of that existance. For the Spirit no particular gender is prefered, trials and learning are always the deciding factors. Though it is common for a Spirit to be born as one gender in a short series of rencarnations, because of the psychological tole on the rencarnating Spirit to be constantly changeing genders.
Spirit And Sexual Compulsion
For all Spirits who have yet to acheive perfection sexual compulsion is a real strugle, since its earliest rencarnation the Spirit was bound to a matterial animal body with deep seaded , basioc instincts of sexual repoduction. In later rencarnations as a human, libido remains a powerful force in a Spirits existance. Once in the Spirit world, between reincarnations, this compulsion, if not kept in check can become the source of obsession bringing great harm to both the Spirit and the individual who is the object of the obsession.
Gender And Spirit Evolution
As a Spirit evolves, its reflections of Earthly gender and the sexual compulsions that accompany these identities, become less and less significant. Eventually as a Spirit nears perfection these factors loose their influence completely. For a Spirit of high evolution, more important factors like learning, compassion, love and charity are the most influencial factors in their existance.
A Spirit has no inate racial identity. The concept of race is purely Earthly based. The idea of racial superiority is soley a misrepresentation of matterial science. In the Spirit world racial identity has no reflection. In the matter of rencarnations, a Spirit considers race the least among its criteria, taking only its effects on trials and learning experiencews in that rencarnations into account. Unlike with gender where a Spirit might choose to rencarnate as the same gender several times, with race it is common in every rencarnation to have a diffrent racial identity.
If race has little to no priority in rencarnations and no reflection in a Spirits identity, then with national identity the significance is even lower. Only when a certain trial, debt or learning experience is tied to a certain nation will the country of the rencarnation be taken into account. One asspect of nations that does form somewhat of an exception is related to the ‘law of progress’. This law applies to countries as much as it applies to individuals. So if a group of Spirits are deeply connected to a particular nation’s progress or failures then national identity may be a strong factor in choosing the place of rencarnation.
Religious identity has a strong reflection for a Spirit. As part of a Spirits evolution, a realization of the existance and understanding of the Supreme Intelligence, First Cause of the universe is a key first step. For a Spirit whos evolution has reached this point, a passion for religion and religiousness in all it’s expressions is born.
Spiritism And Religion
As discussed in other sections of this guide Spiritism clarrifies that truth is found in all religions denominations. That throught human history more evolved Spirits have rencarnated with the mission of introducing knowledge of God, divine justice, and the imortality of the Spirit to all nations, and grouos, under diffrent names.
The Spirit And Religiousness
For a Spirit, the diffrent religions it has believed in, are all important parts of its identity. It can recall and express concepts, beliefs, and traditions of these faiths. For the evolving Spirit each religion represents important and powerful lessons in its past, and continues to express a deep seeded sence of religiousness in its existance.
Rencarnation And Religion
When the time comes for a rencarnation the religion they will be born into is an important factor in some circumbstances but not others. Overall the resulting trails and lessons needed to be learned are the primary motivators. For a Spirit with a strong religious identity, it does not matter what religion it is born into, or even if it is born into an atheist family, the Spirit will express its connections and understanding of The Devine First Cause in what ever way they can.
Intellectual Identity has a strong reflection in a Spirits identity. Along with ethical development, intellectual development is critical to the evolution of a Spirit. The aquisition of knowledge, the development and use of reasoning /desition making skills, and the application of what has been learned , these are all important attributes for A Spirit. Everything a Spirit learns of a scientific nature in its matterial existances becomes part of its intellectual identity.
Spiritism And Scientific Knowledge
The ‘Law Of Progress’ as clarrified in Spiritism tells us that scientific advancement is just as important for both the individual and the society as is ethical advancement. A person and a society that has a scientific understanding of the world around them, can develop and apply the solid reasoning skills needed to evolve. For the individual this intellectual evolution also means gaining a deeper understanding of The First Cause, and the Divine Laws that govern their lives. For the society it means developing into a society who’s laws, civil rights, priorities and divisions of resources better reflect an ideal ethical model.
Intelligence And Rencarnation
Intelligence is a strong factor in the choice of a new body in a reincarnation. For individuals whos evolution is higher on an intellectual level, than an ethical level, this factor is critical. A high intelect is a powerful tool for the advancement of mans scientific knowledge. While a more limited intelect is a powerful trial and learning experience for those who need to learn humility, compassion, respect and aquire an emphasis on ethical growth.
Psychological Identity has a strong reflection for a Spirit. How a Spirit sees itself, the value it places on itself are critical parts of evolution. Addiction, obsession, hate, averious, cruelty and selfishness are destructive behaviors all stemming from a warped view of self. Only when a possitive view of self has resulted, as part of the needed lessons and trials of rencarnation, will the Spirit see itself as deserving of further advancement.
A Spirits Appearence
Another way psychological identity is reflected by a Spirit is in the way it chooses to appear at any given time. Spirits pooses the ability to take any shape, most commonly they alternate betwen their appearence during several important rencarnations in their evolution. A Spirit might appear as they did when they were a doctor during circumbstances where medical, healing knowledge is requiered. While they appear as they did when they were a religious leader when dealing with matters of faith and charity. And appear as they did when they were a scientist when knowledge of a scientific nature is needed. For a Spirit these changes in appearence serve both as psychological triggers and a form of self expression.
Spirits And Earthly Apparitions
These changes in appaerence are an important factor when a spirit is permited to be seen by those on earth, through the direct or indirect infuence of mediums. If a Spirit wants to comunicate with Earth bound family members, they will of course appear as they did in that life time. While using the appearence during a past rencarnation of a religious or scientific nature might be appropriate when sharing a certain kind of information or assistance to earth bound individuals through a medium.
The Appearence of Saints
Before communicating, a Spirit knows if they are dealing with earth bound individuals or groups who posses strict religious dogmatic views on Spirit apparitions. In these cases, these evolved Spirits wishing to comunicate take on a form that will be found aceptable to those they are communicating with. In most cases the image of a saint.
Role Identity has very strong reflections for a Spirit. We have already discussed how the professions of past existances play a part in a Spirit’s Psychological identity. Role also plays a major part in identity in refference to the obligations and bonds of family and friendship formed in past existences.
Spirits And Earthly Family Bonds
For a Spirit the term family exists on an amazing scale, all the strong relationships formed in past lives are only strengthened by repeated reincarnations . When a family member or friend disincarnates and returns to the Spirit world a desier to again be near these loved ones is strong.
Great difficulty lies in having to redefine its role identity with its earth bound family. As much as the Spirit would want to spend all its time and energy being near its matterial family, this is not wise for two reasons. First because this can easily become an obsession and bring great harm to both the Spirit and the Earth bound family. Second because these Earth bound individuals are all in the process of enduring trials and learning important lsessons which they must do without the interfearence of the Spirit relative.
Eventually a resonable balance is found where the Spirit spends time with its earthly family guideing them in a way that does not intefear with devibne law. While still taking the timee to do the work in the spirit world it needs for its continued evolution.
Disencarnation And Spirit Realtions
The process of disincarnatiuon is a complex and difficult one for a Spirit, it took immence will, energy and time for a Spirit to join to its new body, and to break that connections requiers much effort and time as well. Eventually the recovered Spirit is reunited with desencarnated loved ones and with their help start to become again familiar with its suroundings and ‘remembers’ the abilities of its restored Spirit form.
The Spirit World And Family Roles
As stated earier Spirits who have shared strong bonds on Earth continue these bonds in the spirit world. Though the exact roles they now play in these relationships are changed by the new circumbstances. Spirits who have acheved higher evolution take on parental, teacher roles. While Spirits shareing similar levels of evolution with their loved ones, tend to maintain a stronger reflection of the previous family roles. Since these Spirit families are so large, containing many parents, siblings and friends, with time, earlier past life relations tend to become beloved friends while the more recent relations keep their recent past life roles.
Rencarnation And Family Bonds
When the time comes for rencarnations, Spirits who have been family many times wish to again rencarnate together. When circumstances allow, this does occure, though at this point the exact family roles will completely change. Children in one existance may become parents to a previous sibling. Parents may find themselves siblings, or even grandchildren to their past life offspiring. Spouces too may find themslves in new roles, as children, siblings or even parents to their past life spouce. The exact family structure will be determind by the trials and life lessons needed in that life time.
Another choice for a Spirit relative is to become a guide to an Earth bound relation. This occures after much of it’s Spirit world work and learning has been completed. The new Spirit guide becomes a guardian and chief council for the rencarnated relation and will remain so until the Earth bound relative returns to the Spirit world. Then after much time and preparation the roles will be reversed. The spirit guide rencarnates and the previously Earth bound relation becomes the new spirit guide.
Family Bonds And Past Mistakes
Not just are the bonds of family held together by love, and mutual help, but also by a realization that because we are all still evolving, we owe loved ones many past debts. Sadly we really do hurt most the ones we love, and these past mistakes need to be redemed, this makes the continuation of these bonds throught rencarnations all the more necessary.
Anouther kind of bond exists that is just as strong as family bonds but of a completely opposite nature, hostile bonds. As part of our evolution, rencarnated Spitits put themselves in situations where if they surcumb to the limitations in their ethical code they can do great harm to the people around them. Whether it’s to family members, coworkers, employies, or because of byass , these abuses have terrible and long reaching effects.
Spirits who have wronged each other many times fall into terrible cycles of violence. Eventually one of the two Spirits trapped in this cycle rencarnates to try and make up for past mistakes. But the other participent is so filled with rage that from the Spirit world, this angry Spirit does everything in its power to manipulate and do harm to its Earth bound enemy. This is called “Spirit Obsession”, this obsession is what is in its extream cases is mistakenly called ‘Spirit Possesion’. All Earth bound Spirits have Spirit world enemies who try to obsesses them. We are all plaqued by ethical limitations, and in our ignorance create enemies and fall in and out of these cycles of hate.
Breaking Spirit Obsessions
Many times in order to break these cycles of hate, both of the Spirits involed rencarnate as family in order to make changes in role identity. Hoping that the natural love beween close relations will be catalysts to ending these vicious cycle. In most cases it takes many many such rencarnations for both Spirits, trapped in the mutual obsession, to see each other as family and not enemies. But when this change occures the two Spirits develop very close loving bonds and become great allies in each others evolution.
Well Known Identities
A discussion of identities should include a clarrification of a phenomenou common to the popular cultural mythos. The rencarnation of the ‘famous’ and/or their communication through mediums. As has been mentioned in great detail, rencarnations provide the trials and lessons necessary for continuing spirit evolution. Fame as part of identity, is just another tool of learning, a source of trial, and temptation. Beyond the limits of that life time, fame has no reflection in the Spirit world. When a Spirit of a ‘famous’ person rencarnates, not just do they not recall their past lives, but for the Spirit it is important not to recall past fame. First: because it will interfear with the goals of their present recarnation. Second: because it will inspire obsession in those who may idolise or worship the dead celebrity. When it comes to Spirit communication through a mediums, the Spirits of famous people refuse to reveal that past life identity. For them it is important that any messages they may share be valued based on their content not on the past life fame of the Spirit.
Identity And Spirit Evolution
One more factor that effects identity is Spirit evolution. A Spirit is constantly growing and evolving so its identity is constantly in flux too. Before a Spirit rencarnates it has a ‘true’ Spirit identity as described above in detail. But after disencarnation when the Spirit returns to the Spirit world, that ‘true’ identuity has been altered. The Spirit has learned new lessons, payed off past debts, strengthend bonds with loved ones, and because of its imperfections made new mistakes and caused new harm to others. These events can not help but have an effect on the Spirits identity for the better or for the worse. In the end evolution is all about change, and Spirit evolution is about a changes brought about by new experiences and the effect those experiences have on the Spirit. Identity can not help but evolve as the Spirit evolves too.
IDENTITY AND SPIRITISIM SUMMERY:
Spiritisim clarrifications of identity, and of our ‘true’ Spirit self are at the same time consoling, perplexing, and more evidence of a Perfect Creator. Consoling, in our knowledge that death is not the end, all we are is not lost. Perplexing, as it explains the complex and ever evolving identity of the individual. As evidence of a Perfect Creator, because only a Divine Primary Cause of the universe would be wise enough to allow each of us to be the artists of our oun identity and a Divine cause all powerful enough to create a system where, inspite of our vast, ever changeing diffrenes, we remain equal in both natural law and in our evolutionary path toward perfection.
Of all the many lessons this revelation teaches us, the most important lesson about identity that we should carry with us daily is:
That as much as our identity may change, we loose nothing, gain unimaginable wisdom, and continue to love those we once loved on Earth.