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Reincarnation/Fear of reincarnation


Dear Stephen,
I have always believed in the spiritualist idea that when we die the soul survives to be reunited with friends and loved ones, and I have always been very comfortable with that idea, but lately I have become fearful of passing over and then being reincarnated with a new life. I expect that most people would be overjoyed to think that they will have another life to live but I find it quite frightening.
The thought that I may have to endure hardship and pain or perhaps become a child in a dangerous country fills me with horror, I understand that what we do in this life may determine our next but I am becoming very stressed with the thought of dying and then having to come back and do it all again. I am 64 years of age and have not had any traumatic events in my life, I feel very lucky to have been born in London England and to have had a fairly good life with plenty to eat and good health, but I am having the thought that I may have to pay for this by being reborn as a starving child in some troubled land.
Any ideas that will reassure me would be most welcome.
Kind Regards,

Dear Alfred,

I'm 60, so I can relate. I particularly do not look forward to going through school again as a child! Well, I can tell you that you will not be punished with a future bad lifetime, for having indulged in a good one! I have read, however, that every once in awhile we take a break and get a vacation life, and then we get back to the work. The work, of course, is righting past wrongs, getting lessons learnt properly, bringing forward particular talents, and so-on. So it is not so much that you will have to suffer, as that you may have to go back to school, and back to work. Careers can be exhilarating--people love the challenge of a sport, or a hobby, or of learning.

So I'd suggesting thinking of it as "getting back in the game." What you say, of course, is what motivates mystics in the East to talk about the science of *ending* the cycle of rebirth. The answer to all this is that there is a destiny far grander than heaven or the astral plane (even the higher astral realms), for each person. The soul is restless with it, and drives us onward toward this highest goal of union with God. It is one's own deepest, real Self which is not satisfied, however much one's mind may feel satisfied.

I firmly believe that anything that comes to us, was self-created in past lives. Nothing can come to one arbitrarily. If it does come, one must have the courage and humility to work through what one had, in the past, created. But there is no reason to assume, necessarily, that because you have had a relatively easy go of it this lifetime, that you must have the opposite next time. My conclusion, after 40 years of study, is this--so long as one is learning one's life-lessons, one is reasonably safe (unless there is a special reason for some particular difficulty). It is when we stop learning those lessons, ignore them, push them under the rug, that we run into trouble, because the restless Soul will not allow such an indefinite hiatus. It wants to move ever onward toward union with God.

So if you identify your primary lessons for this life, and are doing your best to assimilate them, I think next lifetime you will be given ample opportunity to learn the next set of lessons, without the necessity of undue shocks and hardships.

You can find this, distorted but still recognizable, in the Biblical teaching about the trees which did or did not bear fruit, and the ax laid to their roots, and so-on. It is symbolic, and it means that those who are not learning their life-lessons, have the shock of suffering sent to the very roots of their mental impressions. I think this is not suffering generated out of nowhere--it is the very self-same suffering one has created in past lives. But that suffering is held in abeyance so long as we are being "fruitful," meaning, so long as we are attempting to learn and assimilate our life-lessons.

Best regards,


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Stephen Sakellarios


I can answer questions about reincarnation (from both Eastern and Western perspectives) and life after death, and how these topics relate to religion and spirituality.


I produced a documentary entitled "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America" which aired on PBS station KBDI in Denver, CO, Jan. 2003
I have a masters in counseling from FSU, and over thirty years' study of Eastern mysticism from carefully selected sources, plus eight years' study of contemporary Western reincarnation studies. I've published nine related articles online and in print. I offer an online class on the subject and maintain an extensive educational website at, as well as giving talks and radio interviews (archived on the website).

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