Reincarnation–or reimbodiment–is an ancient tenet taught in the inner sanctum of every true religion since the dawn of time. This universal law is not mentioned directly in the Bible, partly because it was common knowledge at the time, although you can see clear references to reincarnation and karma in the books of Matthew, Luke and John.
Belief in reincarnation is one of the cornerstones of morality. So long as people are unaware of the existence of the Law of Cause and Effect [“Karma”] which is operative from one incarnation to the next, no amount of preaching or sermonizing will ever do much good.
As soon as you begin to acknowledge the law of reincarnation [and karma] you begin to understand that every event of your life (birth, marriage, personal encounters, accidents, successes, etc.) is significant, for everything stems from a specific cause whether it be recent or of long standing. This understanding influences your feelings and reactions to events because once you realize that everything has its meaning you are no longer tempted to rebel or to try and solve your problems with hatred and violence. When you realize that, whatever hardships you may have to put up with, they are the direct result of your own past faults, you accept the fact and cease trying to blame others for your misfortunes. And, finally, belief in reincarnation is a stimulus to developing your willpower: you become strong and steadfast, you avoid doing anything reprehensible that would entail more suffering in the future and you persevere in the work of building a better future.
Remember the first line in the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” This is an ancient esoteric axiom echoed by the Buddha that the first step on the path of enlightenment is not to incur any more bad karma. You achieve this by knowledge, or right-mindfulness. Understanding reincarnation and karma puts ones life on the right track.
Once you know and acknowledge these cosmic laws the light is yours and your powers of comprehension are greatly enhanced. Warmth is yours: you can be happy and rejoice in the thought that sooner or later you will attain your goal of perfection. And life is yours: you become active and full of initiative in the creation of your own future. Aren’t these three enormous advantages? And they all flow from a belief in reincarnation and karma.
When a man spends all his time eating, sleeping, amusing himself and procreating children; when he works only in order to earn his living, then whatever illusions he may have on the subject, his life is that of an animal; he is governed by instinct and his biological urges. Plants and animals do as much! His life follows its course as though he himself, his consciousness and his will, had no part in it. He goes from childhood to manhood and from manhood to old-age, sickness and death without intervening in any way.
When a man begins to use his mind consciously and takes command of his instincts, when he begins to purify and add the spiritual element to that level of his being, then he becomes a powerful factor, capable of changing his destiny. But what is destiny? Destiny is an implacable chain of cause and effect to which the animal, biological, instinctive level of life is subject.
The higher life begins at the point where man realizes that he is more than a stomach, a sex organ, a creature of flesh, bone and muscle. Divine life begins when a man realizes that he is also a spiritual being and that he is meant to act and create in the realm of the spirit, that he is meant to devote his life to something more than his physical needs, something sublime, luminous and divine; then, yes, he frees himself from destiny. The destiny of the physical body is to fall ill, die and be left to rot in the grave; on this level there is no escape from destiny. But once a man ceases to be confined to that level, once he ceases to identify himself with his own physical body, he ceases to be bound to destiny.
The spiritual-aware life enables us to add something to our instinctive life [as an animal] and live on a higher plane, a plane beyond the reach of destiny [fate].