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To understand reincarnation, we need to understand the nature of our mind, and how our body and mind are separate entities.
If we understand the nature of the mind, we can understand the existence of past and future lives. Many people believe that when the body disintegrates at death, the continuum of the mind ceases and the mind becomes non-existent, like a candle flame going out when all the wax has burned. In the Vedic scriptures, our body is compared to a guesthouse and our mind to a guest dwelling within it. When we die, our soul leaves our body and goes to the next life, just like a guest leaving a guesthouse and going somewhere else.
Karma literally means “deed or act,” but more broadly describes the principle of cause and effect. Simply stated, karma is the law of action and reaction which governs consciousness. In physics-the study of energy and matter-Sir Isaac Newton postulated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Push against a wall. Its material is molecularly pushing back with a force exactly equal to yours. In metaphysics, karma is the law that states that every mental, emotional and physical act, no matter how insignificant, is projected out into the psychic mind substance and eventually returns to the individual with equal impact.
Many people believe in the principle of karma, but don’t apply its laws to their daily life or even to life’s peak experiences. We create our own experiences. It is really an exercising of our soul’s powers of creation. Karma, then, is our best spiritual teacher. We spiritually learn and grow as our actions return to us to be resolved and dissolved.