Reincarnation is a belief prevalent amongst Hindus, Buddhists, some Taoists and I'm sure other people too. Such adherents believe that a person's soul or essence is reborn several times in different earthly expressions before reaching heaven, nirvana or perfection. Personally, I've always thought that reincarnation was a really far-fetched idea.
Lately, however, I've come to realize that I too believe in reincarnation, albeit in far different way than most who utilize the term.
To put it in its simplest terms, for me, reincarnation is nothing more than the act of human compost. From what I've observed in my lifetime, all matter eventually dies and breaks down into its most fundamental elements. These elements come together to form new matter.
We see this process at work in our home compost piles. We bring together vegetable scraps, fallen leaves, small twigs, grass clippings and a variety of other spent plants. With a little time and care (and even without the care), the various parts of this mass breakdown into a rich mulch which we spread on our gardens and lawns. From this mulch springs new life.
That's fine and dandy, some of you may say, but what about a person's soul or essence? Well, I don't see why the very same process can't occur with our spiritual side. It could be that, when we cease our present earthly existence, our spiritual essence returns to Tao and is thrown onto the giant soul compost pile to be transformed into celestial mulch. In time, this spiritual mulch becomes the springboard for the essence within future matter.
I'm certainly not suggesting this is the way it is. I'm just saying it's as good a possibility as the next belief.
As a Taoist, I really don't ponder these sorts of things very often because it represents the kind of question that we can't answer in this lifetime. Why waste a lot of precious time and energy worrying or debating what none us can know definitively until we get there.
That said, I see nothing wrong with people casually expressing their beliefs on this topic or venturing to guess what the "hereafter" MIGHT be like.
Anyone have an interesting theory you'd like to share?