THEOSOPHY, Vol. 34, No. 6, April, 1946
(Page 227; Size: 4K)
(Number 13 of a 14-part series)
ARGUMENTS ON REINCARNATION
XIII: REINCARNATION AND ENVIRONMENT
ORGANIC life is sometimes described as "a continuous, self-perpetuating adjustment between internal and external forces." It is an interaction between circumstances and innate traits. Materialists ascribe the innate traits to maternal heredity. Reincarnationists to acquired traits of character, derived from past experience. Good and bad derive from the combination of the internal and external, and have no meaning in respect to either alone.
It can be seen that the internal is really the governing factor, for a man with a certain view of life can be patient, placid, happy and healthy under disappointments and deprivations which make another miserable and poison him with the secretions set in motion through his body by envy, rancor, and greed. The internal condition is the result of habits of thought and feeling developed in past incarnations and in this present life.
Environment is the rebound against the individual of the influences he exerted on man and nature at large in the indulgence of those habits in the past. Thus the major portion of his fate, his internal feelings, are under his control right now, if he chooses to seize that control, and if his will has not been paralyzed by the acceptance of materialism. The external pressure against him will change its nature as the energy put into it by him in the past becomes exhausted. He may have present good conditions, but they will pass unless he works in such a way as to bring about their continuance -- to "deserve" them. If he has bad conditions, they also will pass unless he sets more of the same kind in motion against him.
If he is in bad circumstances, he can speed up their passing by actively adopting as good and unselfish a life as he is able. If he is in good circumstances, he can make them still better, and a road to knowledge instead of mere pleasure, by adopting the same course of life. A further step, and one far on the way to real spiritual liberation and the end of necessary reincarnation, is to become indifferent to the pleasure or pain of circumstances and value all alike only for the knowledge they can be made to bring.
This is true freedom and is marked by the rising of the spontaneous inner happiness which is the birthright of the self, manifested every time it transcends slavery to material things. A true man who reaches this happiness does not selfishly enjoy it alone, but directs all his efforts to the end that others may share it with him.
Arguments on Reincarnation
XIV: The Social Cycle