On a cold afternoon one day, I sat down in my car with my mother and had a heart-to-heart with her on the concept of reincarnation.
In the traditional Buddhist teachings, reincarnation was explained as the afterlife. After your physical form passes, your spirit transcends that physical form and takes place in a new vessel. That could be as a new person (moving up) or an animal (moving down). Your karma dictated your ascension or descension and it seemed limited to only the physical being. It was as if you were living your entire life for the possibility of a “refresh” button or a chance to start over.
For me, reincarnation happens the minute my spirit dies. I’ve had a few instances in my life when I’ve felt a spirit-crushing pain so strong that there’s no other way to put it but true spirit-death. When that happens I usually feel that I come to some sort of breakthrough. I vow to make a change that will never allow myself to feel said pain again. Perhaps I resolve to do things differently next time. Maybe I choose to forgive but never forget. There’s been a myriad of instances in which I’ve experienced this spirit-death and was able to reframe my perspective instantaneously. It’s freakishly powerful, usually uncontrollable, and probably one of my subconscious survival mechanisms.
In addition to this emotional pain, I can actually feel a physical sensation as well. You can actually compare it to an adrenaline rush coupled with a mental high: my heart and mind races, my skin begins to feel flush, and I become hyperaware and sensitive to everything around me. It is usually in that moment that I begin to make changes in my environment — physical and/or mental — and it is only in retrospect that I realize that I am doing it.
So, in short, reincarnation isn’t limited to the passing of your physical form. It can happen everyday. The instant you decide that you want change in your life, close your eyes. When you open them again, it’s your chance to make your world right.