Do you believe in reincarnation?
If you do, you may also believe that it is compulsory, meaning that a person is tied to some sort of Karmic Wheel until enough good deeds and living earn them the opportunity to slip off of it and enter a new euphoric heaven.
As for me, I have experiential information suggesting that yes, spirits do return to the earth plane (and others) to live new lives. However, reincarnation is hardly compulsory. The idea of the Karmic Wheel, in terms of its obligatory nature, is not how it seems to work on the other side.
The first thing that happens when we die is that we slip out of these physical bodies and into the most proximate realm, one I like to refer to as the “birthing canal” dimension. This is the plane wherein we realize we are in fact dead. We become aware of our new form in spirit. From there we actually “cross over”, that is, move into the Light or the next intended phase of our journey. However, not all spirits move through this birthing canal dimension; some become disoriented and stuck, or simply refuse to leave altogether. These are those we typically call ghosts. We will discuss the nature of ghosts at a later time. Suffice it to say it is not the goal to dwell in this most proximate realm; the goal is indeed to move into the Light. Most earthly spirits do this.
Once crossed, a soul goes through a series of steps, not all of which will be covered here. Essentially, though, there is a life review where the spirit, with non-judgmental stance, reviews the most recent life and identifies lessons learned and opportunities missed, etc. There is also a period of rest which can take anywhere from days to countless earth years, depending on the spirit’s needs and desires. There are also experiences to be had in these “heavenly” realms; schools, occupations, music halls, art, groups, wondrous natural vistas, etc.
According to famed medium Arthur Ford (via automatic writing conducted by Ruth Montgomery), a spirit can avail itself of any and all of these heavenly offerings for as long as it needs or so desires. Yet at some point, if a spirit is progressing favorably, it will want to continue on its evolutionary path. This is when the idea of returning to the earth plane typically arises. The spirit has the option (again, it is not compulsory) to return to earth in a new life.
Why would we want to return? Mainly because the earth itself is an excellent school; the learning here can be done at an accelerated pace. As humans we struggle every day to overcome the limitations of the body in order to make more pure communion with the Source, or God. It is our goal before entering an incarnation to see beyond the obstacles placed in our way, most of which we chose ourselves before ever coming here via sacred soul contracts. This means we have no one to blame but ourselves for the primary relationships we have, or occupations, or illnesses. We chose most of these conditions to learn and progress, therefore all “obstacles” are really opportunities. Therefore we are to be grateful, not scornful, because this is all as we selected it to be!
But again, does the spirit have to return here? Absolutely not. The universe doesn’t work like that. Free will is the law. If we choose not to come back to earth we can learn and progress in other ways within other astral dimensions. Some will choose lengthy education before doing anything else. Others will transition into a guide role and help others on earth or in different realms. The earth is not the only way to progress, it simply happens to be a good way — an accelerated way.
So do not worry. Do not think that this life has been hard on you and that you will be obligated to return again because you’ve done so many things wrong. This is not so. You will not be obligated to do anything, even progress. You will probably be surprised, though, once you cross over — most of us actually cannot wait to come back. Once out of these bodies we see how miniscule our previous physical obstacles really were, and also how irrelevant death in fact is. Everything is put in the proper context and we are no longer horrified by ideas of illness, strife, violence or grief.
These, we see, are necessary conditions to facilitate the learning, and in the end we feel only gratitude for having experienced them, and a willingness to experience certain conditions again.