When my dad passed away at the hospital's intensive care unit, I was there. I saw the machine when it flatlined. I was there at the time he had breath in his body and at the time he took his last breath. For some reason, it felt final but not final-- final in the sense that him as I know him is gone, but not so final because there was this inexplicable feeling of being so certain that we will meet again. Some would say it is just a feeling and there is no truth to it, and I am not here to argue the point of what can be proven or what cannot. But I am here to offer the idea of reincarnation as it is taught in yogic teachings, what it means to be alive in this lifetime and to go through many more.
Reincarnation is the idea of a permanent soul taking on a journey with different bodies. Our body is like a vehicle. You may take the MRT or a jeep or a tricycle or a bus or a car or a boat or a jet or a plane or all of them at different points in your soul journey. In any case, the body is just a vehicle that takes us from one place to the other. Our final destination is the same: enlightenment, awakening, liberation. It takes many vehicles, hence many lifetimes, to get there. Some of us are just starting. But they say that if we are drawn to the practices of yoga, it means we already started our journey, and we are merely picking up where we left off. It is said that while we are living out these lifetimes, it may seem as though time is long and stretches out forever. But the moment we are enlightened, we see that time is nothing, that it is a mere drop in a vast ocean. It is said that when the Buddha became enlightened, he saw before him the one thousand lives he had lived in a flash.
Now what gets interesting is that if we start to believe in this concept, our perspective about others changes. Given that we are all headed towards enlightenment and all at different stages of our journey, wouldn't we see that we are all fellow passengers? If you are lining up to get somewhere, would you judge the last person in line because he or she was not early enough? I would think not, because our new perspective gives us the clarity that we are headed towards the same direction. Our timing is just a little different. If we saw each other as souls, our bodies impermanent, and our destinations the same, it will be easier to accept each other and to recognize each other. And in that sense, that we are all souls taking the same journey, isn't it beautiful to think of the idea that we are all soul mates?