Is there ever a time when a spirit stops incarnating into physical bodies? And is this even a desirable prospect?
Some people seem to think that the purpose of life is to evolve to the point that “we no longer need to incarnate.” We hear a lot of talk about “This is my last life” and “I’m working to finish up so I won’t have to come back.”
Is that really how it works? And would we want it to work that way? In order to answer these questions, let’s examine the pros and cons of incarnating.
What Incarnation Provides for Us
Incarnating into a physical form gives us access to worlds that are otherwise unavailable to us—and lets us have experiences that we simply could not have if we stayed in non-physical form. It gets our hands into the gloves, into the sealed container in the lab, where all the juicy experience is.
Taking physical form also requires us to exercise and use our consciousness—so it stays strong and alert, and keeps expanding. If we don’t use a muscle, it deteriorates and eventually atrophies. In the same way, our consciousness deteriorates if we don’t exercise it. Over time, it atrophies. If we allow it to atrophy long enough, it can shrink to nothing and extinguish itself.
Incarnation also builds our base of experience. In order to grow, learn, and expand our awareness, we need continuous input from a variety of experiences. It makes no difference whether these experiences are pleasant or unpleasant. We learn and grow from both.
The “Escape Hatch”
If a spirit chose never again to experience physical form, it would remain forever on the astral plane. This might seem like a pleasant option to people who are having a hard time with life on Earth, and who may even have had a whole lifetime of difficulties. It might have a momentary appeal to people who are in pain, or who are disgruntled with the way things have turned out. These people sometimes “can’t wait to get to the other side.”
Other people believe that a “last life” with no more incarnations would represent a sort of graduation. They would have “gotten off the wheel” and elevated themselves beyond lowly physical experience.
But let’s consider a few things.
Our body, mind, spirit, and emotions are all parts of one grand consciousness and existence. One is not more important, or more advanced, than another. Is your hand more important than your eyes? Could your liver be more important than your kidneys?
Each part serves a different function and is valuable in its own right. Being in a physical body is not a lower condition than being on the astral. On the contrary, it is a powerful extension of our spiritual essence.
Everyone who has consciousness and existence has a spirit, yet not every spirit has a physical body at all times. A body is something to be treasured, something that adds dimension to a spirit, rather than something that holds it back.
If having a physical body were undesirable, why would beings continue to be reborn? Why would spirits be determined to come into a body? Why would we fear or resist dying?
In truth, we enjoy our physical experiences. It is exciting to interact with the physical world. We enjoy hugging our loved ones, eating tasty foods, playing sports, and having sexual encounters and other sensual experiences. These are not available in the same way on the astral plane.
The Limitations of the Astral
We have seen that on the astral plane, there is only energy. This energy has patterns, movement, intensity, and other qualities.
When our consciousness encounters energy on the astral, it tries to make sense of what it “sees” based on what it already knows. It interprets the energy based on its own memories, experiences and filters. Therefore, our experiences on the astral are only as good as the information we have stored in our knowledge banks, and only as sharp and vivid as our imagination and memory allow.
How good is your imagination? Do you have a difficult time picturing a red apple with a stem? Can you make the picture revolve or rotate?
How accurate is your memory? Can you remember the taste of something you have not eaten since you were a child? How clearly can you remember someone’s face whom you haven’t seen in years?
If your imagination and memory are not sharp, your experience of the astral may be somewhat dull or faded. Moreover, you will be able to access only the memories of experiences from your last life—the one you are living now.
Extinguishing the Spirit
When spirits have been without a physical body for hundreds or even thousands of years, their ability to recall details from the past diminishes. Their consciousness has fewer and fewer reference points, or key experiences. It begins to degenerate. Eventually, it deteriorates completely. The spirit finally loses consciousness and is extinguished.
Yes, a spirit can extinguish. When that occurs, it is no longer located in any time or space. It no longer exists at all. This is rare, but it does happen.
What would it be like to be extinguished? It would not be like dying, or like spending time in the astral. You would not just sit on the sidelines, observing other people making their way through life.
If a spirit were fully extinguished, it simply would not exist. It would have no consciousness, no energy or aura, no form whatsoever. It would not even be aware that it ever had existed, or be able to experience total nothingness.
To Incarnate or Not to Incarnate?
Does it sound appealing to stop incarnating? Are the trials and tribulations of physical existence so traumatic that total annihilation is more desirable?
Not wanting to incarnate is similar to turning your back on loved ones and saying that you no longer want to be with them or help them. You are saying that you have no desire to interact with or help your Soul Group—or anyone else. When we are honest, that is not what most of us really want.
Even if you took an exceedingly long break from incarnating, what is the likelihood that you would remain a non-participant forever? Would you not want to have influence, interject opinions, or feel purposeful?
If a spirit chooses not to push forward or expand its consciousness through incarnation for long periods of time, and yet does maintain a limited existence, it might experience what could be called hell or purgatory. Mistakes would be made over and over again. Lessons would have to be repeated continuously. It might be like falling in a deep, dark well and living there indefinitely.
A spirit has the choice to reverse its path at any time. If its existence has been a great downward spiral, it only takes one decision to change that course. But that decision requires action—the acquisition of a body. Making this kind of turnaround requires courage and conviction, but it is possible to reverse even the most desperate and anguished path.
When religions and philosophies extol the virtues of Nirvana or some other final resting place where souls exist infinitely in peace and harmony, they may well be talking about a continual state of mind that we earn through learning lessons—rather than a particular location in space and time.
When people speak of experiencing their final incarnation, they may be referring to the last lifetime that they will experience in a given physical plane.
Our Earth plane, for instance. We know that there are places other than Earth where souls can incarnate. Whenever we complete all the lessons that any given world can provide for us, we are free to move on to another world. There are countless worlds to explore, and the odyssey of reincarnation takes place in infinite realms.