I have a different perspective on reincarnation than most people. When I assume reincarnation is true for the purpose of argument and apply the mental tool of Occam's Razor
, I derive some interesting and unexpected implications:
How many times does one incarnate? One hundred? One million? Once? An infinite number? Occam's razor excludes anything other than the last two options since some metaphysical mechanism would have to be in place to count the number of times you've been born and stick a fork in you when you're done. Since re-incarnation is the subject at hand, "once" is excluded and we are left with the intuition that one must reincarnate an infinite number of times.
Can you grasp the exquisite intricacies of such a simple idea? To experience an infinite number of incarnations is to experience every possible existence imaginable and unimaginable, i.e. pantheistic Godhood. For the purposes of this discussion, let's just consider the subset of those infinite incarnations which include all human lives. It is immediately obvious that Your incarnations include all people now living, all who have passed, and all who've yet to be born. Once again we note the intrinsic Oneness of all people and the unspoken implication of who You are in this discussion.
Let us now consider the subset of Your infinite incarnations that include all possible human lives. A smaller subset of this is the set of all possible versions of "your" life. That includes all the lives that are exactly like the life you're experiencing now except just a little bit different. Like the one where your friend calls you on the phone right now. Or like the one where she doesn't phone. Like the one where a meteorite hits you in the head tomorrow; and the one where it doesn't. We've just derived the Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Which leads me to the following illustration of reincarnation (as it's been defined here) in action:
I'm driving in my car and come to a fork in the road. I decide to take the left path. 30 seconds later I die in a car crash. Reincarnation kicks in and I'm born again into a life that's exactly like the last one except just a little bit different. My life proceeds accordingly until I'm back in my car before the fatal event. Once again I find myself at the "crucial" fork in the road. I decide to take the right path. I survive, none-the-wiser, and go about my merry way.
But what is the subjective experience of this? Since my second life is identical to the first up until the fork, they are effectively the same life. In other words, linear time is meaningless at the metaphysical level of reincarnation--so all your infinite lives occur essentially in parallel. So in the story above, subjectively it's as if I chose the right path the first and only time. I will never experience going left (technically, I'll never remember having gone left). By this rationale, I can never actually experience my own death (or the events leading up to my death) because I am instantaneously reincarnated to the moment before it happens. In computer science this is a recursive depth-first search where depth is time and the boundary condition is that you are alive.
So in summary: if reincarnation is true, we are all One eternal being manifesting all the infinite varieties of existence and death is an illusion.