Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro parani
tatha sharirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyati navani dehi
Just as a man, having cast off old garments, puts on other, new ones,
even so does the embodied one, having cast off old bodies, take on other, new ones.
-The Bhagavad Gita, Chap. 2, verse 22
We are born again in each breath that we take and every step we make. The idea of being reborn, or born-again, signifies a rebirth or revival. For the yogi, the breath indicates that life exists, and each new breath is a new living moment. The choice we have is to consciously partake of the construction of our reality or to remain the victim of fate (really unconsciousness). The one who strives to be reborn consciously into life is the jivanmukta. When our life is consciously re-vivified, it has been reconnected to its source and nourishment. When we trade in a love-less life for a love-created life, we are reborn. Our sense of purpose and our core values are re-ignited. Re-incarnation is another word that refers to this continuous process-lifetime after lifetime.
In the Yoga Sutra, Master Patanjali tells us that the substrate of existence contains all possible characteristics whether latent, active or future. Through yoga practices, we can gain access to this substrate of existence and bring forth our greatest vision. When we create variation in causes, they become changes in the results. Yoga practices get to the root causes for unhappiness. When we create change on a causal level-for example, the purification of intention or the removal of fear or ignorance-the results of those changes will be felt automatically in our lives. Knowledge of past, present and future is the result of samyama-perfect balance, perfect equilibrium of mind-on the three kinds of transformation that lead to enlightenment (nirodha, samadhi and ekagrata-parinama; see PYS Chap. III, sutras 9, 11, 12, 16). By observing past impressions (samskaras), knowledge of previous incarnations is obtained (PYS III.18). Samskaras are evident in the difficulties we encounter in yoga practices from unconscious breathing and movement to a fragmented mind. Knowledge of your own death may be obtained through samyama on the two types of karma-active and latent-in shavasana. The goal for the yogi is to be freed from the cycle of rebirth and samsara, the coming and going. It is only through understanding how the cycle of rebirth continues that we can overcome it. This goal is achieved through the disassociation from the movements of chittam (the mind stuff).
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
And all the King’s horses,
And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Religare, the Latin root of the English word “religion,” like the Sanskrit word hatha, means “to bind up,” and the traditional task of religion and yoga has been to bind up the pieces that have broken away from the ecstatic Oneness of Being-to heal the separation and be reborn whole and complete.