Well, one of my hobbies --- it's not as much as a legit hobby as I do not really pursue in any way or research about it for better understanding, I just think about it a lot based on my own experience and belief --- is soul searching. When you think of what makes us us as a unique being, what comes to your mind? Cannot be any of the organs. It has to be something that cannot be replaced as it has to be "it" that absolutely makes us a unique being. But how about our brains? A lot has been discovered scientifically what is going on in our brain and mostly certain chemicals and electronic shocks plays a huge role on our mobilities and even emotions. Our brain itself may not be replaced, but if we find right chemicals and reproduce them as a substance you can intake from our mouth or nose, it might be possible to manipulate our emotions also. The more I think about it, the more I came to the same place, "it has to be the soul" that makes us who we are. Then what is the soul? Where is it?
I recently saw a documentary film on PBS titled "My Reincarnation". Let me copy-paste its synopsis from PBS website.
Filmed over 20 years by acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Fox, My Reincarnation chronicles the epic story of exiled Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and his Western-born son, Yeshi. As Namkhai Norbu rises as a teacher in the West, Yeshi, recognized from birth as the reincarnation of a famed Buddhist master, breaks away to embrace the modern world. Can the father convince his son to keep the family’s spiritual legacy alive? With intimate access to both the family and H.H. The Dalai Lama, Fox distills a decades-long drama into a universal story about love, transformation and destiny. Winner, Top 20 Audience Award, 2010 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.
It was a very interesting story. Yeshi, a half Tibetan and half Italian son of an exiled Tibetan Buddhist master, who was believed to be a reincarnation of his great uncle, another very highly-regarded master who was captured by Chinese Government and died in captivity. As a young man, he wants to separate from such belief saying he is his own being and nobody else and pursues his interest in music and photography and eventually become a business man at IBM. His father, the Buddhist master who is so famous and popular not only among the followers in Italy but all of the world and he travels everywhere to teach, does not force "the way" to Yeshi. As his father gets old and his flesh getting senile along with some complications, and his mother, also getting old, Yeshi, now a middle aged IBM business man, married with kids, he starts to feel the change in him, and eventually decides to quit IBM and become full-time student of his father and now he is traveling all over the world teaching Tibetan Buddhism. He is now in peace with being recognized as a reincarnation of a great Buddhist master as if the two melted into each other to be a greater one.
If reincarnation is a part of our life, then who are we? What makes me a unique being? What travels from one flesh to another? It must be our soul. Nobody knows what soul looks like but don't you feel that you have a soul somewhere deep inside? And you keep trying to understand what it is all your life? I do. There are things that happen to you for no reasons but you feel very familiar or strongly about it and somehow it makes so much sense to you? Like certain people, certain places, certain things you see for the first time in your life, but you feel such a strong connection to them. I have. So here's what I think. The life span of soul is much longer than a flesh and a life cycle of one flesh is not long enough to learn what you are supposed to learn to reach the final destination. Until you become mature enough and be in totally in peace with yourself, you travel from one body to another, and along the way, you meet people, you experience things and you make crucial connections with certain parts of the world. You have to start from scratch when you reborn, but the knowledge you learned about life became a part of you comes along with you unconsciously, and in your new life you keep searching and seeking for certain people, certain things, certain experience, to fulfill your purpose of your life. And that "searching and seeking" process is soul searching, that's what I think. Life is not an easy job. As you get older, you would think it would be easier to get by, but I don't thinks so. You'd experience more sadness and hardships that life prepares for you and because you are more experienced, you know the pain. The reason why children do not have much fear as we do about life, it's because they are inexperienced and do not know how it hurts to live. Maybe, the degree of the pain is the depth of our maturity. God, a life is such a long journey and it's worth living.