Suicide is the act of one who causes his or her own death. This can either be by destroying ones life through inflicting a mortal wound or by omitting to do what is necessary to avoid death. In 2012 there were 5,981 suicides registered in the UK of people aged 15 and over. This was significantly higher than five years before, but significantly lower than 20 years ago. There are many theories about suicide depending upon the authors or doctrines - from hellish punishment because rules or laws have been broken - to no consequence at all because there is free will including the way a life may end.

Suicide victims often feel guilt and according to reincarnation theorists they will have to complete the lost time through experience in the next lifetime. Granted, there may be less guilt when the body is in a state of total disability, pain and suffering. However, the most prevalent question about suicide is there karma to be paid by taking of one’s life? According to reincarnationists one cannot escape a difficult situation through suicide for one will have to face the same situation in a future incarnation. They also say no matter how difficult life on Earth may be suicide is never an advisable course of action. The ending of ones earthly existence was never intended or designed to solve one's problems, and in some cases these problems are believed to teach important lessons, and to make one stronger and perhaps a better and more spiritual person.

As much as the suicidal person desires to escape worldly matters, reincarnationists believe that life is like a revolving door and all hope of escaping their suffering is futile. Those who believe that they have committed suicide in a past life are quickly brought to the realization that suicide, far from being an answer to escaping life's problems is instead the violent breaking of a planned cycle of life. If the suicidal person could only realize the resulting intensification and difficulty that they must enter into suicide would not be contemplated. Reincarnationists also believe that when a person destroys oneself to escape he or she must return almost at once into a new bodily incarnation in order to work out the karma, which he or she has refused to confront in the lifetime that was just forfeited.

Any person who committed suicide while still in the prime of life will lament at the grief and sadness they have caused family and friends. Lost are the opportunities for love, growth, experience and to be the person that they were intended. It is believed that every incarnated soul has a purpose in life to accomplish, and to end one’s earthly life without having accomplished all that was intended will result in having to go back to the Earth to try again. Whether here or in the hereafter life is a responsibility and that responsibility can never be escaped without sacrifice to one's spiritual evolution and progress. Reincarnationist thought is that once a person has taken their life the experience of their suicide will automatically repeat with the feelings of despair which preceded the self-imposed death. The person will re-live their death struggle time after time with ghastly persistence. They will remain conscious often entangled in the final death scene of their earth life for a long time.

Reincarnation theorists believe that those who have committed suicide will reincarnate into a broken body or mind in their next lifetime, depending upon how they died. They also believe that post suicide incarnations prove the ultimate connection between cause and effect, and that birth defects inherited by the reincarnated victim will match the suicide method used in the previous incarnation.

Suicide MethodReincarnation Birth Defect
Shot/Stab to the HeadDown's Syndrome - Anencephaly
Shot/Stab to the ChestCongenital Heart Defects
Shot/Stab to the StomachIrritable Bowel Syndrome
Hanging by the NeckOesophageal Atresia
ElectrocutionCerebral Palsy
Drowning - SuffocationChronic Pneumonia
Gas - StrangulationChronic Bronchitis
Poisoning - Opening VeinsLeukaemia - Sickle Cell
Death by Alcohol PoisoningFetal Alcohol Syndrome
Jumping from a Height Shattering BonesSpina Bifida - Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Often during my public lectures I am asked if suicide is a sin and is it punishable. My answer is no more so than any other wrongful act. Since I am a non-reincarnationist, I do not believe that suicide is punishable by another painful incarnation or some form of deformity. Instead, I believe in purification of the soul through effort and progress within the great world of spirits. Now, if suicide is accountable there must be a difference between suicide by a bomber who takes innocent people’s lives, and suicide by a suffering terminally ill person. After all, when a crime is committed on Earth and a life is taken, man’s laws consider the circumstances by which it occurred, and the penalty will be according to the degree of the crime.

There are several spirits in Padgett’s writing who took their own lives and have expressed remorse and regret and that they are in darkness and suffering in the spirit world. I have no doubt that what these spirits say is true, though it is my contention that their suffering is not entirely due to the act of suicide alone. Their condition prior was not good or they would not have taken there lives in the first place, and if they had lived out their lives their condition in the spirit world may not have been much improved.

I do believe, however, that there could come a time when the spirit realizes that taking his or her life may have been the wrong decision, and I have no doubt that this would cause considerable pain and anguish. If suicide were punishable in the spirit world, how would this punishment be meted out? I can tell you that it would not be by a tribunal of spirits who meet to decide the new spirit’s fate, nor by God who does not pronounce a sentence. But rather by an established justice system of laws that determines a spirit’s location and conditions in the spirit world, and if a spirit is to suffer strangely, no other source is need to be sought than the conscience and memory of the spirit itself.

A spirit is more transparent than a mortal cloaked in flesh, which affords the spirit the opportunity to know oneself better, and for other spirits to see the spirit’s true condition. I understand that this transparency can lead to an awakening that triggers a mechanism causing the feelings of remorse and regret, which will purge of the memories of the misdeeds of a lifetime. Granted, this can be painful when these memories are brought to the forefront to be viewed and removed, and this punishment is self-imposed through the activity of the mind and the workings of the conscience. I believe that this can extend beyond experiencing ones own pain because if there are victims involved their pain and suffering may be felt as well. As a means to trigger the purging process is the spirit’s unpleasant surroundings and unpleasant companions who will add to the suffering, which is designed as a means of purifying the soul, liberating it from bondage and darkness and bringing it into the light.

It so happens that I am no stranger to suicide. Three people in my life have committed it. The first was John. He was an acquaintance who hanged himself from a tree in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I had taught John about Spiritualism, and since his passing I have heard from him on several occasions all in London. I’ll never forget the time at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain when the medium asked, “Can anyone take a suicide.” Then the medium grasped his throat and said with a puzzled expression, “He hanged himself!” I quickly looked around the room to see if any hands went up. When none did, I raised mine and said, “I can take that.” The medium then proceeded to identify John who said, “I regretted taking my life because of the pain and sorrow that it had caused my family.” Then he said, “At the time it didn’t seem like studying Spiritualism had much effect on me, but after I became a spirit it helped me immensely.” He went on to say, “I was at your house when you were talking about me to your friend Jerry about leaving soon for London and that you hoped to hear from me again.”

The second was Jerry my long-time high school friend of fifty years. He took an interest in Spiritualism, and together we had seen demonstrations of mediumship. Though he was not a believer, often he would say to me, “Alan I hope you are right.” Jerry’s suicide was not a quick one, but slow over the years through abuse and neglect. He wanted to end his life, but could not do it quickly as is the norm. A couple of times he should have died, but did not. On one occasion when he was at death’s door, he experienced what he described as his life flashing before him at hyper-speed. He had no problem recognizing family and friends. The most interesting part of his experience to me was his ability to know which people he saw were in the spirit world and which were still on the Earth. I was very interested in his insight because we had two unaccounted friends that Jerry now confirmed as being in the spirit world.

The third suicide was my mother. She had suffered for thirty years with multiple sclerosis, and in the end I took her from her retirement home in Florida to Michigan to see Dr. Jack Kevorkian for assisted suicide. I have also heard from her on several occasions, with undeniable proof of her survival and even a prearranged code given to me by a medium at The Greater World in London. The full story is available at The Red Hair. Now, if suicide carries a penalty in the spirit world it must be a sin or error, an offense against one of God’s laws. What comes to mind is the sin of waste. John and Jerry were suffering emotionally. I guess one could say that they did not live up to their potential and, in a sense, wasted a portion of their lives. I have to feel that in this world, victims are created who cannot cope and take their lives to escape the madness. It is my contention that these people do not necessarily deserve punishment, or will they have to reincarnate as a penalty to try again, but instead, they need to be helped. I believe that in the spirit world help is offered and these people if they so desire will be treated by spirit doctors. These people have lessons to learn before they can improve themselves and reach a better quality of life and greater happiness in the world of spirits.

In my mother’s case she was suffering physically, and I believe that her suicide was justified? She lived in extreme disability having no chance whatsoever of any quality of life while on the Earth. If the Dr. Kevorkian and his assisted suicide devise physical body is of no use or in a coma etc., then why prolong the suffering? Why not allow the person freedom of choice? To deliberately force a soul to stay stuck in a painful, agonizing existence in a useless body does not make sense to me. On the other hand, if one is young and healthy, and capable of doing some good or service in the world, it may be detrimental to their spiritual progress or development to commit suicide. For those who selfishly take their lives they will have to endure the consequences of that decision, and someday face the people they have hurt or affected.