Not to start a religious conversation here, because I’ve got my beliefs about Jesus and the tenants of Christianity too, and believe it or not it all works in the framework I have so far, for as much as I understand it myself. I personally don’t think anyone down here really Knows all the answers about the power and force we call God/Energy/Source/Allah/Universe, etc and how it all works. We’re just doing the best we can with what we’ve been taught and our experiences that lead us one way or another.
That said, part of my belief system involves reincarnation and that our soul chooses to come back to a physical body to learn stuff that we can best and most expeditiously learn here. Soul evolution, if you will. I’d like to believe it truly is a choice to come to Earth, not an unspoken Universal rule like having to go through schooling as a child, but who knows. I’m guessing if it isa choice that people keep coming back because they realize it’s the best way to “git ‘er done”, and that trying to learn these particular lessons are more difficult in spiritual form. (Because why else would you put yourself through this physical life?!?!?) But I have it that when you learn all you need to learn, you can ‘graduate’ and not have to come back. So until Anna died, I’ve been of the mindset “Bring it on and let’s wrap it up this time around. Because I don’t wanna come back.” Typical of me. Work hard for awhile, then enjoy the fruits of your labor and rest! But when Anna died, I cried “uncle”. No longer do I want to tackle it all at once. It’s too much. If I have to come back a few more times, I will. Just have mercy on me now.
So where is the Deep Thought in all this, you ask? Coming up. Riding my bike in Acadia for several hours, I was heading back to Bar Harbor. As I passed one particular stretch overlooking a sparkling lake, a majestic green mountain and a crystal clear sky through a smattering of trees, the crisp wind on my face, the physical satisfaction of exertion and propelling my body along this crunchy road, all of sudden I was encompassed by the thought, “Would I come back and do it all again, just for this??? Just for these 15 seconds?”
And lo and behold....the answer was, “I just might.”
For the very first time, maybe I understood the draw to having a physical body, for coming to Earth for the experience of it. That maybe it’s actually an enviable situation, one that people look forward to (could it be?!?). Because nowhere else, to my knowledge, do you get to have a physical body, with all it’s senses. To be bombarded with the visual glory of that particular site, smell the pine, the promise, the new-ness of the air. To feel wind on my face, through the hair on my arms. Hear the birds and the gratifying crunch beneath the bicycle tires. To see the depth and breadth of all the shades of green - in 3-D, no less. To know that right here right now, you arepart of it. As real and vital as everything around you. It’s all very “City of Angels”. When you are a spiritual being, you don’t get all that - I’m guessing. Maybe all this physical-ness around us is blurred and simply different densities of energy to them. Maybe there is no sensation of any kind, at all. Man, if that’s true, wouldn’t that be boring after awhile? And it serves for a whole new appreciation for taking care of this body, because if the joy is in the physical experience, wouldn’t you want that to be as pain-free and agile as possible for as long as possible?
What about emotions? I expect most of us think souls feel and experience love, because we want to believe our relationships with those we love continue on after death, and because the Bible talks so often about God Is Love and people come back from near-death experiences talking about the deep love they felt all around them. So, let’s say that’s true. But what about other emotions? If they are felt,are they more or less intense than how we do it down here? In the emotional chaos of living here, not having the broad range and more difficult sentiments sounds, well, ‘heavenly’. But it would it be, for eternity? Nicolas Cage’s character very quickly hits the emotional highest highs and lowest lows of the being human in his first day...but despite his anguish thought it more attractive to be physical (experience the salt of the ocean, force of the waves, sun on his face) than to still be among those poor spiritual saps.
So knowing what I know - that it’s a crapshoot, it’s hard, it hurts, and some people really have to look for the joy, would I choose to do it all again, just to Be Here?
And the real question, the big question - Do I choose to be here now?
Oof. There’s a doosy. If so, I have to give up keeping suicide in my back pocket as an ‘out’. I have to accept that I really did choose to be here and open myself up to all this - including the hell. That nobody forced me, nobody is punishing me by making me stay here and endure. I would have to give up the word ‘endure’ as it relates to my life. Hmmm. I would have to give up being a victim of life. Hmmm. I’m really good at all that, though. Sort of invested in it, since it takes responsibility away from me and let’s me scream “But I’m a good person and I don’t deserve this” and people who care about me take up the cry right along beside and make me feel justified. There’s alot of reinforcement in that. (Yep, negative reinforcement, a` la counselors around the country). Lordy.
So I’m entertaining it, trying it on, seeing if FINALLY I’m getting to where I always wanted to go but couldn’t figure out how. I’ve tormented myself for as long as I can remember, my journals over the years essentially saying the same things, over and over. SO frustrating, when you feel like you’ve been doing alot of self-improvement work over the years but in the end, aren’t really changing anything. Maybe....maybe. At the very least, there is some freedom in recognizing I might actually choose this, and that my soul already did, I’ve just been fighting it the last 30+ years. It helps me to appreciate the things I’ve taken for granted. The little, everyday stuff - even washing dishes. The clanking of them against the sink, the rushing water on your hands when rinsing. Being able to have this great house with this spectacular backyard enveloped in nature. I get to have the sun on my face today. Feast my eyes on the grand oaks and watch their leaves play with the gentle wind. I get the choice to call my parents, alive and well. I get to welcome the love of my life home in a few hours, and fall asleep next to him tonight.
What’s funny in a not-so-funny-yet-hysterical kind of way is, it all boils down to those old cliche’s of Attitude and Gratitude. Honestly. I’ve heard those words preached 100 different ways in 1,000 different venues. Friends, books, plaques, magnets, billboards, Oprah, buttons, emails, cards, letters, TV shows, sermons, entire classes... and not until I experienced it personally, viscerally, did I get it. Cliches are treated with disdain because they are so maddeningly true. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” “90% of life isn’t what happens to you, it’s how you handle it”
So I’m not saying I’m the newest Dalai Lama, or that you’ll never hear me complain again, because I guarantee you will. But maybe, just maybe, I’m evolving.