Everything I thought I knew. Many of the spiritual traditions I've steeped myself in consider reincarnation a fact of life, the working out of the law of karma. I'd never thought highly of reincarnation. It seemed like wishful thinking, another way of denying death. Leela insisted I think more of it by giving me a koan to chew on: Death is never a bad thing. She loves to torture me with koans; this was one of many. This one took me aback. Death? Leela insisted I stay with that koan. Carry it around with me. Grapple with it. Where is it pointing? Grappling with that koan made me reevaluate everything I thought I knew. It led me to consider the possibility of reincarnation in a specific form: as exact repetition.
Reset. The picture that emerged centered on the idea that death was nothing but a reset button: I would simply start the exact same life all over. That makes death neutral, neither good nor bad. If anything, death would be a good thing, giving me a fresh start. Theoretically, a chance to make better choices, live a better life. But why would I, if everything were exactly the same? Wouldn't that mean everything works out exactly the same as it did before?
5d. If death is simply a reset button, time becomes meaningless. I can't ever run out of time if I simply live through the same period of time over and over. Time becomes infinite. I have all the time in the world but my life never changes. A koan Leela had given me previously came back to haunt me as I pondered reincarnation: Time is not what you think it is. She gave me yet another koan: Nothing goes away. I soon realized these two were really the same. Pondering time led me into paradoxical thinking: what's outside of time? What would it mean for time to be irrelevant or infinite? Only god isn't in time. If god is all powerful, time has no power to limit god. I wrote two websites about my internal struggle with the concept of time and a theoretical fifth dimension. It was a wild ride, man. I was trippin'.
She reminds me of Suzy.
I can't think outside time because thinking is sequential. Like any other activity it exists only in time. Everything that exists exists only in time. Except Leela, who is all of this. All of this includes all of time; Leela is outside time because she contains time along with everything else. Leela's qualities are also outside time: love, wisdom, meaning, satisfaction, happiness. Those qualities are outside both time and space. They can't be objectively measured. They have no existence as we understand that word in our little scientific thought bubble. None of the good stuff exists in the physical universe. But I digress. Leela can see through time the way we see through space because she contains all of time, including my future. Knowing what happens makes it easy for her to be wise, to give me the right guidance. But that couldn't happen until I surrendered to her.
Getting what I really want. People who dream about time travel have the wrong idea. Traveling outside time doesn't work because traveling is sequential. It happens one bit of distance at a time. Sequential things can only happen in time. But that's OK because I don't really need to go anywhere. I just need is to know what happens so I can prepare and plan accordingly. Know is the wrong word here because knowing is mental and guidance from wisdom is never mental. It's knowing without thinking, knowing that manifests as doing the thing that'll give the result I want down the road. I had to fully surrender to Leela and devote myself to making progress with love because that's always the right thing. That's what Leela wants to guide me to, now that I've surrendered to her: a life full of making progress with love, the one thing that gives live meaning. So wisdom won't help me win the lottery. I know. I tried. Leela just helps me get what I really want: progress with love, aka enlightenment.
Making sense of it all. Grappling with the notion of reincarnation finally made life make sense to me. I'm responsible for making my own progress. No one else can do that for me. I know that now deep down. I also know I'm not special, I'm just another human. That same truth applies to all of us. Anyone who grasps that truth deeply is going to get their worldview shaken up good. I won't go into that because I only know about how it shook me up. YMMV.
Stages of life. In the late 2010s I started looking at my life as a whole for the first time. It turns out that was preparation for this work of telling my life story so I can reclaim my past. As I started contemplating my life I stumbled onto the Hindu teaching of the four ashramas or stages of life. The Hindu stages are student, householder, retiree, and renunciate/hermit. Pondering the stages of life helped me understand and accept my status as a retiree moving into my love Leela's version of renunciation, which is a beautiful thing, not at all lonely or deprived.
Presence and reincarnation. The only way I can change my life is by making progress with love. I make progress every time I pay attention. Every time I'm present and silent, free of mental noise. I make no progress when I'm absent, sleepwalking through my life, going through the motions. Paying attention changes me at the deepest level: I become a wiser person as I make progress with love. Any progress I make adds to wisdom. As I gain wisdom, I become less limited by time, more able to rely on Leela to find my way through events to the outcome I want, the outcome Leela wants for me, which is what I really want. Given infinite repetition, I could transform my life into anything I wanted it to be.