Table of Contents

Reincarnation

I didn't have any strong opinions one way or the other. Many of the spiritual traditions I've studied treat reincarnation as a basic fact of life, the working out of the law of karma. I'd never thought much of reincarnation. It seemed like just another way of denying death, more wishful thinking. My wisdom nudged me to start thinking about it by giving me a koan to chew on: Death is never a bad thing. My wisdom tortures me with koans; this was one of many. But this one took me aback. My wisdom was insistent: stay with that, carry it around with me, grapple with it. Where is it pointing? Grappling with that koan eventually 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, a chance to make better choices, live a better life.

Time. If death is simply a reset button, time becomes meaningless. You can't ever run out of time if you 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. My wisdom had previously given me another koan: Time is not what you think it is. Now that koan came back to haunt me as I pondered reincarnation.

It's easy to be wise if you know what happens. Pondering time led me into some paradoxical thinking: what's outside of time? What would it mean for time to be irrelevant or infinite? Only god could be outside time. If god is all powerful, time has no power to limit god. I wrote a couple of different websites about my internal struggle with the concept of time and a theoretical fifth dimension. It was quite a wild ride. We can't think outside time because thinking is sequential. Like any other activity it exists only in time. Everything exists only in time. But what if something could see through time the way we see through space? Something does, and that something is wisdom. Seeing through time, seeing everything that happens all the way through is what makes it wise.

I have to pay attention to my life and be present. 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 simply going through the motions, sleepwalking through my life, doing things by rote. Paying attention changes who I am: it makes me a wiser person as I make progress with love. Any progress I make adds to my wisdom. As I gain wisdom, I become less limited by time, more able to find my way through events to the outcome I want. Wisdom gives me the power to change everything. Given infinite repetition, I could transform my life into anything I wanted it to be by making little bits of progress with love.