Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How long till my soul gets it right?

Reincarnation. I am really wondering if that is a real thing. Awhile ago I did a thorough excavation of my preconceived afterlife notions. I think it had to do with meeting and marrying my husband, a firm agnostic who hates labels. Ilya doesn't know if there is a G-d and it doesn't keep him up at night either. He also believes that when you die that's all folks. No chariots, no clouds, no celestial choirs. But there is also no hell and people gnawing on your brain if you were ever mean to your Mother-in-law!

I came to, what I thought were, some pretty creative conclusions about life and death and the afterlife. I believe that there is no heaven or hell. That you die and that is it. But I also firmly believe in the idea of reincarnation. The coming back and living your life over and over until you've cleared up your karma and you "got it right." My interpretation of reincarnation and karma is a bit different. "I" did not come back. The things that I needed to correct or erase or do over would keep happening through my future generations. If I was messy and I didn't get over it or try to work through it in this life then one or two or all of my kids would be messy and it would be their challenge in their life to work through. But my "messiness" would get reincarnated and through it so would I. That is inevitable, isn't it? That we get passed on to our future generations not just through genetics but through nature. For example, my father always patted our backs when he hugged us. He called hugs "pats" and he would say "pats are very important!" All of my children pat when they hug. Now, I could be unconsciously patting them on the back instead of holding and squeezing, and that's why they do it. For whatever reason, they pat and their children will also pat and so on and so on. That's a good trait to pass on.

But what about addiction? When they say it "runs in families." That means it stays there until someone learns the lesson and releases it. Their addiction karma is cleared and that trait does not reincarnate in their offspring? I always thought that would be a good thing. But my father was challenged by alcohol and drugs - and I am not. But I cannot put down sugar. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Lately these things have been causing me agita because I spend more time trying to excavate and extinguish all that I perceive to be bad habits. At what point do your flaws become quirky personality traits? Where is that dividing line? I have a perfectionist's mentality without creating the same results. It haunts me. It makes me feel bad about myself. It sets an impossible bar for me, my children and all those unfortunate enough to come in contact with me that day. And it seems to be the work of women, especially mothers.

Today in the car I was listening to Galileo by the Indigo Girls. Emily asks this question in her lyric:
How long till my soul gets it right
can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of galileo
king of night vision, king of insight

Can we ever? We humans are interesting work.

We are blessed, may we recognize the blessing.

in peace

Photo: Mobile Hamish

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