(Buddhism was the first Eastern religion I encountered on my travels and when reincarnation was explained to me, it changed my world in the way it did mapmakers when they were told the earth was round. But it did not so much, “explain” as it, “told me the story I felt to have always known” through mental experience. In any case, I’ve explained my ideas on life-after-life in prior posts. Where my own beliefs in the continuum of life differ from Buddhism is that I “imagine” that we choose our lives, or rather we choose our “lessons”; the lessons that will further our (individual and cumulative) evolution and the circumstances that will ripen that fruit. But there is no proof and neither am I out to find or make it. The following is just a spiral of thoughts, rationalizations and appreciations…)
I chose my father so that I could inherit his overly sensitive heart. I chose my mother to model the potential of a self-reliant, spiritual and determined life. I chose to be born in Alaska, so that the discomfort of the cold would always nip at my heels and chase me to places warmer. I chose to be raised in Oregon so that heavy gray skies would turn me inward and push me beyond its, and my, borders. I chose brown hair, eyes and skin, so that I could travel the world without special recognition. I chose to be the third child, so that my parents would be happy enough with the successes of the others in order to be okay with one slipping away. I chose parents who were raised with financial hardships, so that a respect for resources earned and saved would always be given with unsaid, but clearly communicated, appreciation. I chose a natural disposition of aversion to attachment, so that I could say goodbyes with calm and ease. I chose to be a slow learner, so that I would be driven to seek the direct experiences that would take my hand and walk me through each of my lessons. I chose to be an introvert, so that my independence would not divert, but fuel the progression of my path. I accepted being painfully self-conscious, because it came with a critical eye for all persons, communities, and social institutions that surround me. I chose the United States so that I would have a passport and the political permissions to be able to freely transit to and from the country where I was born. I chose parents committed to providing a stable home free of both clingy attachments and vice addictions, so that I would be granted the confidence and curiosity necessary to venture out into a world of unstable conditions. I chose a house with a forest in the backyard, so that my inclination toward exploration could easily be fostered. And I chose parents who were too busy to be bothered, so that my wonder, for unchecked hours, could wander everyday there. I chose a family that adventured on countless road trips so that, as a childhood habit, I learned to treasure every minute spent in transit. And I chose modest parents happy with humble camping tents, so that I too would learn the logistics of, and love for, travelling “close to the ground.” Through my schooling youth, I chose a quick understanding of math and numbers so that being baffled by their nature was not the same as being academically challenged by their function. And throughout the later grades, A’s came easy, so that I would know there was much more to each subject than this or that teacher’s projection and/or interpretation. I chose to be born to a time and place where I would never know hunger, thirst, fear or abandon – so that I would not have to live my adult life recoiling or running from the memory of these pains. I chose the early 21st century, because I knew it would be the battleground for the future of humanity and, of all my lives, I knew it would be a particularly exciting one. I chose a female form because I knew it was one of the first centuries where, with careful choice of birth country, the spiritual and logistical advantages of being a woman would finally outweigh those of being a man. I chose a healthy and disease free body, so that I would not be hindered from helping others. I chose to spend many years blindly socially abiding so that I would know and understand the appeals of that confusion intimately. I chose not to be naturally talented in any one subject or skill, so that I would not be tempted by only one obsession. I chose not to be conceptually bright to prove that the things I would come to understand are inherently simple.
I chose my life. I choose my life. I take responsibility for all that has passed, is and will come to be. Under meditative investigation, all the qualities that fuel my self-pity and -hate, I find to have grown from — rarely obvious but — always altruistic reason. And I am so grateful; for my family, parents, friends, health, wealth and even my century and country; for all the work it took to tend the fields and ripen the circumstances into which I have chosen to have this life born. And I thank also this Life. For while I did choose it, it had the choice, and did not reject, but accepted my proposal. And I know, I know, I have a lot of my life contract yet to fulfill, and that all the care and love put into me, was done so in the faith that I would one day reflect back, and multiply that within, the mirror. And my signature, at the bottom of Life’s contract, also attests to my understanding that I will one day drop from its tree and die. And nourish the earth with this life’s sacrifice. So that I too, may take a turn at the fields, ripening the circumstances, for another’s birth.0