One of my favorite poems comes from the author Wendell Berry. I first discovered it in Narada’s CD collection called “Earth Songs”. In the CD’s insert, each of the songs is inspired by a poem which the creators share along with what it was about that poem that inspired them to write the music. Both the music and the poem make me think about endings and new beginnings, constant cycles within our lives and our world.
The topic of reincarnation came up at dinner last night. My youngest told me that when he grows up, he will be a carpenter so that he can build his own house. Once his house is built, however, he is going to find a different job. He decided this would save him money. I told him, well, in order to become a carpenter, you need to train and learn the skills that the job requires. It takes time and money to do that. According to him, he already learned those skills “years ago”. I laughed and said, “When you were 2?” (He’s only 5 now.) Very seriously, he told me it was before I was born.
Silliness from a five year old, perhaps, but conversations like this always remind me of a book I read a long, long time ago about reincarnation. The author recounted an experience in which her daughter relived memories of a past life. She knew the sort of things that a typical 4 year old shouldn’t know. Kids have great imaginations though and I don’t remember what it was about the author’s description that gave me chills but it stuck with me. It made me wonder “what if”.
Who is to say that there aren’t memories of lives lived before that are tucked away in our unconscious? Who is to say that every once in a while we don’t have some glimmer of feeling to remind us of those lives that came before? That we don’t recognize another soul in a person we’ve supposedly just met but seem to already have known for so long? Places we’ve never been that feel so familiar?
I’ve always believed that we’re all intertwined in ways that we have yet to possibly understand. We’re alone but not alone.
I asked my kids what they thought about this idea – that maybe once we die, our bodies return to the earth but our souls are reborn to live again. For the most part, I think the concept went over their heads. They were concerned mostly with (1) that they have only ever been boys because being a girl would be gross and (2) being my dad in a past life would have been fun.
Ha ha Payback. 😉
Who knows what really happens after death. It’s a mystery to all of us and will remain that way until we do die. But when we look around at nature and see the cycles of life that are constantly in motion, it’s hard to believe that death is truly “the end”.
Something to think about.
Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon
within the circles of the seasons,
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.
Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy. The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,
each by all the others held.
In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining to each all again.
And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
into the darker circles of return.
~by Wendell Berry