there are certain things in life that you readily forget how good they were at healing you.
things like baths, walks, runs, rain, authentic human dialogue, and sleep.
sleep is a tonic like no other.
when you wake up feeling astonished at just how much crap was cleaned out of your soul,
and how many frayed ends were knit back together,
you begin to think that if sleep is a preview for death and rebirth,
then perhaps having your memories wiped won’t be such a bad thing.
but even so, you’re going to continually beg the question: why would anyone want to come back here? and, it still is an excellent question.
even those of us who live in safe neighborhoods with clean drinking water and grocery stores and random office jobs that allow us to be useful without really being useful (to make more money than any teacher, solider or firefighter could ever hope to earn)–
we still ask the question–because, by gosh, life just wasn’t as perfect as i’d hoped it would be.
i didn’t get to be the kid in my class who ran the 100 meter dash faster than anyone else in the entire school, district and state.
i didn’t get a sports scholarship, or get to be a movie star or singer of a number one hit song.
therefore, life was clearly not fair to me–why would i want to come back to this average world of barbecues, Little League ballgames and trips to the Grand Canyon?
i’m no expert on the afterlife, so take this all with a grain of salt, but i would suspect that the ones who weren’t completely satisfied are the first to get sent back.
maybe in your next life you’ll be taller and handsomer and more athletic.
you’ll have more time to write all-American novels and manage hedge funds and travel to the more exotic countries, like Norway.
you’ll have more time (and presence of self and know-how) to master the art of picking up women, picking the best stocks, winning every bar brawl, and winning at poker.
you’ll have more time to learn to be a Navy Seal or Army Airborne Ranger or a member of the Marine Corps caught up in a firefight in the middle of the most righteous war.
you’ll have time to learn the nuances and secret handshakes required to ascend up the orders of echelons of Masonic and Illuminati societies until you are among the most elite of the elite–able to do whatever you please with impunity.
anyone who’s ever said, “if only i’d had more time” will surely be the first to be sent back to prove themselves.
perhaps all of the ones who were mostly content with their lives, and would be happy living out the exact same life again and again are sent to the back of the reincarnation line, or removed from the line altogether.
but, none of these things are really what i wanted to write about when i started to write this mess of a mess.
i was sitting here, feeling remarkably cleansed from all of the things that gave me anguish yesterday–all of those debts of others i’d failed to forgive before falling asleep seemed to suddenly be washed away, or at least exposed for their utter pettiness.
all of my worries about the future–where i will go next, what i will do next, who will i be next–they were all evaporated, and i was perfectly happy and mostly content to just be waking up in the present, waking up as myself and not some other kind of man.
it almost felt as if the night’s sleep had been like a baptism of sorts, a washing away of sins, a purification ritual.
and i guess this made me think that reincarnation (if there really is such a thing) must serve a similar purpose as a good night’s sleep.
i woke up this morning not wanting in the least to get satisfaction from anyone who wronged me, or see something bad happen to the President or anyone else i’ve ever propped up as being one of my enemies.
it’s almost as if Jesus Himself visited me in my sleep, and helped wash some of my sinful nature away, and knit together the frayed ends of my soul that i’d permitted to grow frazzled from allowing myself to grow discontent with the pettiest of life situations not manifesting themselves as perfectly as i’d hoped they would.
i wouldn’t argue that i awoke happy–happy implies some kind of joy or measure of goodness above and beyond a normal state of equilibrium.
it was more as if i’d woke up feeling that normal state of equilibrium, but it was normalcy squared, if there can be such a thing.
it was sheer and pure ordinariness–and yet ordinariness in a sense of it being profoundly rich, complex and utterly fulfilling.
like, i don’t need any of these books piled up by my bed–the insights that pop inside my head will be enough, if (and only if) i am willing to pause to listen to them.
like, i don’t need to become any particular this-or-that in this world–my professional title can be whatever it needs to be.
i guess you could say that this is a moment of contentment, but it isn’t contentment in the way someone might feel full or satisfied after a delightful dinner–rather, it is the contentment of emptiness–of being utterly emptied of all the microtraumas and microgrudges that eat away at the soul like little grains of salt and sand weathering a structure by the sea.
i am emptied, but i am not a baby again, or a young man on the verge of leaving my hometown to experience college. i can’t say that i’ve been emptied of all the things that have helped me be less naive. but, i feel cleansed of so many unwanted, unnecessary pieces of myself that really don’t belong with or in myself–they have only become pieces of myself due to me letting them stick around and fester or stew–as if i were hoping that i could grow a pearl from a tiny grain of a once great grudge.