May 1997 -- Although
we all know that we're dying all of the time, it's a real kick in the
butt when you find out it's sooner than later.
My dad is
dying, and the pain I feel is intense. It's a part of life that none of
us likes, but without which we'd be inhuman. No matter how much I hurt,
however, there's a sweetness to the pain because it's spawned from love
and not hate.
to tell my dad that these puny, often ill-fitting bodies we have are
just throw-aways, that we live again and again in a variety of ways.
But I know he wouldn't believe it. I'm not sure he understands that we
can believe whatever we want to believe, and if we have enough faith in
our own visions, they will be true.
believe in reincarnation. This might seem strange coming from a
Philadelphia Jew raised in an era where science superseded
spirituality. Ironically, I came to this belief through lucid,
it this way: Science tells me that when we die, we're worm meal with
less cognizance of the world that our annelid dinner guests. Jewish
views of death are more uplifting, but nebulous. And Christianity
treats it like a game show where you either win big and go to heaven or
lose out and descend to the Other place, which gives most
less-than-perfect people a justified fear of dying.
these endings seem quite right to me. As a writer, I am keenly aware of
endings because I know that they are also beginnings to other stories.
working on my novel Dead Man's Tale, I created a character who was into
yoga and talking to a dead guy. To develop her character, I had to read
up on channeling and reincarnation, among other things. Reincarnation
made a lot of sense to me as a good way to deal with mortality. It was
the perfect ending to a life because it was the beginning of another
And so, I made a conscious decision to believe in reincarnation because
it is something I can live with, even if I die. Or I should say, when I
die. Before that time comes, however, the mere thought that this life
is just one of many has given me a perspective that allows me to live
life to the fullest because I know that what I don't accomplish in the
here and now, I may be able to accomplish in the there and later. It's
a wonderful philosophy for a guy whose wife calls him Mr. Manana. In
truth, it is the ability to separate spirit and body that is the key,
and this key unlocks the door to our own immortality.
My dying dad doesn't know much
about reincarnation. He probably believes it's mumbo-jumbo, just like I
did before a character in my novel taught me otherwise. One day, I
brought him a copy of a book that helped me to see this light. It's
called Many Lives, Many Masters, and I believe it should be required
reading for the human
race. I doubt my dad has read it, though I hope he will.
In the meantime, maybe I can
explain reincarnation in terms he can understand. Since he has always
been into cars -- so much so I call him M.O.B., which stands for Motor
Oil on the Brain -- I say to him...
that your body is a car. It might be a Chevy, or Lincoln, or Corvette,
or the perfectly average Honda Accord. Whatever the brand, it's a
pretty amazing vehicle that you drive through life because with proper
care and maintenance, it will usually repair itself.
As you drive along the freeway
of life, you pass by and convoy up with many other cars, kindred
spirits, so to speak. You might part and meet up later, or pass and
never see again.
Eventually, your car will
break down. But no need for that AAA card. Another car comes along --
it might be a Yugo instead of the Rolls -- but you don't care because
you really want to drive them all.
And so it
goes. You drive through life in all sorts of cars, on all sorts of
roads, meeting all sorts of other cars until you become such a good
driver that you can now handle aircraft, or a starship, or a time
machine, or whatever other kind of transportation might be
available at the Cosmic Car Lot.
to remember is that you are the driver and not the car. You don't die
just because your car skids on ice and rolls over a bunch of times. You
just brush the snow out of whatever's left of your hair and choose
another car, or maybe just take the first one that happens by. It's
your choice, and if you so choose, we'll meet up again, maybe even
convoy for a while like we have on this trip.
I hope that my dad can
understand reincarnation in these terms. It's easier for me to
think of coming back as something other than a car, in part
because virtually all of my automobiles to date have ended up total
wrecks and partly because I hate working on them, cutting up my fingers
and getting grease all over everything. I like to think of it in more
standard reincarnational terms: that we come back as other people.
doesn't really matter how you imagine it -- it's the concept that
say, "It's a nice concept, Gary, but how can I believe it?"
To which I
reply, "You can believe anything you want to believe." I know this to
be true because I have done it.
Of course, that doesn't wipe
out the pain I feel tonight. Early in this trip, I followed you
everywhere. You were a good driver, and I learned a lot from you before
venturing out to get lost on my own. We've driven some different roads,
but always in the same direction, so we could meet up again and again.
Now, it seems as though we might soon be traveling different paths.
That thought makes my heart ache, for I've grown accustomed to having
you near. Though we will always be together spiritually, when the time
comes, I'll sure miss your old jalopy.
to my dad, Buddy Greenberg, who died on June 19, 1997.
Next: Sales Ova-ture
Cosmic Debris Archive
Space Art Gallery
to live with Isagenix,
the food of the future.
lose weight and feel great!