A few months ago while preparing to leave the house, my attention was drawn towards the shelf, where it fell on Wayne Liquorman’s book No Way Out. Something inside me told me it would be a good idea to bring it along as reading material for the road. Whenever this sort of thing happens, the first page that I turn to somehow always seems to really strike me. So I picked it up, tossed it into my bag and left the house.
While traveling on the bus from one class to another, I took out the book and randomly opened it somewhere near the middle. Just below the title “Reincarnation,” was a short paragraph. With that little voice inside me whispering “here goes,” I began to read the passage. I’ve included this paragraph below for you to read first hand, as the remaining portion of this essay will be dedicated to my personal interpretation of it.
As I read the words that make up this paragraph, the motivation for life that I had conceptualized until that point passed before my eyes. Fairytale images of heaven and hell were always being imposed upon me during childhood. However, in my teenage years I started to think of heaven and hell as parts of this world. I developed the belief that if I were to use the opportunities given to me to their full potential, I would eventually be able to overcome this dimension entirely. That is to say that I would finally be able to free myself from the cycle of life and death, that there would be no need for my return. Reading this paragraph I realized that lying just below my own motivations was a similar dynamic, and that this dynamic was very much affecting my behavior.
While reading this paragraph, I found that I was in the same situation, that I was the individual who believes he is an independent entity and can write his own story. In essence, Liquorman says that after a person dies, nothing of that “me” remains, but recombines with its source, thus there is no future “me.” No “me” exists to continue on into another life. “I” is simply a condition, an illusion that eventually comes to an end. My conception of life as a test that I could overcome, as a dimension to escape, was simply the illusion of “me” inventing another fairytale. What this means is that that which is taking this breath is singular and that which is continuously changing is reincarnation.
Little by little it’s as if that one short paragraph slowly began to work its way inside me. I began to realize that the fairytale image of heaven and hell that I had developed as a child was really no different from the idea that one day I might be able to break away from this dimension. It’s as if some sort of software program has been hardwired into me, designed to constantly focus my attention towards the future.
In summary: “I’ll be better in the future.”
It’s an eden project.
Of course, I am not trying to say his interpretation is the interpretation or truth. Rather, I simply want to bring to light how sensational expressions such as the after life have become, how idle talk has impoverished such terms, and how this misleads people into believing in dreams and fantasy worlds. I wanted to express, Wayner Liquorman’s words, the feelings this passage inspired within me.
May be we will be able learn to live the life we were given with a sense of satisfaction, regardless of whether we feel happy or sad, of what happens to us good or bad…
Perhaps one day we’ll finally learn to experience re-birth with every inhale, and die a little more with every exhale, simply aware of the singularity of each breath.