Believing in reincarnation makes me happy

There is nothing in this world that fascinates me more than the notion of past lives, the idea that there is an infinite part of us that reincarnates, takes form, time and time again to learn, grow and develop.

This is not a new passion. I grew up in a family that is carefully atheistic – there’s probably nothing out there, but you never know. From as far back as I can remember though, I felt that I was here for a specific reason, that I chose to be here, and that physical death would not be the end of me. Living again and again always made sense to me.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I pursued this interest, read lots of books, and generally basked in the feeling of being different than the mainstream. I was into the esoteric for the wrong reasons and my interest was easily thwarted.

Under societal pressure to finally become an adult, I gave it all up. Well, except the books. Even though I’ve moved a dozen times, I never had the heart to give up all those fascinating, magical books.

I worked hard to get a degree, start a career, hold down a respectable job. I bought a house, got married and had a baby. And, although I love my life and wouldn’t change it in any way, I ended up still wondering about what else there is, why we are here, if there is a higher purpose to life.

It’s these questions that led me back to the magic I lost when I decided to fit into society. Thinking about them helped me find the courage to start figuring out who I really am. I rediscovered some of my former passions, and started exploring the notion of past lives again. It still makes sense to me and I live every day grateful that I am here to experience the beauty of life and this world.

I try to approach problems as obstacles on my path and take the time to explore the deeper questions I care about. I see lessons in everything, learn all I can, grow every day. And I’m starting to help others discover their own paths, learn their own lessons and overcome their own obstacles.

Linking my life to an eternal soul that reincarnates helps me live a happier, more fulfilling life because the things that happen to me make more sense as part of a bigger picture. And that can’t be a bad thing.

* This post was inspired by Michael Newton’s The Journey of Souls, a book about what happens between lives, based on information obtained through regression therapy. Only recommended for those for whom it feels right, I’m not here to convince anyone of anything!

Time for more mini-reviews!

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
I am really enjoying this series about an all girls’ school for future spies. It’s a great idea, it has some really strong female characters and I like the slightly sarcastic writing. In the fifth book, Cammie wakes up in an Alpine convent and can’t remember how she got there, but she knows that it has something to do with the Circle of Cavan, an ancient terrorist organisation. But not everyone wants Cammie to remember what happened that summer and… well, I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out! Has anyone read Ally Carter’s other series, Heist Society? That one has a really cool premise too!

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
It saddens me that I coudn’t even get myself to finish this book, when I’d been looking forward to it for so very long. The story idea is brilliant : “Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service” (description from Goodreads). I got as far as them being abducted, but I just didn’t care what happened to them next… Maybe the I should try the movie instead?

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Fantastic book about a cloned boy in a disturbing version of our future. Matteo is a clone of El Patron, leader of a country called Opium. He grows up on El Patron’s vast estate as the old man’s favorite, but hated by everyone else. Slowly, he starts to understand what El Patron is really capable of and what his own fate is meant to be. Can he escape the life he was given? And how different from everyone else is he really? This story is a softer version of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, but just as horrifying. Can we really be heading for a future like the ones in these books?

I don’t get satire, apparently

The back cover of A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks has a couple of comments that call it hilarious and satirical. I don’t think I smiled once while reading it, so I guess I didn’t get it.

What I did get (at least I think I did) was the commentary on the state of society today. It made me feel sad, because I don’t think the stories of the people in the book are entirely fictitious. Their loneliness, their pain, their sadness all exist in the world we share.

I was especially affected by the selfishness and greed of John, who works in finance, managing a hedge fund. John did not care about anything but money. He chose his wife because he didn’t think she would require much attention, he didn’t have time to listen to a phone call about his son being in hospital, he happily, almost proudly, made decisions that would make thousands of people unemployed or hungry. I know that such people must exist, many run business and corporations, but I often wonder how they can look at themselves in the mirror. To me, doing something that hurts my child or husband is enough to cause insomnia, I can’t even fathom what being responsible for the misery or misfortune of thousands would feel like. But I guess those people don’t think in the same way as me and don’t hold the same values. I am grateful that I am incapable of understanding them.

Just like John lives in his money-making world, the other characters too live in their little bubbles, often struggling to make meaningful contact. In one passage, a single house contains a teenager smoking joint after joint in his room and his mother drinking glass after glass of wine in hers. Both are lonely beyond words and both try to lose themselves in drugs, alcohol and mindless television. Why can’t they connect?

Why can’t another character, Jenni, connect to anyone outside her virtual reality game? Although in her case salvation arrives unexpectedly and she is able to beat her isolation.

Even Hassan, who we see slowly sink deeper and deeper into his religion, until he doesn’t see sense in anything else anymore, complains about how compartmentalized we’ve become, each listening to our own personal devices instead of each other.

The world painted in this book is bleak indeed. I wonder if that’s why Sebastian Faulks set it in December, to add to the grey coloring and to underline how cold his characters are. Although, as I write about it now, setting it just before Christmas makes another strong statement, since the spirit of the holidays is nowhere to be seen.

This was my first book by Sebastian Faulks and I loved the way he used words to build his world. The writing was punchy and engaging. The interesting structure of interweaving the stories of seven characters’ lives over seven days also deserves a mention.

But what I appreciated most is the idea behind the writing, the thought to show us a mirror of the world we live in. Because only when we see it up close and seemingly from the outside can we begin to see it clearly. And hopefully decide to change it.