I lie in bed this Easter morning nursing a toothache with a cold vodka compress. Old home remedy.
And I’m thinking of rebirth. I want to be reborn into a form without a toothache, someday.
Happy Easter, by the way.
Regardless of your beliefs, chances are you’ve sensed in yourself a desire for a rebirth at some point. It’s natural. Before all that stuff happened back in the Judea of 2000 years ago (that stuff that barely showed as a blip on Rome’s radar screen at the time) they celebrated rebirth. We humans love the idea of a do-over, because no one ever seems to get it right the first time. Talk enough about a new means of getting a do-over, and people start listening. Next thing, you’re taking over the empire for them.
To those in the temperate northern parts of our flawed and tilted planet, this time of year has always provided a great reminder of rebirth. Nature that seemed dead springs back full-force, and brings bug season with it. Celebrate! In most of Arizona, our seasons are only a transition from less-hot to more-hot, so we had to import a foreign concept to name our capital city. The Phoenix bird thrives, burns up, then is reborn from its own ashes — an eternal cycle. The myth of the eternal return is still a story of rebirth.
So these days I frequently find myself talking to people who will assert that none of this matters. It’s just not scientific, this rebirth thing. The drama of the life of Christ is dangerous delusion. Religion is an opiate of the masses. Reason itself is the sole path to truth, and anything outside reason is error. I talk to these people because although I disagree with their conclusions most of the time, I admire anyone who attempts to think things through. But still, I envy those with a faith so simple that they just can’t conceive of a world without rebirth. To the simple of faith, there’s never a question of rebirth and whether one needs rebirth: It just is.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of suffering, and how we know we’re suffering. We can pretend not to suffer, but it’s still there–like a toothache. We suffer because we want something we know is ours — some warm embrace in the arms of Being. We know we can get there, but we’re going to have to submit to rebirth to do it. And that’s hard, because as hard as being born is on everyone involved, being reborn is even harder. Just ask the Phoenix bird.
Happy Easter. Happy rebirth.