I could say that if I were my Third-Grader. Today he visited Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, with his class. The CYM has a 35 foot tall Buddha statue, surrounded by 10,000 six-inch smaller statues of the Buddha. Or so he tells me. I do know that the 35 foot tall Buddha statue is the biggest Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere. And that is just plain cool.
I asked Adam if he knew what a monk is. He told me he saw one at the Monastery. He wasn’t sure if it was a man or a woman because of the shaved head and the long robes. I clarified for him. He told me about some ritual that the monk performed involving rice and incense. His teacher told him that each lifetime brings you closer and closer to enlightenment, and that in your last life, you will be a monk. Or a nun, I suppose. Like Pema Chodron, I mean.
I asked him if they learned about the Four Noble Truths. Apparently, they did not. Nevertheless, having known Adam since before he was born, I have always suspected that he has been here on earth many times before. He has always had an aura of calm wisdom about him, even as he waited calmly in his little plastic bassinet beside me as the doctors sewed me up after my c-section.
I asked him if he understood why someone would want it to be their last life on earth. He did not. And yet he did not think it odd, as I do.
I have always wanted to come back again. I still do. I am sure that if I do, I will see my husband, because I am quite certain that this is his first time here, at least as a human. You know, with all the suffering that goes along with being human. He struggles with it. As do we all. But with my husband, the struggling is so very palpable. Sometimes I imagine him as a helpless infant, crying for food, for comfort, for love.
My children are 30 years younger than him, roughly. But when I imagine their souls, I see not infants or even children. I imagine that Brian might have been my own father in another life. I feel quite certain that Adam was my son. And I feel quite certain that my children have an innate understanding of things they are too young to articulate.
I wonder if this is just sentimental crap mixed with the ravings of a yoga lunatic. Or if there might be something to this.