When I was little my mother enlightened me with this wonderful idea called reincarnation, that our lives do not end when we die but that our souls keep on returning to different bodies in an endless cycle of self-improvement.
For a small child this concept is very difficult if not impossible to grasp. For me however it made much more sense than those crazy stories about going to heaven (or even hell mind you) which I'd been learning at church.
If I had to believe in something then it made more sense to believe in a more appealing alternative to death. At the time disappearing into complete darkness and emptiness was not yet a viable option, that would come in later life as a more likely way to go.
So the idea that I'd keep on coming back and being reborn into a new family sounded like an exciting adventure. Sitting up high in the sky and looking down upon the Earth just before my next birth, choosing carefully the next nicest-looking family to be a part of. That young woman down there looks like a nice mother, not quite sure about that man though, will have to take the risk and see what happens. It's the recycling that counts the most, should not wait too long.
Unfortunately part of the deal is that your memory would be wiped clean and you would not be able to recall anything about the previous life. You have to fantasize about having been one of the famous Egyptian Pharaohs, Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein or Emperor Charlemagne. Unless you had been someone's pet, a worm, dolphin, chimp or a number of other animals. Or a molecule or a dust particle or part of someone's DNA strand.
A so-called paranormal healer once told me that in my previous life I was some French freedom fighter and had been buried alive under a bunch of rubble after a big earthquake. Her eyes rolled up and she was trembling slightly as if in a trance, as she told me the story like she was witnessing it happen in person, and this is how it continued: while slowly dying I realized that I had a number of important achievements just outside my grasp, that there was still so much more to do in life. That's why I was reincarnated in this life, in order to redeem those lost opportunities and achieve all of that unfinished work, whatever that may be.
Remember that a nasty side-effect of reincarnation is loss of memory. So I could not refute the paranormal healer's discovery, nor could I come up with a more interesting and creative previous life than that as a freedom fighter. Better than being Napoleon or Cleopatra or whoever, that's for sure.
Can a person only get reincarnated into a future time? Is it possible to be reincarnated into the past? What about getting reincarnated back in time to the period between your birth and death? Anything is possible in this crazy world we live in, where an infinite number of intersecting universes and parallel timelines criss-cross all over the place. Watch out for that neutrino shower and better duck for those Higgs particles (they do exist by the way).
Unfortunately we are very limited creatures. Only after an infinite number of rebirths will we ever fully understand the truth and at the same time be able to experience ultimate reality as it was always meant to be.
That seems like yet another insane idea. Maybe it's time to revert back to being a God-fearing churchgoer when life was alot simpler. Dear Lord, I pray that ...
See you in the next life, I mean in heaven (or even in hell mind you). Still would be nice before I finish this life to figure out what all those lost opportunities were in my previous life. That way I could achieve all of that unfinished work, feeling more satisfied on my death bed.
Or could it be that that collection of unfinished work and unredeemed opportunities is carried on automatically into the next life and then the next life after that so on until it is completely redeemed and finished, meaning final closure at last.
Then the cycles would stop and I would achieve absolute harmony. I'd much rather keep dying and being reborn than that, in fact just one life and one final death into complete nothingness would be a million times better than achieving absolute harmony.