...leaned towards reincarnation as a viable theory. Blame my Hindu ancestors or my mystical bent, or the fact that I've always felt that babies have this, "Oh shit, what am I doing here again?" look or can even appear incredibly wise.
There are also so many people that I mentally qualify as old souls, young souls, on their umpteenth go-round with THAT issue, that it's probably REALLY part of my conceptual framework already.
Of course, it also comes up in my own life with people with whom I think, "We've been here before, this is feeling REALLY familiar," or places that feel familiar that shouldn't.
I have a theory - one that was generated with my friend Anni late one night on the phone, years ago - that the afterlife is a bar with an infinite number of pool tables. Close groups that are to reincarnate together end up playing around the same pool table, discussing their most recent past lives, working out future relationships and issues, and saying things like..."OH GOD, NO. PLEASE LET HIM PASS. I CAN'T POSSIBLY DATE. HIM. ONE. MORE. TIME." or "OI, babe, you coming? You SO have to hear what I'm planning to get up to this time. What do you MEAN you're still pissed off about the time I was your mum and wouldn't let you go out with that jerk? Worked out for you, did it? Yeah, I SO did you a favour. Right hand pocket." *click*
A lot of times, these groups cluster in time and space: friendships from school, work, and so on. They just fall into place where you are. Other conversations probably sound like this: "Ok, ok, wait, let me get this straight: you're going to be born when??? TEN years after me. WHERE? Bora Bora? And I'm stuck in New Hampshire? How the hell is THAT supposed to work? FFS. Right, with whom do you overlap here? Ok, I can make it to Sydney in 2005. You? Hmmm." Somehow, it all falls into place.
Varying bond strengths, from weak hydrogen to powerful ionic bonds (that, as Ari once said, 'make it seem as if there are magnets attached to your heads') exist between members of groups. Of course, there are probably several other pool tables involved. Charlie Epps of Numb3rs would have a field day.
99.99% of the time, I have a good giggle and consider turning it into a book.
Then I run into that extraordinary someone who makes it seem very real - one who bypasses all the personality crap and hits the soul stuff. Someone who just...knows. And I can hear the conversation at the pool table:
"You've got to be kidding me. There's NO. WAY. this is going to happen."
"Of course it is. We ALWAYS manage."
"No, LOOK AT WHAT WE'VE DECIDED. I'm here in time and space. You're THERE. No. fucking. way."
"Excuse me, but yes. fucking. way."
"No. Every other time was easier. Closer times, closer space. How do you expect us, once we're human, to make the decisions that get us there? Too many variables. And look. There's so much that should, by rights, mean we won't exchange more than two sentences."
"Irim - that's what you're going by this time, right? - we will. When have we not?"
"Listen, even if I were at the pool table furthest from here, you KNOW we'd find eachother. Because it's what we do."
*Defeated sigh* "Ok. Do you want to plan it?"
"No. I'll see you there and then. Trust me." *Wicked grin*
*Inarticulate irimtated growl of rage*
Then, after a myriad of decisions on both parts, one day, you turn a corner, and there you both are. And before there is even a flicker of conscious recognition, you know what's happening at soul level:
"Well, hello. You won't mind if I say, 'I told you so.'"
*Rolls eyes* "Yes, dear. So this is there and then, eh? Ready for another ride on this roller coaster?"
"Then get your ass in that front car and scooch over."