Salad Days has almost nothing to do with the topic at hand. It is the name of a book, about Punk Rock, the first half of which I can highly recommend. Also, I view that work as much more an account of what could have been rather than what actually happened.
I believe in Karma. I believe that all pain is self-inflicted. Oh, others may well act as agents (perhaps, incurring their own Karma en route). But as to the wherefore's and why's, all one need do is look to one's self. Hey, guess what? I've been spending a lot of time and focusing a lot of energy inward, these days.
We are Immortal. Fine, maybe not you. But we are Immortal. And if you are reading this, you are immortal. And yes, that is correct. I am claiming my words are The Fountain of Youth, the dividing line between The Players & The Game. Eh, not really. But where's the fun in that?
I do not know what The Next Life will bring. How could I? Of course, if there is a Next Life (and countless ones thereafter), a Previous Life is implied. I'd tell you more, but I can't seem to remember all that much.
One idea that I like concerning an Infinity of Lives lumps everyone together. In my next life, I will be you, you will be he, he will be she, and so on, and so forth, a thousand-million-billion-trillion times, until one returns to their self, where they are right now. No End and No Beginning.
In the Looping Scenario, I wonder who I would be next. Many play this game and say in a Past Life they were so-and-so from long ago and in their Next Life they will be someone in the future. But I know those whom I know the best. And if we have interlacing Karma, it sort of makes sense (if any of this makes the slightest bit of sense) for Karma to be resolved as soon, as localized, and as simply as possible. I could easily come back as a relative. It is not hard for me to see who that might be... nor why they are (were and forever will be) who they are.
My Eyes Fade. And as such, reading has become less-and-less important to me. It is difficult to read when one cannot focus on the words on the written page.
Likewise, as I grow older, I care more-and-more about my body. I'd like to be An Athlete. Surfing seems like a valid way to spend one's life, perhaps, My Next Life.
Rather than travelling as I did (and I've spent great gobs of time travelling), going from place-to-place, skimming the surface, I'd rather (now, then, in the countless lives to come) spend more time being still and Meditating. I've been up and down the California Coast a few times (perhaps, several dozen times). But most of those journeys were quite quick. I got in a car (perhaps, the one that stopped in response to an upheld thumb) and travelled at speed. I should have packed a week's worth of food (or more, but weight becomes a limiting factor at some point), found a good spot, set up camp, read, enjoyed the Sun, Surf, & Sand, Meditated, and looked within.
I do not find much when I Meditate. Perhaps, I am not much.
Often, when I Meditate, I get distracted by The Visions. I'd love to Drop Into Dream. I'd love to make progress on this Vision Quest. For the most, I see static, colorful, playful static. But every once in a while, it resolves... into an image of pure beauty. It's always an image of pure beauty. It's an image. It's a Step On The Path. Seriously, what else do I need or want?
Meditate. Be Here Now. Breath In. Breath Out. I am going blind. In a very real sense, all I really have to do (all I have left to accomplish) is to go blind, waste away, and die. I could run from it. I can't help but run from it. But there is nothing else that needs doing. Bearing Witness To Myself is my job. It is Why I am here.
Do you like Math? Do you like Computers? No Human can solve a Math Problem without Solving The Problem. Yes, it sounds stupid. But there it is. If one wishes to know what a Computer Program does, one must Run The Program; or at least, Step Through The Code, which amounts to the same thing. So if God wanted to know what a Brett was, I guess he'd have to Live My Life Moment-By-Moment, to step through it, as it were.
I am sure I have Lives Of Failure and Lives Of Success. Though, with an Infinity Of Lives (and perhaps, a desire to Cover The Board: i.e. Run All Permutations of The Code), I am not entirely certain either Failure or Success is technically correct.
Does The Computer care about The Code?
Well, I care. And that is good enough for me.
My Life has been Chock Full of Mistakes. Shall I list them? I haven't the time. Nonetheless, listing them is what I do all the time.
That's just clever writing... a turn of phrase that insisted upon being included.
I review My Mistakes and try to correct them. I believe some might call this activity Burning Off Karma. So, like, I got into a fight once... more than once. And my mind searches for the root cause. Hey, guess what? At a very profound level, one of the reasons I was ever in a fight was because I was willing to be in a fight. Of course, it's not technically true. The instance at hand was a Surprise Attack. I hardly courted the abuse. But then, I had been living my live (foolish child that I was) in such a way that it would be easy to attack me, socially acceptable to attack me, perhaps even quite reasonable and socially profitable to attack me.
Thou Shall Not Kill cuts a lot deeper than I had any notion.
Thou Shall Not Steal will come back and bite each-and-every transgressor at each-and-every turn, however small the individual offences may be.
These are not words of Damnation. I am here. You are here. They are here. We are all basically equal... from the perspective of morality. I live in a World of Sin because I was (and clearly, still am) Willing To Sin.
You do not have to agree.
Seriously, I could not care less.
I do not seek Your Damnation; but rather, My Salvation.
But if I had Earned Salvation, what would that have looked like? How should I have handled that problem? How could I have dealt with that fight? That other thing? And the countless other mistakes whose catastrophic consequences haunt me?
Living Moral! It really is as simple as that... or so, My Heart, Body, Mind, & Soul tell me. They tell me I should have been kinder, gentler, and more loving. But really, what they tell me (the voices in my head, the tremblings in my fingers, the dreams that awaken me in the middle of the night, the everything, everywhere, everywhen) is that I should have cared more for others.
Don't Kill! It's not nice. And even if one is play killing, the thought-patterns one is creating (the ripples of energy one is sending out into the universe) will come back to haunt one.
Don't Steal! The line isn't set at Bank Robbery. It's in the little things, the everyday things, the small theft of a larger serving, an extra penny in change, the breaking of a rule made for the good of all.
Hey, do what you want.
You have Freewill.
Anyhow, I play This Game. I revisit My Life. I try to determine what went wrong. I try to fix it. And about the only way I have managed to succeed is by Complete Abandonment of Selfish Pride.
Have I been clear?
I Study Myself.
I Study My Life.
And where It went wrong is where I went wrong... and deviated from right.
Now, don't tell me how a Three, Four, or Five Year Old Child is supposed to know these things. But if I did, if I had a Second Chance, well, I'd do things differently.
And it starts with a Clean Slate, Complete Forgiveness, and a desire to please others... but not in some sort of Sycophantic Way. But in a way that is Honest & True and that we can all be proud of at The End Of The Game.
In short, now that I know The Rules and understand How The Game Is Played, I Demand A Rematch!
It's the only fair thing to do.