I would have been a Russian general
whose allegiance was to the Führer
I always had a cynical view of reincarnation. When asked about it, I’d always scowl and bark “Mathematically impossible!”, and get a little peeved that somebody would suggest such a ridiculous idea.
I remember reconsidering the concept in middle age, when I read a wonderful book: The Tibetan Book of the Dead (1927, Evans-Wentz edition), which was also called ‘The Book of Liberation by Hearing’ and is a foundational Buddhist text. If you could navigate through the tremendously long and unpronounceable names of Tibetan deities, you could pretty much figure out the basic plot, which was, that when you die, you enter into something called the bardo state.
In that state, your first choice is to go to the light, and you’ll never have to worry about the miseries of life again, as you will be one with everything and happy as a clam, or more specifically, beyond happiness and into permanent bliss. But usually, only disciplined masters are shrewd enough to make that choice, because most of us, right after we die, start thinking about the wonderful state called life we just left, all the fond memories of the people we loved, and that sort of thing.
The desire to return to life quickly becomes irresistible . . .