I am officially beginning my eighth decade on what Cathy terms “Earth University.” After reviewing some sixteen-year-old journal notes, I realize I’ve come a long way in my personal growth and self-understanding in the last couple of decades. On the other hand, I’m still basically dealing with the same shit — spiritually speaking. Certainly, I experience more self-awareness, self-kindness and acceptance, and a deeper understanding of my real truths. But, much of the same distracting stuff still occupies my daily, mental life.

From what little I know about the concept of reincarnation, it’s likely I’ve been working on these same challenges since I was a monk in 18th century France, and before that as a teacher in ancient Rome. (Yes, I’ve been told about these past lives by those who know more about this part of the spiritual unknown than I do.)

You would think we would be allowed to bring the important knowledge gained in our former lives into our next life — so we don’t have to relearn it. We could build on this past life knowledge — skip much of the agony and despair — and begin our new life journey with a higher awareness.

It seems to me the Universe could easily say: “Okay, you had low self-esteem when you were a monk but you learned that you are a beautiful soul with much to offer the world — that self-acceptance is the path to enlightenment. Your arrogance in Rome cost you your reputation and your livelihood, but you learned humility and an awareness of how your thoughts and actions impact others. Now, work on something else. We’ve watched you do some really dumb stuff as you relearn the same lessons. We’re bored watching you make the same mistakes wearing a different life, so here’s a memory and awareness for you to work on a different lesson this time, and ask the right questions earlier.”

Apparently, that’s not how it works. As I reflect on the actions and lessons gained in the past 70 years, I’m grateful I relearned some of them early enough so I can spend a few more years, in this lifetime, enjoying the fruits of centuries of my labor. This must be what they call an old man’s wisdom.

However, next life, I intend to pay attention sooner. Hopefully, the Universe will let me at least hold that intention, as my soul is recycled.