How is it that each of us is so different from each other, and seems to be so from the get go?
I think back on my youth to recognize the many instances when I individuated myself by deciding to do or be something according to some inner inclination, rather than go along with what others wished of me. Where did that come from? How did I come by my singular agenda that said Do This, not That?
Why (a crucial decision) did I not go to College X as my Dad deeply wished I would, but angled instead for College Y? That decision was probably symbolic of the many ways during my childhood that I demonstrated my essential differences from my father, who had many plans for me that I was indisposed to follow, choosing rather to grope my way elsewhere on my own, as if instinctively feeling “That’s not me, and I’m searching for who I truly am, who I’m cut out for and meant to become.”
More of the same self-identifying went on during college and afterward. I chose to be an English major, not an engineering major like Dad. I wanted to teach, not to go to law school and then join Dad in his real estate appraisal business—those were my key life-inclining decisions putting me on the path I have followed since: a life in literature, writing and teaching; also a life of thinking about ultimate issues, questions of philosophy and spirituality and the meaning and purpose of things, and even of myself—The Good Life, According to Me.
Just now my disposition opens me wider to wondering about theories of reincarnation, past lives and karma—a way to explain our determined dispositions by seeing ourselves as undying souls who choose again and again to return, life after life, to advance the growth of our souls into greater accord with the High Self—or God—whom we are, essentially.
Is there indeed a stratum of Reality I have only vaguely apprehended, more visible to others who are more open and attuned than I? Many say so, and I think I have glimpsed and tasted such a realm in epiphanic moments of mystical opening to the Beyond. The truth of this I hope in time to discover: Reality—the Final Frontier!