See you next time

Humming in my universe

By Jim Paredes

“Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil – coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes.” — H.D. Thoreau

Since it’s that time of the year when we think about the dead, I thought I’d write about the ‘otherwordly’ realm. No ghost stories or anything paranormal since I suspect that’s what everyone will be writing about. I thought I’d write about something that more and more people are starting to believe in, and that is reincarnation.

Reincarnation is an ancient concept that is widely believed by many religions—Hinduism, Jainism, Sikkhism, Kabbalah, Sufism and even Gnostic Christianity. Basically, it says that a person who dies is ‘made flesh’ once again to inhabit the earth as a new personality in another time, or times. There is a thread that ties these lives together as the soul purportedly goes through several life travels to repay karma and to evolve.

Many people believe in karma and logically, they must also believe in reincarnation. I have met quite a few who claim to have had a past life or two. While it can neither be proven nor disproved, I find it funny that many of those who talk about their so-called past reincarnations, always claim connection to some ancient royal line. They were almost always princesses, princes, queens or pharaohs or some other glamorous title-holding royal who lived in some exotic time. No one claims to have been, say, a mere shepherd, a fisherman or a slave.

I had my brush with reincarnation (I like to romanticize that I actually did) some years back during a visit to Nepal. Nepalese culture and society acknowledge the phenomenon of a living Goddess in their midst called the Kumari Devi. The Goddess is supposedly the reincarnation of the Goddess Taleju who, according to legend, appeared as a young woman to the King of Nepal centuries ago. Daily, she would visit the king to play chess with him, until one day, the king made a pass at her which displeased her. As a result, Taleju ordered that the king from then on would have to undergo the rite of ‘legitimization’ yearly, in her hands, personified by a reincarnated pre-pubescent girl known as the Kumari Devi.

By tradition, the Kumari Devi is a young girl with 32 outstanding characteristics who must undergo rigorous tests. And once chosen, she remains a Goddess until she menstruates. Then another rigorous process is done to find the next personification of the Kumari Devi.

My brush with this reincarnated being happened in her courtyard. Normally, tourists who wish to see the Kumari Devi put money in a bowl in the courtyard and call out her name. She very rarely responds to calls, but to my luck and surprise, the two times I called, she bestowed fleeting glances at me from her second floor window, much to the envy of the other tourists around.

Another reason I find reincarnation fascinating is because I have relationships with certain people that cut deep on a level and quality that seems different from other deep and close relationships I have. My sister Lory, my son Mio, my co-APOs Danny Javier and Boboy Garrovillo are just some of the people with whom I have a special bond that seems to be intensely close and intertwined. I have often wondered whether my relationship with them in this life is part of karmic ties and dramas that originated in some past life.

Some scientists have given suggestive evidence that reincarnation may be factually true. There have been many investigations done on this subject. Scientists have examined the memories of people who have asserted that they have had past lives and put their claims under an investigative, historical microscope and found them to be quite plausible in some cases, and very believable in others.

I have not really made up my mind whether or not to believe in reincarnation, at least in the literal sense. I do know that it serves a purpose for man to believe in such things. Christians believe in a God who created man, and God is the be-all and end-all of existence. Similarly, reincarnation suggests that we did not come from nothing, that there was a precedent, and therefore a source of our existence. Furthermore, it suggests a continuation of some sort of life after death. When taken to be lyrically or symbolically true, it suggests that our lives are actually bigger than we can ever imagine it to be – originating from somewhere and unraveling repeatedly through many generations after our death until we reach the state of perfection of one who is enlightened.

Through the continuous cycle of rebirth and death, we are purified and reborn into higher versions of what being human can possibly be.

It is pleasant to think that we can come back in another life and do what we failed to do in our previous one. It is exciting to listen to people who entertain the possibility of reincarnation talking about who or what kind of person they would like to be when they return. Royalty? Someone famous? An actor or an actress, a rock star or a world leader? I have met people who choose to come back as animals.

In my case, if reincarnation is at all possible, I would like to come back as an era, a period of history with a certain ambience. Think about the renaissance, or the 60’s, some impressionistic era that captivated artists. Or how about something similar to the hippie movement that dared to dream something different. I would like to be a spirit or zeitgeist where a great number of people are captivated by the idea of being free spirits expressing themselves as creatively as possible. Call me a New Ager, but I resonate with how the 60’s group, The Fifth Dimension, described the Age of Aquarius:

‘Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding;
No more falsehood or derision
Golden living dreams of vision
Mystic crystal revelation
And the minds true liberation

I’m almost sure the vision of Aquarius will not happen in my lifetime, although there are those who argue that it is already beginning. Perhaps. Whether or not it is, I just want to end this piece with this simple phrase:

‘See you next time’.

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13 years ago

Hey guys,

I’m trying out WordPress so if the blog looks different, that’s the reason. Still a work in progress.


13 years ago

WordPress is a more stable blogging software, you can install useful plugins to improve your site.

So good move! *two thumbs up*


13 years ago

I’m using wordpress as well, I personally think it’s better than blogspot.

Anyways, Nonoy Ozaeta told me about my most recent past life. I can’t say if I believe him but it sure seems to be repeating itself. From the time he told me all about it way back 1999 until today, a lot has turned out the way he said it will happen as he already told me it might.

BTW, I was not a princess. I’m a Pinay living inside the walls of old Manila from a middle class mestizo family way back in the 1800s. That’s what he told me anyway.

13 years ago

Try Vox.


13 years ago

me too, i haven’t really made up my mind whether or not to believe in reincarnation, but i’ve read and heard a lot about it, too. it’s really interesting. also, my philosophies and religions in asia said that the right term is “spirit transmigration.”

sometimes, when i see somebody i don’t know and this person doesn’t do or say anything to me, and for no reason at all, i just have rhis really weird and strong hatred for the person, i’d think that maybe in my past life lies the explanation. hehehe:)

13 years ago

I enjoyed listening to APO songs since I first heard “Pumapatak . . .” decades ago. Now that I discovered your writings, I enjoy absorbing your musings which are sort of life philophies updated. Your writing style is very fluid and I think I’m at this time undergoing the same emotional vision of mortality (I’m 54). Keep writing and like hundreds of us, I’ll keep on reading. More years to APO and to you Sir Jim !

13 years ago

Wow! New look! I like it better! 😉

13 years ago


my 3rd grade son from de la salle zobel will have their field demo on nov 24. his teacher is looking for a copy of your song — kung gusto mo, gusto ko pa. checked record stores but no luck. i saw on apo site that this was part of ‘songbuk ng apo’ (1991).

is there a way i can have a copy of the song??

thanks so much!

13 years ago

this may sound creepy, but

i love you, mr. jim paredes sir 🙂

zarah dizon
13 years ago

Hi Jim!

I like this informative entry of yours.

On reincarnation, I’d say I’m a part believer because of a bizarre experience. When I was in my early twenties I would wake up from sleep with my body lying so straight as if replicating a number “1” and my arms crossed tightly against my chest. It happened many times and I would wonder why I am in this uncomfortable and stiff position since I don’t recall having to fall asleep like this. Sure I would toss and turn but I find comfort lying with my side against the bed. Though I have questions why, I didn’t make a big deal out of it so I just ignored the experience even if it happened a couple of times more. Until I woke up from a dream one morning. In the dream, there was a dead male leader of a native Filipino tribe and the scene was a burial ceremony. Apparently in the dream, the dead male leader was me. The body was lying straight with arms crossed above the chest. The exact same position I find myself waking up to several times before. After this dream, I never woke up in this sleeping position again…so weird.

13 years ago

Sir Nonoy and I are friends, and years after leaving UP we still go out to play catch up. So I guess kelangan kong mag-agree. He is GOOD. Hahaha~ He knows I’m joking.