LJ Frank © 2022
Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
No expectations. I didn’t travel with any. That in turn lightened the psychological baggage I might have otherwise packed with my physical belongings.
It was early morning. Wispy strands of cirrus clouds floated across a cerulean sky. A stillness enveloped the city for a matter of minutes except for the whiff of an unidentifiable spirit that seemed to pass through me. I felt a tingling sensation and sensed a shadowy presence nearby and turned my head and caught the glimpse of a woman about to walk in between buildings when she turned, looked in my direction, smiled at me and then vanished from sight. Who was she? I didn’t know what to feel. I was at loss for words, but then what words would have sufficed?
The canals were calm with an assortment of small boats tethered to docks. A seagull here and there interceded on behalf of the want of sound. The smell of algae floated along the banks of the canals. Deeper, below the surface, the day was different. The layers of life below appearances were changing. Unlike previous occasions in my life the present moment felt odd if not fortuitous. Imperceptible yet stimulating.
The initial flicker of a major change may have occurred a few decades ago after a motorcycle accident in the Ginza of Tokyo on a rainy day. The brakes on the Suzuki bike I was riding failed. The biked skidded and hit a taxi that had suddenly stopped in the middle of an intersection. I landed on the hood and rolled off. I was lucky in that I was wearing a helmet. I developed Meniere’s syndrome within a couple years. After leaving Japan I found myself boat sitting in Hong Kong through a business acquaintance and a month later was in India where I began working in an American Embassy at a temporary job performing secretarial style liaison work. I had time.
Time to me is a curious phenomenon. I see and feel it in my face, energy, and creaking bones when not exercising or practicing my Hatha yoga. Yet there’s the changes in emotions, spirit and what I think is occurring, and what actually is.
Standing next to canal I blinked a couple times as if to get a clearer picture of the scenery. The distant cry of a seagull could be heard. And for a moment I could feel again a presence other than my own. A sense of the mystical wrapped me in its embrace. Was it my Mind’s Eye about to reveal something compelling or profound? What was looming on the horizon? I wasn’t sure. Nor was I sure of any truth. Was it merely a sign of the age in which I inhabited – an ephemeral flight between two voids of non-physical being? Is my spirituality a consequential mindful gift, bequeathed to humans from endless centuries of evolution and a response to the feeling of aloneness in the infinite cosmos? I’m not fond of oblivion. I want another chance in a different physical body not a spiritual one.
Alternative truths are nonsensical. But alternative realities? Information and disinformation. Words and phrases marketed and sold to the consumer of hope and those weary of agendas. Words can be purposefully divisive and manipulative. Others are merely tools of persuasion for the sake of control and money. One is forced to ask who stands to gain and reap the rewards when the truth is purposefully distorted? Is life all about who is in control and over whom and the amount of wealth to be accumulated? I suppose living in comfort means different things to different people.
I have read in some old tomes that death is the great equalizer. For whom is it the equalizer? A man or woman of greed may fall asleep and die in quiet. And the good-hearted person may suffer for no fathomable reason. Fairness is an inequitable mistress. It’s always been that way.
The interval in northern Europe was a catalyst that stretched to the present. I also switched to car rentals a day after renting a motorcycle and being run off the road onto a canal embankment. The accident proved serendipitous. A woman by the name of Leigh Delacroix came to my aid after witnessing the mishap. I was more bruised emotionally than physically. The moment she looked into my eyes I thought of the woman who seemed to vanish earlier. She helped me stand up and return the bike. After taking care of the insurance details we headed for a café that also offered marijuana. We talked for a couple hours. Our conversation was open and intimate.
Leigh Delacroix was a willowy, enigmatic, thick haired brunette, with large almond shaped dark brown eyes. I noticed later she was commando underneath her knee length knit dress. She was a head taller than me in flat sandals. She was striking. We felt an immediate chemistry. A paradox, she was physically revealing but intellectually she revealed little of her thoughts and background or why she was visiting Amsterdam. I didn’t know if such things mattered in the scheme of things. Passions can be provocative but in general are known for their brevity though a person such as I tried to immerse myself in that singular moment of sensual delight.
The cosmos appears to pulsate in a volatile fashion. The human heart pulsates with each breath while grasping for the tangible and intangible sensations of life.
Leigh grinned when I asked her about herself and she replied, “Let’s just say, I’ve been fortunate whether or not it’s accurate. My life has been enchanting. You should know if you already haven’t gathered that I look for chemistry, physical and intellectual. It’s what’s important to me for now. And you strike me as being adaptable.”
I replied that being adaptable has kept me alive. I found it essential when looking towards each day and the mystery of tomorrow. I added, “in essence adaptability simplifies matters for me.
“That’s good to know. I suspect it’ll come in handy in your future. And perhaps in our future.”
My eyebrows involuntarily raised. I nodded wondering what else she may have meant. We chatted about our experience in Amsterdam and our travels in Europe and countries bordering the Mediterranean, we soon discovered we were staying at the same hotel and perhaps unknowingly crossed paths earlier. But where? Long pauses between expressing our thoughts in an open fashion was revealing as the words evoked images from my past. Where would I have met her? She possessed a natural resolve that I found engaging and fresh. She knew the direction she was headed in life or so it appeared. She kept her own counsel as to that direction.
“I’ve always been confident,” she stated.
I smiled. Indeed, she was self-confident and assertive. She was also enigmatic, and yet a social exhibitionist on some level. She just grinned when the questions were personal. Much remained hidden below the mask she wore. I became more curious. Then she surprised me with her words.
She said, “I believe on some level, the physical and especially the spiritual act of sex is about as close to immortality as a person ever gets. Thought is what outlives all else. All you have to do is write it down in your mind to be part of your consciousness. Who knows, we, right be able to isolate and channel a person memory and the energy of consciousness into another being,”
I read such words in a work by Ernest Hemingway or other author I vaguely recall a similar sentiment. But she was not Hemingway or any other author as far as I knew. She was different. Elusive but present and very much alive.
The passion expressed between us over the weekend was filled with staccato sounds in the shape of hushed, unintelligible words and breath filled sighs. We lay naked in each other’s arms with a window overlooking a canal and decorative flowerpots in-front of homes and businesses. She was one of the very few women I ever relished tasting for what seemed hours. I came to appreciate in a matter of minutes what the words divinely anointed meant. I kissed her lips, her nipples and inside her tasting and swallowing and finding my appetite spilling over the sides like an over filled chalice of wine. I was drunk with insatiable lust. I wanted more. We both did. She would initiate and I would follow her lead. We kissed as if each touch of our lips would be the last one, we would vert experience in life. We tried to savor each moment and give and without effort it took on the sense of the eternal.
During an interlude in our intimacies, she walked over to the window and with the sun between passing clouds showering her glistening body drenched in sweat, while I lay exhausted on the bed, she turned towards me and asked, “have you ever read the Jewish Kabbalah? “
I shook my head. “No.” I didn’t know for certain what she was referring to.
“It’s about how we live our individual lives and our spiritual journeys and work that each of us must undertake to become whole. That’s my interpretation simplified. It’s actually more complicated and mystical in which we are reincarnated in our journey towards wholeness.”
My facial expression was one of question. “Only a little. Reincarnation is fascinating. I’ve read a few works about it and the physics of death by various scientists.”
She smiled. “Hm. In the Kabbalah the idea in past is that we are reincarnated until we have a complete spiritual transformation regardless of the maleness or femaleness of our body in each lifetime. We have spiritual tasks. Our lives are opportunities towards transformation. For me it’s more about the science of reincarnation.”
“I see. Fascinating.” My brain began processing what she was saying to me.
“It doesn’t matter, for now. Someday it may matter.” She said and came over to the bed and laid down next to me. With a light kiss she then turned me on my back, climbed on top and straddled me. And we fucked for a chance to taste immortality. We made love. She had a long, thick tongue and she deliberately overwhelmed my tongue sucking with an insatiable greed, as if to devour me in carnivorous French kisses. We couldn’t get enough of each other. And then two or three mornings later, in a fleeting sense of the surreal as the sun set and a wind blew against the windows, she said she would be back in touch some day in the future, perhaps years from now. She knew my interests. She knew me. Yet, we appeared to be on different paths, ambiguous and at times breathless. But for a few raw, artistic moments our flesh and our breathing was one. It was a connection that remained with me. My senses were blurred. More would happen. It usually does in my experience. I just didn’t know it at the time. She did. It was as if she had a crystal ball and could read what the tomorrows would bring.
Upon returning to the United States, I headed back to the university where I initially relied my undergraduate degree and worked on an additional degree and eventually applied and was accepted for a university position. In time I transitioned my way up to teaching International Relations and more specifically, economic conflict on a global scale before attaining a research position while only teaching one class. The position was fulfilling though my mind would fondly and periodically recall Amsterdam.
Regrettably I departed my position in research for health reasons before making tenure. I telephoned a colleague for a recommendation on a medical specialist which led me to calling a Dr. Schoenfeld, associated with the university hospital and asked if she would contact me if there was a cancelation with any of her other appointments. She said she would and have her assistant contact me when and if in the near future.
Dr. Schoenfeld, was a neurologist at the university medical center. His background included studies in Germany, Canada, and the United States.
Three days later I received a call from her assistant on a Wednesday and she said Dr. Schoenfeld had a last-minute cancellation and could see me on Friday. I drove over the following day and the headed to her office at the appointed time.
Schoenfeld knew my background from the information forms I had emailed to her so when we met, she wanted to reassure me that anything was possible, but the reality of my neurological condition was complex at best and recommended I begin transcendental meditation to relax. She also suggested I speak with a professor she knew in another part of the medical center performing some novel experiments, and with whom I might find some possible options.
She didn’t finish the conversation as some business with the university administration came up at the last minute and our meeting was cut short. She quickly jotted down some information on a piece of paper and handed it to me. She looked at me as we parted and handing me the small piece of paper with her information on it, and said in a hushed voice, “Just in case!”
The professor referred to me had dual doctorship, a Ph.D. in Metaphysics and a Medical degree in Stem Cell and Gene Therapy with lab experiment research in Life Extension.
Without looking directly at the scribbled name, I thanked her and we both departed the office at the same time buy in opposite directions. I decided to head back to my apartment near campus and get a bite to eat and a glass of wine when I stopped in my tracks.
I interpreted the scribble. The name was Dr. Leigh Delacroix. There was no photo. I checked the faculty listing on the Internet through my I-phone and came across an article about her in the student newspaper. Her father was French, born in Lyon, and the mother was African, originally from Nairobi, Kenya. I wondered if it was the same person I met in Amsterdam in the last century.
I was nervous. When you approach what could be end of your life the reflection in the mirror somehow looks different. My mind saw me as younger than the man in the mirror. I recognize the voice, not the man. Self-knowledge changes a person. I had very little appreciation for death. It strikes me as a one way street leading to a pile of ashes. That is, potential eternal oblivion. The problem with life is that it teases you with anticipation. Of course, I don’t know. I’m an agnostic. Experiencing physical life I shied away from eternal nothingness. No feeling, no sensuality, no intellect, or curiosity, and perhaps no consciousness, though I had read David Darling’s work on Zen Physics and the Logic of Reincarnation.
Reincarnation sounded better than oblivion even if I couldn’t recall my previous existence. And resurrection was an ancient belief based mostly on fear and wishful thinking, regardless of what any prophets offered for eternal life. People make giant leaps of faith in face of want or wish, hope, and even from trepidation of the unknown. Perhaps existence is part of a structure science has yet to comprehend. Parallel universes ware another matter. Was the universe sensitive to the organic life that it produced in that it began in chaos, proceed to become stardust which was a structural formula of cells that were self-reproducing? The organic and inorganic was a cosmological dance of chance it seemed on the surface, but was it?
As I approach the final crossroads in physical life the scenery changes around me with each stare, gaze, or glance. The people I knew or even met decades, years, months or even yesterday, whether in person, or electronically, take on a different aura. The surface feeling is like listening to and watching a person walk into a fitting room in a clothing store and emerge in a new suit or dress. Even their voice has a different pitch. And when I walk down a cement path and a dandelion is growing between the cracks a simple flower petal becomes a meditation.
Time, whether a minute or an hour or a day, creates more distance for me than kilometers or miles. Yet time folds over me like a warm, soft tortilla. Waiting to be stuffed with my essence. Does time itself need to be filled with nutritious meaning to be of any significance to a human mind? Whether it’s mine or another’s.
I set up an appointment with Dr. Delacroix to meet with at her office. To say I was anxious was an understatement. The more I learned about the doctor more remarkable images appeared in my mind – fluent in several languages though I would not be surprised if she was the same person. I searched the Internet for photographs s of her but only came across images of an avatar. I shrugged and didn’t think much of it. She valued privacy. I called and set up an appointment with her assistant. I told the assistant where I was staying, giving her the telephone number and so the doctor could find me if needed to talk before our scheduled appointment. I like to explain things as I don’t want to leave anything out that might be of value. I sometimes over analyze. Perhaps too much. What blithered me was why hadn’t I come across her before this moment? What didn’t I know?
I experiment and always have. I test my boundaries and try to know them without being sucked into someone else’s mind games. And people love games even when they don’t know they are playing them. I might be wrong about everything. I doubt. Everyday a doubt creeps into my mind. I hungered for a deeper meaning than some Kierkegaardian’ Fear and Trembling. But then perhaps the author of Ecclesiastes was correct that all was vanity, still, I wanted to see a light and not linger into the darkness.
The day before the meeting I called Dr. Delacroix and told her assistant I hadn’t seen any mention of when the doctor arrived at the university and was wondering if she would share that information. She paused then said she assumed her duties the year before and that she is a gem and has worked around the world and is always on call for consultation. I thanked her and intending a good might sleep I dined on a small piece of wild salmon, raw spinach, and a glass of wine. I wondered if people knew if it was the last day of their life, how they would live out their final hours.
My brain gave up contemplating on what occurs at death. It was useless. Beliefs didn’t salvage my dreams. Resurrection, or reincarnation or higher consciousness is in the final analysis was too remote to consider. Humans invents beliefs that we expand upon over the generations and eons. Repetition in its varied formats is one of the ritualized foundational blocks of belief, but repetition does not make something a fact.
If the doctor was the same person, I was with in Amsterdam she knew I was open to experimentation. Experimenting generates ideas, cleaning some issues up and creating others. The assistant called me back and told me over the telephone if I wished the doctor could help me. The procedure was still in the early stage with different procedures depending on the desired outcome. In my case it was an effort to effectively transcend what we know as death and achieve a rebirth. I wanted to test reincarnation, experiencing the process while it occurred.
Delacroix was passing along this information to me now to consider when we meet the following day. I would be required to sign a consent procedure that states I am open to both a mind and body experiment and that I’d be the third person that has agreed to be a candidate for monitored enhanced or augmented reincarnation. I was adaptable. Delacroix knew me and my potential response. What I didn’t know was whether this fate or serendipity and what was the nature of the downstream effects and risks of such a procedure.
I arrived early the next morning. While sitting in the post-modern waiting area I perused the literature in the medical databases. There was little information on the procedure except experiments were underway.
There was a special concoction of drugs with psychedelic property available. One of them was a syrupy fluid extracted from a flowery plant growing alongside ancient trees located in the Daintree Rainforest, In Queensland, Australia.
There were no promises. if successful with me it would be a scientific breakthrough. I supposedly would return to my original state of being. That is, my body would experience a transformation through a release of energy and I would return to the womb inheriting clear knowledge of my previous life. But whose womb? How would I tolerate it? Especially if I had all the knowledge of a previous life in a baby’s body?
Consciousness traditionally does not carry over from one life to the next in traditional understandings of reincarnation. But Delacroix had perfected a new process which I didn’t understand. Candidates were carefully being selected. Altering reality was no longer fiction. That is from one life to the next my brain’s cells were a database of knowledge and experience that could be carried over from the immediate previous life. Would that lead to feeling emotionally overwhelmed?
I could take competency tests and simply skip much of my education all the way up through college level. In fact, as a child, I would supposedly have the equivalency of the a college degree that I earned in my previous life. The miracle of the science of reincarnation?
What I knew at an old age I could now apply to my youth. It was inspirational if not surreal. The adage If I knew what I knew now back then, I would have done things differently. Now I could! A true physical rebirth. A chance to get it right. It sounded like a fantasy. But would it be? Still, it all seemed the stuff of old and tired science fiction films and novels.
I was called into Dr. Delacroix’s office. It was her. She still looked the same in my eyes as when we were together years ago. She smiled and walked over and hugged me. “I knew we would meet again. This is not the end,” she said, “only another beginning. I’ve learned how to bottle so speak the energy of consciousness and positive memories for a physical and spiritual transformation. You’re the test subject. And I will be too.”
“Yeah. I have an assistant who will manage the transitioning. You won’t be alone. So, we need to talk about you and me and what might happen.”