dozens dreams

after a thousand deaths


It wasn’t until after I died for the first time that I discovered the true nature of reality.

Well, the nature of reality for some of us. For me at least.

After I died, I woke up on a platform on top of a pillar, way up in the clouds. Before me was a small stone pedestal about waist high. One of many arranged in a circle around the center of the main platform. On top of the pedestal was a configuration of glass bowls. When I stacked the bowls in a certain way, I was reborn and lived an entirely new life as an entirely new person.

And when I died again the next time, I returned to my pedestal on the platform. There was a new bowl in addition to the other ones that were there last time. I had to spend the time to figure out how the new bowl fit in with the existing ones, but once I stacked them correctly, I was reborn again.

This pattern repeated itself hundreds of times. Sometimes I loitered on the platform, looking around at the other pedestals and peering over the edge. Sometimes others arrived at their own platforms and had to stack their own bowls before returning. Some of us got to know each other. Sometimes you got into some kind of a synced schedule for a while with somebody and saw them after each death.

You couldn’t loiter on the platform indefinitely though. The custodian would come and shoo you away eventually. You wouldn’t want to anyway. The platform was bare and largely featureless save for the pedestals. It didn’t provide the joy of living.

A couple of us hit our thousandth death all around the same time. The configuration of glass bowls has long since become very complex and fragile. Returning to life was difficult now, a real challenge. Some never make it back, unable to solve the puzzle, or shattering their bowls trying.

I finally stacked my thousand bowls and lived another lifetime.

When I got back to the platform though there was just the two bowls: one for the life I had just lived, and one that, when stacked, would take me to my next one.

I was confused, and looked around and saw a couple others in similar situations.

When we asked him, the custodian explained that there is another higher plane of existence to which you can ascend after living a thousand lives. But it required a different kind of methodology. We had each applied a single life solution to a thousand life question, and had failed.

There was outrage at this. We hadn’t known!

Now people were rushing to live their next thousand lives as quickly as possible to try again.

In their rush, some carelessly mishandled their bowls and chipped or broke them, and never returned to life again.