Barry Smith: Irrelativity |

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

Dear Bad Guru,

I read somewhere that we reincarnate with the same people over and over again. Like, in a previous life I might have been my son’s wife, or whatever. What’s that all about?


Lincoln in Lincoln

Dear Lincoln,

I happen to know for a fact that my second wife was my father in a past incarnation. I know this because whenever I asked her, during certain moments, who her daddy was, she would instantly reply, “I’m your daddy!” Not only did it totally kill the mood, but it wasn’t even an answer to the question I was asking.

We reincarnate to learn lessons. Lessons about love, forgiveness, trust, understanding, compassion and complex math. As you gain mastery in these subjects, you carry this knowledge through to the next life. This is why it’s good to go ahead and tackle trigonometry early on, so you don’t have to make it up later in Reincarnation Summer School.


Dear Bad Guru,

I love that old saying, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.” It’s pretty wise and heavy, right? Where do these cool sayings come from, anyway?


Cheyenne in Cheyenne

Dear Cheyenne,

Alas, the majority of these sayings have their origins in country-Western song lyrics. Somehow these catchy nuggets have boot-scoot boogied their way into our lexicon under the guise of ancient wisdom. “If the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me” is a particularly deceptive one, often attributed to Confucius. “I’ve got tears in my ears from lying on my back in my bed while I cry over you” is not, as many believe, an Aristotle quote.

As one who has devoted his life to the field of dispensing true wisdom, I find this trend offensive. That people would confuse the words of the ancient masters with those of the modern s—kickers truly breaks my heart, my achy-breaky heart.


Dear Bad Guru,

What is the the most “spiritual” food?


Helen in Helena

Dear Helen,

Food consists of two different aspects – the material and the spiritual. Materially, there are nutritional considerations that determine the quality of your food. Food produced without hormones or pesticides will be better for your physical being, whereas overprocessed and artificial ingredients are more detrimental.

Similarly, the spiritual quality of food will affect the “nutritional” value that your “soul” is getting. In the spiritual realm, the symbolic quality of the food is what is important. This is why a food that is materially “healthy” could actually be spiritually “unhealthy” and vice versa.

All of that aside, the answer to your question is a simple one: fish tacos.

•-• •-•

Dear Bad Guru,

You know how sometimes it takes a few months after the first of January to sign your checks with the current year? Like how it’s already been 2013 for a few months, but people are still absentmindedly writing “2012”? Well, that’s happening to me now, except that I’m signing them “836 BC.” Does this mean I’m a reincarnated Viking? Please say yes because that would be so cool to have been Edgarth the Horrific, or whatever, in a previous life.


Dallas in Dallas

Dear Dallas,

There is a good chance that you are dealing with what we in the spiritual business call “past-life leakage.” It’s where little bits of insignificant details from previous incarnations slowly seep from a loose seam of your otherwise snug-fitting and absorbent distant past.

However, just because you were alive in the Viking Era, this doesn’t necessarily mean you were a mighty and feared leader. Many people assume that just because they lived before, they must have been Napoleon or Cleopatra or Alexander the Great. Statistically speaking, there’s a much greater chance that you were a turnip farmer.

I’m just using that as an example. I’m not sure if the Vikings actually farmed turnips. For that you’d need to consult my cousin, The Bad Anthropologist.


Dear Bad Guru,

How can I have more patience?


Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale

Dear Fort,

When it comes to the topic of patience, there are no better words to turn to than those of ancient Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu, who once famously told a student, “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there. I’m eastbound – just watch ol’ Bandit run.”

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays in The Aspen Times. More at

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