Beyond Forgetting

It is far less painful to forget what you wish to remember than to remember what you wish to forget. Chinese folklore has it that when all of one’s debts in his previous life are paid, he/she would be given a bowl of 孟婆汤 before he/she is born in the next life.

孟婆汤 is a magical potion that induces total retrogade amnesia, rendering all of us unable to recall anything from our previous lives. Thus, we may meet enemies from our previous lives and still fall in love with them. We may feel indebted to our children for they could have been our parents in our previous lives.

孟婆汤 clearly doesn’t work very well for some. They seem to be able to remember their debtors and lovers from a previous life. They seem to remember promises they made and broke and struggle to make amends in this life.

I have written a book that touched on this theme. It’s my second novel Like a Dewdrop. Why are some people born enemies? Why do some fall in love at first sight? What is it about some most unlikely couples that make them stay together till the very end? Why do some struggle to maintain an impossible relationship, hurting to the depths of their souls?

No strong feelings, no hard feelings. For better or worse, most people go through life, marriage and old age without experiencing the ecstasy and the stabbing pain of a full-blown romance. If life is a glass of wine, it stimulates and it hurts. Too much of it and it becomes your life, consuming you in the process. For most, life is a glass of plain water. It doesn’t give you any highs or lows, but you live a long and normal life drinking it every day.

Perhaps, we are all repaying some karmic debt when we fall madly, hopelessly in love. Perhaps it’s just as well that we don’t meet that person in this life. I don’t know of any other song that talks about 孟婆汤 . Here’s one:

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