Friday, November 14, 2014

Book 1 (My Opinion, Your Choice) - Chapter 2, Part 2


Perhaps the reason all of us are so worried and anxious during the ride is because we are so afraid of what we'll find at the destination. Will there be parking? Is it a hotel or a villa, what if it’s a communal dorm? Are we going to the theater or the circus, what if we’ll have to work? Did we pack the right clothes, will there be a mall to go shopping, and what if I get cold or hot? Whom will we meet, will they be fun or boring, what if their religion is the one that was right? The “unknown” is freaking us out, tainting the ride because it's there looming in the distance. We are all familiar with the concept of “fear of the unknown”, and what could be more unknown than death. Death is the unknown that literally takes the life right out of us. We continue preparing for death, which we know nothing about other than what religion, philosophy, and our drunken friends have said. Am I doing enough? Have I done enough? Have I learned enough? Am I spiritual enough? Will I be judged? What will the judgment about my life be? Did I lead a good life? What will my afterlife be like? Will I have a good afterlife? So many questions and concerns about the afterlife, occupying the time in our current life. So many concerns and distractions about later are occupying us now. Instead of looking out of the windows of the car and enjoying the scenery now, we keep worrying about the unknown destination.

Once we are able to relax enough to enjoy the ride and put the horizon, and whatever is looming there, out of our minds we then have to deal with changes to the familiar. We get attached to the passengers sharing the car with us, sharing our food, our drinks, sharing the ride’s experiences, sharing the good and the bad, sharing the laughs. Then the unknown comes knocking and we have to pull over and let our loved ones out. Our family and friends get out of the car, leaving an empty seat that never really loses their shape, and never gets another passenger to sit in it. When loved ones pass away we feel sorrow, for some this is devastation and a complete collapse. Death is mostly, and for most, a sad event. On the other hand imagine a large family is going on vacation together. Because of work, parties to attend, ticket cost, other commitments, some are leaving a few days earlier and others are following a few days later. Do the ones leaving later feel sorrow once part of their family has left for their vacation destination? They may miss each other, but overall the feeling is one of excitement and expectation. Soon they will all be on vacation together, having fun, children with parents and grandparents playing with their grandkids. Everyone knows what’s waiting for them on vacation; a beautiful beach, warm water, fruity drinks, and an all-inclusive buffet. When family members miss each other, all they have to do is pick up the phone. The entire family is going to the same place, and some get there first and start having fun. When the others catch up there’s the excitement of sharing what happened during the absence. What makes death so different? We’re all going to the same place, and some get there first. What makes the destinations so different? In my opinion fear of the unknown is the only real difference. Fear of the unknown, and the inability to pick up the phone and call the people we miss and ask them if they need us to bring more sunblock.

To add a different perspective, of the subject, I pose this question; are we afraid of going to sleep for the night? Life and death certainly seem to have a similar cycle to sleeping and wakefulness. After a day full of experiences we fall asleep in the evening, tired and cranky, our consciousness leaving and going somewhere we have never been. In the morning our consciousness returns, we awaken refreshed and boisterous, having no idea where our consciousness spent the night. Life itself follows the same pattern. At the end of our lives full of experiences, we are old and cranky, we die and our soul leaves and goes somewhere we have never been. At birth the soul returns refreshed and boisterous, and we have no idea where it came from. Of course the main difference between sleeping and dying is the memories of the previous days we retain as we sleep and awaken, but that may be the next step of evolution for us; remembering our past lives. Perhaps we should celebrate death as the upcoming refreshment of the soul it appears to be a parallel to. Celebrate may be too strong a word but perhaps the focus should not be on the loss but more on the upcoming rebirth, regardless of where the soul spent the night.

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