Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Life or Death, What's the Difference?
"We learn the higher spiritual laws very quickly, and there is one that is best explained by the words, “All time is the present.” At once we cease to hurry, a great strain drops from us, all is ours, and we must take our own. To some who are here this blessed truth is a great part of their Heaven. When the eager souls, who imagine they must do a certain amount in a given space of time, discover this, the effect on them is to renew their energies, unfold wider prospects, and service becomes a rest. They truly begin to live. To the weary heart the present is enough." (Christ in You, by Anonymous)There are two ways I get answers to questions. Either, I am aware of ideas which are complete that I can then play with in a form of an internal dialogue, or the answers are made manifest as a tangible experience.
I have been thinking about what it means to be immortal. The One, the Stillness in all is beginningless and endless. When you are busy being, what thought is there of life or death? Does wholeness know health or sickness? I had a feeling I was going to live out the answer.
In a previous piece, The Meaning of Praying Without Ceasing, I wrote that I was inspired to take a walk yesterday in Richmond Park. On my walk, I realised my identity as Universal Consciousness, the One in all taking that walk. I walked for miles without knowing where I was going. I came across another gate but thought I could continue walking. I was curious to see how far I could go. I had no intention of doubling back on myself. At the back of my mind I thought I could catch a bus back.
Being in Universal Consciousness means you are aware that all life is experiencing what you are experiencing. The same One that is in me taking that walk is the same One riding a bike, swimming, giving birth, depressed, happy, joyful, in a board meeting, trees, animals, everything and everywhere. This is the Infinite One in all. I am in stillness, the walk is effortless, and it is all good.
There was another part of me who was wondering what the point of the walk was and where I was going, as the walk was taking forever. The walk reminded of the Talking Heads song "We’re on a road to nowhere." When does this end? You could call this wondering voice the human ego. I had noticed the odd cyclist and lone jogger but everything looked the same: trees, shrubs, cars, more trees and the path that went on and on and on.
In the distance I spotted a bench. I decided I was going to rest on the bench, though I wasn't tired, so I could think out a strategy of how to get out of this damn path. Near the bench was a gate. Yippee! An exit! I can finally get out. A woman and her daughter appeared. I asked her what the name of the gate was so I could check where I was on the map. She told me the name and said if I liked I could catch a bus on the main road. I knew she was an agent of the One sent just in time to rescue me from that path.
As soon as I got to the bus stop the bus arrived. Bliss! OK, mortal bliss! I then realised that the walk that seemed to go on forever was a manifestation of my earlier thoughts on immortality. The path is symbolic of eternity. The me who was wondering was the life that goes out on a quest while the real Self is eternally blissful. The blissful Self is unaware of mortality or immortality but simply being. The me that wanted out of that park was the one who can't cope with the concept of forever. I have to say that this me would have been perfectly OK if she had known the exit wasn't far away.
There is much talk on the spiritual path about the unreality of sickness and death. How do we know death is not an opt-out clause when one has had enough of the same old, same old? The one having life is dreaming she is having life while your real Self is Being, Stillness, Silence. The dreamer part of us can't cope with the concept of forever but is comfortable with little slices of eternity at a time before she panics and wants out.
Reminds me of an episode of Sex and the City I saw recently. It's Saturday morning and Miranda is about to get up to do her chores but her boyfriend, Steve, wants her to stay in bed and have a cuddle. Miranda asks Steve how long the cuddle is going to last for as she needs to know. Steve says he can't specify a time for togetherness. Miranda decides she'll have a cuddle for an hour and half tops. They end up spending the whole day in bed.
In a Star Trek Voyager episode called Death Wish,
"During an attempt to beam up a comet sample, the crew inadvertently brings aboard a member of the Q Continuum, who was imprisoned inside the comet." Death WishThe Q Continuum are omnipotent and immortal beings. This Q (Q2) has been imprisoned for 300 years because he's repeatedly attempted suicide. Another Q from the Continuum is sent to take him back but Q2 doesn't want to go back. Q2 requests that the captain grants him asylum on board the ship. The captain and the Qs come to an agreement. They will hold a hearing to consider Q2's request. "The terms are set: if the Captain rules in the Continuum's favor, the escaped prisoner must return to confinement. If she doesn't, Q2 will be granted mortality so he can fulfil his death wish."
As part of gathering evidence, the Captain, Tuvok and the two Qs visit the Q Continuum to see what life is like as a Q. They meet Qs who are sitting around staring into space. They've been there, done that and there's nothing more to be said. Q2 argues that it is not a life he would like to continue leading, he would rather be a mortal. In the end, the Captain rules in Q2's favour and he is granted mortality. In a twist, the other Q gives Q2 some hemlock to end his mortal life.
We dream of immortality but do we know what we are asking for? Perhaps death is part of life that releases one from an experience, even if you are going to continue dreaming another. Perhaps realisation that one's identity is Universal Consciousness only gives you the benefit of consciously leaving a reality. After all, there have been many who have realised oneness but have also "moved on."
I can't imagine being in a body forever but I know I am forever.
Life or death, what difference does it make? They are flip sides of the one dream. When you wake up from the dream you are too busy being to think of either.