Whatever it is that occurs at death, I believe it deserves to be called a miracle. The miracle, ironically, is that we don’t die. The cessation of the body is an illusion, and like a magician sweeping aside a curtain, the soul reveals what lies beyond. Mystics have long understood the joyousness of the moment. As the great Persian poet Rumi puts it, “Death is our wedding with eternity.”
Deepak Chopra, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof
The teachings of the East say that life is eternal. That what I am, the Truth of me, the soul of me, is a continuum that was before I was in this body and that will continue beyond the existence of this body. From this perspective, death is not the end of a life but merely the transformation of life from one form to another, like water becoming steam becoming ice becoming water; and the soul of me goes on to greater adventures, ever-evolving, ever-growing, ever more wholly full and free and alive.
If we can take this set of beliefs at face value it can be a great comfort when considering our own passage through this world and out the other end of this life.
Then there is the death of others, the loss of a loved one, or the senseless death of our brothers and sisters because of someone’s misguided attempt to give their own life meaning by taking the lives of others. This is the death that hurts. The ones we must live through. The ones we must witness. The ones that push us through grief and rage and back again. The ones that cause us to wrestle with our ideas of God or not-God, of a world that is either nothing but despair and hopelessness or one that is infinitely filled with meaning and waiting only for us to discover it. The idea of assigning blame, of deciding to attack or not to attack. The idea of what can I do to change things? How can I love, even with this as a reality? Where is God? Why? Why this person? Why now? What the hell is wrong with this world?
At the level of our human-ness, these questions are all that matter. And most of them are without clear answers. Each of us must come up with our own approach, our own calls to action. There is no right answer to how to stand up to hatred and violence. There is no right way to walk through grief and despair and loss. We each must discover our own way through, moment by moment and day by day.
What spirit can offer us in this passage through our darkness is the promise of healing and the knowledge that all things of our relative world experience have a beginning a middle and an end. Even these enormous feelings. Even this rage. Even this despair. Light is far more powerful than darkness. Life will continue. Joy will be available to us again at some point. And it will be even greater joy than before, because like our life itself, it will contain within it the certainty of sorrow and loss, the certainty of death. And our joy will be big enough to encompass even all this.
Today I will pray for this world and everyone in it that we may find our way to love, that we may come together for each other, rather than against each other. And I will ask to be shown, specifically and moment by moment throughout the day how I may be of service in helping to bring this about.