Updated: Jul 9, 2022
Have you heard the song 'Everyone Wants To Get To Heaven, But No-body Wants to Die"? It's by African American blues guitarist and singer Albert King who says of death;
'Everybody want to hear the truth,
But yet, everybody wants to tell a lie'.
And that's certainly true of the Rest Home in which I live with many other ageing people who are all, without exception, at some stage of dying. Yes; you are aging -- therefore dying - too. Yet no one wants to even mention it.
Newly-deceased residents are hidden from our eyes, their bodies smuggled out without drawing attention. Our 'advanced' society seems to believe that death, and even ageing, should be avoidable.
In this search, people spend vast amounts of money, time and energy in an effort to escape ageing - or at least to escape its evidences. But not even life insurance can insure us against death.
For most westerners of an age that split the atom, sent man to the moon and continues to discover ever more wondrous realities, a belief in any form of existence after death now seems no more that a primitive myth of discredited religion.
By comparison, the Hopi belief of Floyd Red Crow (Chief Ten Bears of 'Dances with Wolves') explains his people's recognition of the existence of spirit;
"It's the Hopi belief, it's our belief, that if you are not spiritually connected to the earth, and understand the spiritual reality of how to live on earth, it's likely that you will not make it. Everything is spiritual, everything has a spirit, everything was brought here by the creator, the one creator. Some people call him God, some people call him Buddha, some people call him Allah, some people call him other names. We call him Tunkaschila... Grandfather. We are here on earth only a few winters, then we go to the spirit world. The spirit world is more real then most of us believe. The spirit world is everything."
That's a comon indigenous view of death. It is different yet in harmony with the Baha'i view of Ruhiyyih Khanum, an educated western woman whose life encompassed both the Christian West and Muslim East. The premise of her book 'Prescription for Living' is that today mankind is unhappy, confused, and uncertain because his spiritual life needs to be recognised, explored and developed.
She explains: “Far from being contemplated with horror, the thought of death should be pleasant to man. The main reason that it is not is because he is not on intimate terms with his own true self; not conscious of his soul as being all the real he. He confuses the body with the spirit, the brain with the mind. Knowing the body turns to dust, not knowing anything for sure about his inner self (not ever having made an effort to do so), he views death with fear and misgiving. Being aware that death is his ultimate portion in life he does his best to squeeze as much out of this world as he can. He plunges feverishly, discontentedly, greedily, into life because all the time he has the idea lurking at the edge of his consciousness of an End before him, of oblivion, or if not oblivion, then something vague, peculiar, different and not very attractive.'
So who or what are you?
Most sciences now recognise human existence as a form of energy. The first law of thermodynamics acknowledges that that the total amount of energy in a closed system (ie. you or me) can be changed from one form to another. Quantum physics is taking that knowledge to a new and exciting level. Both allow for a Principle of Evolution.
The Baha'i Principle of Evolution states that all life has one divine Creator and Source. And because Creation is an intrinsic attribute of God it is ongoing and unlimited. Abdu'l-Baha explains that in one sense: "...the existence of created things is sheer illusion and utter non-existence compared to that of God and consists in a mere appearance, like an image seen in a mirror". -Abdu'l-Baha, SAQ
The way I see it, we are all centres of energy or light, evolving from one lesser form to another. To the degree that we have used our experience in this form beneficially, so we evolve to higher forms of existence, with changing forms and capacities reflecting our diverse levels of attainment.
The earthly symbols of perfection in our spiritual progress are the Prophets. Utter perfection is reunion with God. Imperfection is experienced as separation; hell.
Far from viewing my own death with fear and misgiving, it is something I joyfully anticipate. So please don't feel uncomfortable about talking death with me. It's more real than any other subject we could chat about. I'm looking forward to my hard-won graduation ceremony from this lesser experience to an infinitely greater one!
More like this at https://www.bahaicomment.com/blog