Death … this tremendously important to think about. We put it off. Death is swept under the carpet in our culture. In the hospital they try to keep you alive as long as possible, in utter desperation. They won’t tell you that you are going to die. They, when relatives have to be informed that it is a hopeless case, they say don’t tell this to the patient. And all the relatives come around with hollow grins and say: ‘Well, you’ll be all right in about a month, and then we’ll go and have a holiday somewhere by the sea and listen to the birds.’ And the dying person knows this is a mockery.
Well of course we have made death howl with all kinds of ghouls. We have invented dreadful afterlives. I mean, the Christian version of heaven is as abominableas the Christian version of hell. I mean, nobody wants to be in church forever! Children are absolutely horrified when they hear these hymns which say ‘Prostrate before Thy throne to lie and gaze and gaze on Thee.’ They can’t imagine what this imagery means.
So the idea of what what might happen after death … where you going to be faced with your judge, the one who knows all about you, this is Big Papa … who knows you were a naughty boy or a very naughty girl, especially girl from the beginning of things. He is going to look right through to the core of your inauthentic existence … and what kind of heebie-jeebies may come up! Or you may believe in reincarnation and you think that your next life will be the rewards and the punishments for what you have done in this life and you know you got away with murder in this life and the most awful things are going to happen next time around. You look upon death as a catastrophe.
Then there are other people who say ‘Well, when you’re dead, you’re dead.’ Just as though nothing is going to happen at all. So what do you have to worry about? Well, we don’t quite like that idea, because it spooks us. You know what it would be like to die? To go to sleep and never, never, never wake up? Well there are a lot of things it’s not going to be like. It is not going to be like being buried alive. It is not going to be like being in the darkness forever.
I tell you what, it is going to be like as if you never had existed at all. Not only you, but everything else as well. There just never was anything, and there is no one to regret it. And there is no problem. But think about that after a while. It is kind of a weird feeling you get, when you really think about that. Really imagine it. Just to stop altogether, and you cannot even call it stop, because you cannot have stop without start. And there was any start, there was just no thing.
Well, I mean, you can just to think that is the way it was before you were born. I mean,if you go back in memories as far as you can go, you get to the same place. As you go forward in your anticipation of the future, is to what it is going to be like to be dead. Ghen you get this funny ideas, that this blankness is the necessary counterpart of what we call being. Now we all think we are alive, don’t we? I mean, we are really here? That there issomething we call existence? You know the existencialist, the ‘Science’ You know !! Here we are !!
But, how could you be experiencing that as a reality unless you had once been dead? How, what gives us any ghost of a notion that we are here, except by contrast with the fact that we once were not? And later on, won’t be? But this thing is a cycle.