It's interesting what thoughts may come to you as a result of working at your local coffee shop. As I sat to work on my most recent book I overheard a man tell a group sitting with him that there was no such thing as death.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that it is true.
Now before anyone starts to assume that I might be changing in my religious or spiritual beliefs, I must assure everyone that this view is truly in keeping in my Christian views. In fact, it is this same set of values that have led me to find this statement as true.
Most world religions hold that there is some form of life after death. All religions Abrahamic in origin believe in some sort of spiritual realm in which the soul resides upon death. Most eastern religions believe in the transference of the soul whether it be in re-incarnation or in the arrival of enlightenment. However, what does the phrase "life after death" truly mean?
Those who believe in this experience (for lack of a better word) believe that when the physical bodies ceases to function another element within us continues. Some refer to this element as a soul, spirit, or essence. The belief that this element cannot die but rather moves to another "level " is referred to as life after death. However, if this spirit cannot die then is not the phrase "life after death" in a way sort of oxymoronic?
The belief that there is a spiritual life that continues upon the passing of our physical body, would mean that life continues. In short, there is no death. Dictionary.com defines death as "...the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism." If the soul continues then does that not mean life does not end? As such what exactly would death mean?
There are those who believe that when the body no longer functions life has ended. These same individuals do not necessarily believe in a soul. Without a belief in a spirit then one can only ascertain that death is the end. This is truly sad to me. To believe that "life" as we know it on this plane is all that there is can be nothing short of tragic. No higher power controlling keeping things in line. Some may say that it's very liberating. To know that your decisions are yours to make and that there is no one "watching over you in the skies." So your lot is cast? Everything happens with no rhyme or reason?
Again, to me this is truly sad.
One person described life as data on a computer. Once you're done with the computer you can still use that data on another computer. Another individual tried to correct him by pointing out that data is inserted on the computer. That no outside source created that data.
I think he was wrong.
In that scenario there is an outside source that created the data. Man. As such the individual proposing this metaphor could be correct to a certain extent.
Instead I would suggest that life is more like energy. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. My understanding of this law is that energy continues to be. It is there but simply transfers from one form into another. When a car is moving and the driver slams their breaks the car stops. However, the car will jerk with the energy previously ex-pulsed by the car driving down the road. In turn the driver of the car will jerk forward and backward as the energy is transferred from the tires to the car to that individual.
So where does that energy go once the individual and the vehicle have come to a complete stop?
The unseen molecules are still in motion, still hovering around those bodies as potential energy. This is evident in the fact that once that driver moves and transfers energy from his foot to the gas pedal which in turn transfers energy to the engine which means the car is once again in movement. That energy had to be around in order for this chain of events to occur.
In this same manner I see life. Upon the passing of our bodies our life is transferred, from this realm into the next. Understanding that there is no death does not mean I do not grieve at the passing of one's physical body. I grieve because they are no longer here with us. Just as I was saddened to find that Michael Jackson would no longer be able to perform, that I will never live my dream of performing with him on a stage. I grieve when I realize that as much as I loved my uncle and how he would have gotten along wonderfully with my boyfriend, he would not be able to join us for a family dinner.
However, I must admit that there is some consolation in knowing that one day I will see him again. When my life is transferred from here to there.