…where we left off last week about romancing our own death will require a striptease that begins with discarding your Christian religious teaching, “At the death of the body the immoral soul leaves the body”! This Greek Aristotle-Platonic philosophical belief that the soul had a separate spiritual existence from the body was adopted by early Christianity. However, science today states that spirit and body are “Two dialectically related dimensions of one and the same physical reality”…“Neither spirit or matter can exist without the other!” So with this new knowledge what happens now at death?
Our conventional thinking and believing was turned upside down a hundred and ten years ago in 1905 when Albert Einstein presented his theory of relativity (E = mc2) which revolutionized physics, but unfortunately not our thinking. It revealed that matter cannot be destroyed or eliminated, only transformed into energy! So our bodies, which are physical matter, can’t be destroyed; yet our common sense based on limited ordinary experiences and religious beliefs says death ends our existence. This idea of death must be abandoned unless we want to live in yesteryear when Orville and Wilbur Wright first flew a powered airplane, only two years before Einstein’s theory!
Later, in the 1920’s, the German physicist Max Planck postulated all light and heat isn’t emitted continuously, but in energy packets that are the fundamental aspects of nature which Einstein named “quanta.” This quantum theory shockingly revealed there are no such things as inanimate objects! At the microscopic subatomic level any object typically referred to as dead, inanimate like your table or computer, isn’t dead but a living universe of invisible whirling quantum energies.
“Stop; my head is spinning,” you want to cry out. That’s understandable
as these new theories and discoveries are mind-boggling. We prefer the good
old pre-Einstein days since they were simpler.
More than ever before, today we suffer from a pandemic of necrophobia—a morbid fear of death. The once-proper English word “died” now is pornographically out of place, so we say “passed.” Family and friends don’t go in solemn procession to a cemetery to bury their beloved dead, more correctly they go to leave the beloved abandoned above ground surrounded by fake green rugs hiding the ugly dirt of the grave. When the mourners have departed, the burial of the beloved is left to strangers.
Great spiritual masters like St. Benedict in his Rule instructed his monks to “Remember you will die.” That rule was to be a compass for how to live each day. The same compass is available to those who pray the rosary or even say a single Hail Mary that concludes, “Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” Few consider seriously if “that” fateful hour will be one of their twenty-four hours of today, but they should.
A basic principle of a good spirituality is be daily mindful you will die. Before we discuss how to romance your death, strive to follow another spiritual rule which is to love life and others deeply and passionately, yet never clinging to another or any possession. Non-clinging to attachments is liberation; a freedom essential for happiness in life and a happy death.
To be continued….