I had a dream last night that I was in an empty office-type area, I think on a college campus. Some people, strangers to me, came in and started talking with me, and pretty soon one of them said to me, “I think you’re dead.” Another one agreed, “Yeah, I don’t think you’re alive here. I think you are dead.” My dream self thought this was funny and kind of cool.
“OK,” I said, “I guess I’m dead. I’m leaving.” So I walked out of the office and off the campus. I was walking down sidewalks, past gas stations and other businesses, bemused with the idea that I was actually dead, at least in this reality where I found myself. I wasn’t upset at all, just having fun with the notion of walking around as a ghost of some sort.
Death has been on my mind lately. I have a friend who’s just my age (early 40s) who is dying of cancer. Yes, it’s upsetting and sad, but it also gets me thinking about what comes after this life.
I freely admit that I have no real clue, no hard facts, no more than any of us do. My personal sense, though, is that we are eternal, that our consciousness continues in some form. I suspect we have multiple lives, and the consciousness we know as ourselves here on Earth is only a small part of the picture. I like the notion of probable realities, and enjoy reading about quantum metaphysics. In my dream, it seemed like I was playing with some of these concepts: I was “dead,” but I was still conscious, still exploring my surroundings, still essentially myself.
Even if these are illusions, and nothing at all comes after, I’m okay with that. It’s the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and it happens all the time. We eat other beings, whether plants or animals or both, in order to live. We take their lives to support ours, and in turn the waste, the compost, helps more life to grow. Matter is energy, and it cannot be destroyed, only transformed – one of the few ideas that both science and religion seem to agree upon. I don’t mind becoming a leaf on a tree, sand in a brook, or dirt on someone’s shoe. Everything is part of the all.
Probably on some levels of non-physical consciousness, I am already dead.
Yet here I am, enjoying a leisurely exploration of philosophical ideas late on a sunny Saturday morning. I feel the breeze coming in my window. I hear the birds singing, someone’s lawn mower running, and the occasional baas of the sheep next door. I smell the stargazer lilies in the front garden. I’m hungry, and pondering what I can rummage up for lunch. I feel open and joyful.
And in that sense, like you, I’m very much alive.