October 21, 2012 by morganmcfinn
copyright by Morgan McFinn
Finally realized that I was beginning to overcome my fear of death as I lay in bed one morning last week. I forget what day it was…maybe Tuesday. I regularly lay in bed for a couple of hours after waking up. Reassembling myself into an upright position following the usual ten plus hours of unconscious bliss has become more and more of a challenge as I’ve grown older. In any case, on this particular morning, I found myself dwelling on one of the popular beliefs with regard to what occurs when a person dies. Actually, this belief tends to undermine the very notion of death. It maintains that although the body dies, the spirit lives on; the spirit of man is eternal. I rather like that idea. When the body dies, the spirit sort of hangs around hovering over the carcass for a few days (three days, to be exact, according to some people). Then the spirit passes on to some other realm of consciousness.
At this stage the Buddhists would have us believe that the quality of the spirit is accessed in order to determine what to do with it. Most often it’s reassigned another body and sent back to where it came from. On rare occasions, if it’s deemed to have achieved a requisite degree of enlightenment then the spirit passes onwards and upwards to a higher level of consciousness where it can exist without corporeal baggage. Personally, I have no illusions of achieving that kind of status any time real soon. Based upon the life I’ve subjected my spirit to this time around there is no doubt in my mind that the casting department in charge of these matters is extensively well-stocked with wardrobe for the many incarnations that I have yet to endure. That doesn’t particularly bother me. If there is one issue that Buddhist scholars and I disagree on it’s their tenet stating that, “All life is suffering”. Experience has taught me otherwise. Granted, many of those experiences are frowned upon if not downright forbidden by these enlightened gentlemen but I still believe that there’s something to be said for being ‘endarkened’ once in a while.
In any case, I’m all for the notion that the soul or spirit of Man is immortal and I take my hat off to whoever came up with it. Even an avowed atheist like Francis Bacon (the English painter) began to entertain the idea later in his life. In his last published interview with the acclaimed art critic, David Sylvester, Bacon was presented with a hypothetical choice to make…upon your death would you prefer to be relegated into the dust of nothingness or condemned to Hell for eternity. Bacon said he’d prefer to be condemned to Hell. Obviously surprised by that, Sylvester asked why. “Because,” Bacon replied, “I know I would eventually figure out a way to escape.” Those interviews were a testament to Bacon’s intellectual genius. That final remark was the ultimate testament to his indomitable spirit…a spirit hovering around somewhere for the past twenty plus years. What’s good enough for Bacon is good enough for me. Death be not proud, you presumptuous charlatan.