I don’t believe we go to some man-made-up heaven. Every culture has a different idea of this hereafter, which seems…suspect. Convenient.
I don’t need justification for the awful finality that is death. Death is re-joining this universe, that’s all. I don’t believe my ego, or any sense of self, survives. I believe death is simple, and it’s a dissolution.
This beautiful poem describes what I believe happens when we die.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.”
~ Clare Horner.
Death, to me, is a reminder that life is finite, and therefore to be made use of, precious.
It is not a thing to be feared—though, indeed, it is sad to lose this wonderful, difficult life. So while we’re here we’ll do the work, as Ginsberg said. And what’s the work? Here’s his answer.
When I die…I don’t want to be buried in chemicals, as is conventional. I don’t want to be preserved. I don’t even want to be burnt up—what a waste, and we’re just heating up the world a little more. Nah. Instead, bury me and plant a tree, let me feed the tulips and the daisies, or the daffodils as Robin Williams says in the above link (“Death comes without warning.”)
“All the diamonds in this world
That mean anything to me
Are conjured up by wind and sunlight
Sparkling on the sea…”
Bonus: A Mindful Burial (extremely NSFW).
Image source wikimedia.