Friday, June 20, 2008

[Essay] Immortality

Going to a wake does make you realize how real death is and no matter how invincible you thought someone is, they eventually leave us and die.

For others it takes a hundred years and for some, it takes less than the average lifespan.  So what is it about death that makes people shut up and make signs in the air out of fear?  And what is so fearful about death that makes people hunger for immortality, making people do an endless quest for the Tree of Life, the Fountain of Youth, which by the way the quest ends up losing more lives until they either give up and go home or they all die on the road?

While it is true that what we don’t know is what scares us the most, wouldn't it be better to look at death or the future as something of an adventure, something to explore with an open-mind and the excitement of new discovery?

There was a time I too was scared of death and searched for immortality.  I’m still scared of death but I’m coming to terms with the fact that each and everyone of us will leave this earth for a better place eventually but before that time comes, I’d like to ask you a question: Would you rather be physically immortal and live thousands of years like vampires or would you rather be immortal in the sense that a memory of you and your wisdom lives on forever and ever like Confucius, Beethoven, Mozart, Picasso, Michelangelo, Cleopatra, President Abraham Lincoln, etc.?

In an email I read a few days ago, I agree and it does makes sense that our life here on earth is just a testing ground for us, a place for us to learn and to grow into the likeness of God. Challenges are constantly thrown our way to strengthen not only our belief in our own capacity and physical strength but also to strengthen our faith in God and in others.  That God is more interested in our character more than anything else in the world and that He wanted us all to share in His glory in Heaven and He’s also interested in how we lived out our lives.  And we all know the story about how when we get to the pearly white gates of Heaven, St. Peter will be looking for our names in his big book before he directs us to God, who will then be asking us what we did on earth.

And we probably get sent back to go through another lifetime until we learn a lesson or change our ways for the better, hence the Law of Karma of what goes around comes around.  The more good you do for and think of others, the more blessings you receive and the more bad you do to and think of others the more hardships you get.

So if you really think about it, there’s no reason to fear death because we are already immortal. Our souls are immortal it’s just like changing the shell of our mobile phones when we come back to spend another lifetime learning life lessons to prepare us for our heavenly life. Changing for the better is not an overnight deal we set our minds at and make a go at it.  Rather, it is a series of life lessons and realizations that we ourselves make, agree to, and make a daily conscious effort to be a better person one day at a time.  Believe it or not, people do change for the better, at least for those who really made an effort and believed that they themselves could be a better person. Because no matter how many people say to someone that he could be a better version of himself if that person doesn't realize that himself and doesn't make a conscious effort to be that better version of himself nothing in the world will move him to be a better person if he won’t help himself.

So at the end of our physical life, people gather round your gravesite, offering flowers, candles and prayers in the hopes of a peaceful passage to the afterlife but at the back of their minds, or when the grief is gone, would you rather be remembered as someone everyone despised, hated or disliked so badly they say things about you with such contempt? Or would you rather be someone people remembered as good, kind, caring, a good friend, inspiring, someone who every body loves?

I believe that we should all strive to be the latter which is what real immortality is all about.  I’ve made my decision, so what about you?