Life After Death: Going Beyond The Human Experience
Our lives here on Earth are not meant to last forever. As surely as we were born, the day will come when we will die. This is part of the circle of life but when we try to comprehend it with our minds, we are unable to make sense of it. Death represents the end, the greatest unknown we have ever faced and the thing that we fear most. A dear friend of mine passed away a few days ago at the young age of 34. It was unexpected and has left an entire community of his family, friends and people who he touched with his kindness, questioning and trying to make sense of their beloved’s early departure. It hurts to lose someone you love. It’s hard to imagine what life will be like without them. It seems unfair that someone with so much life ahead of them had to go so soon. Some respond with sadness, others with anger. Some experience denial and numbness, others will experience an uncontrollable outpouring of emotion and seek to find acceptance. These are all part of the human side of the experience. They are real and need to be honored.
But we are not just human beings, we are spiritual beings as well. And herein lies the hope, and the rope of faith that we must hold on to when faced with life’s greatest challenges, especially death. When all is well and life is unfolding according to our plan or our wishes, it is easy to claim to have faith; it is easy to point to our spiritual practice and say that we know that there is more to life than our physical existence in these human bodies. The true measure, however, of our spirituality and our faith comes when life as we know it changes, is turned upside down or in my friend’s case, comes to what appears to be an end. It is in these times that our trust in the greater wisdom of the Uni-verse, in the connectedness of all things and in life beyond our human experience, is most important.
I don’t know for certain what happens when we die but I can tell you what I have witnessed in the past few days. I have seen displays of immeasurable strength, loyalty and hope in the people most affected by the loss of one most dear to them. I have seen people who have known each other for a lifetime drawn instantly closer than they have ever been by their shared experience. I have partaken in heart-opening and transformative conversations that I never thought would be possible. I have seen sadness turn into joy and tears to laughter at the mere recalling of a cherished memory. I have felt the presence of my friend and heard his voice more clearly than ever before.
This is the spiritual side of the experience. The one where miracles are made possible in the most seemingly tragic situations, where faith has an opportunity to be expressed and acted upon, where we can find peace in the will of the Uni-verse without needing to understand it. Though we can’t see it or touch it, it is also very real and needs to be honored, both in matters of life and death.
So today, I am honoring my friend by celebrating his life, his kindness, his warmth and his laughter. I am finding peace and taking comfort in knowing that even though our human experience together is changing, our spiritual connection is growing stronger and a new chapter in our relationship is beginning. I am welcoming this opportunity to strengthen my faith and trust that all is well and will come to good for those who love him. Most of all, I am taking this opportunity to be grateful for the gift of my own life and to deepen my experience of it, one moment and breath at a time.
Life on Earth is a precious gift and we must remember to live it accordingly. There will never be another today, there will never be another moment just like this one and there will never be another soul like my friend Mike’s. Thankfully, I know that his soul is still very much alive.
How can you live today more fully? Where in your life can you practice having more faith and trust? What ways can you find to honor both the human and spiritual sides of your experiences?
Written for The Daily Love (April 21st, 2012)