I know at least a few people who believe that they will go to Heaven where they will live with their families, forever. I know of a couple people who believe that they are just plain vanilla, immortal. I even know a few who believe in reincarnation. All of them in one way or another believe that there is no end to their consciousness. Mind you, I respect their beliefs, I really do.
But, as an existential matter, if there is a beginning, there is an end. I think that is unavoidable. What is composed, must decompose, right? As I write this, I am flashing on the image of Mr. Smith in the last movie of the Matrix trilogy, when Neo gives him the news: Everything has an end.
But I think to myself, if I were immortal, would I want to know? I don’t think so. And if we are, I don’t think we’re supposed to know.
If someone told me that I’m immortal, I’d say, “Oh, I’m immortal? Good news! The next round of drinks is on me!” Well, not really. There is a lot to absorb upon hearing that one is immortal.
Knowing that I’m going to live the lush life in Heaven, indefinitely, forever, and without foreseeable end, might seem appealing. But in this life, how can I stay in the moment, the here and now, if I’m concerned with living forever?
Is this something that I earn? Surely, I must do something to earn my place in Heaven right? There must be a sign that says I’ve been accepted and that I’ve won a golden ticket to pass through those pearly gates. Really. I thought God’s love is unconditional. If there is a god, that is the kind of God I want to know.
But I have a life, right now. I have a family, a job, a place to live, with hopes and dreams and all that has meaning for me. And if I have to earn my place in heaven, I have to be good or I’m not going to go up. I might go to the other place instead, or just be stuck here to haunt this planet until someone let’s me into somewhere else.
If I know that I’m going to Heaven, well, can’t it wait? Anticipation of Heaven would be a huge distraction. If I know for sure that I’m going to Heaven, then life here on earth loses its meaning. There is no urgency to life if I know I’m going to live large in Heaven.
If I need to be “good” to get into Heaven, then isn’t that a bribe? I mean, what is the point of being good if I am not going to Heaven?
So I don’t concern myself with whether or not there is an afterlife. I’ve already got enough commitments here. Living forever is a huge commitment. I’m not even talking about doing anything else. I’m only talking about *living* forever. Breathing, walking, talking, enjoying the cosmic sunset. That kind of stuff.
So in Heaven, how does one be *happy*? I think life would be boring if everything went right. I mean, if everything went right in Heaven, I would *expect* that everything would go right. A month of Sundays. I mean, an *eternity* of Sundays.
I’m reminded of the movie, *Groundhog Day* with Bill Murray. Every day is the same, but the character played by Murray must decided how each day is going to go. He’s immortal in every sense. He can’t even kill himself, for he wakes up again, on the very same day, no matter what he tries to do.
It is only when he decides to make the day a good day, to be of service to others, that his day changes, for the better. This movie has been a huge influence in my life and still is, today.
Every day is the same in a relative way, just ask Pink Floyd. You remember that song, “Time” on The Dark Side of the Moon”? Yeah, I’m like that. I treat every day pretty much the same. I have zero expectations, other than that the sun will rise. The sun will set. I get to decide what happens from the time that I rise to the time that I lay my head to rest.
That is Heaven. Heaven is not a place to go. It is a place to make. If I put peace into a system, I tend to get peace out. If I put anger into a system, I tend to get anger out. So I err on the side of peace. To the greatest extent possible.
Living in peace is a skill. Living forever, being immortal makes no sense if I lack that skill. But even if I have that skill, I don’t need to know if I’m immortal or not. The past is gone. The future isn’t even here yet. There is only this moment and the question of what I want to do with it. Heaven is a place I’ve already made for myself.
Whether or not I am immortal is not even relevant to this moment. For if I am concerned with being immortal, then I cannot be present to enjoy this moment now.
Originally published at steemit.com on July 31, 2018.