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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The Death of the Person

First of all, what is Death, but the cessation of Life? In relation to that, what is Life? In one sense, it depends who you ask. 'What sense is that? one might well ask. 'Well, most people seem to think that biological existence is Life.' An acceptable enough answer, I reckon, but is that really what constitutes Life? One might note that it is a necessary constituent, but then we're right back to 'square one', so to speak. 'Is Life simply biological existence, or is there more to it than that?' If Life is mere biological existence, then yes; it could be rightly said that once a person stops breathing, Life has ceased to exist for that person: therefore, 'Death is the End'!

There are those who believe that Death is only the Beginning. In some sense, the greatest maybe, this is true: Death means the Beginning of something New. Biologically speaking, anyway, it is a Universal Truth that, in order for something, be it plant, animal or human ( animal ) to live, something else, 'as above, so below', must die. Therefore, when something dies, something else experiences new life, whether it's a blade of grass that becomes food for an animal, or whether it's what is usually called a 'dumb animal' offering it's 'Life' so that a more articulate ( human ) animal might live. That really doesn't answer the question though, does it? 'If you claim that Life is More than this Biology, then the burden of proof is on you, right!?' Well, yes & no. It's easy enough to say, 'It it what it is', in an attempt to slip out from beneath that burden, but that IS a pretty 'pat' answer!

Just as there are those, 'as above, so below', who believe that 'Death is only the Beginning'; in a slightly different sense, there are those who know that Death is only the Beginning! One might well ask, at this juncture, 'is there really much difference here, between knowing & believing?' Don't we know what we believe? In essence, if we believe something, doesn't that imply that we know it? 'I mean, what do you take me for, anyway?!' Then again, a Muslim believes certain things about 'God' that a Christian might gasp in horror at, because the Christian 'knows' that 'God' isn't like that. 'Why', you should ask yourself, 'does the Christian 'know' that 'God' isn't like that?' If it's because the Christian's Holy Book says so; don't you think the Muslim believes with the same or even more fervency what their Holy Book says about Who or What 'God' is?

Every culture known to humanity has their own peculiar notions about Who or What 'God' is! While Western religions, Near Eastern religions & even some Far Eastern Religions put a 'personal' spin on 'God'; those 'in the know' know that 'God' is simply the manifestation of our own Divinity. Now, before you consign me to 'Hell' for 'Eternity', let me offer this clarification. When I imply ( strongly ) that we are 'God'; I am by no means saying that we 'created' everything we see, up to & including the Universe ( or Multiverse ) Itself. We are not the Source of All!

Being One with, or a Part of that Source, we are then Divine, just as the Source is. Some call this Source 'God'. As we've noted before in the 'pages' of this blog, even the Christian Bible tells us that we are Gods ( small 'g' or large 'G'; does it really make THAT much of a difference?! ) As we've also noted, the Hebrew word used in both cases is the same. On the other hand, most Science tells us that the Universe & everything in it is made up of pure energy, always moving, like a great 'Wheel in the Sky'. If everything is Energy, where then did that Energy originate? Has It, like most religion's concept of 'God', always been, or did Energy have a Beginning? In our personal experience, something must be set in motion in order for it to maintain that motion, for whatever period of time, even for what might pass for Infinity. However, taking that back to its natural conclusion, that would be akin to saying that the Christian 'God' Himself, the Creator, had a beginning!

Science has told us that all is Energy. While that is 'plain' enough, It does not satisfy our curiosity as to Who or What 'God' is, the One who purportedly put everything in motion. What some call 'God', others call 'Energy'. Again, 'as above, so below', in our personal experience, a thing must be set in motion in order for it to remain in motion for any length of time: however, what if Energy, as some Science says, does not die, but is simply transformed? 'What then?! What if Energy is a veritable 'perpetual motion' machine? One might try to throw a wrench in the works here, saying something like, 'but even perpetual motion machines gotta start somewhere!' True enough; 'in our personal experience, yes, but are we not More than the Person?!

Whether one believes or not that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, it cannot rationally be denied that there is more to us than what is noticeable on the surface. Most religions teach us that, after the death of the physical body, the 'soul', or spirit continues on for 'Eternity'. Thus, by the overwhelming majority of accounts, we, as the Person, are governed, or motivated by the Soul. Therefore, the Person is not 'Who' we are, so much as the Soul, or Spirit is!

Being Who we are, then, We cannot die! Only the Person dies. When our Person (individual body ) expires, if we identify with that Body ( as most do ) we might rightly say that Person, or individual has died. But those who know, know different. Just because an Individual believes they are the Person does not change the fact that they are More. They are simply blinded to the Fact!

The Death of the Person then, in that sense, if that sense alone, is not the End! It really is the Beginning, the Beginning of a New Person, the Beginning of a New Life, in a manner of speaking. 'But wait', you say,' didn't you imply earlier that Life is More than this Biology?!' Why yes, yes I did!

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

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