Welcome to the Hotel California, You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave…
Can you imagine what it would be like to be a nursery school teacher (I’m guessing some of you may actually be one, poor things!) There must be days (approaching a Full Moon?) when everything goes haywire, when you have herds of children running wild, like animals escaping a jungle fire!?
It’s like a microcosm of Society.
When village life first started out ten thousand years ago, people had figured out that being together, and being in one place long enough to raise a crop was a good model of security. We wanted water, food, shelter and security, Villages for the most part gave us this. Lots of food security meant lots more people.
In Biology we see how colonies grow and collapse based on the food sources, so too with Humans.
What happens when we get too many Humans, and not enough food?
You have two choices, one is to move to a place with more food, or to take somebody else’s food. In One stroke we have the Vikings! Happy for a long while, the vast grasslands of Sweden, Denmark and Northern Europe supporting them well. They hit a tipping point where demand was suddenly outstripping supply. It’s a short step to marauding over the seas to the UK and Ireland and Northern France.
Some nations chose to peacefully trade with each other, others preferred wholesale slaughter!
Village life is no different these days to ten thousand years ago. People still tread a careful line, in order to not damage the status quo, or the eco-system of life.
Clearly, with expansion and phenomenal success, comes a question of order.
Who’s going to keep things in line? Usually the biggest bloke.
Order was pretty simple, if you cross the unwritten line, the biggest bloke will call you out, and ask for you to explain your actions. This results in a re-balancing of Society, or you being bludgeoned to death!
Slowly, with the growth of trading, comes commerce and Cities.
The “Biggest Bloke” can’t know everybody in a City. He needs friends to help him.
Armies and Guards proliferate.
Soon we have laws. “It’s simple, if you steal a sheep, I bludgeon you to death”
But killing everybody isn’t a great strategy for success.
Surely there must be a way to control Minds, as well as bodies? Enter Religion.
Some thinkers must always have been asking “Why!?”
You have a Chief, you have a Father, it’s an easy question, “Well, who rules over them?”
It’s an easy conclusion to see a “Father” in the sky who helps you, sends you rain, sends you a heard of Buffalo, helps you find a river when you are thirsty and sends you safe to shore in a storm.
The Father gets angry too, lightening strikes, famine stalks the land, wind and rain washes away towns.
We then get the ideas of laws of Man, and laws of Nature.
“Behave yourself well, I won’t bludgeon you, and neither will God!”
The one problem being, if I kill you, I can only kill you once!
Not very satisfying! How can I threaten you and punish you MORE!?
Where does everybody go when they die!?
It’s a double threat, “I’ll wipe you out of this life, but you’ll also suffer for ever more in the next life!” — now we are really talking FEAR!
Finally, I’ve got your attention! A bludgeoning in this life, and a continuous one in the next life, with an angry Father judging you!
The Egyptian book of the Dead, dates back 3300 years ago, and you can guarantee that the ideas expressed therein were not new. In China and India we have texts going back to cave paintings 5000 years ago. If we weren’t exactly writing it down, we were thinking it.
In the Book of the Dead, they were assessing life on a scale, to see if your rights outweighed your wrongs, and if you made it to the land of the dead or not.
We find the idea of a place where the dead go, seeping through all religions, a land of the dead, often under the earth.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad place however.
In the simple ideas of Black vs White, Earth vs Heavens, Yin vs Yang, Life vs Death are just part of the same whole, just opposites of each other.
Many belief systems have the concept of a “land of the dead,” where the dead cycle through before returning through re-incarnation.
It’s only when we start to see the formalisation of Christianity and Muslimism that the idea of punishment starts to come to the fore.
In Northern European mythology there was a goddess called Hel, who was essentially the overseer of the land of the dead. Paganism and Christianity merged through Roman conquests and through Christian missions, and at some stage Hel became Hell.
In what was the patriarchal modus operandi of the Christians, everybody needed to be controlled for their own good. (And mostly all of them had no idea what that good was, but by god would they suffer, whilst learning it!)
So about the 700’s we start to hear about Hell. Now they really had control of your body, and your Soul too.
What a dispiriting idea, you might drag yourself all the way through this life at the end of a whip, only to discover that all of eternity was going to be like that for you.
Like an Insurance salesman, here was a priest offering (usually for money) a way out of that bind!
“Thank you God, that you’ve seen fit to set up your own company here on earth, with branches that are even open on a Sunday!”
So, “this might be heaven or this might be hell!” sang the Eagles.
Some people read the descriptions in the Bible of what Hell is like, (and of course the great Dante filled in a lot of details for us too) and think to themselves… “Everything I read there reminds me of what I’m living through right now!
This IS HELL, but surely, Heaven will be wonderful?”
(It’s an easy sell to martyrdom then, if you think this way..)
We mainly have then, two conflicting views. One, you get punished and stay punished for eternity or, Two, there’s a recycling process where you get fixed and sent back for another go.
I remember reading about John Chan’s master telling the students about the afterlife.
It was a journey through clouds, some people baffled, scared and lost, other guided and happy.
I’ve read many Near Death Experiences, where people are met by significant others, and chatted to about their choices.
I know people who have met angels, and seen ghosts.
I’ve read many accounts of people who have been regressed to their death experience and many of whom tell the tale of travelling a great rainbow of light to a family “pod” of Souls in groups like a grape vine, before coming back again.
The versions of the story are as numerous as shells on a beach or clouds in a sky.
Why is that the case? Why haven’t we zoned in on one particular idea?
(The first reason would be, have you ever seen the United Nations trying to agree anything!? God we like to stick to our own patterns!)
But seriously, why?
I think that this is a Universe of Free Will.
We tend to see Death as the End!
I think that as a “slice” of perfect Universal Awareness playing a human, in this grand production called “Life” that I’m allowed to do or believe anything I like.
If I want to believe that the Moon is made of Cheese, you can’t stop me! “But we’ve put a man on the moon,” you’ll say..
Maybe I’ll say “But, did we…? — I bet he came home with cheesy feet anyway!”
Why should my “free will” to believe what I want end with my death?
If like a particle, I can dissolve back into a wave, I can surely reform to be a particle once more?
If my “slice” of awareness allows me to dissolve into whatever form of Heaven or Hell I want, it’ll surely allow me to come back to whatever life I want too..
I think if your fervent belief is that you’ll spend months in Purgatory, so it’ll be.
If you expect Hell, then that’s what you’ll get.
If you want the rather sterile experience of Heaven, sure, help yourself..
The states of the Universe are “Being and Non-being.”
Everything moves from one to the other and back. Why not you too?
All there is, is Awareness.
Awareness experiencing its two dimensional self as a three dimensional game.
Just because some unrealised guy tells you, that death is the end, you don’t have to believe that. If you are convinced that you’ll come back to this life as a frog, I’m guessing you’ll get a spell of that with no bother.
I would suggest however, that maybe you should live a happy and positive life, every day.
Push worrying to one side, smile when you can, search for the silver lining, be helpful and kind.
Most of all, I suggest you align yourself as carefully as you can with Nature.
Flow with the River, and whatever Awareness has waiting for you next will arrive in an orderly fashion, be it in this life of the next, or back here again!
See you on the beach!