It’s not easy to explain what I think is going on with us, in the matter of life, death, rebirth. There are many theories and beliefs out there, promoted by people with far bigger brains and better command of the language than I, but it irritates me no end to read what amounts to blind faith in the face of annihilation.
So, let me dispense with the simplest of theories…there is no heaven or hell, no rewards or punishments meted out when we die. I don’t believe there is one god who is watching over his little troop of naked apes, tallying our good vs. bad deeds for later review. I find it alarming that many scholars still seriously engage in theological arguments of this kind. But then, they are making a living from it, so vested interests (and winning wars) may have much to do with all that is in heaven and hell.
Many New Agers talk about being made up of stardust as if that’s something remarkably cool, but really, it’s all rather common. Dust is universal. Dust is dust. I don’t think we need to go back so far as the Big Bang to figure out what’s going on with our small lives. Does the universe go on forever? Fuck if I know, because my brain cramps up when I think about it. But, taking the cramp as a cue, I kinda doubt it. What about the Void? That hurts too, so I think I’ll leave it to the experts, but the shadows at the edges tell me the Void is hugely real with dark intelligence.
I am also not smart enough to explain or refute reincarnation or the many related ideas about what happens to us when we die. I really do need to leave this to those schooled in comparative theology, quantum physics, string theory, etc. Rather, I will attempt to relate what I think is going on based on what I see as I study Nature. I think it’s far simpler than we want to believe.
The Earth is a living thing: intelligent, rich, fertile, ever changing. The Earth is a roiling mass of life, fueled by a molten core, hot, violent, powerful and lovely. To look for that Garden of Eden, that place of peace, that Utopia is a waste of precious time, because the Earth has no time for such idleness. She’s too busy creating and destroying. It’s Shiva and Shakti and Kundalini.
We are creatures of the Earth, in all our glory and ordinariness. And we are as ordinary as bacteria and as magnificent as elephants. We are made of the same stuff as gods and rocks. We are bound by the laws of the dimensional sphere we occupy on Earth, which limits our existence by time and space. So, being creatures of the Earth, we are born of Her, we live by eating of Her bounty just as all the other creatures do, and we cycle back into the Earth and are eaten by Her. If you watch what happens in Nature, what every life form does is eat, procreate, break down and is then eaten. Each thing, including the stones and plants and animals — each thing of the Earth cycles through this spiraling process in its own time and place. Each thing of the Earth, understanding this spiral of life, exists in its own time — except for us.
Being naked and defenseless in our bodies, our specialized brains have tricked us into thinking more of ourselves than is our due. We have evolved a unique arrogance of individuality. Believing in our own personal importance, we have equated death with oblivion, and in utter disregard for all that is right in front of us, we have invented theologies to explain why we, and only we, go on apart from all the rest. While all other creatures live in the present, growing, eating, fucking, dying, we live in a place in our heads that ignores the present moment. Instead, we bemoan the past and fear the future and invent elaborate schemes to escape death — to cheat the Earth of Her food.
It makes no sense to think that we alone are creatures above the rest, exempt from the natural cycle of the Earth, the stars, the Universe. If we truly look at things, we will see the spiral of life. Our galaxies are spirals, our DNA a twisting helix. This is the course of existence. This is the way time works. Nothing is linear. Nothing is forever and nothing stays dead. It all twists and transforms, cycling through to feed the next thing, carrying food (our bodies) and DNA (our dust) in a labyrinth of ever changing patterns.
We are simply creatures of the Earth and as with all things of the Earth, it is a giveaway. We get to live, breathe, eat, think grande thoughts, have sex, break bones, die, and feed the Earth. We don’t escape our bodies and plop ourSelves into another body as if we were playing musical chairs, nor do we walk through a tunnel and hang out with our loved ones in the light. The ideas are comforting, but fanciful, and I see no evidence of it in Nature.
Nature’s way is far simpler and more mysterious. It is the Tao of Food and Dust. We pass on our dust through our children and their children and our bodies pass on to feed the Earth and Her creatures just as they fed us.
We are what we eat, and then, we are what eats us. This is the spiral. This is our giveaway. In the end, we are all food.