“We come into this world alone, and we leave this world - alone.”
This quote is so prolific in our culture that I cannot even give credit to the original author: It has come up over and over again, from different sources, since Ancient Greece and probably even before that.
I have heard these words many times. I believed them with solid conviction, for many years.
But I think it is about time that we take a shovel into this notion and see what we might find.
This may be outside of your personal cosmology, but between ancient meditation practices and the leading edge of science, it has been seen that there is no “me” in this world. I am not saying this as a cool theory; this is something that I know to be true. What we call “me” is a convenient illusion, that makes it easier for us to survive and, granted, to communicate with one another. It is similar to how we might point to a particular cloud formation and say that we see “a horse” or “a face” or “an ice cream cone”; whereas in reality, there is no clear boundary to any cloud, and certainly no hair, facial expression, wheat or sugar anywhere in there. We are just organizing what we see in a convenient way.
Survival and communication are all good. But there are moments when the deeper truth has an essential lesson, that we should not want to miss.
What does it mean “to be alone” in a universe where there is no self? Are you ever truly alone? All the more so in the moment of death, when you release your-self in the most profound way? Are you truly alone? Or do you just see it that way?
Even the Bible often used this phrase:
“[Abraham] died at a ripe old age… and was gathered unto his people.”
I think that my challenge here is to show that this is not just a theory. Sure, from a certain point of view, we die alone. But that’s just it: That is not a fact, it is an interpretation. Pull the “me” and the “self” out of that, and death becomes the ultimate unification with the universe, where the illusion of self finally lets go.
But let’s apply this to reality:
Would anyone like to argue that there is no difference between “dying alone”, and dying in the company of the people you love? Does that feel the same, in even the most remote way?
Do hospices accomplish nothing but decent accommodations on the way out? Is there no meaning to love? Especially in the moment of parting?
I wrote a blog a while ago on the two great forces in this universe: The one is spirit, pursued by seekers, and drawing them to “know themselves”; the other is love, which draws us to “know each other”. Both forces exist. Both forces are real. It’s about time we make space for both of them, and live in a fuller world - where we know ourselves, and each other.
Dying alone is not a reality; it’s a choice.
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