Recently, I met with a financial planner to update arrangements for my final years. I must say, preparing to exit life requires more paperwork than coming into it. Happily, I passed inspection on all points but one: I’d left no instructions for the disposal of my ashes.
I admit, I’d given the matter no thought and in all innocence, I asked my advisor if the funeral home where I’d made arrangements to be cremated wasn’t obligated to dispose of them.
The man’s pained expression told me what I’d said came as a shock. I’m sorry for that. Living alone, as I do, I’d forgotten the cultural sensitivity that surrounds death. I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I do not share a belief in the soul or an afterlife. What’s more, I suspect we might lead better lives if we disabused ourselves of notions about heaven and hell.
Eliminate the promise of an afterlife and we might be required to respect the here and now. One advantage is that we’d see the folly of blowing up this man’s synagogue in retribution for that man’s plundered mosque. We might even learn to look upon ourselves as kin to our neighbors – frail creatures of an epoch, sharing a stitch in time which, like an amniotic fluid, makes us one.
Without the notion of a soul, we might also see that we are kin to every living creature on the planet and like them we enjoy an existence that is rare and beautiful and fleeting.
If we fixed our attention upon the present, if we understood that a moment is all we have, I suspect we’d see the wisdom of working together to make a heaven on this earth.
(Courtesy of www.tranquilitycremation.com)