Religious people often look upon death as a ticket out of this world and into a better one. Me, I'm clinging to what I've got until I have hold of something else.
So I was intrigued by the following email message from a Church of the Churchless visitor. I know just what he's talking about, as during my devoted Radha Soami Satsang Beas days I encountered quite a few initiates, or satsangis, who couldn't wait to die (some who were seriously ill, some who were not).
My correspondent wanted to know my thoughts on this topic. Well, to me it's mostly about honesty. I'm afraid of death, so I understand why someone would want to feel that they're going to live on after their body dies.
However, the way I see it I need to live authentically here and now. "There and then" is fine – when it happens. But so long as it hasn't, I want to embrace the reality that I truly know, not what I falsely imagine.
This is me. You're you. The writer is himself. And the person he's talking about is someone else.
There's no right or wrong here. Just different ways of coping with life and death, present and hoped-for experience, what is and what might be.
Hi Brian, thought I'd send you a short note regarding a Satsangi friend, who I found out yesterday, is dying of cancer. If you wish to include this information in your discussion group, go for it.
Having done a bit of research on alternative cancer treatments and just wanting to wish him well, I thought I'd give him a call.
His response was interesting. First off, he wasn't interested in any information that I had that could possibly be helpful to him. And, he was primarily doing the things he was doing for his cancer just to go along with the wishes of those closest to him.
He was looking forward to dying soon and had complete faith in the Master. He went on to admit that his faith was "belief" and that all of us are really agnostics when it comes down to it. I agree with him.
You know, during my active years as a satsangi, I commonly heard this "I can't wait to die" rhetoric, as though it was a sign of spiritual advancement or something of that nature. One of the big "turn offs" to me with regards to the RS philosophy was its "anti-life" "anti-body" stance.
Seems that the goal was to get out of the body and to get out of the world, as though the cause of all our problems originated from "being in the world". This dualistic stance between the life of "spirit" and "worldly" life was one of the key factors that lead to my departure from RS.
So getting back to my friend, he seems very content to live in "His" will as he stated, while waiting for his "grand prize" (my description) when he dies.
Something seems very amiss here. And yet, he seems very content. His cancer is quite advanced and the likelihood of recovery is very slim.
Any thoughts you have on this topic would be greatly appreciated.