It's baffling why people feel the need to fantasize about God and the supernatural when here-and-now reality is so full of bedazzlement.
This is one of the reasons why I liked Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God" so much. I resonated with her embracing science after discarding traditional religions and New Agey speculation.
My morning meditation corner usually has a selection of books near at hand. I bounce back and forth between mystical/spiritual and scientific themes, because I find just as much inspiration in a down to earth discussion of material reality as in a soaring paean to soulful wonders.
You want wonder? Wonder about this – some thoughts echoed in Sweeney's monologue.
The universe is some 14 billion years old. Earth has been around for about 4.5 billion years. For most of that time, nothing much was happening, life-wise, on our planet. Bacteria, single-celled creatures, slime, that sort of stuff.
To exist as that…not very enthralling.
Yet here we are, humans, able to be both aware of our awareness and conscious of our evolutionary history. We can stand back and say Wow! to where we are now.
As Sweeney says, we carry all of life within our genes. We've been everything, literally. And still are. There's an unbroken connection between the first stirring of life on Earth and us. If there wasn't, we wouldn't be here.
It's easier to recognize this in our most recent human ancestors. Mother + father = me. And you. We're entirely the product of two people, as they were. And so on, and so on.
If any one of those couplings, going back tens of millions of years, hadn't been consummated…no me or you.
Of course, this "miraculous" happenstance also is entirely predictable. Our existence is testimony to the fact that each of our ancestors successfully got it on, merging eggs and sperm countless times, the end result being a being who can read or write a blog post like this.
So there's another way to look at death, other than fearfully: with wonder and gratitude.
Yes, it's too bad that we can't live for a thousand years, or forever. Yes, it's too bad that life is filled with problems, suffering, misfortune, confusion, uncertainty.
However, the fact is that each of us is alive to ponder life. Didn't have to be that way. There was no cosmic guarantee at the beginning of time that you'd be you and I'd be me.
Yet here we are!