Saturday, December 26, 2009

sentiments on death

so i flew home this holiday season from NYC to Montgomery, Alabama, and then an hour and a half from there to Enterprise, Alabama. yes, my hometown-born and raised.
anyway, i've never flown before, and i flew on 3 planes within 8 hours. let me just say, it wasn't the best experience.

i started crying after takeoff..i don't really know why. i was ust kind of scared, and the plateau after the ascent was a weird feeling. i don't really know...and then i spilled my orange juice on my dress, cell phone, ipod, and table. and on my third flight, which was a smaller plane, i was 2 seconds away from barfing up the clam chowder and french fries i ate for lunch. it took an hour for my stomach to resettle.

so, i was thinking, what was the reasoning for me crying (ugh. i don't do that often, and it makes me sound emotional when i say it on here....which is not the case). is it because i'm afraid of death?

i've thought about death and the afterlife (or lack thereof) many a times. maybe this has to do with me being an atheist, maybe its just because questioning everything is a common thing for me. but i've thought about it, and i don't think i'm afraid of death. i would like to think that if death were to come my way in the form of..say...a plane nosediving into the earth below, that my last feeling would be contentment. but does that mean that this is how it will actually happen? i was the only person on any of the planes that i saw looking at the safety manual checking to make sure my neck flotation device was actually under my seat.

so, maybe i am afraid of death on some level. but is this a bad thing? in my opinion, yes. and it isn't that i have some fear that i'm wrong, theologically. i might be wrong, and i'm okay with that. regret about the philosophical, religious, theological, spiritual, etc. decisions i have made is non-existent. its not that i think i'm right about everything, its more so that i'm content with the manner i come to conclusions (if any) about these things.

Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” ~Buddha
"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." ~Mark Twain
"Live life so completely that when death comes to you like a thief in the night, there will be nothing left for him to steal.”~ Anonymous

from the Buddhist point of view (well, one of them...)is that fearing death does nothing to take away from the suffering in the world, thus it has no place in the mind that wishes to be enlightened. in addition, our idea of death is really only the death of the physical body, not the end all be all of "life" (whatever your definition of that may be...). reincarnation warrants different feelings concerning death.

so what is it that i believe, concerning the afterlife?
i think that there are a spectrum of more likely possibilities and lesser likely possibilities. and thats pretty much it. theres heaven & hell at one end, reincarnation at another, the typical atheist's thoughts somewhere in between, and some others thrown around. i don't really BELIEVE anything. however, reincarnation and the typical atheist's beliefs (that nothing happens. its just the end and we all become worm food) are at the "more likely" end.

what is there to be afraid of other than the regret of an improperly or inadequately lived life?

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