Where to start, where to start, where to start....
Kettle blowing up? Excellent author publishing third book? Enjoyment in new job? Relief at little brothers medical all-clear? Joy in youngest son? Happiness at losing 1.1kg this week? Anticipation at seeing friends this weekend in Geraldton? Sharing most excellent little book shop come coffee shop? Laughter at the excellent movie "The boat that rocked"?
After reading the scholarly books by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, I realised, maybe for the first time in my life, that it is a definite possibility that there may be no life after death. (Thought I'd start on a nice light, uncontroversial subject!) To say that this upset me a tad is a slight understatement. Over my life, I have progressed (and it is progression as far as I am concerned, progression through education, but no doubt I am going to get the bible bashers leave me uplifting comments again) from a very devout tiny child that was educated in the Catholic mould and cried every Easter, through a questioning process to a very devout believer in spiritualism that led me to adopt vegetarianism for 10 years for moral reasons alone, through to a soul-believing athiest. Now however I realise the possibility that there may be nothing at the end of the non-existant light-filled tunnel, that it may be total extinguishment. That there may be no soul. This is not a good thought. I am not happy with this logical progression.
Consequently, I have talked to a few of my friends and asked their opinion of the meaning of life and the purpose of life and the end of life and what they think. I never ask "religion" type questions of anyone. It is much too controversial and people have very set views that they cannot explain or have never thought about and consequently are very woolly over and there is certainly no giving them an alternative view, so what is the point? I never do it, I am happy for you to believe what you believe and for me to believe what I believe and call it quits. (Which is now making me wonder, am I being closed minded for not listening to the god brigade and discussing with them their and my beliefs and exploring together? Instead of closing the door when they knock? Politely! Don't think I am rude!)
Also of course, there has been my own mother, who basically said to me in my spiritualist phase - "I believe what I believe. Don't disturb my beliefs. I am happy believing this and I don't want you to challenge it" I have never mentioned my own beliefs to my mother again. I will not disturb her or anyone elses beliefs. A lot of people need those beliefs to function in life. I would never knowingly cause another pain or disequilibrium. But this is my blog and I can suppose all I like, it's allowed.
But this was an exception, I was in some mental anguish. As ever.
I am still surveying my friends on this point and I can see this will be a life long quest for information and opinion and belief. And lets face it, that is all it can be, faith and belief, because for all that so many people of god spout all sorts of catechisms at you, no-one knows a damn thing. It all depends on how well you were indoctrinated in childhood. Or it depends on how much of an enquiring mind you have and how far you are prepared to search and how much you want to know and how far you are prepared to stretch your own beliefs and how open you are to new ideas.
So, my dear friend in Gero, that I will be seeing this weekend and who is always the breath of the north wind - the north wind brings change I understand? and she is from the north of England too, very appropriate. Her opinion is that when you die, you die and the way that we live on is through the memories of our loved ones. I was totally surprised at that. I had no idea.
Another friend believes in life after death and the carrying on of the soul but has no idea why but is a very firm believer.
Another friend had the woolliest thoughts about fairies and god, all entangled, again, I had no idea! I really wondered if she had everr thought anything through in her life.
As I said, I am still surveying and will no doubt report progress on this because it is very important to me.
My immediate thought and feeling when this possibility struck me - and strike it did, like a thump in the mental solar plexus - was "Why?" Why am I here doing the things I am doing if this is the one and only go at this I am going to get? Why does anyone go to work and continue with the drudgery of day-to-day life (not that I consider my life drudgery, far from it). Why are we not all rampaging through life taking from it as much as we possibly can? Why do we put up with crap, quite frankly. Why am I not travelling around Europe, which I would dearly love to do, why do I not sell everything, throw myself on the mercy of the Universe and just go and do what I WANT to do? If this is the one and only go and there is nothing after this, then WHY?
The only reason I am happy doing not everything is that I have always believed I could do that next time around. No need to worry about that, because next time around, I may be able to be a musician, academic, traveller, dolphin, singer, whatever. But what if this is it? The end. What then?