by E. Raymond Rock
The end of the world is coming. Scientists say that the sun will flare out in the future and envelope our entire solar system and all of its planets, burning them to a crisp! This sort of thing is happening now in other parts of our universe, so it’s not unusual, The earth is not unique. This planet we call home is a tiny dot revolving around a star, and this star is merely one of billions of suns clustered in a single galaxy. Multiply this one galaxy by uncountable billions of galaxies in possibly uncountable trillions of universes and the mind must take pause. Who can know what other unimaginable things exist in this material world, let alone the worlds we can’t comprehend? The immensity of time and space seems endless, beyond conception.
So eventually, our earth will no longer exist, and we are helpless to avoid this unless of course we can colonize intergalacticly, otherwise, all of our accomplishments will one day be erased. All things fashioned by our minds in physical existence, our art, our philosophy, our religions, will be lost forever. What accomplishment can survive this?
Even if we colonize the entire universe, there are theories that the universe itself will crash in time, as the big bang turns into a big black hole. But maybe by then we will come up with some other way to save ourselves . . . maybe not. We must bow to our vulnerability as organic forms.
So, understanding all of this, we look to the heavens, which we hope is above the chaos down here. After all, if there is no spiritual dimension above, alongside, or under our universe, then atheists certainly have a point – at the end of life is the big eternal sleep! But our flimsy mortal senses can’t experience the spiritual dimension to the extent that we can say, “There it is!” So, we look to a religion that will insure our survival, a religion not too difficult, because we can’t fail in this. We therefore choose a religion that’s easy, we believe whatever they tell us, we take it as our truth, and we secure our little selves.
But are we securing ourselves . . . or fooling ourselves? Fear can cause us to do desperate things and believe almost anything. Our deepest fear is that we will disappear, and we can’t let that happen; we’re much too important. Therefore, we follow whatever mysteries, miracles, doctrines, rituals, or magic that will insure our immortality. And things are good again – but when viewed from an unbiased perspective, all of this is very immature and childish.
Regardless of our strong beliefs, and no matter our spiritual experiences, we must honestly admit that we don’t know. We can’t know Reality, and therefore our illusions become our comfort zones. It’s all based on faith, and faith depends upon whom we believe.
The things that we can know for ourselves can only become known internally. External beliefs become irrelevant. We can know, for example, that the immortality of this self, a self that we think is so important, is irrelevant. The self is but an illusion. Think about it; if our self does not exist, in the way we believe it exists, and has never existed, except in our minds, what is left to become immortal? Nothing. It’s only an illusion. This is the same “self” that is discussed in all responsible religions, the “self” that separates us from the “Grace of God”; the experience of God.
Looking at it in this manner, what is there to dread? Nothing! And if we understand life from this perspective, we become unafraid. Instead of fighting life and attempting to puff up an ego that is non-existent, we can relax. We can live life fully as it should be lived, and no longer cower under a shadow of fear. This is the secret to life – and the secret to happiness as well.
It begins with the simple act of sitting quietly, discovering what exactly our illusions are, and then transcending them. Meditation or contemplative prayer is where we start, the beginning of a full life, a freedom that fears nothing; neither the end of the world, the end of the universe, nor the end of our illusionary selves.
There is something so much greater; it is all of us and we are all of it – a something that will survive the end of the world!