Fear Part II: Death
I just thought I’d get down to cases again regarding that fucking bitch, fear. You know, just for the sake of tying the mood together.
Fear can have many ways of manifesting: Though there are many, one of the most profound is the fear of death. I’d like to focus on this one, as affects all of us, dude, and I believe its "cure" applies to all the others. If you are able to look into the Grim Reaper’s eyes and laugh, then what’s the problem in dealing with lesser demons?
First of all, besides saying "Fuck it", or laughing and singing a song, the best way to deal with any fear is to find out the worst thing that could happen if your fear becomes reality and having a plan to deal with it. That, or if you can just get yourself to accept it, almost every fear simply loses its importance.
Ok, let’s go! Fear of death: Is there anything bigger than this one?
Well, death is simply the counterbalance for life. Without it what would be the meaning of life? If we have an unlimited amount of money we’ll just spend it in every conceivable way and it would soon loose any importance. Having only a limited amount instead stimulates us to use it as well as we can. And only for important things. The same goes for life: knowing it has an end should teach us to use the time we have focusing on the important things of life such as family, friends, special ladies/men, beers, bowling etc.
But what scares us about death? That it’s the end of this life, and this is something not easily accepted. Every world religion deals with the idea of some kind of life after death, and there is a reason for this: who can be content thinking that all we are will simply disappear one day? This is something that seemed almost impossible to me, that everything we are, our dreams, feelings, desires will simply fade away. It makes you feel like the good lord gypped you, you know. Can we die with a smile on our faces, knowing that it’s all wrapped up?
I’ll give you some points to ponder:
- Tao is infinite, so we, as part of Tao, in one way or another should also be infinite. Just like water, we fall from the sky, flow trough the ground or just through rivers, and either we go back to the sky and begin the cycle again or we arrive to the sea, stay there for a while and then we go back to the sky. This is not only true of the materials of our bodies, but the ripples our lives have had upon the ocean of other people. Everything we do on this earth changes the earth, whether through memories of ourselves we leave behind in others or good works we’ve done while alive. We leave an imprint that dissipates over a long time, but never disappears.
- A wiser fella then myself once said "What the caterpillar calls death the butterfly calls life." If consciousness didn’t end with death, then life and its experiences would have far less importance and meaning for us. If life went on forever then nothing would have any meaning — we could procrastinate on everything and not get up off of the sacred sofa for a thousand years. Of course, there are many among us Dudeists who might relish the proposition, but relaxation loses its value if you can do it all day and night. The specter of death impels us to bring balance into our lives.
- Another wiser fella than me (C. S. Lewis) once said that "We don’t have a soul, we are a soul. We have a body." Well it seems to make sense to me. Another fella (the Buddha) said "You are what you think, and with what you think you make the world." So when you disappear, the world disappears as well. Parts, anyway.
- Some people who spent a lot of time thinking about this matter came out with the reincarnation hypothesis, and though Dudeism doesn’t make any comments on stuff like that, who knows? Maybe we do come back in some way. Still, there’s no point planning on it. If we do, it’s gravy. If we don’t then life is still the ultimate "free lunch." No one has to pay for it. It may be short and even shitty at times, but it’s better than no lunch at all.
So, as the Dude said, "Can’t be worried about that shit. Life goes on." And it keeps going on until it doesn’t. So don’t worry about that shit. What can you do about it? Even giving up smoking or putting nonfat milk in your white russian only adds a little bit more on average. The best thing to do is enjoy what you’ve got, while you’ve got it. That’s what Dudeism is all about — providing ideas and tools to help you live without fear, anger, and what-have-you.
It is my belief that in the end we’ll just becoem privy to the new shit again in Dudervana, with all the people and animals we loved and enjoy time together, ready to bowl another series of frames on another lane. Further on down the trail of tears — sadness, joy, and laughter. That may sound far out, but it’s just, like, my opinion, man.
See "Fear" part 1 here.