I wish that I could know what actually happens after we die. I spend a little bit of every day thinking through different theories and deciding which one seems the most plausible. If heaven exists, who would meet the criteria to reside there? If reincarnation exists, what do I hope that I will be in my next life? Do we just use these concepts because we need to rationalize this daunting, inevitable event called death? What scares people most is the idea that nothing happens when we die. We are simply placed in the ground, cremated, or disposed in some way, and the world continues.
Death scares me because I do not want to imagine a world in which I do not know what happens. One could say that this exemplifies an extreme case of FOMO (fear of missing out). The billions of years that encompass earth’s existence already overwhelm me, so I find difficulty in picturing billions more. I struggle to picture something that has no end. This is only compounded by the fact that all of this is completely based on our interpretations and beliefs. We do not know what is true, and we cannot ask the ones who do. We will only know when we reach the moment ourselves, and we do not want to rush into that.
I struggle to understand how others can be so confident in the idea of heaven or reincarnation or whatever else they believe, but I do respect it. I really do hope that one of these beliefs is the truth. At the same time, I wonder if a semblance of comfort can be found in the idea of nothingness after death. Would we feel less pressured as a society to follow certain, often archaic rules or perform in certain ways? Would we approach our days differently if we know that these are the only lives we will ever have?
My mind spins as I ask myself and those around me these questions. It spins as I ask about their own beliefs or to describe their dreams for life after death. It is unsettling and this post does not push any of us closer to an answer. I also do not know if I would want an afterlife that is void of the people whom I love, music, books, raindrops, and soft blankets. At the very least, this thought encourages me to appreciate all of these things a little bit more now.