Sunday, June 14, 2009

One and Done

I've been trying to avoid writing about THE AFTERLIFE until I exhausted thoughts on life itself. No dice. Needs to be addressed. Try this experiment: ask your friends if they believe in ghosts...see what happens. Yesterday I asked a friend if she believed in ghosts and got this answer: ghosts are actually demons masquerading as spirits of loved ones to cause us--the living--pain and confusion.

Try it. Lots of folks are quite sure that there is an active afterlife awaiting each of us. A dear friend who plays banjo in our band just gave 4 lectures on reincarnation. Well-attended lectures. I went to 3. So, what's the deal?? Why do so many people believe in something for which there is 0 proof. Religion bases its power on the afterlife, of course. "If you behave yourself, do what you're told, stay poor, make me rich, fight my wars of empire, and disregard all the obvious hypocrisy in our doctrine, you have a real good chance of spending ETERNITY in HEAVEN with GOD where you live in PERPETUAL BLISS. So, think about it: we're asking you to trade 70+ years of suffering and deprivation for eternity of Bliss. What do you say, friend? You look like a smart fellow.....". Nah. One and Done. I hope. Who in the world who's been paying attention would want to do this trip again?? Not me.

But, talking about BLISS: The best advice I ever read about living a meaningful life came from Joe Campbell, the great mythologist and teacher. He said, "Follow your bliss". Do what makes you ecstatic, joyful, and satisfied. In a class of high school seniors that translates into getting stoned early and often and having sex about 15x a day. Sounds good to me, but that's not what Joe meant. He meant pay attention and do what makes you complete, live where you feel at home, associate with those people who make you feel comfortable. Be yourself, I guess. Good advice. Suits me better than OBEY, SUBJUGATE YOURSELF, AND GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY.

There are True Believers and Cynics. My experience--13 years of Catholic School and 62 years on the road--leads me to Cynicism. I don't trust the World. It's a treacherous place. Beautiful too.

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