I was recently on a road bike peddling up one of the tremendous hills that abound and surround Santa Fe, when suddenly the air in my lungs was caught short. On several occasions in the past, due to allergic reactions, my windpipe was constricted to the degree that I was in actual danger and my immediate thought was that this was occurring again for some unforeseen reason. As I sucked down a couple of labored breaths I thought with a feeling of curiosity that I could die unexpectedly (for death comes unexpectedly to most) and this could even be the moment where physical life ends for me. I closed my eyes and had the conscious thought, If I go now, I go into light. Moments later my breathing normalized and I continued on my ride, now meditating on the mystery, thrill, and inevitability of death and transfiguration.
Death is not something that we need fear and the alleviation of the fear of death is one of the most notable and beneficial side effects of healthy and useful spirituality. As we experience the world as a unified field of Beauty with a driving undercurrent of Love, we correspondingly experience our self as a secure and integral part of the whole. There was no fear in my heart in the moment I described above, no wondering as to whether I would be welcomed into a celestial city or condemned to a heathenous hell. I am safe, have been saved, not through correct faith or doctrinal adherence (God knows neither of these would rescue me), but by a deeply seeded knowledge that I am loved and am an inseparable expression of the river that is Love and that is the ground and current of all reality.
You came forth from Love. One idea prevalent in Christendom that I wholeheartedly agree with is that God is Love. This is not to imply that I believe there is a man in the sky governing over creation who is loving, for the truth in the “God is Love” statement must be much more glorious and mysterious than that. Those words speak to me of a quietly coursing river of life and benevolence that is flowing through all that is. They indicate that the foundation of all that is material or immaterial is a substance and power that we all experience and have named “Love”. If this is true, if Love is the substrate and sustenance of all reality then it is impossible that we, that you and I and everything, sprang forth from anything but Love. The writer of Genesis stated that God created man and woman in their image; love is the causational force resulting in expressions of Love, us, to manifest. Why is this important?
When one realizes that the entire ground of being is love and that they came forth from love, the logical and very real conclusion that follows is that they will continue to be in and of this love for the remainder of forever. That is eternal security. As we exist in our physical state we are enveloped in an atmosphere of Love, and when we transition from this state to the next we continue in a space which is Love, for Love is the transcendent pool of all reality, not just of the temporal and physical. This is not to imply that there is no evil, no darkness, or no pain. These obviously exist and are as irremovable from life as up is from down, but there is room in our notions of Love to include pain and hurt; anyone who has ever been part of a deep and committed relationship can attest to this. I am also not saying that everyone who transitions from this reality into the next is going to experience never ending bliss and light and joy, for who can say they know such things. It seems to me that if one pursues darkness in this life they will correspondingly find themselves in darkness to one degree or another beyond this life as well. That being said, I firmly believe that Light is drawing all things to herself and that eventually reality will be, for all, that Light is all that is. In fact, this may already be the case.
The fear of death is wrapped up in our not knowing and in the feeling of separateness. Humans have largely in the past and even now continue now to think of themselves as separate somehow. Separate from nature, separate from each other, separate from God. As our eyes are opened to greater degrees we begin to see more clearly that there is no such thing as actual separation, but all is one. To exist in a reality and to see from a vantage point of unity is to live without fear, for if it is impossible that you are separate from love and life now then it is impossible you will ever be separated from the Glorious Life that has been limitedly termed God. It is the impossibility of separateness, or in other words our inherent belonging, that is our security.
We can see life everywhere if we will look for it. In every person we encounter, in every plant and creature there is life which is essentially and fundamentally good. As we take time to recognize this life and goodness in all that surrounds us we will gradually recognize that all creation is manifesting and existing as the same life and goodness that we have hopefully discovered within ourselves. Life is good and everlasting, and whether it is in this life or some state you have yet to experience, you can be assured that the same river of Goodness that has caused you to be and has sustained you to this point will continue to do so faithfully and without ceasing. When this idea becomes experiential knowledge to us the fear of death becomes yet another fear that has been cast out, eradicated, by Perfect Love.