Be here for the next world

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“We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.” Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

I was turned away from the concept of God at a very young age.  An off-hand remark from a member of the church community left me feeling Heaven held no place for me.  The comment was “Animals cannot enter Heaven because they have no souls.”  I was five or six years old and animals were my friends. Whether it was the hawk-moth caterpillar in the garden, the stickleback in the river or my silver tabby kittens, every animal was important to me. In my mind they all deserved a place in Heaven just as much as I did.  If they didn’t go to Heaven, were they automatically consigned to Hell because they were soulless? I didn’t think so.  I wasn’t willing to be parted from my friends so wherever they were going, I was going too even if that meant God wouldn’t be with me.

As I grew up my relationship with nature deepened but my relationship with the church was never rekindled.  I’m neither a staunch atheist or a devout worshipper and I don’t mind if others hold different beliefs to my own. We’re all free to choose what we believe in and there are plenty of things science cannot adequately explain.  For me this gap in plausible explanations creates space for something else, something intangible and more profound.  Faith, curiosity, wonder – it could be all or any of those.

I doubt I am alone in having met someone, a stranger, and yet felt as though I’ve known them for a very long time, longer than was physically possible. Or happened across someone who could almost be a long-lost twin.  These experiences happen, sometimes more than once and there is no simple explanation for them.   It seems it’s more than having a lot in common, similar tastes or shared experiences and there are no logical explanations for these events.  In the absence of rational descriptions, perhaps it’s possible that the most basic explanation is true – we knew these people before, somewhere else in time and space. It’s not a chance meeting, it’s just that we can’t remember much about the previous occasions because our memories don’t have that kind of capacity.  Although this might sound far-fetched consider that not so long ago cell phones, video-conferencing and tricorders were firmly in the sci-fi domain of Star Trek.  Consider also that some people who undergo transplant surgery report experiencing memories that are not their own, recollections from their organ donors life.  This is another phenomenon we are yet to fully understand and possibly never will.

I’m not sure I’ll ever believe in God in the everyday sense but I’m equally unsure that when our corporeal bodies give up, everything else disappears with them.  Maybe it does? Perhaps reincarnation is firmly in the Star Trek domain – who knows?   Either way, I’m sure Richard Bach is right. We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Our children are the next world. If we learn nothing from those who went before us and pass no new knowledge to our children then sure enough the next world will be the same. It will have the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.  Our world is still struggling with war, inequality, fear and hatred just as it was in my grandfather’s time, my great grandfather’s time and my great-great grandfather’s time. What have we learnt?

I’m fairly certain that when its my turn to move on I’ll go to wherever my animal friends are; I’ll be there with the caterpillars, sticklebacks and cats. Until then I very much hope  I’ll take on board some lessons and have the good sense to share them with my son.   If I can be here for the next world there’s a chance his children and grandchildren may finally cast off the limitations and lead weights that constrain the world today.

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22 thoughts on “Be here for the next world

  1. Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a brilliant book (as are all of his). I think you make a good point about learning from those who have gone before us, and passing that wisdom onto future generations. It’s the only way to live peacefully in the present, really.
    Buddha taught about our karmic circles, where in we’re reincarnated with those we’re close to (in love or hate) many times over. For me, meeting a stranger who we instantly feel we know, is one proof of this. It all shows how important it is to live peacefully, with a mind of loving-kindness toward ourself and others, doesn’t it ❤

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    • Hello Jas, there’s much wisdom in the teachings of Buddha for all of us irrespective of our beliefs or backgrounds. Living peacefully is really the only way to live, it’s just a shame some of us don’t learn that lesson early on and follow it throughout our lives. Maybe things will change in my sons lifetime, I hope so. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment.

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      • Ah yea I agree, ‘peacefully is really the only way to live’. It’s really missing the point else, isn’t it. Your sons are lucky to have a mum helping them to understand that. And by blogging about it, we are helping to raise the world’s consciousness in awareness of this fact.
        Go girl!

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  2. Your posts are always so poignant, Tracy. Even when you are not feeling well, you always seem so introspective and thoughtful. I just left you a long response on your Herceptin post — I hope I am not overstepping by sharing my experiences. Even though we will probably never meet, you are often in my thoughts and I wish life were as kind to you as it should be! 😦 Hugs, L

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    • Thank you Leisha, you’re an amazing lady yourself, such an inspiration to me and others. I’m seeing the oncologist again on Thursday and will take your suggestions along as I’ve had very limited improvement from the anti inflammatories and nothing fits me anymore! I’d like to meet you, I know we probably wont get the opportunity, at least not in this life. I think we were meant to meet, maybe we’ll be sisters in another life, I’ll hold on to that thought. Sending love xoxox

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      • Sorry my reply has taken so long, Tracy! And I’m sorry it’s so hard to just get the medicine you need. I am always baffled by how some of the nicest people end up facing the worst challenges. You are such a perfect example of how the universe gets it so wrong sometimes!
        I think we were meant to meet, too, and, yes, maybe we will be sisters in our next lives. It’s a lovely thought. Though my first wish would be that we will both live long enough to be able to meet on a holiday one day…
        Love to you, too… xoxoxo

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  3. I’m with you on this one, Tracy. There are so may religions and each one thinks they’re ‘the only one’. I’m pretty sure if there is a God, she’ll be looking at those who live a good life and not how much money they’ve thrown in a church plate 😉

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  4. Tracy,
    God/The Universe has given you insight into a much larger Truth than Religion can handle. I love your inclusion of animals in heaven. I love how you re-interpret reincarnation to be handed down to our children. I love how you are open to a different reality and not shepherded by defined paths. Like your father says, you are wise beyond your years. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

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    • Thank you Kozo, I think we know only a fragment of what the universe has to teach us and sometimes our busy lives stop us seeing the answers that lie right in front of our eyes xoxox

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  5. Hey there. I was raised in a pretty moderate Catholic household. The ‘skillful’ methodological approach to life part took hold well enough. To this day I often find comfort in some rituals and see great benefit in some guidelines. That said, as I aged I realized that my moral compass did not need religious rules and I became increasingly unable to accept the prevailing notion of a theistic god, that is, one who actively interferes in my life; who has a ‘plan’ for me and for everyone else. Made no sense once I thought it through. These days I am a bit more content in the fact that there are some things in this world I cannot understand at this time…and that I will continue to try anyway. Whether or not I ‘get there’ is of no concern; it’s the journey.
    As you probably know I am a student of science–physics in particular. I have read all I can about intelligent thought about the notion of ‘god’. If nothing else, it’s endlessly fascinating. Just as fascinating to me as is the hunt for better physical models for our world and both the small and the large scale. Me–I try and unpack and understand everything. Sometimes I succeed.
    Sometimes I don’t.
    I do keep trying, though.
    Don’t know if you’ve ever been introduced to Karen Armstrong. She’s a fascinating person who’s struggled with the concepts of god and religion all her life. If you’re interested, here are two decent videos:

    One final note. DO NOT misunderstand my intent. I am no evangelist, just presenting a challenging point of view that I thoroughly enjoyed wrestling with myself :>)

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    • Hello Maurice, thanks for the video, Karen has some very interesting viewpoints and I didn’t realise she was once aa nun. I’m with you – there are some things I can’t understand and probably never will but it won’t stop me trying. I studied philosophy last year and thoroughly enjoyed it especially the questions about religious persecution, mind vs body and Darwinism. So much to learn and so little time…

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      • Sometimes the more urgent the quest the more intense the sensations :>)
        BTW–just came across a very thoughtfully-written article on the New York times. I sent the link to you on twitter.

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  6. You are much wiser than your years. An excellent article, full of meaning about the true value of life and the hereafter. If ‘Heaven’ doesn’t allow in all of ‘God’s Creations’ then it is certainly not for me! Just imagine being surrounded by nothing but other human beings for all eternity. NO THANK YOU; NOT FOR ME! As for making the world a better place, I sometimes think it would have done much better without the ‘sentient species’ that seems to think it can do much better than mother nature. Whatever comes when we cast off this mortal coil cannot be worse than we have to deal with here. Perhaps we all eventually become part of a communal consciousness. Will we ever know? I doubt it! Love, as always. Dad xxx

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