I’m really not sure why anyone would be interested in my thoughts on the afterlife but it helps me to clarify my own thinking when I write. So I did. I’ve been thinking about death a lot as several close friends have died recently and the corona virus has surely put death in the news. These sort of ponderings seem to happen to many people as they age. I offer these ideas in a public forum in hopes that some readers might share their own thought/feelings about life and death (in the Comments box below).
SO HERE GOES…
First, I’m not terribly fond of the word “afterlife” – even though I used it in the title. Most people know what is meant by the term afterlife, so it is useful. But the word “afterlife” feels too final as I have come to believe in the continuation of consciousness after the death of the physical body. For me, the death experience appears to be more of a transition to another form of existence, a continuation – not an ending. I need a better word to describe the “condition of being that follows once the spirit-self has left its bodily container.” Perhaps you have a suggestion.
I surely don’t have a picture in mind of a heaven with “pearly white gates, hanging out with old friends playing harps in the clouds etc.”, I do understand why that description might be a useful story to tell children and I suspect it can be a comfort to those who believe. But it’s just a bit too easy for me to accept what seems more like a fairy tale than a thoughtful depiction of the state of existence that continues following the demise of the body. Nevertheless, I believe that we live forever, as suggested in Francis Hodgson Burnett’s classic book, The Secret Garden.
Continue reading Thoughts on life and the afterlife
By LAWRENCE J. WINSHIP
For the Daily Hampshire Gazette – April 25, 2020
Hundreds of years ago, the flowering bulb markets of Holland were overcome by tulip mania. Buyers bid up highly desired varieties to astronomical prices, paying enormous sums for rarity and flamboyance. Fortunes were made and lost. One of the most sought-after varieties was the Semper Augustus, with striking streaks of white in its red petals — strange, magnificent, and deadly to other tulips.
Not until 1928 was it shown that the dramatic white streaks in the Semper Augustus tulips were caused by a viral infection, spread by aphids, and ultimately lethal to all infected tulips and lilies. But so highly desired and valuable were these infected plants that it took years before government stepped in to protect the bulb industry. Continue reading Will we head viral lessons from “broken” tulips?
I wish I had written this myself…..
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~Henri Nouwen
It’s hard to stand at the edge of someone else’s grief.
There’s the awkwardness. You always feel a little like an uninvited guest who arrived late and missed the first half of the conversation—a conversation that turns out to be a wrestle between another person and the deepest parts of their own soul.
What can you say when you realize you’ve barged in on an interaction so intimate, so personal that you just want to avert your eyes and slink quietly away?
Then there are the triggers. Continue reading When someone is grieving….
In a recent episode of the TV series The Crown, Queen Elizabeth’s husband Prince Phillip, had a brief conversation with his mother Princess Alice of Battenberg, who asked him casually “so how is your faith?” After a slight hesitation he replied, “dormant.” The aging Princess told her middle aged son bluntly…. “That’s not good, let this be a mothers gift to her child … find yourself faith, it helps, no… not just helps … its everything.”
It is easy to imagine why the husband of the Queen of England might find himself too busy to worry about his faith… too busy to “bother with God.” After all, there are all those royal ceremonies to attend! But what about you and me? Why and when did we let a sense of the divine, the spiritual or the sacred slip out of our lives? Or maybe we are hard core materialists (if you can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist) and have never had any sense of the spiritual in the first place? If so, you would not be all that unusual in the secular world in which we live today. Most of us today don’t “bother with God.”
Continue reading Why I bother with God….
The Earth’s Human Rights Day, December 10, might be an appropriate time to consider the following…
Assuming there are 400 billion galaxies and about 250 billion stars in each galaxy in the universe, it is not too far-fetched to imagine there is not only life on many planets circling stars throughout the universe but also “thoughtful life”. If so, it might also be possible that a Community of Universal Thoughtful Species might send the following letter to the people of the Earth….
Good day, I am your representative from the Community of Universal Thoughtful Species, and I bring you greetings from Us All. As you are interested in sharing our Cumulative Knowledge, we have a couple of questions to ask you first, questions that would be obvious to any responsible membership manager.
How are you going to get along with 10 trillion other species in our community if you do not respect even your own? If you permit yourselves to treat your own kind so despicably, why would we grant you the power and reach to treat others as badly?
Moreover, if you do not have the highest respect for the natural bounty that has befallen you, if you do not protect and nurture it for all you are worth, why would we afford to you the means to abuse as badly similar treasures elsewhere?
Continue reading A Letter to the People of the Earth…