After the After Life
I am presuming for the purposes of this story that there exists a numinous force. There may not exist such a force, but that would be a plot twist for a different story.
We do not know the hour or the day, we may be young or old, it may be sudden or slow, but again for the purposes of this story, and for kindness sake, let us believe we are old and ripe and have made our peace with living. Over many years we have stilled the restless mind, opened the heart to unconditional love, and become an embodiment of radiant light. We know the hour is at hand. The physical energies are waning. The truth of our imminent departure from the body is upon us, and we put on a hat, wrap ourselves up in a blanket and shuffle out to the comfortable wicker-chair on the open porch, where we sit and feel the glorious sun dance on our skin once more.
We are bathing in it; the simple sensual delight of that warmth, the happiness of knowing that we have passed time with our beloved ones here on earth, and now comes the slowing down, the falter in the chest, the breath sliding off, the link is broken. And we slip away.
Now we are disembodied. Suddenly free. Light, in all senses. For some moments we can look back at the beloved form, the body that carried us for so long, the lifeless husk. From further back still, we can see the garden, the trees, the flowers we tended, the children now grown, the land spreading, the dear mountains and lakes, the gorgeous sky. It is receding from us and we are light, moving at speed and now turning away from that connectedness to what was, and turning to face what is and shall be.
There was a time when we thought that Heaven would await us. A place in the sky where we would reconvene with those people we knew and loved here on earth, old Auntie Harriet, that guy we drooled over in High School, and so on. But more and more that came to seem unlikely. There are too many variables, souls shunting here and there in the vastness, being freed, being encumbered. No, Heaven is not personal.
We have been listening, however, to stories. And we keep steady in the bardo, letting flash past all impressions. We notice that the seeds we may have left unburned weigh somewhat upon the sphere of light. There may be a place that we need to go to rest a while, chill out, recuperate, a sort of holding farm for encumbered souls who have yet to rinse and repeat. We still have a story to tell, a sense of I. That’s okay. We will go back in, learn, love, expand, live another tale.
Or we may pass the holding stations and breeze on out further, the earth becoming as distant a memory as the stone skipped into an iridescent puddle as a human child, the many worlds and planes that we are sailing beyond all flimsy, all insubstantial, all passing. We drop no anchors. And sail on.
Now we are past worlds, past embodiment, past suffering, and simply abiding in pure consciousness and bliss, radiant awareness infinitely spread, the vast and peaceful plenum. Time and space mean nothing. Aeons arise. There is uninterrupted stillness; the breath of Brahma breathes in and out and each breath takes infinities of time and yet seems like mere heartbeats from once upon a time.
And yet. Here is still duality. This infinity of peace only can exist because there is an opposite. Without darkness this light could not exist. So, this is not the final destination. Something, some trace of motivation, some subtle seed remains to push us on. The light is moving again, onwards, towards extinction. As it was in the Beginning.
As you flow you remember that the only time this ethereal form could act was when the numinous wore a sheath of elements, when the body could stir and move. This was when the light could know itself, could be reflected in the ten thousand things. This was when wisdom could burn and expand in matter, and when love could falter and fail and then fly. That was when the Self could experience itself. What a gift that was. The precious human embodiment!
Now it beckons. Beyond peace, beyond light, beyond love and all duality. The eternal nothingness, where every trace of I and relation and belonging and distinction and all sense of separation will be obliterated. There will be no trace to draw anything back, no story that can link souls, no chain of causation, no aggregation of impressions, no throb in the spanda, no attachment in the Void; there is only dissolution. Om.