THE DEATH STEWPOT
Ancient cultures were bound together by their creation stories and after death beliefs. They gave the culture identity and a sense of purpose.
Since Darwin and Einstein our culture has developed a new set of creation beliefs. However our culture has avoided the subject of death... some new ideas about death might be comforting.
I would like to describe the stewpot model, about what could happen, to us, after death.
The stewpot cooks .. and each of us is a BLUB (a beautiful individual blub, and no other blub will ever be exactly like it) – it lasts a split second then splashes out, evaporating and condensating into steam and smells... and then... over the course of the next 30 minutes... what was previously just one BLUB will become part of hundreds of new BLUBS...!
I see death as a point where we will somehow spread our seeds, that after death our consciousness, our qualities, our desires, frustrations, hopes, and hates, will separate out, and then rejoin with qualities from others ...
After death, my fears and your hopes could be drawn together... combined as part of a new process, in a new person.
I feel now, somehow satisfied by this idea, content with how my life is leading inevitably to death... i feel my death as a point where i will spread my seeds.
The above idea gives me a sense of my inter-connection and belonging in the family of mankind. It's a feeling which is lacking in many other 'individualistic' death beliefs.
ON DEATH AND BEREAVEMENT
Personal Bereavement (original text uncorrected)
The personal experience of death, of someone you love, can be so shattering that most people dont seem to have a clue how to cope with it and must repress their feelings and simply get back to work as soon as possible.
Yet exactly this shattered feeling ... this totally knocked out, open fragile feeling, ... opens me up and allows me - more than that – I can not avoid seeing life new, and the new vision offers new hope, ... I automatically reassess my priorities in life with new depth, perspective and understanding.
This great and even magnificient moment of death knocked me out for weeks ... and I have no great understanding of death – but also even no questions about it – I'm just truly amazed – and it seems this is fully human and fully my reality and fully common sense, and there is nothing more or less that I should feel ... It really makes me feel the need for an old fashioned month of mourning and peace when someone important dies ... just to let yourself be truly astounded.
I discovered The Death Stewpot about a year after writing the above.
A Time for Blessing
It's saying goodbye... its a time for asking and giving forgiveness, for giving thanks, for giving love, saying i love you, its a time for blessing ...
In medieval times, the local churchyard was central to each village.
These days, fragile bereaved emotions are burdened with paper work. The churchyard is full, the solid oak coffins and gravestones will last a thousand years, so the bodies are burnt. It's all so impractical. I'd love a tree to be planted above my cloth wrapped corpse.
It is an astounding, magnificient time, and the power of death is being lost individually and culturally.
the long version
Throughout the ages different cultures were bound together by their creation stories and after death beliefs, they gave the culture an identity and a sense of purpose.
Our modern culture is developing a unique identity, quite unlike any previous culture or their beliefs - since Darwin, Einstein and all the natural scientists we have extensively changed our ideas on where we come from ... however our culture has avoided the subject of death ... which is a shame because now there are easily availiable new ideas which would comfort us.
Let's first consider that if you do not believe in any life after death, you may think you are a hard headed realist; but actually you disagree with one of our cultures most important scientific facts : that energy can transform, but nothing can vanish.
Then, there are only very few models of what can happen after death ... the principle ideas are
(1) In Jewish, Christian, Muslim and various ancestor beliefs, the spirit is usually created at birth, and after death this individual spirit or soul lives on forever, usually in heaven, sometimes after a period in hell.
(2) Zarathusa and Plato believed that there is an eternal individual spirit which incarnates once.
(3) Then there's the Hindu model and various nature religions, where an individual spirit is reincarnated into a series of insects animals, people, and at the end of the list are usually Gods.
(4) The Buddhist model (not Tibetan Buddhism – which follows the Hindu/nature religion model). Buddha said nothing is reincarnated. This is often understood with the analogy of one billiard ball hitting another, where the energy from the first ball passes onto the second – usually sending it in a different direction – but no actual substance is transfered.
and then (5) there is the stewpot model
So the stewpot cooks .. and each of us is a BLUB (a beautiful individual blub - and no other blub will ever be exactly like it) - it lasts a split second - then divides into steam and smells and also i suppose what we could call the skin of the bubble splashing out, ... evaporating and condensating ... and then, ... over the course of the next 30 minutes, ... what was previously just one BLUB will become part of hundreds of new BLUBS ...!
On the material level it is obvious: it happens with everything from stewpots to trees and clouds, but also, now, there is a good argument for considering this, as a possibility for what happens after our death with our consciousness, our emotions and character qualities etc.
That after death my qualities, my desires, my frustrations, my hopes, my hates, etc etc will separate out, and then rejoin with qualities from others.
In one of our next lives, parts of you and me, could be combined together as part of a new process, in a new person - in the same way a tree gathers the substances it needs to build itself ... my desires and your hopes could be drawn together ...
I feel now, somehow satisfied by this idea, it makes sense to me, ... i feel my death as a point where i will somehow spread my seeds ...
PS. What other new ideas could there be?