I’m afraid to die. Terrified, actually. My parents think it’s because I’m an atheist. Though, I was terrified when I was a Catholic too. As a kid, I couldn’t shake the idea that I was going to be trapped inside my body, then buried, surrounded, corroded and forgotten. I would be stuck in my mind, without any further momentum, warts and all.
I am inclined to agree with Christopher Hitchens: that I didn’t become an atheist, but rather, I was always one.
Either way, Heaven sounded just as awful as Hell. So boring and prostrate (a celestial North Korea, Hitchens called it); the exact opposite of what makes life awesome.
To quote Alan Watts, “Nobody wants to be in church forever.”
Yesterday I came across this hauntingly beautiful mash-up video of an Alan Watts recording and the video for “Sometimes the Stars” by The Audreys on Brainpickings (which may be the best blog ever) and found myself very suddenly moved.
(Until I was violently interrupted with an irksome advertisement in the corner…)
Watts’s words were so familiar, and although thinking about death with any kind of empathy and immediacy generally ices my blood, sharing these terrifying thoughts felt deeply human. It’s moments like these where I can peek through and briefly experience what it might be like to not be so afraid. There’s ecstasy in giving up. I guess I’m just not ready to feel completely comfortable with my impermanence. I’ll get there, hopefully.
This video helped a little though, and that is worth sharing.
What’s it gonna be like, dying? To go to sleep and never, never, never wake up.
Well, a lot of things it’s not gonna be like. It’s not going to be like being buried alive. It’s not going to be like being in the darkness forever.
I tell you what — it’s going to be as if you never had existed at all. Not only you, but everything else as well. That just there was never anything, there’s no one to regret it — and there’s no problem.
Well, think about that for a while — it’s kind of a weird feeling when you really think about it, when you really imagine.