Death Is Not the End

Is death the end? If death is not the end, what is that? At a glance, saying “death is not the end” sounds counterintuitive. Deep down inside, however, somehow we know it is intuitive.

If we observe our mother nature, this message is quite apparent. Seeing trees around us, for example, each of them started from a small seed like an acorn. It potentially contains the entire tree with branches and leaves. And all of them eventually come true.

Years after, however, this tree would lose all branches and leaves, and finally, the tree itself. Is it the end? It looks like the death of the tree. God forbid.

How about us, humans? When we were a baby, we were part of our world around. We were not able to differentiate ourselves from things and people around. Even we felt warm love from our parents and others. For babies, love is what it embraces them gently and what they accept it innocently and unconditionally. When we were a baby, unconsciously we knew there was such love. It is the way we could see God’s love.

As we grow up, however, our self-consciousness emerges. And we start separating ourselves from the rest of the world. We feel the world is not part of us anymore, but in front of us and outside of us. We start separating ourselves from everything and everyone. Suddenly we feel loneliness.

Things and people in the world become what we have to manage as if we could destroy or protect them. Either way, the world is not part of us, but in front of us and outside of us. Whether exploiters or environmentalists, we are on the same page in this sense. The world and the universe are deceptively in front of us and outside of us.

That’s an illusion.

Because of our self-consciousness, we lost our baby’s eye that could ”see” the real face of the world within as the manifestation of God’s love. Our false eye sees an illusory world as if we stand nowhere.

Because of our self-consciousness, we see ourselves as a separate self, and we inevitably feel that our separate self would surely end itself. With loneliness, we will die someday and lose everything and everyone, including ourselves. Death is our ultimate end.

Is that so?

Death is not the end. How can we say so? Because of the metaphor of a tree I mentioned? No, it is not a metaphor. It is truth and reality.

If we restore our baby’s eye and no longer feel an illusory world where everything and everyone are in front of us and outside of us, then we could see this truth and reality.

Bob Dylan encourages us in the same message:

When you’re sad and when you’re lonely, and you haven’t got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all that you’ve held sacred, falls down and does not mend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

Oh, the tree of life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation shines
In dark and empty skies

Death Is Not the End

If death is not the end, what is that? It is the beginning of creation and part of our cosmic wave and transformation.

Paradoxically enough, death is the clear evidence that we are alive as part of the world and the universe. It is the clear evidence that we can feel God’s love just as a baby does. And Jesus does.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 11:25-26

It does not mean that we will physically never die. It means that death no longer controls us as we get out of our false self. Thus, Paul also said:

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21

Death is not merely an act of shallow self-sacrifice, either. When Jesus said, “it is finished” on the cross, it was not just an act of his heroic sacrifice, but the real evidence that death is not the end at all.

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

John 19:30

Image by Johannes Plenio

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