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After The World Does Not End
Life Is Long, Except When It's Short

December 10, 2012


Life Is A Long Burden
     Life is long, often laborious, full of pain, suffering, setbacks... disappointments of all kinds.  So often, we make progress, achieving some fulfilment, gaining happiness for a time -- only to find that like many rockets, efforts crash and burn.  Growing weary of struggles and dashed hopes, people retreat, like a turtle when threatened, pulls his head and legs inside his protective shell.   For turtles only way to be safe from life's dangers is to disengage from life.


Life Suddenly Becomes Short!
     Withdrawn inside their shells, turtles are seemingly protected from the harmful karmas they may step on, whether through bad luck or just failing to look where they step -- or even from being stepped on by a natural event, or another creature.  But disengaging from life is an illusion -- even for a turtle.  One can only fail to live life. 

         Inevitably, an overwhelming karma strikes, like a river flood sweeping away the turtle, seemingly safe in his fortress.  But clearly, he's not safe at all!  The turtle is drawn into a whirlpool spinning him around and around, down and down to murky depths.  Death knocks on his door, for he can't hold his breath for too long.  He must breathe.   Life is suddenly short!  Struggling for oxygen, life then becomes the great and only treasure. 

     Life is sudden no longer a path of laborious suffering, punctuated only by brief successes doomed to be dashed.  

     The turtle must save himself, or life ends.  Reflexively, out pop the head and the legs.   He swims -- for his life, upward to the surface to breathe, and then onward to the safe shore.

     This is a near-death experience for the turtle, who, though his mind is rudimentary, feels relief, or a kind of satisfaction, though certainly not gratitude.  Still, the turtle is somehow changed for his experiencing threat to his life and surviving.  He begins to relax, soon returning to his old self of being a turtle -- foraging, resting, finding mate....


Life Is No Longer A Burden
     For us, a near death experience must be the same; but, of course more.  When we survive a near-death experience from a karmic flood, we are often changed from believing/feeling life is like a never-ending chore, to knowing that life is the great gift, indeed the only gift.   Yes, we act reflexively like the turtle, but unlike animals, we have cognitive minds and souls.  By the threat of being shortened, life becomes valued for being long.  If we had died, well then, all would be gone -- not just the bad, but all the good too.  And all opportunities to taste life's pleasures would have vanished.  Even life's dissatisfactions, indeed miseries, become valued, for being able to breathe again, we learn there's nothing worse than oblivion.  The spirit, dulled, beaten down, sometimes so crushed it appears gone for good, suddenly awakens.  We often see this happen in people hit by lightening, who, upon recovering, find their spirit is so revived, consciousness expands and extends awareness, not just of the material world, but also of otherworldly realities. They become intuitives -- able to hear, see or feel information from afar - whether in space or time.

     Other near-death survivors, of course, don't awaken hidden gifts but rather simply find their belief in life is restored, enabling them to forge ahead, pushing the wheel up the hill again.  The soul awakes with hope.  They've learned it's the journey, not the destination, that is life, for the journey itself is the value of living life. 


Pushing the Wheel Up The Hill
     With this renewal, they know pushing the wheel up the hill truly means engaging in the only thing that matters, life.  They set aside the hurts to ego, not indulging in self-created whirlpools of unhappiness and suffering. They ignore the inevitable physical harms and emotional traumas, knowing that some pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.   Pain can't touch the spirit. 

     They push the wheel up the hill in endeavors improving their lives.  And that process naturally enriches the lives of others, directly or indirectly.  They understand only life has value, and having learned that lesson, know this must be true of others.  After all, no man is an island. 

     With the spirit awakened, if they fail, the wheel rolling back to the bottom of the hill, they try again.

     Whether, putting letters in a mailbox, taking out the trash, cooking a meal for the family, painting a canvas, helping a friend, or even better, stranger, in need, inventing something, advocating a cause for humanity or the earth...... The contributions we make in pushing the wheel up the hill are unlimited, restricted only by our energies, talents, will and creativity.   And even as we struggle, or have to begin at the bottom of the hill, in moving the wheel forward, our actions often inspire others. There truly are no restrictions, only potentialities, that we can make into realities.


Peoples' Wheels, Small And Large
    A small-wheel letter carrier, placing a seemingly innocuous letter placed a mailbox, can change the recipient's life, who can then push his big-wheel further up the hill.  No action, however small, is meaningless.  All have value, and in a very real way, all are equally needed to preserve and enhance life.  That letter can contain results from a new drug test the recipient then uses to produce the drug, reducing suffering, even saving lives. Without the letter carrier, there would be no letter in the mailbox.

     Yes, there will always be the selfish who, in being themselves, take from others. There will always be natural disasters.  Disease outbreaks are inevitable.  Warfare doesn't end.  Some people are born criminals. Death is inevitable.  The litany of harms in the world goes on and on and on.  But the human condition does and can improve over time -- when individuals awaken to the value of life and push their wheels up the hill.  That awakening is the soul, our most essential nature.  Near-death experiences are well known catalysts, but so can any of the harms we experience.  Too, religion naturally plays a role.  Some people awaken the soul through religious devotion, learning or even just repeated action -- the Hindu's three main paths to God.


Life Is Hope
     Every person is unique and complex, and the journey of life shapes and changes people. One never knows what may awaken you to valuing life to start again pushing the wheel up the hill.  Certainly the above-described experiences can do that, but truly so can even the most mundane, accidental, small things. Some folks just need a few words, a true expression of love, even a kick in the pants! -- or seeing a painting, listening to music.... There are as many keys awaken the soul as there are souls.

     Unfortunately, many can't seem to get out of their own way.  The ego hold is too strong. The shouting of me, me, me drowns out experiences that can awaken them to life, to unlock the soul.  Hardened criminals are like that.  So are greedy business men, religious zealots, drug addicts.... For others, self created despair or fear holds them back. Like the turtle, they withdraw into their shells.  And only when caught inside a life-threatening whirlpool do they struggle for life and liberate their souls.  But even those folks, hardened against freeing their own souls, can do so. Such is life, for life is hope.

     Of course, for those awaiting the world's end 12/21/12, isn't that too a retreat into a shell -- the attempt to avoid life?  The true Armageddon for each of us is withdrawing into our shells,, not pushing the wheel up the hill, for that's the real end.



The Celestial Wheel 2002-2012©

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Doug Riemer