IMMORTALITY – INFINITY – ETERNITY

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IMMORTALITY, INFINITY, ETERNITY

Infinity and Eternity – these are tough concepts to wrap your mind around. To become lost in the infinite reaches of deep-space astronomy, or the infinitesimal chaotic void of quantum physics is to not know whether you’re coming or going or both simultaneously.

David Labuschagne

October 3rd, 2023

Intro

Infinity and Eternity – these are tough concepts to wrap your mind around. To become lost in the infinite reaches of deep-space astronomy, or the infinitesimal chaotic void of quantum physics is to not know whether you’re coming or going or both simultaneously.

Attempting to reflect on eternity and comprehend it is beyond futility, for the tiny bubble of our being cannot encapsulate and contain time without beginning or end. And it’s not just you and me who are confounded by the concept of eternity; the thing is scientists, philosophers and priests also get their knickers in a proverbial knot in their efforts to come to terms with it and explain it comprehensibly. However, whilst we cannot hold time in our hands or eternity in our mind, the body lives within it and the spirit outside of it.

Curiously, in the chaos and uncertainty of life, we regard time as an empirical constant¾an absolute and invariant unit with which we can measure all events in the universe. In such a manner we become mired in the convenient fiction of the temporal dimension, and assume that time behaves uniformly in all circumstances. A clock does not measure time; it only measures itself. It is not unreasonable to propose that time, like space and matter, is neither linear, smooth, uniform or unaffected by other factors. And just what is the speed of time?

The dimension of time is that of change, that is to say things change over time, apropos of which it is not untenable to suggest that when change ceases, so does time. Time may be regarded as a measure of change, so when there is no change, time ceases, and this indeed is the conventional image of the afterlife according to the dogma of Western religions. In other words, heaven/hell is conceived of as ultimate stasis wherein we live in absolute bliss or torment without change or cease.

However, to exist outside of the dimension of the space-time matrix as we experience it with our sensory and cognitive faculties, does not necessarily mean to not exist at all. It may transpire that beyond this physical plane we inhabit a universe which has a different tempo, or indeed, which is trans-temporal.

The scientific community presumes that spirit is a will-o’-the-wisp, an illusory product or emergent property of the body. From a metaphysical perspective, priests and theosophists insist contrariwise that the body is created by the spirit. Both viewpoints are fundamentalist, hence are over-simplified, exclusive and intolerant of each other.

The evolutionary process enables the spirit to develop and express itself in material form, and the body to foster the growth, refinement and maturation of spirit. Only in the human form are heaven and earth united; a form in which we are simultaneously both angel and animal in one, striving to expand our awareness and powers of self-expression.

Spirit is born of the will of heaven; the body is created by the will of the spirit shaping nature and in return being defined by the forces of nature.

The very corporeality of the material world means that the death and decay of the body and brain is inevitable. In outgrowing and transcending our physical form and its accoutrements, we cannot take (nor would we necessarily wish to) the baggage of our body and memories with us, hence we are unable to remember our previous incarnations. What remains is that intangible essence called wisdom and intuition.

Biological mortality is determined by genetics and environmental factors, and longevity by the spirit. Medical science proposes that we can live to a theoretical maximum of 130 years. Of interest, stories from Ye Olde Testament and numerous other cultures refer to a time when a man’s lifespan was many hundreds of years, a state of natural grace that has declined through the ages. There are practices we can implement in our lives to extend lifespan, however, cultivating the body for longevity is not the same as preparing for immortality.

The end (or the beginning)

And the Lord God said, “Man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and eat of the tree of life, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22)

The bad news is that we’re all going to die; the good news is that we play an instrumental part in deciding on and creating the hereafter.

What is it that is immortal? We know from bitter experience that the body dies, but what about the life force or bioenergy that fuels the spirit, or the spirit itself? Energy, according to Einstein, can be neither created nor destroyed (but it can be transformed). Materialists insist that we are ultimately just food for the worms and that immortality is achieved only through our offspring and creative output. Religious dogma insists that the afterlife is our ultimate destination where we live in eternal bliss or damnation, where nothing changes or grows. This perspective smacks of escapism and is the expression of weariness of the soul, spiritual confusion and insecurity. It is de-evolution – the antithesis of the expansion of consciousness: it betokens the infantile yearning to return to the womb and the unindividuated state of (non)being.

Ultimately, no one can speak with any degree of authority about eternity, neither pope nor pundit, shaman nor guru. We each have our personal glimpses, intuitions and insights, but can merely speculate and argue till the end of time about such matters.

Spiritual doctrine

The fundamental tenet of most every religion is immortality of the soul, whether described in terms of the wheel of reincarnation or the final destination of heaven & hell

Descriptions and rationales of the afterlife differ immensely depending on which book you regard as the definitive word and which faith you subscribe to. For example, the Old Testament makes little mention of the afterlife, and when it does, declares it to be a place reserved for the patriarchs of Judaism. Furthermore, despite Buddhist doctrines about reincarnation, the Buddha when questioned about such, spoke of the state of enlightenment as that of being here and now. The annals of Tibetan Buddhism advise us that our dying thoughts determine the nature of our reincarnation, and instructs us to control our thoughts. Some sects describe the human body as being the home for 10 separate souls conjoined into one, and that any individual lacking the full complement is “not all there”. According to the Akashic records of Hinduism: souls prior to being incarnated go to a ‘library’ where they read the pages associated with the life they are considering.

Although there may be definitive way points along the course of our lives, our free will can change paths, events and outcomes. As the soul prepares for a life with the intent of learning a particular lesson or repaying a karmic debt, the soul chooses a family and a body that will help them with the lessons for this incarnation. Zazen propounds that there is no rebirth as there is no soul to be born in the first place, and that the sense of a separate self is merely an illusion to be overcome. In the cosmology of Daoism, the soul is regarded as the divine spark of heaven, but it is considered to be a light that can be extinguished by exhaustion of our vital energies through unhealthy lifestyles and failing to nourish the spirit. These insubstantial life forms are described as ghosts.

Whilst all religions and spiritual schools have the same goal, the paths that they offer differ considerably. As such, people too often fail to see that these religions are signposts pointing the way, and with their limited understanding end up worshipping the signs instead of focussing on the destination.

So, who and what will you believe? The answer is simple to state but difficult to understand and practice: words, regardless of how beautiful they may sound and reasonable they seem, are merely words. Truth and understanding are beyond words and can only arise from the still, quiet voice that speaks within us in the language of deep intuition and wisdom. And from whence comes wisdom? From the refinement of spirit, experience and knowledge.

Cultivation

The important question that we need to ask ourselves is, if we accept spirit as a reality, how do we nourish and enrich it? For, if you believe in spiritual immortality, then you probably subscribe to the principle of spiritual cultivation. Various religions and theosophical associations preach their own principles and practices for attaining heaven. These methods may be variously described as: Prayer, Meditation, Good deeds and charity, Deprivation of the senses and rejection of the material world, Dancing, trancing and drugs, purification of the body and spirit via physical exercises and breathing, the path of dual cultivation through sexual practices, and the internal alchemy of Daoism.

It would be as presumptuous to think that the act of dying confers instant enlightenment or entry to heaven/hell as it would be to consider that being drunk, asleep or unconscious transports us to nirvana.

Internal alchemy

The goals of internal alchemy are health, serenity and longevity, and has as its aim the cultivation of the life-force, and the consequent attainment of immortality.

On one level we consume ourselves, transforming matter into energy, and energy into spirit and creation.

In the remainder of this article I will discuss an innovative modality that I employ to aid people reclaim their health, sanity and serenity, and to foster their spiritual growth. This modality, Kinergy, is a synergy of Western exercise and rehabilitation- sciences with Eastern mind-body therapies and martial arts training.

Kinergy draws upon the most effective principles and practices of enlightenment and transcendence, combining them into programs relevant to modern day lifestyles and understandings. The primary source of such is the alchemical treatises of Daoism which are based on the premise that enlightenment, transcendence and spiritual immortality require the proper cultivation of the three treasures of man, namely the body, life force and spirit. Such practices do not negate the teachings of the established schools of spirituality, and are essentially concerned with the development of awareness.

A basic tenet of Daoism is that man has only a limited store of vital-force (ch’i). This store is depleted through the stresses and strains of daily life, and when it’s exhausted death ensues. However, it is possible to generate, circulate, refine and store this life force. Rather than the bioenergy being used purely as fuel for our daily activities, it is used to nourish the spirit so that it will have sufficient energy to become independent of the body and detach from it at the time of death in order to reincarnate or escape the wheel of birth and death and attain enlightenment.

So, there you have it – it’s up to you. Your destiny and personal evolution are in your hands; and the elixir to invigorate the body, clear the mind, and enrich the spirit are within. Do not waste your precious time and energy by seeking lotions and potions.

   

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