Monday, January 17, 2005

Conservation of Soul

From a fine discussion with a friend over coffee

Is there an afterlife? Does the soul continue? Or do we live on metaphorically in our children, the memories of those whose live's we've touched, the work we've done while on this earth?

Lately I've been thinking of afterlife in this way. We do not cease to exist. Parts of us live on in the hearts and minds of others. Words on a page we leave behind. And our bodies are made of matter which can neither be created nor destroyed. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

As I sat in meeting, breathing deeply, "centering down" I thought of the fact that the air we are breathing is the same air that people have been breathing for thousands of years. Some of the molecules I'm taking into my lungs may once have been in the lungs of the living Jesus. I breathed deeply, taking in as much as I could, hoping to hold some of his peace, his wisdom, his compassion and his active faith.

It was an odd combination of philosophy, theology and science. But then so am I. An agnostic Christian raised as a Unitarian (by a family of scientists) but now pursuing membership in the Religious Society of Friends. Go figure.


Blogger fresca said...

I was amazed when I studied physics (in a class for non-scientists at the U) at how closely it resembles theology. The idea that energy is never lost in the universe, but simply changes form (heat to light and so forth) sounds a lot like the idea of prayer--you change the form of energy by redirecting it.... I can't go very far with these metaphors because I didn't go far with physics....

I like your blog. (I found it through Tim McGuire's Primate Brow Flash.) I am an "odd combination" too (though so many Americans are)--my dad was an academic (political-scientist) and my parents raised us totally as good secular humanists. Seven Easters ago I was baptized in the Catholic faith. When I took belief-o-meter's test (found on your blog!), Catholic was #27 (last in place). But I love it, even though the hierarchy drives me mad half the time.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

what you say about the afterlife reminds me of Thic Nhat Han's "No Death, No Fear". this helps me as I try to explain death to my 3 and 5 year olds, who have LOTS of questions.

I like your blog too. Thanks for writing.

12:24 PM  

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