comings and goings

Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?” – Leo Buscaglia

When I wrap a long-term writing project, as I did this week, I give myself some do-nothing hours to let my various selves say hey to each other and settle in for the next normal. So I’ve been reading, online, about the recent reasonings of two very different sources:  Harold Camping and Stephen Hawking.

Camping is the radio broadcaster and prophet who combined chronology and theology to convince many that yesterday would mark The Second Coming.  Hawking is the cosmologist who recently told the British Guardian: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

Now, both these guys are really into heavy mathematical calculations.  That, in itself, could explain why I don’t identify with either extreme. 😉 But I think it has more to do with having been given a very different internal guidance system–a customized software independent of “the computer” Mr. Hawking sees–that operates on a broadcasting frequency unlike Mr. Camping’s.

It’s that system that says this to me: “Since you don’t know the endpoint or the eventuality, what are you doing with your NOW?” It reflects the foundational beliefs I was given as a child.  It resonates with the spiritual work I’ve done as an adult. And it reorients me when I lose direction. I’ll take that.

And tonight, I’ll take stock by asking the question Leo Buscaglia relayed from an ancient culture also filled with searchers:

“Did you bring joy?”  

“Did you find joy?”

Photo: Sunrise by  Javier Baño

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2 Responses to “comings and goings”

  1. I hope Stephen Hawking’s comment is an old one, otherwise I’m shocked that he is turning into such an old-think curmudgeon. Science is daily showing us that our brain is not like a computer (old think), and in fact not all of our “computing” or decision making takes place in what we call our brain.

    My favorite point of observation is the ground at the center of both religion and science: the Mystery. I don’t know and can’t know why we are here or if there is some next way of being. So NOW, as you suggested, seems the only “sure thing” to me. That, and the pretty sure bet that there will always be a mystery to keep humans searching.

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