THE DEAD BLESS US
I feel that our friends amongst the dead really mind us and look out for us. Often there might be a big boulder of misery over your path about to fall on you, but your friends amongst the dead hold it back until you have passed by. One of the exciting developments that may happen in evolutionand in human consciousness in the next several hundred years is a whole new relationship with the invisible, eternal world. We might begin to link up in a very creative way with our friends in the invisible world. We do not need to grieve for the dead. Why should we grieve for them? They are now in a place where there is no more shadow, darkness, loneliness, isolation or pain. They are home. They are with God from whom they came. They have returned to the nest of their identity within the great circle of God. God is the greatest circle of all, the largest embrace in the universe which holds visible and invisible, temporal and eternal as one.
There are lovely stories in the Irish tradition of a person dying and then meeting all their old friends. This is expressed powerfully in a wonderful novel by Mairtin Ó'Cadhain called Cré na Cille. This is about life in a graveyard and all that happens between the people buried there. In the eternal world, all is one. In spiritual space there is no distance. In eternal time there is no segmentation into today, yesterday or tomorrow. In eternal time all is now; time is presence. I believe that this is what eternal life means: it is a life where all that we seek, goodness, unity, beauty, truth and love, are no longer distant from us but are now completely present with us. There is a lovely poem by R. S. Thomas on the notion of eternity. It is deliberately minimal in form but very powerful:
I think that maybe
I will be a little surer
of being a little nearer.
That's all. Eternity
is in the understanding
that that little is more than enough.
Kahlil Gibran articulates how the unity in friendship, that we call the anam cara, overcomes even death: 'You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.' I would like to end this chapter with a lovely prayer poem from thirteen-century Persia.
Some nights stay up till dawn as the
moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket, pulled up the dark
way of a well then lifted out into light.
Something opens our wings, something makes
boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us, we taste
(trans. R. Bly)