During my time as a Christian if I one thing was drilled into my noggin’, then it was that Jesus is about to return and you had better be ready to go when he gets here!
Nowadays, I think it’s juvenile and relatively primitive to hold a literal belief in one’s god physically returning, from the sky no less, to “harvest” His favorites among humanity and suck them out of harm’s way before Hell breaks out on everyone else. I can tell you first-hand, that these kinds of beliefs, especially before the turn of a millennium, will literally put that so-called fear of God into a young man. (Unrelated to that fear, but related to the rapture, I used to quite literally believe I would never see a physical earthly death because I couldn’t picture it in my mind and because I just KNEW my lord and savior was going to appear in the clouds and bring me home that way, instead.)
Still, if nothing else then it’s quite the mental picture. I think if we took the broader Christian picture and zoomed out about a million times we might start to touch on the truth of what I think all that hullabaloo is about.
You never know when this life will either end or change, whether fantastically or catastrophically. As the evil uncle in The Lion King sang, “Be preeepaaaaared!” Right? (Random, I know.)
When I ran in Christian circles, it was terribly commonplace to ask someone you suspected not to be saved if they were “ready.” I’m certain, if I asked that question 5,000 times, then I never once really knew what that even means. At the time it meant, quite simply, if a person had a so-called personal relationship with Jesus. But what does it really mean? I suspect something a bit deeper and longer-lasting than a human relationship.
I think in most contexts it mostly means to live as goodly and kindly as you are able and to cultivate a depth with the One. I think this is generally lost on many within the Abrahamic Faiths because of trying to follow the letter of the Word too minutely, too literally. (An unfortunate leftover from the Reformation, I believe.) To be clear, it can easily be lost on the devout of other Faiths, too.
In my experience, Hinduism is the most efficient when it comes to prepping one for whatever might come next, whether your career or your afterlife. In fact, this is the purpose of Yoga… preparation. It’s even been said that it is specifically preparation for death.
The Bible itself, in many places, indicates one must “die to live.” This is a yogic truth! Aspiring yogis, whether they realize or not, are aspiring to die while living. At least, the sincere ones are. And anyone who more than scratches the surface of what Yoga even means, can’t go too far before learning that the goal of Yoga is also dying while alive. It sounds a little macabre, but this form of “death preparation” is simultaneously the more effective way to live the happiest life possible.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
certainly if it can teach one to be calm in the face of death it can teach one to be calm under any pressure life can hurl upon us. 🙂 Nice thoughts!