Remembering my Youthful Fear of Non-existence
There is a strong power in being clear about our intentions. In my case my intention is to be a support for my Mom through our natural love from our long relationship at a very difficult time for her. I have to remember my purpose is to extend her compassion, kindness. I need have no other agenda--as much as we have hurt one another through misunderstanding--and be there for her by communicating love, consideration and the mood of service, while within I will pray for her speedy departure from her current miseries, and ideally to have some sort of spiritual awakening. I am and will continue to pray that for as long as she remains with us she will be peaceful and be resolved about her life, with no resentment for that past. I have taken hospice training and many people leave the world very unresolved in their relationships and life and this is very sad and bears karmic resolution in future lives.
As I sit on the plane, I remember that Krishna tells us in the Gita's 10th chapter that he is adventure, and travel is an adventure for me. I feel the energy of excitement in facing the unknown and different possibilities. Perhaps traveling solo increases that as it's up to me to depend on Krishna. It's also good for me to have a change of routine and have the chance of meeting new people (which I don't have since loosing my job). I know I need to have more of this in my life, though I am unsure how to bring this about. Although I would prefer a different reason for traveling, every situation affords opportunities and challenges.
It is a funny thing about flying--the possibility of dying always enters my and perhaps most people's minds, and I have to question if I am ready! In this situation it is obvious we are not in control. We are just sitting in a machine being driven and maintained by others. (similar to our own body, though we have a little control.) Add to this fact the reason for my journey and it is natural to contemplate life and death. Of course the Shrimad Bhagavatam teachers us that we are all about to die--either today or tomorrow. If I died in-flight then I would be older than my Mom!
Interestingly, although I drive frequently, there is more chance of being injured or killed by driving than flying. Most people including myself rarely thing of our chance in dying while driving, though perhaps if I flew all the time, I would also lose my reflections on my mortality.
I remember as a youth, thinking that death was the end of our existence. It was difficult to imagine not existing and the idea of "non-existence. It was a bit scary and I had no way to resolve my perplexity, so I usually would just think of something else. Now I have so many ways to think of the continuity of my existence from Vedic texts, popular books on NDEs (Near Death Experiences), my discussions with those who have had them, and just my spiritual sense. It is hard now to imagine not having a soul perspective and having Krishna and his devotees in my life!
For my Mom, she thinks it's all over at death. Among other things, she has "issues" around religion (and likely God) coming from her childhood--having a very devout Christian, though sometimes heavy, Mom. So even though she is tired of living in her body she clings to what she knows of life. Interestingly she has signed papers to prevent her from being put on life-support machines--no artificial life in a vegetative state. And she will be cremated as my father was and my wife's parents will be. Let us see what will be on this journey.