Is this what happens after death?
In the comedy “Defending Your Life,” the main character, Daniel, finds himself in the afterlife after getting hit by a bus. In this scene, he’s having a meeting with the person who will be representing him, essentially his attorney, as his life is put on “trial” to determine if he’ll be allowed to progress to the next realm or not.
“Being from Earth, as you are; and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear… Everybody on earth deals with fear. That’s what ‘little brains’ do… Fear is like a giant fog, it sits on your brain, blocks everything. Real feelings, true happiness, real joy… they can’t get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you’re in for the ride of your life!” – Bob Diamond
It’s interesting to note which voices around us are trying to teach us this lesson. Occasionally people arrive on the earth that seem to understand this concept very clearly, and they try to teach us how to move forward, as Bob Diamond explained. Here are a few that come to my mind:
One of my heroes, the late comedian Bill Hicks, had something very similar to say:
“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” – Bill Hicks
Author Marianne Williamson said it like this:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
The Christians are taught the same thing:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
George Lucas, via Yoda:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda
Franklin D Roosevelt in his inaugural address, discussing the American people and the Great Depression:
“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”
After watching “Defending Your Life”, some things start to become very obvious. As children, we are imprinted with certain fears from our environment. The script of the film suggests that we are here to work out fears that we failed to conquer in our previous life time, but that’s not a critical, actionable point. What IS important is to realize that our life’s work is actually very simple: To identify the fears we came into the world with as children, to identify how those childhood fears are still guiding us as adults, and to conquer them. I believe that we can make a whole host of missteps throughout life, but if in the final analysis of things, we leave this life different than we were when we came into it – something brilliant will await us.
All human behavior comes down to one of two motives: fear or love: and if it was a “failure”, you certainly were being guided by fear. What were you afraid of? What’s the common thread throughout all of your “failure” experiences? Look around you and see what’s supporting your current fears: Certain relatives? Friends? Your job? Your current lover / partner? Your church? The TV shows you watch? The news?
Now is the time to kindly cut those things and people cleanly out of your life. If you are afraid to do that, too… that’s the first fear you must confront before worrying about any of the others.
The sooner we can conquer our fears, the better, because as Marianne Williamson eloquently puts it, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ….and THAT, I believe, is the hallmark trait of someone who is prepared to advance forward in the next realm.
Godspeed, my friends.
Albert Brooks = Amazing!