Religions, life and death

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When I was younger, I wasn't raised in a specific religious way. My dad follows Buddhism as a way of life and taught me some things along the way. Like, whenever life gets heavy and you don't know what to do, you can always breathe. And funny enough, after focused breathing for a few minutes, everything always becomes more clear to me. I went to a Christian elementary school, but that just meant we read the stories of the Bible, sung the songs and celebrated Christian holidays. In high school, one of my friends was a Jehovah's witness. She and her mom told me a lot about it and really wanted me to look further into it. I was interested at first, but it just didn't feel right. To me, it felt really restrictive, and I just didn't think life should be that way. Besides those things, I didn't really learn much about religions, I just knew the very basics of most religions. When I was this young, before and at the start of my teenage years, I couldn't make up my mind about what I thought would happen after death. I just couldn't pick one theory that I would believe and I just couldn’t believe our world was created by a God.

When I was a little older, about 16 years old, I found out about Atheism. Honestly, I didn't look too far into it, but it seemed exactly what I always thought: That there is no God and that we went through evolution to become humans from apes. But then what is the reason we are here? That question has always bugged me. Now at this moment of time, I thought that when you die, it would be like a lamp that goes out. Poof, nothingness. At first, there was light, and now darkness, nothing more.

Somewhere in between, I talked to a friend of mine who got into Christianity and explained some things to me that were important to him. He said something along the lines of "When you die, you either go to heaven or hell. Heaven is beautiful, you see everyone you care about and you are always happy. Hell is something like an open space of eternal nothingness. No ability to do or see anything." This really scared me, because I didn't want to go to this eternal depression. But, when I got more in tune with what I truly believe, I found out that I don't believe such a place exists. And that no rules apply to us that could make us go along this awful path. I personally think that we just need to strive to be good, but not under the obligation that only then, we can go to either heaven or hell. I honestly don’t think heaven and hell exist at all. Remember, this is just what I believe.

When I got about 20 years old, I got into spirituality. You can read here how that happened. That brought me to a whole other level. Now, I started to believe there is something bigger than us, but not in the traditional sense of a God, but more like the Universe. To me, this meant that there is a blueprint of everything, and everything happens as it is supposed to. There is an Arab word for this; Maktub (It is written). I first learned about this word by reading the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This doesn't mean that you can't make any choices, I just think those choices were already planned out. But I'm not totally sure about that one, I think it could also be that just the end station is mapped out, but the way you take to get there is all on you. See, the whole Universe is energy, and so are we. It is all build up out of vibrations and frequencies, and so are we. To me, it just makes sense that we are the Universe, all together. And when you die, your energy, or soul, goes back to the Universe in a different form. Therefore you never truly die, your light never goes out like the lamp. And I also believe that when you are needed back on Earth or when you still need to fulfill a purpose or learn a lesson, your soul goes back in a different life form.

I still really like Buddhism and especially the essence of it; We all want things we don’t have and we have things we don’t want, but peace and happiness are not rooted on that. If we have compassion for other beings and let go of the illusion that we are separate from everything else, we can attain that peace and happiness without any other things. But honestly, I think there is a beauty in every religion and if we would take all the best stuff out of every religion and put them together to make one huge religion, well, in my eyes that would be an amazing religion.

There is something I've learned from speaking with other people believing in different religions. It's that even though every religion seems different, most of them have one thing in common: It is called the Golden Rule, or an ethic of reciprocity in some religions. It means that you treat others how you yourself would want to be treated. Though in some religions they state it as an eye for an eye mentality, so it is the other way around: You shall do upon others what they have done upon you. And I personally don't agree with that last one, as you cannot fight hate with hate, only love can conquer hate. Here are some examples I found on this website:

Christianity:

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version.

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.

Buddhism:

"...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18

Hinduism:

"This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam:

"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."

Native American Spirituality:

"Respect for all life is the foundation." The Great Law of Peace.

"All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk

"Do not wrong or hate your neighbour. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself." Pima proverb.

Ancient Egyptian:

"Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do." The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 - 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson.

To me, this is so important. If we all would treat each other the way that we ourselves would want to be treated, how could there still be hate and pain? It is just not possible. I don't want anyone to hurt me, to be mean, to kill me. Then how could I do so upon others? I want to be treated with love and compassion, so that is how I strive to treat other people.

Now, when I talk about the Universe, I speak with the same respect as some religious people will do about God, and that is because, to me, it is equally important. For whatever reason we are here, and whoever put us here, this life has a reason. Even though we might not realize it. And it's an honour to be here. I am grateful. I thank the Universe for this amazing experience and it is my guide. We are all part of it and together we are one. Let's treat each other with love.

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“Be kind to all creatures; this is the true religion.”

- Buddha -