Did atheism make me more or less terrified of death?
I ask the group if they have heard of DMT. It’s a psychedelic compound found in trace amounts in plants, animals, humans. When extracted and smoked it becomes a powerful hallucinogen. The guy who introduced me to DMT said everyone he’d turned on reported no longer being afraid of dying. There is also that documentary about DMT which posits that it’s the chemical released at death, and also during some stages of sleep.
“I am a pretty strong atheist,” says the man in academia. “I find it curious as a secular buddhist practitioner how talk of the afterlife distracts us. We exist now and it is certain that you will die, but how is that going to affect how you live now?”
I nod. For me this is part of the DMT experience. Or any spiritual experience. If you are embraced by something larger than yourself how could you not only see a better view of your own life?
“For some it is comforting to think of after-life,” says the therapist.
One of the ‘death doulas’ interviewed for my story talked about a hospice patient who was having a hard time letting go. Through energy work, the doula sensed she was already living a new life in another dimension. Hearing this that helped her pass.
“I know one woman who is going to be made into jewelry when she goes,” says the therapist, eyes darting equally between the group. “She’s going to give the rings to her kids. I mean you can become a coral reef…”
“Or a tree.” I offer.
The professor sits back in his chair. “In some ways it is aspiring to a sense of immortality. Being an organ donor. Being a book. It is to say, ‘my life had meaning,’ maybe it is a way of theorizing this natural instinct… to have a meaningful life.”
“But if you pass through this life and no one remembers you does that strike you as meaningless?” asks the New York Times journalist.
The way I’ve been thinking about it, I say, is on a most basic level the point of life is to continue it. By having kids or recreating life in art, writing.
“For me the ego is coming in big time here,” says the academic.
Read the story on Thought Catalog
Just randomly found this journal/dream log entry, kind-of liked it:
I woke up hungover and tired at 8 am. My mouth was dry and stained purple with wine. I was dreaming that I was living in the big apartment with Carmen and Alex again, like before I was married. We were all wearing silk pajamas and everything felt smooth and good. Carmen was making us get healthy, making us quit smoking, and eat raw kefir seeds.
In the dream [my first boyfriend] had sent me an engagement ring. We were laughing at this. Why would he think I would want to marry him? I would not want to marry him!
I write this and sigh. Missing them, myself, in the era-of-living-with-girls.
Just now I was watching my cat look out of the window. The cat from upstairs just appeared in the backyard and he began murmuring at her through the glass. He watched, en-rapt, as she padded back up the stairs then he then grew violently upset that she was gone. He moved the curtains out of the way with his paw, as though moving the curtains back and forth would make her re-appear. He kept doing it, even though she was gone each time. Murmuring and moving the curtain again and again.
I wrote a personal essay about polyamory, it was originally on spec for a major women’s magazine… but this ended up not working out :’( What should I do with it now? Here are some out-of-context bits from the piece….
Our therapist closes the door to her office “So,” she asks. “What is going on this week?”
I say, wearily, that there was the ‘glitter fight,’ a visit to Sephora, in which my husband stormed out because I was buying loose glitter which I knew he hated, he said. I had been depressed, I said, and the glitter was cheering me up.
“Why did the glitter upset you?” Our therapist asks, voice even.
“You open glitter, and it gets everywhere,” he says. “You can’t stop it.”
He is a tidy person. I am not. He puts things back in their proper place, I throw my clothes on the floor, where they stay for days. It is an orderliness that I find infuriating, and when he expects me to mimic it, controlling, yet somehow it can be deeply comforting.
He, in my mind, is monogamy; he represents adulthood, things like driving cars, and paying bills, he can read maps, speak other languages, all things I am seemingly unable to do. My only responsibility in our household is cooking, which I do feverishly, changing recipes half-way through, cutting vegetables directly on the counter; and three years into the relationship, I quit this too.
I have never been the sort of girl to go after the ‘hard to get’ guys, the ‘bad boys’, preferring always to be the bad boy myself. If I settle down, it’s for a guy with love on his face, ever-aware of my own reflection in the dark of his irises. Of course, it isn’t you they are in love with so early on, but a projection of you. And I have been the sort of girl who makes the mistake of chasing the thing they want you to be, in order to keep their love…