“To be…or not to be”, those infamous words spoken by the befuddled prince of plays, weigh the pros and cons of living vs. dying;. Here’s a translation of Hamlet's famed soliloquy from the Shakespeare:-) to remind you.
“The question is: is it better to be alive or dead? Is it nobler to put up with all the nasty things that luck throws your way, or to fight against all those troubles by simply putting an end to them once and for all? Dying, sleeping—that’s all dying is—a sleep that ends all the heartache and shocks that life on earth gives us—that’s an achievement to wish for. To die, to sleep—to sleep, maybe to dream. Ah, but there’s the catch: in death’s sleep who knows what kind of dreams might come, after we’ve put the noise and commotion of life behind us. That’s certainly something to worry about. That’s the consideration that makes us stretch out our sufferings so long.”
Shakespeare’s insight into death and dreaming in these famous lines is uncanny. Hamlet is caught up in the dualism that plagues patriarchal paradigms, you’re either this or that, dead or alive. Today, the doors of consciousness and inner space are blown wide open by gifted pioneers in every science and spirituality; the paradigms that bound our patriarchal ancestors don’t bind us now, unless we choose to be bound. Belief in our time doesn't require "blind faith." Once when Carl Jung, that great pioneer of psyche, was asked about his belief in God, he replied, "Believe? I don't believe. I know."
How did he know? Through direct experience of his own consciousness outside the body, through dreaming, visions and his signature contribution, synchronicity. He was raised a minister’s son and became a doctor in the pioneer field of psychology, as ruled then by Sigmund Freud. He rebelled against SF’s materialistic dogma about the human psyche and spoke of the soul. Robert Moss dubs him a shaman of the west, or as Jung himself jested, he was a witch doctor for Europeans.
Since Jung, many have continued to explore the inner realms, and many have come full circle, to acknowledge that much of what we’re discovering, we’re re-discovering. History is the story as told by the conqueror and the conquerors were very, very wrong. Many ancient and indigenous cultures were treated as primitive, savage, tribal, uncivilized, heathen and ungodly by white, patriarchal, western European "civilizations" who believed bloody conquest was their God given right, as they fought for Him.
Think of the bloodshed and cruelties in the name of righteous religions that still rain on the faithful and unfaithful alike. Religious laws, strictures and competing divinities are responsible for such an unnatural percentage of the world’s pain that we ought to stop and think more about what we really want from our religions. If it’s love and peace, religion might not be your best bet. The us vs. them mentality that won’t back down and needs to win at all costs makes the human experience into a football match. Ancient earth religions offered a much deeper spirituality, All is One. The divine which we call by different names can be experienced personally in dreams, visions, meditation and in nature. Consciousness or soul or whatever we end up calling it, doesn’t die and may visit this earth plane many times, by choice, perhaps with some passion to fulfill.
The consciousness revolution of our time points to a new awareness of reality that is completely organic. It’s like having a belly button to the inside where the cord is never cut. There is no free fall forever. Gruesome as death can be in the physical, (birth is also an immense physical challenge), across the bridge of death, the gates of Love are open and we’re greeted and seen as we most need to be.
This isn’t faith, this is the story told by innumerable women and men, in all walks of life, around the world, who’ve crossed the boundaries in some way. The growing literature being produced by respected professionals in the fields of psychology and medicine, as well as by first-hand "experiencers" of near death, out of body travels, dreaming and after death communication leaves doubt of after death survival to only the most entrenched.
The implication for Hamlet, for instance, might then be that suicide or not, he will still have to deal with the circumstances and choices that are hanging him up, in the physical or in any dimension that follows the physical. He might just want to be a regular guy, party with Horatio and marry Ophelia, but no, here’s his father’s ghost demanding revenge and telling him way more than he really wants to know. So, he’s stuck thinking only he can solve this problem and that his only choice is to give up all his joy and fulfill what’s expected of him.
Let’s take Hamlet out of his torment and put him in a parallel universe, perhaps in the present, where his choice is much broader. We live forever, Hamlet; your father and his brother will eventually face each other, so help your father find his way on the other side and ask yourself: what have I come to do in this life? Where is my joy? If my joy is in justice, then I will fight for it openly and call to account whom I choose. Joy isn’t always a belly laugh, it’s however it feels to be completely centered in your own being and purpose, sure of the great beyond without the wagging fingers of “god-betweens”.
To be, to really, really be…as much as I can, as loving as I can, with gentleness and kindness for all, is the quest that brought my soul to this plane of existence. To each, his or her own quest, but all quests lead to Home and dreaming is a sure road back and forth, a gift to explore. Religion asks you to follow blindly. Your dreams offer you experience of “spiritual” realities before you cross into them again at death. If you fear your dreams, a common experience in our toxic psychic and physical environments, there are many ways to find your way back in them.
The question of our times is not to be or not to be. It’s what should I do while I’m still here? What made me want to come here in the first place? What do I want to take with me? What can I do better? What will make me happiest as I look back on my life? What do I want to happen in the thought responsive realms I will be living in next? What do I want to happen here? What matters most to me?