Having All Your Questions Answered
I remembered the other day the oft-repeated remark, at least in my adult years, & the number of occasions when someone of my acquaintance would comment wryly on ‘getting all your questions answered’. Often reflecting on a sudden passing of a relative, acquaintance, some stranger or celebrity in the news. My circle in those days would be college educated, artistically inclined, and members, consciously or unconsciously, of what was then called the counterculture. We had in the main signed up for the capitalist enterprise, knowing its endemic corruption, but seeing no realistic option other than some small time ethically obedient business like house renovation, health food vending and slots in the education and health care systems.
This would be the idealistic and naïve seventies, a part two of the sixties which we’d seen out as pot smoking, music loving teenagers. And this would also be long before I’d opened myself to spirit and its various mystical gifts. Voices like Seth and Castaneda were read and discussed by some, but spirit communication and past-life regression were a long way off.
When someone would say, mid-conversation, Well I guess he got all his questions answered, heads might be nodded and comments added, some in support of church teachings and others more mystical, sometimes reflecting the Zen attitude of Alan Watts, whose books always seemed to be circulating. Now that I think of it, the witty and surreal novels of Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut would be regularly thrown into the mix.
But the main impression I retain of such converse is the notion that the mere act of dying would replace ignorance with knowledge and doubt with certainty. You were either going to be alive or dead but not both. Having felt dream communication with my father some years previous and still quietly absorbing the few texts of spiritualism and theosophy I could find, I rarely intruded with what might have seemed arrogant assertion. One friend had scrawled the unattributed quote ‘man has created death’ on his studio wall in such a way that you had to be poking about to see it. Mind you, another had scrawled ‘Beethoven was never completely deaf’ underneath his piano. What can I say, I hung with an artsy iconoclastic crowd.
Of course we were more than a little off base, but sincerely going on what we felt was the smart view: neither the unquestioning assent to Christian dogma nor the abject denial of atheism. Some friends eventually sampled the teachings of Buddha and Krishna at various seminars and ashrams but afterlife knowledge seemed suspiciously absent from their enthusiastic reports of new found mental balance, self awareness and hearts overflowing with compassion. Multiple incarnations were taken as a given, but exploring them was discouraged as some distraction from true spirituality, while the metaphysical implications of eternity were passed over in awkward silence.
Now many of us know, quite without doubt, that passing on, through illness, age or accident, takes us to the level of spirit we assume is appropriate for us, whether fun loving partiers, workaholic accumulators of toys and status, smug cynics cheating the system, abject sinners expecting the worst, worn out bags of bones just begging for a well-deserved bout of r&r or maybe chess playing contemplatives idly wondering what might be next. But whatever stage or sphere we settle in, the boozer’s paradise, the devotional heaven, the nature mystics picnic, the peaceful suburb of gardening and recreations, we do not or cannot have all our questions answered
The relief of doubt and fear can certainly be seen as a gift for all, but the questions of Why me? Why now? Why here? Why suffering and not joy? Why life at all? Why bodies, why genders, why species? Why planets, galaxies, civilizations and wars? All these come into play at one point or another in the afterlife, once joys, pleasures and mental intoxications come to be seen as normal and maybe a little tedious. You get some of your questions answered but each brings others in its wake. Others which can be researched, run under a quick spotlight or rejected out of hand. Whatever you do the game goes ever on, stretching ever farther out and away, through a delirium of dimensions that entertain and entwine all who enter.