Recently I read a book called The Hero’s Journey, a collection of talks, writings, interviews etc. by Joseph Campbell over the course of his long and productive life. It follows his outline of the steps the hero must go through to “follow his bliss,” about which I’ll have more to say later, but one thing that jumped out at me early on was this phrase that Campbell used for the last step: The Death. Somehow it just makes the subject less, well, subjective than thinking about it as just Death. It becomes another step in the journey, not one to be feared. In fact, if you have done the other steps, including a ritual death, you become a “twice-born,” and know that you cannot truly die.
This may be a depressing thought to those who think that there is no afterlife; that we just lose consciousness for all eternity. But if I’m wrong, I’ll make a deal: if we do just basically lose all awareness and character, I will come and find you and apologize. Until then, I will just face The Death with equanimity.