“Now I lay me down to sleep/ I pray the Lord my soul to keep/ if I die before I wake/ I pray the Lord my soul to take . . . Amen”
I never made a habit of reciting that child’s prayer before falling asleep at night when I was a kid — or as an adult, either. I’ve always assumed that I would awaken each morning. I’ve always trusted in the nature of the sleep-and-awake cycle. After all, it is common to all living things that walk the earth.
Some believe — i.e. Theosophists like me — the universe has its days and nights, too. The cycles we experience are simply microcosmic reproductions of the cycles of a living Universe, of which we are manifestations.
Or as Wikipedia points out: “Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level) all the way down to the smallest scale (microcosm or sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level).”
Or, as Hermes is believed to have said: “As above, so below.”
Of that I have no doubt. I know it in my heart.
So, it seems to me, each night we die and each morning we are reborn — as in, “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Death and rebirth is a nightly/daily theme throughout our lives, to the point that we don’t give it a second thought very often. We trust in the nature of things. We trust that we will wake up in the morning.
So why then do so many people fear The Big Sleep — death? Why do so many think we will not awaken after we leave our mortal coils?
Of course, there are some who think life is a dream — and the snow currently falling outside my window is an illusion. If life is just a fantasy, do I really need to shovel the snow from my walkway tomorrow morning?
Indeed, I think Lewis Carroll nailed it with Alice in Wonderland, and that death simply leads to another journey down — or is it up? — a rabbit hole . . .
“In my Father’s house are many mansions,” Jesus is reported to have said.
Many wonderlands, no doubt. Many dimensions . . .
I trust that when I fall asleep for the last time in my current body, I will eventually awaken and land on my feet somewhere.
The question is: How many feet will I have, and where will I be?
P.S. As I sat here wondering what I might use as a title for this post, the song Gimme Shelter started playing on the radio. À propos?