The darkling fingers of death snatched his soul away the very next morning. Through labyrinthian tunnels, voids, and lights, this manqué spirit was whisked. Off to the unknown. Off and away to somewhere he had never been. Off without his toothbrush, or any other form of preparation. He felt exhilaration, mixed with dread.
And then the afterlife opened up before him. A magnificent world of glowing colors, teeming with sylphs, wights, and wraiths. Love resonated through the atmosphere like the thrum of a harp. Benisons blessed the air. And a music of harmonious activity excited his soul. He felt warm. He felt welcome. And his heart filled with joy and peace.
Spirits swept by to greet him. Most were strangers, but he recognized some. His mother. His father. Grandparents. Siblings. Old friends. Old pets. He felt thrilled with this reunion, but even so he could not hide a piece of sadness from these greeters. Communication and understanding was instant. And they discovered that he felt sad due to not having properly prepared for arrival to such a beautiful place as this.
“But you did prepare,” they urged. “And you prepared well. You lived the difficult, painful life of a physical being. Yet you never hardened your heart toward others. You spent your challenging physical life loving people, animals, and all other living beings. You were kind when you could, and cruel only when necessary. So you lived your life basically the same way we lived ours. And for that reason you will feel comfortable and at home with us here in this place. Otherwise you would have wanted to go to some other place.
“We are evidence of your preparation. For we would not be greeting you so cheerily, nor would you want anything to do with us, if you had not prepared.”
He had not been a saint. He had never championed a cause or engaged in heroic action. He had never been very religious or civic-minded. He’d just lived an ordinary life, with ordinary character. A basically good citizen with a healthy mix of love and wariness for his neighbor.
So don’t fret over preparing for the afterlife. Just try to be kind to others, and avoid cruelty as much as possible. Follow your natural instincts. Respect all living beings. And do your best to understand and live harmoniously with both friend and foe.
If there is a hereafter, I suspect there is no better way to prepare for it than just this.