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  • Bob Ginsberg

When Did I Become My Father?

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

Perhaps nothing changes as much as our concept of age. I remember that throughout my care free days of playing endlessly on the streets of Brooklyn I thought that getting old was something only other people did. Even during my college years the concept of aging was so far off in the distance that it did not merit much thought. People that were the age that I am now, sixty eight, were really old and approaching death. The chances were that I might not make it that far, so I might as well make the best of the current moment.

I had an epiphany about five years ago looking in the mirror while shaving. The person I was looking at was not me, it was my father! It was a holy shit moment that changed my perspective and triggered some serious contemplation. The physical resemblance was striking, even though I never thought that I looked like him before. But it was more than that, my facial expressions, speech patterns and mannerisms were now eerily similar to this older man.

I would not say that I panicked, but this serious dose of reality started my thinking about the person who inhabited my body. Surely the physical person that I was in my younger years no longer existed. If I chose to believe that the true me was my body, I was now facing a problem. This is the basis of materialist thinking, the notion that we are our brain and bodies and nothing more. Those subscribing to such thinking usually fall into two camps. One group remains fearful about their own mortality, as being extinguished forever is a daunting prospect. On the other hand, others may say that they have no such fear because if we vanish we won’t even know that we are dead.

But what if the essence of who I am was not the man I was looking at in the mirror?

I began to realize that my thoughts, my mind, my consciousness determine the reality of who I am, as opposed to the shell in which they are housed. I remembered reading that all the cells in our bodies regenerate every 7-10 years, which essentially means that we become new people every decade. The scientists were wrong. New bodies yes, but not new people. My body may have changed, but I am the same person I was fifty years ago. Sure, my views on certain subjects have changed, as well as some likes and dislikes, but I am still me. I can have physical activities hampered by deterioration of my body, but I remain who I think I am. I may see my father looking back at me, but that does not define my meaning or purpose in this life.

Consciousness does not age. It is not linear but transcends time and space. Our bodies start disintegrating the day we are born, but our minds can act independently of our brains and extend beyond our bodies. We know this due to the accumulated evidence of telepathy, remote viewing, distant healing, psychokinesis, near death experiences, and a host of other phenomena that should not be possible if our minds are confined by our bodies.

That is all well and good, but even among those that believe our minds can extend beyond our bodies, it is still logical that the lights go out after physical death. Others counter that we live on because of their blind faith, possibly the result of their religious teachings. The majority of us, however, need some tangible evidence, which can be in the form of established research or profound personal experience. The scientific evidence does exist and comes from credentialed scientists, researchers and medical doctors who study phenomena such as deathbed visions, near death experiences, reincarnation, mediumship, and after death communications. This evidence suggests that our conscious awareness continues after the physical body is shed. In addition, personal experiences that transcend our physical senses have been reported by masses of people for thousands of years. Such experiences often include direct communications from the deceased through dream visitations, visual and auditory contacts, and telepathic connections. They should not happen according to mainstream science, but yet they do.

I came to realize that the real question I pondered was if I really knew my purpose, and if my actions in this life really had any meaning at all. How does one know? Also, after I am gone, does it really matter?

I believe that every one of us, either consciously or subconsciously, spends most of their life in search of the answer to this question. Finding out if there is any order hidden in the apparent randomness is perhaps the way it is supposed to be in this physical world.

To many people life seems to be sort of a cruel joke. We are put on a spinning globe for a relatively short period of time. Sometimes we endure hardship and tragedy, other times joy and contentment. And then we die without knowing why we were here in the first place. Even if we did meaningful things while here, what’s the point after we are no more? Is it any wonder why so many of us feel unfulfilled? The number of people today that are taking their own lives has reached epidemic proportions. The feeling of disconnect, separateness, and lack of meaning can lead to depression and mental illness. These are all symptomatic of an uncaring world.

I simply refuse to believe that a universe of such exquisite design can be devoid of meaning. My gut tells me that there must be a purpose to life. It’s the only way it makes any sense. Philosophers have debated this through the ages. For what it’s worth, these are the personal conclusions that I have reached about meaning after staring at that man in the mirror:

We are more than our physical bodies. Our brains act like filters so we are only aware of a tiny spectrum of information that surrounds us, but our consciousness extends beyond the brain and can interact with other physical and non-physical entities

The actions that we take in this physical life have repercussions, both good and bad, in this world and the next.

Love and compassion are the building blocks of life. We started that way, and the purpose of physical life is to recognize and reignite the original sparks of light from which we came.

So, when I see my father in the mirror, I am now able to perceive timelessness as opposed to transience.

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Feb 21, 2020

Bob, well stated. At 82, I have had the same concerns. I believe that "lack of meaning" is the primary reason we have so much turmoil and chaos in the world today. People have reached a point of diminishing returns in their material lives and religion no longer fills the void. They join protest groups primarily to escape boredom, not caring that much about the cause of the group itself. They get brainwashed in the cause and never get around to really thinking about the meaning of life or what is beyond this life.

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