“FORGOTTEN — you will be forgotten” — This was the message I received in a dream two nights ago. The story was like always quite weird: I went to the backside of mathematics, it looked somewhat like a clockwork and there it was written. “Forgotten — you will be forgotten”: the message at the core of mathematics. (I no almost nothing about mathematics, this makes it especially strange).
I woke up in distress, typically for a nightmare which it actually was not. And started to think about the hard truth in that message: of course I will be forgotten. Everyone will be forgotten. Even tough there might be some recordings of our lives after death like pictures, music, books or everything else we try to produce to be immortal. No matter how hard we try, how famous we are or how insignificant our lives feel: very soon everyone who had a direct experience of us will be dead too. Maybe our grand-grand children, if we have any, will remember us as some distant relative, but our traces will vanish over time like our footprints in sand. Even our genes, if we passed them on, will soon be diluted and mixed with many other genes. Maybe one day we will be a name on a grave and even those will vanish over time.
Even the recently deceased Queen Elisabeth II will be forgotten, maybe later than the rest of us, but eventually no-one with a direct experience of her will be alive, and all that stays are stories about her.
Going deep into the pain
I was lying in bed and thought about the transience of our short lives and our vulnerability. I imagined and felt that moment in the future, where I would be absolutely forgotten, where there would be absolutely no relevance of my life and who I was and what I did. My life, my love, my work, my beloved husband would have evaporated and no-one would ever care. I thought about all the people who already have lived, loved, suffered before us and found out, that around 109 Billion People have been born so far, since the beginning of human life on earth. Almost all of them are forgotten. And soon it will be 8 Billion more, everyone being alive right now. It was important to face this as a fact. I got depressed and a sense of senselessness arised: what is this all for, the suffering, the longing, the trying to become a better person, the transformation, all the efforts to create something significant, when everything will be forgotten, you and what I did. I felt deep despair and sadness and tears started to run down my face. I don’t know how it is about you, but lying in bed at night awake has a drama potential to it.
The hopelessness of trying to be immortal
But then something strange occurred: I went deeper down in that feeling of desperation and then I went beyond it and what arised then was the insight, that life is about living it in the very moment. That there is absolutely no point in trying to do something for others, in order to be remembered (we won’t), to look good. It is my moment, your moment, the one we have and every second in the here and now is most precious. We are trained to believe in a life after death and accept suffering on earth in exchange for eternal bliss after death. We are being focused on a vague happy future at the cost of enjoying the present moment. It is the most manipulative deception ever.
The key message behind being forgotten is freedom
What become clear to me even more, is that life is given to fully experience it, no matter what. To live it for the sake of living it and not for a future or others or attention. To do whatever we do, whatever I do, because I want to, not because I think I should. It is always and only about the present moment, a message many wisdom traditions (not religions, they focus you on a future gratification or punishment) try to tell us: be present, regroup your mind, body and soul to where it is right now. Take life in, experience it fully and live your life without (unnecessary) compromises, there won’t be any other life for you. For me.
A sense of freedom arose in me once I worked through the pain of being forgotten soon. I don’t have to live my life as if it mattered in the future, but as if it mattered right now. I can focus on what I want to do and be: someone who is helpful and beneficial to others and the world around me now! Who cares about nature, animals, plants, trees, other people, who is fully immersed with the world. Who forms part of the world and is connected with everyone and everything and forms part of that with out being apart from it. Who is free to live the creativity arising once I connect with everything and have life come through me, not out of me. Understanding I was born out of this world, not into this world. And that the future, and who I am and how important I need to be and all the other Ego stuff melts away. I will be forgotten and that’s the good news. Now I can start to live now.