01/13/2014 02:43 pm ET Updated Mar 15, 2014


My father used to quip that old is always 10 years out from wherever you are. I'm 62 and to think of how old I once thought this was! What I'm learning is that age is not the distance from the beginning of our lives but the distance at any moment from the heart of our aliveness.


What if aging is just another labor like the one that brought us into this world? What if this life with all its experience and pain and joy is just another kind of womb forming us for what we can't yet know? What if the next life is as encompassing and incomprehensible as this one is to the unborn waiting in the womb? And what if the passage -- known from this side as death and from that side as birth -- is so transforming it can't be remembered?

I don't suppose that the life awaiting is heaven or hell or the return here in another incarnation. And I don't suppose it can't be those states. I can't presume to name it at all, except to say that just as the Universe has no known limit, so too the Spiritual Wholeness that we climb through, fall through, wonder our way through, one life at a time.

A Question to Walk With: Describe your own sense of life before you and life after you.

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For more by Mark Nepo, click here.