It’s been a month since Steven Jobs died. Architect, inventor, designer, marketer and visionary, Jobs was a part of us boomers’ life for 30 years. His sister, Mona Simpson, the novelist, didn’t meet her brother until they were both adults. They became very close for the next 25 or so years and it was Mona who delivered his eulogy.
She records Steve’s last words as, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” He looked past the few assembled people in the room and repeated these words as he faded away. What did Jobs see? We’ll never know for sure, but there is a pattern here that has been repeated throughout history.
Thomas Edison’s last words were, “It is very beautiful over there.” And Stonewall Jackson, after being shot accidentally by one of his own soldiers, is reported to have said, “Let us pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” A pattern of afterlife beauty and peace emerges.
It seems to me, and I’ve come to believe over the years of study and practice, that our consciousness doesn’t just exist right here, right now in this body. I believe we come into this physical life for a period of time from a larger consciousness and that we return to it upon death.
This is what Edison, Jackson and most recently Jobs have to tell us. The feeling of reconnection with that larger consciousness is a feeling of coming home, returning to a place we never truly left. It must be a state that feels so natural to us that we finally let go of all our pent up resistance, anxiety and regret and once again feel a release and a sense of beauty that inspires awe.
I try to remember this in my daily life. When I feel myself swinging too far into doubt, fear or anxiety I know I now have a choice. I can dwell in the negative space for as long as I care to, but all the while there is this larger consciousness of which I am part and to which I will return. I have access to it now; it’s always my choice. The larger consciousness is a constant in my life and in that sense, I am never truly alone.