Q: When I was much younger I always felt that when you died you would go to heaven, still be alive, be with God and your family, etc. Where is my dad and define a soul. — Nancy M.

A: + Dear Nancy,

We can watch our body. So we have a body. We can watch our mind, so we have a mind. Who is this “we” – this watcher? It remains the same as we get older or sick. It is one with Life itself, so we can’t lose it. Life isn’t something that you can lose. Life is not the opposite of death. Birth is the opposite of death. Both birth and death are part of life. When we are born, we come from the One who is Life. And when we die, we go back to the One who is Life, because we are life from this Life. It is this live core – which some traditions have called “soul” – that we love when we love another. Regardless of what we call it, it is not subject to death. So you can think of your father as alive and at home and at peace in the very Life.

We are children of God, the Source of Life and the Source of Being, beyond Time, in the eternal Now. So every moment of our life is dear to God, dearer than antics of a baby are to a mother. And in God, each of our moments has timeless Being. In our peak moments, we are “trunken von Bestaendigkeit” – drunk with Lasting, with Isness – “weil nichts vergaenglich ist als die Vergaenglichkeit” (Werner Bergengruen) – because nothing passes except Passing.

– Your brother David

Br. David Steindl-Rast Trust
Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

About the author

Brother David Steindl-Rast — author, scholar, and Benedictine monk — is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting happiness. Known to many as the “grandfather of gratitude,” Br. David has been a source of inspiration and spiritual friendship to countless leaders and luminaries around the world including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and more. He has been one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, and has taught with thought-leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Roshi Joan Halifax. His wisdom has been featured in recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett, and Tami Simon and his TED talk has been viewed almost 10,000,000 times. Learn more about Br. David here.