The simple fact that you are here, experiencing life as a human being on planet Earth, is nothing short of miraculous. Yet, for various reasons, people tend to think that life on Earth is not as valuable as life after death. For all the adventure and beauty that this world has to offer, we are often told that the real paradise is the place that we go to after we leave our bodies. Physical existence is often thought of as less important than the idealized, spiritual existence that supposedly awaits us in the great beyond. However, it might be a big mistake to take this lifetime for granted, especially when there is no real guarantee that another life begins after this one ends. We need to fully appreciate this life, because the most enjoyable aspects of physical existence are not going to be readily available to us in the spirit world. There are countless reasons why life on Earth is better than the afterlife, here are three of them:
1. Food. One of the best things about being alive on Earth is the fact that you get to eat every day. There are just so many delicious flavors and textures to experience and appreciate. Sometimes the need to constantly quell our hunger can get a little tiresome, however there is nothing quite as satisfying as a good meal. If there is another life after we die, chances are that eating food will not be a part of it. Without a body, there will be no need to take in calories and nutrients. Without teeth, there can be no chewing. Without taste buds, there will be no flavors to experience. Without a stomach, you can never feel satiated. Eating food is one of the essential pleasures of life, so take the time to enjoy all the deliciousness while you are here on Earth because you might not get another chance to eat again after this.
2. Gravity. As a solid being made up of physical matter, you are subject to the same laws of physics that govern the rest of the universe. As a result, the force of gravity is always pulling your body downward toward the Earth. This sounds like a bit of a drag, but physically existing within a gravitational field is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, gravity makes it possible for you to do all kinds of enjoyable things. Take skiing and snowboarding, for example. All you need to do is get up to the top of a snowy mountain and then let the force of gravity do the rest.
Although the idea of a perfect afterlife holds a great deal of promise, I am sorry to say that there won’t be any ski resorts in the beyond. To ski, you first need mountains that are covered in snow- something that can only happen in a physical universe. You also need to have a body if you want gravity to have any effect on you. So, remember to go out and enjoy the laws of physics while you still can. I encourage you to run, jump, dance, ride a bike, climb a rock, go swimming- enjoy all the activities that are only available to you here on the physical plain.
3. Massage. Many of us can’t wait to get through the earthbound stage of existence so that we can finally be free of our bodies and return to a pure, energetic state of being. However, possessing a solid form does have certain perks. For example, as physical beings, we are blessed with the sense of touch. You will not be able to get a massage after you no longer have a body. While it’s true that your muscles can sometimes ache and feel tight, it’s also true that releasing this tension and stress feels amazing. Getting a good massage is one of the best experiences you can have in this lifetime. Unfortunately, massages will not be available to you in the afterlife due to your inherent lack of form. So, remember to experience the gift of healing touch while it is still a viable option.
I don’t claim to know what happens after we die. Hopefully it's something so indescribably wonderful that my life on Earth will pale in comparison. However, if I get to the heaven and I’m given a golden harp and fluffy cloud to sit on for the rest of eternity, then I’m going to be miserable. Honestly, if there is no food to eat, no mountains to ride and no massages to give and receive, then I think I’ll ask if I can go back to Earth for another spin. Given the choice, I think I'd rather have a body, thank you very much.
In conclusion, we need to change the way we think about our time here on this planet. Life is not some substandard experience that we have to endure in order to get to the real paradise on the other side. In many ways, this life is it. This world is the paradise that we have been seeking all along. And there are plenty of reasons to celebrate physical reality, it's not just limited to the three I listed. Everyday things that we take for granted like laughing, singing, dancing, hugging, kissing, and creating music and art are all possible thanks to the physical properties of existence. What is your favorite thing about being alive?
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being.