Many years ago, I first had the life debt concept explained to me, and it has altered the way I perceive the world ever since. It’s not a difficult concept and while it is undoubtedly a philosophical concept, it lacks the usual high brow association that most people give the entire realm of philosophy. It’s actually pretty down to earth.
From the moment we are born, we owe a life debt. It starts with the debt that we owe our mothers for giving birth to us. It’s a big debt too, for she endured physical discomfort and pain to give us life. In some cases, she may have endured emotional pain that we will never know about as well, even if she isn’t the woman we’ll call our mothers through childhood, we owe our birth mothers that initial debt.
We continue accruing debt as we’re nurtured through infancy and early childhood, when we are incapable of paying back any of that life debt. Then we enter our childhood, the part that we can remember through adulthood, and begin expanding our network of life debts.
Every single relationship, whether positive or negative, involves an exchange of life debt. Friends and enemies alike exchange a portion of our initial base life debt, along with teachers, mentors, siblings, extended family, even medical personnel who help us be as healthy as possible. Each relationship we establish with another person means that we take on, often unknowingly, a piece of their life debt, as they take on a piece of ours. This invisible exchange is the foundation of those relationships, and the larger the exchange, the stronger the relationship is.
In our youth, our elders invest heavily in our bank of life account. It’s the natural order of things, to invest in the future generation. They take on more than a fair share of the debt we’ve already accrued in order to give us a good start in life and our life debt account. In due course, when we mature and become elders ourselves, we’ll repeat the same process with the next generation.
The goal is to live a long life, paying off our life debt as we go through our lives. At the same time, not everyone pays off their debt at the same rate. Just like any other debt, some people may be inclined to not do more than pay a minimal payment, while others work harder to pay down that life debt at a faster rate.
Is there a tangible difference?
It’s not like we get a life debt balance sent to us in a statement each year. It doesn’t work that way. We can’t call the bank of life and demand customer service give us a running total either. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are, what you may or may not call a supreme being, or even what day you have designated as a day of rest. It doesn’t matter if you are saved, a heathen or die a religious martyr. You don’t avoid the life debt concept by being an atheist.
There won’t be any big splash across a magazine cover telling us who the richest people in the world are in terms of their life debt balance either. Nobody else knows how you are doing with your balance, nobody else can see you make payments, and not even the Joneses know whether you are keeping up with them or have surpassed them.
The only one who can know how you are doing with your life debts is you.
That’s the real clincher. You don’t make the payments to impress anyone or to improve your credit score. If you don’t make the payments, there won’t be a collector calling on the phone to remind you. There is no option of insurance to cover the debt either.
There is no bankruptcy option.
Oh, sure, there are people who tell you that you’ll pay a spiritual debt when you die, but none of us know for sure what happens when we die anyhow. We have to believe in something after death, without proof. That’s a tough one–this vague threat. It’s like hearing “just wait until your father gets home” when he isn’t going to be home for a long, long time. We can forget and ignore the threat.
At the same time, there are times when the debt is reneged upon. We call that suicide. The person has opted out, failed to pay their life debts, and that’s that. There can be varying amounts of unpaid debt, of course, as suicide can occur at any stage of life. For some, there is likely to be little, if any, debt remaining, as the suicide occurs near the end of their life due to illness or infirmity.
There are other kinds of reneging though too. One can isolate themselves from others to the point that there is no possibility of making a payment. It can be a physical as well as emotional isolation, or it can simply be one or the other. It can be by simply refusing to pay forward too, and becoming selfish and self-centered.
Everyone has their own concept regarding death and afterlife, if any. The same goes with being judged after our lives are over. I’m not going to tell you how your life debt will or won’t affect you after your life ends. That’s going to be a huge surprise for me, just like it will be for you. We can believe whatever we choose to be true, but just like in life, that belief does not make it so. It’s still going to be a surprise.
I’m holding onto the hope that it’s going to be a wonderful surprise though.