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March 31, 2002
Back to LifeDeath?
Everywhere and always.
Our little island of existence floats on an ocean of death. Our whole life is as a predicate, leading up to the subject of death. Itís always there; and we will be there always, as far as we know.
Which is not very far.
Itís all rather mysterious from this vantage.
Contemplating death brings us swiftly to the Mysteries.
There are arts of prayer and meditation far beyond what I know, and maybe Iím just crude, but I find thinking about being dead is a real grassroots technique for engaging spiritual energy. Something cries out from deep inside me when I think of it (and I canít help thinking of it): a welling up; a bottoming out; a piercing through. A feeling? I donít know how to say; what to call it; but I believe it comes from the very locus of my being; the seat of all my understanding. If I were to go searching for what we call the soul, I might look in that direction.
Thinking about death is thinking about the future.
Humans, we suppose, are gifted with a foresight beyond that of other creatures. This gift torments us with the premonition of our own death, but it also allows us to look beyond the perishable self; to see the larger patterns at work in the World; the cycles that balance Death with Life. Such prescience illuminates the future, and in so doing clarifies our lives today, reflecting backwards, as it were; even into the past. For it is the knowledge of Time, as opposed to the Ecstasy of a given moment of existence.
Viewing things on a scale greater than our own lives serves to disarm the ego, opening us up to a new and palliative understanding of how we fit into the larger rhythms of Life and Death. Here too is a sort of Ecstasy, for in this manner we are granted a radical awareness, which Tradition understands as Rebirth: that which is gained when the spirit of Life is transfigured by the knowledge of Death.
The future of Life must pass through the presence of Death. And though there may be many lives, there is only one death. Death is all the same, but every life is different, and so we suffer separation. Such is our fate in a flawed creation. Thus is the eternal Spirit nailed to a moment in Time.
We need to believe we are the better for it.
We must have faith that it is so.
Faith consists in trusting that our intuition is congruent with a Truth too large for us to otherwise encompass.
The Promise beyond Life is that all lives are as One.
It is through the Mystery of Death that we learn to receive this surety.
Our expanded capacity for understanding is the beginning of reunification; allowing us to look beyond Death, and beyond ourselves.
We are born to die; we are reborn to live:
the fate and the duty of being Human.
We are the present manifestation of that future Rebirth which we celebrate upon this Easter day.
We are the promise of another Spring; the promise of Life.
Everywhere and always.