After nearly 2 years since my sister's death, I've had ample time to contemplate the nature of life and death as we know it — or, as it happens, don't know it.
We are as ephemeral as clouds in the sky, but we don't understand this. Each life is consumed with the conviction that it is indelible. Yet, ironically, in the midst of this conviction, we desperately struggle to do everything we can to preserve life.
We believe that the life of the physical body is paramount; societies, for the most part, treat death as a tragedy, rather than a necessary thing. On the whole, we spend far more time on health food crazes, medical advice, and dubious procedures than we do on spiritual practice.
I can no longer see how death is a bad thing. This is a truth we must live with; that was my first inner reaction to my sisters death, and it has not changed much in the last two years. Most of us wants to avoid this truth; the personality doesn't like the idea in the least. But there is some understanding in the essence, I think, of what death is; and, as strange as it may sound, the essence looks forward to it.
The essence in man, if it forms rightly, is destined for greater things. And the purpose of life is to form a spiritual practice that prepares us for that. Where is the recognition of that in an effort to cling to life?
We are only in these bodies for a brief time; yet, although we claim that our "civilization" has "advanced,"it's clear enough that people understood this fact much better in the Middle Ages that we do today. At that time, death was a more immediate presence, with less technological tools to fend it off. We see a consequent depth of religious practice in those times that is lost today. If you believe in your own death, you prepare for it; but all we believe in is life. That is, we believe in the materiality of life — the note re— and the desire and power that it implies. We are not inclined to move past that into being, purification, and wisdom, which is what the soul needs on its journey from this life into the next.
We need to know the sensation of this life in order to know death. The true sensation of this life contains death; who knows this well? The man or woman who knows this well knows what God knows; and is drawn deeper into themselves, into their sensation, to examine this question and its consequences carefully.
In the granting of each life, a responsibility has been conferred; and it is to look through the body, into the soul. In doing so, we move towards the heart of the matter; and it is the only real medicine available for us.
May your soul be filled with light.