I feel that we are under a terribly false impression about death. Have a look at the small poster I came across while I experienced my death as a professional educator in South Africa. While there were many teachable adolescents in that school, the thugs simply turned their backs and swore my mother, as the saying goes, made it impossible for me to teach anything, and the principal preferred her salary to reality. That's the way it goes in South Africa. The situation could not be helped to heal or blast into a better reality.
That's the background to the poster.
To name death we have to name more, or nothing. I grew up in a death-defying context: the Christian Brethren who had triumphed over death in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
No way. I felt their grief before I learned to speak, they weren't any different in their sense of loss to the rest of the world. They hurt, and hurt badly. And I wanted to do something about that, because, in spite of their tight and truthless belief system, they were kind, careful and caring people. And many of them taught me love. So the gap between their dogma and their intent lives was big, and I took that gap, being myself.
To go into the gap between language and experience, I'd say, learn to wait, and see which words emerge. As a poetry therapist, I recognise there's a sense of truth that's possible, but not always applied to words.
Leaves die each autumn, the tree remains for years and years. Cycles die down and return, solstice, equinox, and there are many kinds of time in the cosmos, star-time, sun-time and whatever cycle of time you prefer to set as default.
Our terror of death is largely because of human-inflicted trauma, the effects of which are hugely underestimated, no matter the historical time-lapse. Fear is a human construct as well as an instinctive impulse, and the instinct has been hijacked as often as possible, from an escape from hell, to insurance against everything.
So I'm going to rename death. We do not die. Sure, this organism goes to dust, once the heat and liquid go to the next cycle, but the thing to grasp is that the awareness of awareness is not so important as a permanent agency. I've had the experience of disappearing as an agency. It wasn't fun, but it was real. For some bewildering time, there was neither subjective nor objective experience. It was all one. Bliss? Forget. More like the weight of the cosmos resting on one horrified human who recognised that being in the flow was not being there at all.
We tend to pin much on personality and affection.
Death is not like that. The music of the cosmos bounces. Counterpoint is important. Melody seems to lead, but chords are really, really strong. And then you have voice. Pop sells, hey, and rightly so. What I'd name death as, is Presence.
I feel that Presence doesn't die. When you go, you magnify and are still there, a few times more than you were before. What was you fills up a whole lot more. So it makes sense to be fruitful and beneficial. And if you don't like these ways of being, stay away from me.
I don't identify with the word and name of death. To me, it's not the opposite of life. So far as I'm concerned, you get life, more life and very much more life. It's the meaning of life that we have to name, and use the gift of language to do so.
The easiest way to name life, to my way of thinking and feeling, is to communicate. Language finds a way if you really want to communicate.
So do bodies. Bodies, far from being matter, mucous and movement however slow, emit light.
That light vibrates at a particular wavelength and makes a unique sound.
If you listen to your voice, its often embarrassing.
So I suggest you use your voice to name death differently. It's not that we're going to disappear forever. Part of that is true, thank God. But the bigger thing is just as true, that we come back with more comprehension, more communication, more connection.
Check just three sets of eyes in the next twenty four hours. I do think they'll tell you this.