A friend just recently back from a meditation retreat in India was reflecting with me on the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything….
We got to talking about death and suffering and the extent to which the unarticulated fear of death and chronic, painful terminal illness can loom over us, limiting how we might live our lives in the fullest possible way.
My friend asked me ‘Do you believe that all that you are disappears when you die?’
My answer: ’I don’t know-nobody knows!’
That, for me is what makes it such an interesting journey to be on. It’s a journey I’ve been on from the moment my germinal ovum kissed one microscopically small tadpole of a sperm cell. Death and dying are the YIN to the YANG of life and living.
I told my friend I was ready for death. Cultivating a fascination for my creeping decrepitude and decay was becoming my Next Big Project. He wondered how I had reached this contented level of equanimity towards a subject that most are programmed to avoid like the plague.
On reflection it’s probably something to do with how I have come to feel about the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What happens to ‘who I am’ in death?’
So who am I? Apart from being a big old queer!
My presence is indisputably in existence on a number of parallel levels:
The scientist/materialist would say I am the sum total of all the atoms and molecules which make up the compounds, water, salts, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, cell walls and DNA of my body and all the electrostatic and electromagnetic forces around and between them. In death every atom of this aspect of my presence is available for re-purposing elsewhere: Stardust to Stardust!
The zoologist would say that I am a mammalian creature who has a survival instinct; hardwired to breathe, keep warm, drink, piss, eat, shit and f*ck.
The magician would say that I am a magickal creature, invested with my very own sovereign power to purposefully manifest. To energise thoughts and ideas, to authentically articulate and express emotions and to cultivate nature in all its aspects.
As a Faerie, my presence is about acknowledging the full spectrum of my emotional life and giving this permission to take up space. I’m acknowledging my fears and developing a fierceness in my determination to become who I am purposed to be. Feeling relief as I connect to nature. Allowing myself to feel anger, awe, joy, love compassion and intuition.
As a thinker, I have a presence which shows up as my thoughts, ideas, values and beliefs. Some believe this presence is who they are!
I’m certain that all of these aspects of who I am will have an impact beyond the date of my death. Just as the presences of all my queer ancestors have impacted on my own sense of purpose.
Beyond this, who knows what lives on. Soul? Nature Spirit? …..Back to the Garden?
I’ll know when it happens!