Search online for “death, meaning” and you’ll be presented with answers like ‘end of life’ and /or ‘cessation of vital functions’. Personally, I find that really funny, in that supposed descriptions of what death is are actually definitions that are not only dependent upon but in a practical sense actually only describe what it’s not.
And if an appreciation of death (as a ‘thing’ or event) is dependent upon an understanding of what it means to be ‘alive’, we find ourselves on a whole contraindicative slope of ascertaining what ‘life’ is. We can generally talk about definitions of life as predicated on the idea of matter animated by a life ‘force’, but for the fact that even what we define as dead plant matter nourishes life (as compost, for example), must it not by extension (still) have some ‘life’ in it?
We say we keep people alive in our memories, our hearts, and in our thoughts (/minds), and to that end, ‘alive’ is a subjective perception. For the fact that (as quantum physicists now affirm) the solidity – the very ‘reality’ – of our experience as we perceive it is illusory (not only are we mostly empty space, the tiniest of particles that make us up ‘blink’ /phase in and out of existence), we ourselves are a subjective perception. The latest definitions of it suggest that ‘matter’ – all of ‘life’, in fact – is better described as frequency, rather than anything corporeal.
As much as our nighttime dreams are, to all intents and purposes, everything we perceive of as constituting our waking life is a dream (albeit a shared one). It’s just that we perceive it on (/from) another level of consciousness /frequency. Thoughts constitute our experience /’life’.
One might argue that dream characters can’t affect or hurt us the way waking events can, that they’re only an illusory representation, but consciously or unconsciously they symbiotically influence – not only our dreaming selves but – our ‘awake’ selves as much as ‘real’ people can (especially if we’re not lucid about them). Consider that a dream character can be our mind’s representation of something that’s already ‘happened’, as a projection of what’s going on in our subconscious influenced by life events, and to that end, we’re already been irrevocably changed by it, by what impressions we’re influenced to carry on as a (semi-conscious) result of our perception of it. If even during a dream we’re instilled with the belief that dream characters affect us, our perception of ourselves and our existence is irrevocably changed. As a consequence, we’ll behave differently as a result; the ‘life’ of that character (which by consequence is essentially our own life) will have fundamentally altered ours.
I am not a tailor; I am a suit. Or, wait… I’m not a suit; I’m a tailor. Or, wait… maybe I’m just a (…?) thinking about whether I’m the (/a) suit or tailor. Or, wait…
Dream characters can only hurt us in a dream to the extent that the apparently solid beings around us (or death) in our illusory waking life can (spoiler alert: Ultimately, we can’t be hurt). There’s considerable evidence of our existence surviving bodily function, through accounts of what people refer to as *near-death and past-life experiences, but I’d argue the descriptors (‘death’ and ‘life’) don’t do our experience justice. Being consciousness, eternal beings in an illusory world, death doesn’t exist but as a ‘dreamed’ perception (albeit a seemingly vivid one).
[ *two of my preferred examples: one by the neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander MD, in his book ‘Proof of Heaven‘, and ‘Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation Of A World War II Fighter Pilot’ by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, parents who witnessed their then two year old son recalling verifiable details of a previous life]
So, let’s maybe try this again… considering that even something ‘dead’ affects life, what is death? It’s a semantic, quasi-existential concept, an aspect of our illusory perception of existence, existence itself a continuum. As such, it’s probably more helpful to acknowledge death in spiritual terms, as a sacred element of all that is Sacred, and as such, there’s nothing ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ (or even final) about it; it just ‘is’ (or is not, as is more to the point).
Of course, illusory or no, we by enlarge consider death an experience. And by enlarge, we associate it as something worth attaching fears to. What to ‘do’ about it (/death)? Live in the present, contemplate our good fortune, even if it means blessing the chaos we perceive in our lives. Allow everything to fall away except the stillness of the moment; live within the space between breaths, where neither life nor death exists (spoiler: you won’t find ‘nothing’ there).
Big Medicine Love to You
David ‘Black Feather’ Nagy