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Companion Death   Apr22 2007

Filed under feature, Serendipity |

To Live is to Suffer

Life is inevitably pain, sickness, death and decay.

Everything is touched by the shadow of dissatisfaction, imperfection, disillusion.

No one escapes.

Sound familiar? Not just my pathetic publisher on a good day. Not just any of us on our 50th birthday.

Simply the first Noble Truth of Buddhism, philosophy 101, lesson numero oono for every child when a parent dies –

You grow old. You die. Life Sucks

If you don’t reach old age, maybe you’re lucky.

We are obsessed with life, the universe, and everything. Especially (and increasingly with age) the moment our bodies fail, a dismembering of mind, spirit, and matter.

Left alive in this flickering moment we ponder dying or rotting flesh, shell of a person who was, such corpora delicti of life’s offence against itself that draws our bewildered incomprehension toward that dimly perceived and feared Transition, the doorway where time stops, where life’s experience is said to replay, where light claims the pure, burning darkness the fallen, where big bang merges with Omega – beyond the paradox of eternity.

Images of death circulate freely now on the net. We who don’t work with recently and violently deceased, who have not experienced the vileness of war, tend to be morbidly curious when confronted with starkly destroyed bodies.

Belief – suspended for carnage in horror flicks – returns with vengeance when the victim is real, playing a tortuous kaleidoscope of emotions on an area of mind normally shut tight.

More sickening, however, is our impunity to a vast community of less fortunate fellow beings who live close to death in abject misery.

You feel strongly too, but don’t know what to do, right?

Well, that at least is the first step.

Let the feeling grow inside and an opportunity to effectively help might present itself. A frame of mind is the first step to empathy.

The saint-like are out there helping, so don’t panic. The more you learn and think, the more effective your help will be when the moment arrives, and how you might help becomes suddenly obvious.

Empathy. Giving meaning to life.