I sat in the radiance of the full-moon feeling insignificant and introspective one evening. In this state of being, I began to pondered these questions:
- What is life's purpose?
- What is our true purpose?
- Does life's purpose change over time?
When we are faced with the unexpected, like a death, perhaps a loss of someone close, we become acutely aware of how life is so very precious and delicate. Death is literally one breath away.
I've been searching for the meaning of life ever since the first person in my life died, my grandmother. One day she was living and the next day she no longer walked on this beautiful earth. When I was hit with the realization that I would no longer hear her voice and see her smile, oh, how I cried and could not understand how she could be gone just like that. What meaning did her life hold, I thought, as my tears flowed. What is the purpose of loving someone and then having them snatched away? Why do we have to go through this pain?
Since then I have experienced more loss and each time I go through the same cycle of grief and bewilderment. What does it all mean?
Thinking of death fills me with equal amounts of fear and fascination. The fear is because I don't like to think about death and the finality of it all. On some level I think if I think about it, death will be conjured up. I choose instead to think that my love ones will live forever.
But on the other hand, I am also fascinated by the questions of death. It is after all a natural part of life. Do we have a soul? Where does our soul (if we have one) go when they die? Is time and space blurred when we die? Why do we still feel the essence of someone after they die?
Honestly, we don't want to think about it, do we. Most of us don't even want to say the word, died. We use euphemisms like "passed away" or "no longer with us". life is consumed with routine activities of survival, eat, work, play, love, and sleep, which leaves little space to think about the nasty subject of death. Essentially, we avoid it as much as possible.
But death is unavoidable. Then someone we love dies and we are forced to deal with it. Our reality is forever changed and sometimes it can take a long time to come to terms with the loss. In the haze of our grief and uncertainty we begin to think more deeply about our human existence.
The flip side of living is death. How can you be fully alive if you don't look at death? Indeed, as we can become more aware of how vulnerable life is, there is no question we will appreciate it more and the people in our life.
Thus, we become alive. We want life to matter. We want meaning. We feel more deeply. We're more attentive to the ones we love. We say "I love You".
However, this stage can be brief and when the grief has passed, we go back to going through the motions again. Back to our daily routine and back to living without being fully alive. On the whole, we are satisfied to go through the motions of living without being fully conscience.
Under the defused light of the full moon and feeling inconsequential, with a zillion thoughts and emotions competing for space in my mind, nothing comes close to answering the question of life's purpose. Perhaps there are no answers. I've intentionally left out any discussion on religion and how religions explain the notion of death because we really don't know, do we?
"Death the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace, and whose refuge is for all -
the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved." Mark Twain