What is the Meaning of Life? What is the meaning of Death?
October 7, 2018
Recently my elderly father collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He has already suffered mini-strokes in the past and this time it looked like he really might pass away.
‘Pass away’, what does that even mean?
My relationship with my dad is not good, it never has been, he is a bitter, violent man that made my brothers and my childhood a frightening and traumatic experience. He has never really changed, he’s just too old to hit us now.
So, how did I feel about the possibility of his finally passing on, dying, kicking the bucket? Why did he choose to live a life full of anger and hatred?
How do we all cut our path through existence? Why do we make the choices we make and often live lives unfulfilled and unsatisfactory?
What’s the meaning of life?
What’s the meaning of death?
If you believe in life, do you believe in death?
Our lives can sometimes get fogged up; how can we see more clearly?
“May God give you…For every storm, a rainbow, for every tear, a smile, for every care, a promise, and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer to each prayer.” FROM HIPPIE-PAULO COELHO-HUTCHINSON LONDON
Ask yourself, what must it have been like to be born at the time of the first men, living in caves and hunting for food? What was it like to be born into the 1400’s, a time full of perils and war? Or even into Victorian London, born into a life of poverty and disease? What was it like to be born into the second world war? Does the world we wake up in for the first time shape us as human beings (If that birth awakening was actually our first)?
Today babies are born into a world of Islamic terrorism, austerity and Brexit, isolationism and nationalism, intolerance and hate. But in all of these periods in time, there was also light against the dark.
Regardless of when or where we are born, we have the ability to shape our own destinies. What is happiness and how do we find it?
“The happiest people in the world don’t wear underwear. If they have clothes at all, it is either a simple sheath that covers their genitals or a cloth they wrap around their bodies in colder climates. They have almost no possessions. They don’t eat at restaurants, they don’t use smartphones, and they don’t watch television. They don’t have money. They don’t even know what money is. What they have is more valuable — a sense of serenity and self-confidence that would astound the average person. A joie-de-Vivre, an easy laugh, and an absence of stress and worry. They love freely and have a deep sense of oneness with the Earth.” THE AWAKENED APE-JEVAN PRADAS-2016
Jevan, of course, is talking about tribes that live in places like the Amazon rainforest, Africa and Nepal. People that live simple lives, free of materialism.
We are all tribes of some sort, but I am not suggesting we go and live amongst these people in order to live a happier existence. But we can change the way we live our lives to be closer to this happier way of being.
Ask yourself do you really need the latest I-phone, the biggest flat screen TV or that nice Armani handbag?
“How can we most enjoy the brief moment of time we have to be alive?” THE AWAKENED APE-JEVAN PRADAS
In the channel 5 (UK) TV show ‘New Lives in the Wild’, the program presenter spends a week at a time living with families and individuals who have chosen an alternative way of living, one free of materialism and modern vices. The presenter, of course, only gets a taste of what these brave peoples lives are like.
One family had chosen to move out of their New Zealand house and turn an old school bus into their new home.
They now live a nomadic life, driving across the beautiful New Zealand landscape, home tutoring their children through traditional means and through interaction with nature. They fund all this in a simple way, they write a video diary of their travels and make income from the adverts on the site. They have never been happier.
Another person he visited was an ageing hippie, who as a young man had decided he wanted to turn his back on capitalism and consumerism and move to the American wilderness. He first lived with a hippie friend in a cave, hunting and gathering. Later he married a like-minded lady he met in the local town. They built a cabin together and have lived 50 years amongst the wildlife, including bears and wolves. They grow their own fruit and vegetables and keep livestock; they are truly happy.
The sad thing that came across in this documentary was that Robert (the ageing hippie) was now worried he could no longer keep up this blissful existence because his ageing body was beginning to let him down. His ailments were causing him great concern because he did not want his way of life to end.
For some, making these dramatic and brave decisions to completely change their lives is the only way they can find the true meaning of life. But others find a different approach to simpler living works for them.
I have always dreamt of living on a canal boat, living a simple life away from the materialism I hate. I would also like to spend months at a time living in Goa in India, in a beach hut, moving at a slower more peaceful pace, living a Hippie Kushi lifestyle.
Some might choose to move into a motorhome or a van and travel the world. Others travel the seas in a sailing boat, or simply put on a backpack and start walking. Isn’t this what life is all about, not working at jobs we hate just to pay the bills or so we can buy the latest gadget. If we all embrace a simpler existence the world would truly be a happier place.
Excerpts from The Awakened Ape:
“The Meaning of life…
“How strange a thing it is to be alive! To be caught in the maelstrom of conscious experience, with its varied sensations of pleasure, pain, thought and vision. How different it is to be human beings, rather than rocks and oceans we share the planet with. How did it come to be so? Why do we feel what we feel? Why do we have the desires, likes and dislikes that we do? The average man is too busy, lost in a world of unfulfilled fantasies, to question why he has those dreams in the first place. Only after experiencing genuine heartache do we even pay lip service to these most important ideas.” THE AWAKENED APE-JEVAN PRADAS
Happiness isn’t ‘things’…
…Happiness is ‘love’, ‘people’, ‘nature’, ‘music’, ‘dancing’, ‘good wine’, ‘family’, ‘warmth and friendship’, ‘freedom, peace and being REAL’.
“That people can live their entire lives without actually knowing what it means to be a human being is a great misfortune. For without this philosophical foundation, we are liable to flitter away our short lives embroiled in needless dramas, mired in futile pursuits.” THE AWAKENED APE-JEVAN PRADAS
“Those who wish to learn magic ought to begin by looking around them. All that God wished to reveal to man He placed right in front of him, the so-called tradition of the Sun. The tradition of the Sun belongs to all – it wasn’t made for the erudite or the pure but for everyday people. Energy is to be found in the tiniest things man encounters in his path; the world is the true classroom, the Love Supreme knows you are alive and will teach you all you need to know.” HIPPIE-PAULO COELHO
My message is simple: Be alive, be happy, LIVE. Life is what counts, being alive, not things, possessions, not hate, intolerance or a need to be in charge of others.
If we live a fulfilling life does that mean we can also have a fulfilling death, or perhaps even an afterlife?
I have thought a great deal about death, especially since I turned 50. I suppose for me this goes hand in hand with god or my interpretation of what god is.
My interpretation of God:
I do not believe that God is a white-bearded man in the clouds, or was ever any kind of ‘human’. I believe through messages I have received through my life that ‘God’, or Vishnu as I now choose to call this presence, is a source of energy, a living, feeling, thinking energy source at the centre of the universe. This energy source has created everything, knows everything and also sends us messages when we really need to hear them. It can manifest in our dreams as a being with form. For me, he has appeared as both Vishnu, Ganesha, and when I’m in a dark, depressed place; as a Great White shark, an ongoing dream I have had since birth. He has spoken to me in my dreams and told me I am on the right path.
So what does this belief make me feel about death? I believe when we die our bodies no longer exist but our souls live on. We become spirits of light, like mini-versions of the one source Vishnu. We leave this world and join the main energy source out in the universe and so become one with the greater Vishnu.
You may find my thoughts on god and death silly or even ridiculous but it gives me peace to believe this. It makes me not afraid of death. Because the spirit that leaves me would have lived a good, fulfilling, happy and free life.
To finish I would like to explore what other religions believe happens to us after we die and in doing so we have travelled full circle:
BIRTH, LIFE, EXISTENCE, DEATH & REBIRTH.
Views on Death According to Different Religions
“Facing death of a close family member or a dear friend is a difficult task for anyone. During such a time often people think about the mysterious aspects of life, and most especially death. There are different types of questions that come to the mind and people start looking for answers. If you wish to understand death, different religious viewpoints can help a lot.
Most of the religions have a strong viewpoint regarding life and death. Nearly all the religions believe in afterlife, reincarnation, heaven and hell, or soul. Religion is a major part of life and death. In fact, the concept of death in different religions differs a lot. For instance, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism have discrete opinions about death and what comes after”
Let’s check out what the viewpoints are:
Views on Death in Christianity
“Christian beliefs about the afterlife vary between denominations and individual Christians, but vast majority of Christians believe in some kind of heaven, in which believers enjoy the presence of God and other believers and freedom from suffering and sin. Most of the Christians follow the idea that Jesus died on the cross for the sins (immoral acts) of humanity, so that we could achieve salvation. There are references of heaven and hell in the Bible. It is clearly stated that those who do not follow and believe in Jesus will ultimately end up in hell, while those who do will achieve salvation and end up in heaven. In the Bible it is explained that there is a time to be born, and a time to die.
Initially, most Christian favoured burial of the dead body but today both cremation and burial are practised by Christians. Whether it is burial or cremation, there are many rituals that Christians practice for the deceased.”
Views on Death in Islam
“Muslims believe that the present life is only a preparation for the next realm of existence. For them death is merely movement from one world to another. It can be described as a journey through a separate dimension of existence. The Prophet taught that three things can continue to help a person even after death; charity which he had given, knowledge which he had taught and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child.
Upon the death of a Muslim person, the body of the deceased is washed and covered in a clean white cloth and preparation for burial takes place as soon as possible. Muslims gather and prayers are performed for the dead and soon after the prayer the body of the deceased is buried. The body is to be laid on its right side facing the direction of Makkah. Charity, fasting, prayers, and pilgrimage are often performed by the family members on behalf of the deceased.”
Views on Death in Hinduism
“Death in Hinduism is very spiritual, and it strongly believes in the rebirth and reincarnation of souls. So, according to Hinduism, death is regarded as a natural process in the existence of soul as a separate entity. When a person dies, the soul travels for sometime to another world and finally returns again to the earth to continue its journey.
After death, Hindus are not buried, but cremated. According to Hinduism, a human body is made up of five elements. Out of the five elements four elements are fire, earth, water and air. The fifth element is known as ether and it belongs to the domain of the subtle body and does not belong to the Earth. By cremating the body, the elements are rightfully returned to their respective spheres, while the subtle body along with soul returns to the world for the continuation of its afterlife. A lot of rituals are associated with the cremation ceremony.”
Views on Death in Buddhism
“In Buddhism a lot has been said about the importance of death. It was awareness of death that prompted Lord Buddha to explore the truth behind worldly concerns and pleasures. After a long search, Lord Buddha finally came to the conclusion that death is inevitable for a person who thinks about worldly pleasures and attitudes. Today, Buddhists look at death as taking a break from this materialistic world. Buddhist people do not think death as a continuation of the soul but consider it as an awakening. They believe in reincarnation: once a person dies on this earth, he will be reborn to a new life here and the status of that life depends on the work he did before his previous death.
When a person is close to death, family members and monks recite scriptures and mantras. By doing so, they help the dying person to achieve a peaceful state of mind.”
“The role of religion in death is immense and when it comes to death you simply cannot ignore the religious viewpoints.”
GOA GIL-MY HERO-SOMEONE WHO IS REALLY LIVING HIS LIFE