I have a question for you, that I would like to explore together over the next two weeks. First thing: I would like to invite you to ponder the question first, then read second. See what YOU think and feel, then check out my thoughts. From there I would love to hear what YOU think!
Here's the question:
Is it possible to have reverence for life - to want to take care of it, to be careful and mindful of how we live WITHOUT coming from a place of ‘fearing’ or ‘resisting’ death?
Here are my thoughts.
I think so.
There’s a lot of talk in the alt health/spirituality world these days about transcending the fear of death.
About not living our lives so cautiously because death is only an illusion.
Many speak out about transcending this narrative that death is bad/scary/something to be feared, so that we won't be so prone to being persuaded by ‘mainstream medicine/media/government/education’ into giving up our freedoms in an attempt to preserve life.
There’s a rising rhetoric that to follow any outside authority, to restrict your life in ANY way for the sake of life preservation - yours or others - is actually a silly thing to do. It means you’re buying into a false story about health, about how much power and control we have over our bodies, about how much power we each have as individuals to LIVE if we really take responsibility for ourselves - and if we are taking enough responsibility we shouldn’t fear sickness.
Wellness Culture Is Telling Us Health Is Just A Choice You Make:
Many wellness influencers these days are preaching that if we treat our bodies well - eat ‘clean’ food, take the right supplements, lower our stress levels, find our passions, work out, breathe, connect with loving people - that we will all then transcend chronic illness and find these supernatural levels of health.
That if we owned our power, illness could be eradicated in a matter of months - medicine, pharmaceuticals, mainstream media, public health measures need not apply as they are all symptom treaters at best - and causing more problems than they are actually solving at worst.
The message is predicated on an idea that we all have equal access to the tools of transcended health at our disposal, and must be showing some sign of moral failing if we aren't utilizing them, sacrificing the right things, doing the right disciplines in order to achieve these states of wellness. Those who preach these things believe that if THEY can do it - everyone must be able to - and thus if they aren’t, they must just suck.
At the same time we are told by so many of these exact same people - who have naturally strong constitutions generally speaking, who have the capacity to make enough money to afford healthy food, supplements, time off, wellness therapies that help them work through their mental and emotional blocks and so on, all of which ALLOW for them to have robust health - that to fear death is silly. Because it’s all an illusion. Life never ends and we are all infinitely connected. There’s no beginning or end and therefore to live in any way cautiously, or to do things in an attempt to preserve the lives of those who are much more delicate - the already sick, the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, those born ill or with weaker systems - is to buy into a lie. Is to be unenlightened and clinging to a superficial reality that we are meant to shake off at some point anyway.
They engage in a million and one ways to preserve their own lives utilizing all the tools accessible to them, and then chastise those who don't have access or aren't having the same success as being fearful.
They lead lives of health preservation, and then turn around and tell those who need extra support that they are being weak, doing it wrong, or otherwise impeding on the freedoms of those who are stronger with their calls for support.
They fear death too - they just feel like what they are doing to avoid it is working. They tell others they are being fearful as a way of deflecting from the reality that not all of us are created equal and not all of us have equal access. They aren't living care free - they just have a system they feel is working.
Old people die - why should the young and robust have to sacrifice any pleasure or comfort in order to give them a few extra months or years? That’s tyranny. Why should any of us who are well, or who if we DO get sick will most likely be able to fight it off and feel fine - thus confirming a bias that it’s only the weak that succumb to illness anyway - have to suffer and sacrifice for those who are clearly NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEMSELVES? If people get sick and suffer - it was their own fault anyway. Or they were unlucky, if some are being generous. Society needs to ‘wake up’ and make peace with death. Know that it isn’t real. Sure, others may suffer, sure others are sick, sure. But it’s their fault. And death isn’t real. Their fears are unfounded. Their desire for others to sacrifice THEIR pleasure and immediate desires is SELFISH because they should be taking better care of themselves, and they should be more WOKE so as to see that death is only a reset.
Has Fear Of Death Actually Been Transcended?
In my experience, this rhetoric is actually steeped in denial and is the flip side of the same fear of death coin that they are criticizing so heavily.
The reality is first and foremost - none of us know what happens after death.
I don’t care how many plant chemicals you’ve ingested.
How many galactic federations you’ve consulted.
How many souls from beyond the grave you’ve invited into your consciousness for message parties.
How many near death/out of body experiences you’ve had that proved to YOU that death is an illusion.
Whatever your idea of the afterlife/death is - it can't be verified. We can't ever know if what you experienced was true reality or a chemical cocktail based in your physiology, past experiences, culture, ideas about life and so on.
The bottom line is, no matter what lead to anyones certainty around death and the afterlife, it's still just a story. Whatever you or whomever your listening to went through, what resulted was a comfortable story to shake off the existential fear we ALL carry at all times.
Whether you or the person sharing their experience is aware or not, we all fear death and carry around the existential dread of not knowing.
We are self aware - and yet we have no idea where we came from, what consciousness is, and where it goes when the body expires. We have a plethora of theories - from religious ideas, to nihilistic nothingness to the new age ‘unity’ consciousness - but all of them are just that - ideas. The stories we tell ourselves that help us navigate the ultimate unknown that will ALWAYS BE and unknown. Maybe there’s truth in some or all of them - but ultimately we can’t KNOW. This is VERY important to acknowledge.
We can't know what happens after death until we die.
We can’t come back.
So there we have it.
There Is A Lot Of Pain In Life:
At the same time, we live a life of pain.
Yes, there's also lots of pleasure - which we wish to maximize and control - but there’s the constant drumbeat of age. Of illness.
Even if everything in our personal lives is going fantastically at the moment - all we have to do is take a look around us to see the reminder of suffering that is persistent in this life experience.
No matter how empowered we get, how well we get, how robust and ‘above it all’ we seem to be - there will ALWAYS be that lurking chaos. That doubt. That event that could sweep in and wash it all away - or at least the fear of this.
As much as we want to, we aren't ever going to outrun the pain part of this duality experience.
We can work to maximize pleasure till we’re blue in the face - but we are all connected to one another - and when we run from our own suffering we then have a knee jerk reaction to run from the suffering of others.
When we can’t actually make room for the human experience to be what it is within ourselves - when we have had SO MUCH capacity to improve our own standing/starting from a place of wellness and given ourselves a false sense of ultimate power and control over our circumstances - we can easily be deluded into thinking that suffering is a choice.
That that tug on our hearts when we look at the world around us that DOESN’T have their ‘shit together’ like we do, can be waived off through a ‘well, they did it to themselves, that will never happen to me and they could just stop suffering if the stopped fearing death so much.’
Germs don’t exist.
Viruses don't affect people.
It’s all terrain. It’s all in your head.
If you believe enough positive things you can be invincible.
Pain and suffering are a result of doing/thinking incorrectly - and there is always an OBVIOUS ‘correct’ way - one they have perfect access to - and will sell you for $111.11/ month.
One that if again, you don’t have, what’s wrong with you? To think that anyone could actually NEED assistance from the government, from mainstream health care, from institutions of any form is laughable.
Again, they are self made. They figured it out. The work and pay for and do it all on their own - why can't YOU?
There are many in the health, wellness and spirituality worlds who haven’t actually made peace with their pain.
They worked hard to transcend it.
They organized their lives such that MOST of the time they are reminded of pleasure only.
Others' pain is now ‘bad vibes.’ Low. Negativity. Irresponsible. Government and health bodies that try to create wide net solutions for large problems are tyrannical and idiotic.
Again, eat more fruits and veggies/grass fed meat.
Take that magnesium.
Do those workouts.
Breathe this way and dip in the cold pool.
None of this suffering has to be happening. Build your own business.
Work harder - live in your parents basement and have them feed you and clothe you for a year while your life coaching career takes off.
Duh. Bro. Sis. Get.Your.Shit.Together.
No one’s coming to rescue you.
They forget that by the very nature of being born into a first world country, having access to technology, the fact that everyone around them from the past generation got vaccinated, the fact that they were born into a time with sanitation and infrastructure, the fact that their parents had the expandable income to house them into their adulthood so they could find their purpose, the fact that hey COULD open that business and sacrifice and still have food and shelter - means that they are in a separate class of people. That the people born into impoverished nations, those born with neuro-diversity, disability, chronic illness, those who had deeply TRAUMATIZING upbringings and weren’t supported, those whose education was simply lack luster or not available at all - can’t just ‘get their shit together.’ The world isn’t set up for them and their success the way it is for these empowered folk.
I'll be back next week with the second half of this post! See you then.