Here and Gone

Is Everything Impermanent?

Death can be such a shock. It can be hard to accept that a person is no longer here

This is of course especially the case if we were close to the person who has died. How can it be that someone simply ceases to exist, that they’ve gone, and we will never again experience their presence? It can seem unbelievable and so hard to accept. There is an empty space there now that can never be filled.

Take a moment to contemplate the word gone and how it makes you feel

It’s the finality of the word is it not? It’s the finality of death. How can it be that death is so final? Why do we struggle so much with this ending of life? They’re such extreme opposites are they not? Alive/Dead. Aware/Unaware.

It’s said that the main reason for our suffering in life is our attachment to impermanent things. And we humans are most certainly impermanent. Our awareness of this, goes some way to explaining our need to leave something of ourselves behind, after we’ve gone. Be this our DNA or a statue to mark our achievements whilst we were alive. This is important to most, but not all. Professor Brian Cox recently commented on how he always smiles when thinking about the eventual death of the universe, and the nonsense of our attempts to immortalize people with things like statues, or history books.

When our attachment to the impermanent fades we begin to accept the absolute necessity of endings

Why is it necessary and how do we lose our attachment? Whether we like it or not nature dictates the need for opposites. It’s deeply enshrined within the laws under which the universe operates. There is on and there is off. When we are alive the light is switched on and when we die it is off. We could say: the light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long, and yet, this, is not always the case.

A long life is never certain. I believe we can sometimes influence the odds slightly but that’s about all. Ultimately, if we stay attached to the life that was, we will struggle to except someones passing. If we create an imagined future of what the dead could have achieved, and attach ourselves to this, we will struggle. An imagined future is an illusion. They lived and we must find a way to be thankful for that.

You may choose to believe that the light can be turned on again in some other place or form or time

Does this belief have value? I feel that it can be very comforting to believe that our loved ones go on in some way after their death. That they have a soul which has permanence.

It has been noted that when we look deeply at matter, what we see, is that it mainly contains information. I wonder if it’s useful to believe that information has permanence, and that even after the death of this universe, the information it contains, will continue to exist in some form or another. It’s hard to believe that it will all be lost forever, is it not?

In Memory of Peter Cawthorne 1963 – 2021

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