Life, Death, Time And Freedom (or, All The Things They Touch) (A Meditation)

“It is appointed upon man ONCE to die …” (Hebrews 9:27)

Did you ever help someone? Ever feel like you had “pull” with another person, the ability to influence them? Ever find it irresistable to show your opinion, popular or not? Ever get mad at someone for their own good? Well if so, congratualations, you are officially a human!

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Did you ever tell someone you love them? Someday, hoping it will be remembered; maybe somehow your words might make someone else’s life better?

Did you ever wonder if anyone cares about you? If they might acknowledge you or reciprocate anytime during this lifetime? Congratulations; you are not alone! You are living! Viva la vida!


Things are being born … and dying … every day all around us.

Did you notice?

You will one of these times!

Some of the things being born and dying will be uniquely important to you because of their personalities and the ways they touch the lives of other humans. The life itself, birth and death that surrounds us in nature we routinely ignore. We value life as a gift, but wonder how we should feel when we kill a fish so people can have something to eat.

There might be less confusion if we are honest about life; we don’t need life, we need people; we don’t honor life, we ignore it, but we desperately need the people we meet during our lives. The formula only makes sense if we admit life is not what’s important, and we have no control over what lives and what dies … but it is personalities – people’s words and faces – that make the world go ‘round.


We must separate life from “being human” to appreciate what God has given us. This is a meditation on what I think God wants us to see.


The only thing we have that’s unique to us is our personality.

candleEverything else is not unique. Our human bodies are muscle and bone, just like your next door neighbor and just like another human halfway around the world.

Clothes are not unique. They support community. We need them to stay warm sometimes, but don’t select which clothes we wear just for usefulness; clothes do not make one person different than another in any way. The opposite: we strive to be “like” other people, and that can be seen in our clothes.

Language is incidental. If you live in place A, you speak language A … place B, language B. Nothing more to it. Just like everybody does.

So far … we’re just like a dog you haven’t met. Just a life.

What makes us … us?


Actual words we speak are not unique until they’re assembled into meaningful and intentional sentences. Then we have, for the first time, some personality.

The language you speak does not make you a unique person. The message you create using those words, though, does. In the presence of friends, your hands, eyes and body language all support your personality, and literally make you you.

It’s our mind, thoughts and the way we communicate with others that makes us who we are.

Everything about humans is defined by words, even God.


SunflowerAnd otherwise, if we are not unique, individuals, people; then we are … what? Just another animal on the planet? No, even less than that, more like a plant; like just a life. “Just a life” is a hard-to-imagine concept, because of sympathy … we try to respect “life.” We’ll step on an ant but not kick a dog. Maybe that’s because dogs have more personality than ants!

But we don’t respect or love life; we respect individuals. We respect personalities, not lives. Even from afar by word of mouth, we still can love Abe Lincoln for what he is said to have said. We love the most the people we know face to face. They create our world, our reality.

This is not to diminish life or living beings, but to extract the life as something different from the person. The person is forever, and this is proven fact we strengthen every thinking day. A living person sitting next to you right now is not more “real” than Abraham Lincoln, a man you’ll never meet. It’s not heartbeat that makes a man real; it’s the deeds he does which create a personality while alive and reputation infinitely afterwards.

All the things they touch … becomes all the things they touched … and that is who they are. The more people we touch the stronger we are in infinity, being remembered.


It is because of our personality we are loved … or hated; successful or pitied; honored or misunderstood. Humans measure success assuming there is a unique entity which may deserve such, in every endeavor in every way. It’s an assumed part of being successful that we have a unique creature to begin with. One we can identify and return to and have a relationship with.


girl with fireDeath can seem like a non-state; like a state of nothingness, where nothing happens; no information is given to us about it; life stops. We worry about this, logically, despite the rejuvination we see in nature and even if we accept the terms of life. We know we’ll die.

But death can’t be a non-state. We know our minds, as when asleep every night, are capable of working beyond the time-envelope of consciousness. This is as true as the face we use in our dreams, the same face we use in our awake life.

In dreaming, time is altered but still understood. Try to imagine … though I think it’s impossible … that it’s not life that’s taken away when we “die,” but time. I suggest it’s impossible to imagine living beyond the time-envelope because even when time is altered (a week’s-long dream in one evening) in our dreaming, we only “remember” what happened in a time-envelope context.

It’s the only way we can think, like it’s a canvas we’re painted on – we are painted into time. So therefore, if it were time that were removed from the equation, and you didn’t think of it as life taken away … it would be completely incomprehensible.

Sleep, I think, is a clue strongly-supporting continuing momentum, beyond time, after “death” … because the mechanisms that make us “us,” our personalities, remain intact. There’s no reason this should be the case; after all, it’s a dream and we have no control over it – but we typically don’t dream away from normal first-person, as if we were some new personality. There’s a personality glue – any reason? It’s because, I think, personality is powerfully indelible.


There are creatures being born and dying all around us all the time. If you don’t notice it’s because it’s routine, and nature uses cycles of life to control populations. But we’re given a community that lives forever, and puts energy into honoring people long after they’re dead.

Humans are different than other animals, in a practical way that creates spirituality … embeds it into our lives; through rejuvination, life cycles and by the gift of intelligence. Unlike any other animal humans understand long-term evolution (and therefore wonder – and worry – about their fates); humans write things down and communicate so successfully not even death, nor time, can diminish the words.

In those words we live.

If we worry about life and death, that worry is a curse, side-effect of the same intelligence that allows our reputations to live indefinitely in commonality and history … same intelligence that brings the question of eternity to the table in the first place … and same intelligence that makes us, unlike our beloved golden retriever, holy.

We shouldn’t be fearful, but embrace making the world better. And praise, in our own ways, the opportunity to be alive!

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