Jedi believe that the soul survives death, Jedi do not obsessively mourn those who pass. There will always be some mourning, and missing of that person, which is only natural. But Jedi avoid the extremes of mourning that can be so debilitating, negative, and destructive. Jedi trust the Force to take care of our departed loved ones and ‘let go’.
(33 Jedi Traits)
We all die, that’s a fact. It is an inescapable part of our biology. The cost of consciousness is the acute awareness of our inherent mortality. We begin dying as soon as we are born. Some of us will live full lives reaching old age and a weary acceptance of the closing circle. Others will pass on much earlier and seemingly before their time was due. We do not like to remind ourselves but every soul who we know, younger and older and those not yet born but destined to be will all die.
“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu
The Final Act
Last week I pondered deeply on the meaning of life and the finality of death. I wondered at the prospect of a life eternal and whether souls do indeed depart the confines of the body and ego and return to a Divine Source. Experience has taught me to keep an open mind. There have been times when I am sure I have felt the presence of departed loved ones. I have sensed that love does not die but transcends to that place beyond the veil.
One of the guys at work took his own life at his home. It came as a shock to all as he was a young man with a full life ahead of him. There were no outward signs of depression and he had been looking forward to an overseas holiday. His career was tracking well and he had recently built a home. Engaged to be married he left behind a child hood sweet heart. No one could understand it, certainly I could not. Then, can we ever truly know a person? What resides with in the deepest recesses of a person’s heart can be far removed from what we see.
All Journey’s End
Like most people, I have grieved the Departed who were family and friends. Most of the time we would rather not think about death at all but the reality is that as we grow older we seem to attend more funerals than weddings. Life is a cycle of renewal and Death is a part of that. To seek immortality and cheat death is to go against the nature of things.
“Death is one prophecy that never fails” – Edmund Wilson
Through life I have also been close to death a number of times both physical and spiritual. I was never afraid of dying from some misadventure. My fear was to die the slow death of alcoholism and arrive at that place knowing that life had been forfeit long ago. To live like that was to die every day.
A Crowded Life
I have worked with animals, some are rare and endangered. One species I’m very familiar with has a curious habit. The males live a single year. They are born and quickly leave the den to establish their own territory. From that point they live to eat as much as possible in order to build the size and strength to compete successfully for females.
When the females enter in to heat the males will frantically mate until they are physically incapable of doing so any more. They will copulate with as many females as they can in order to increase the chances of passing on their genetic baton. Once they have expended their energy reserves they drop dead. They literally shag themselves to death.
For a period there are few if any males in the population. The Females are able to take advantage of limited resources without competing with males for food and shelter allowing them to gestate and provide for the newborns. The young when they emerge have a higher chance of survival with the absence of grown males and disperse seeking vacant territory. The cycle continues. Death is a key element in the survival and evolution of the species.
“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” – DH Lawrence
Humans are also subject to natural laws. If people were able to live forever or past several generations it would serve no biological purpose and stretch resources thin. Old men voluntarily give up their place in a life raft for a reason. They have lived and served their purpose. Each life is but a flash in the expanse of eternity. Our only purpose is to live our lives in the time we have. We choose how.
In the Star Wars saga death is a constant. We are reminded that those that die are returned to the Force from which they emerged. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another. Life Force transcends to the spirit. Certain Jedi were able to retain their consciousness of self after death would appear as spiritual beings able to communicate with the living.
“Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter” – Yoda
I believe that death is not the end but a single stage in a broader existence. If we are divine beings having a human experience then it would make sense that our earthly confine of body, time and space mean nothing in the after life. To unite with the Force would be to become one with all that is. The nature of that source is the grandest mystery, but is it?
Deep down we know that when we say Goodbye to a loved one in their final moments we are saying “See you soon”. I have been present at the birth of a child and the moment of death of a person whose heart I felt stop. There was an air of reverence in the room on both occasions as if all who were present knew that they were experiencing a special and holy moment.
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.” – Yoda
Love never Dies
We all miss those who depart before us and we grieve them. Grief is a personal expression of loss and love. Some grieve more than others. In some cultures they celebrate the passing of loved ones. Some societies expect a set period of mourning after which life goes on and grieving stops. There is no right or wrong but to grieve for years over the loss of a loved one does not bring the person back. It only leads to suffering.
We can rest assured that our loved ones suffer no more. I believe that they would not want us to suffer in our grief. Letting go of our attachments means accepting that death is a natural part of life and is not to be feared. We all want to live long and happy lives and wish the same on others, this is also natural.
I believe that our loved ones do watch over us and want us to be happy and not be bound by grief. We can keep their memories alive and celebrate their lives and know that some day we shall meet again on the other side. To Let Go is to express undying love.
Life is a gift, but by nature it is impermanent. One should live each day knowing that it might be their last. A sword dangles over each of us. We must be prepared for our own final destiny but we must also accept that those whom we love also share that same destination. In that way each of us are all the same and we are all are united in the end.
“Let each thing you would do, say or intend be like that of a dying person” – Marcus Aurelius