Saturday, 27 August 2011



… it’s been around for quite some time, now, but we still haven’t really come to terms with it, have we?

It’s the bleakest and most traumatic example of resistance against what is - that mental non-acceptance of the moment - yet it’s inevitable and inescapable that, from birth, we move towards it.

This human life is short, even at its longest… but although there are medical and scientific advances in preventing and curing disease, disablement and all other ailments, would we really want to stop the process of death entirely?

It freaks most people out when they hit 40.

I see centenarians on the TV that look like they want to sleep… but they’re bothered by nurses and carers and forced to blow out candles for the cameras.

I watch their faces and think of stretched days of hard toil when all you long for at the end of them is to rest your head and slide away into nothingness.

But, unless you’re really into fashion, death is seen as the ultimate tragedy…

I’m not about to say it doesn’t matter; that staying in the moment is all you need to remember, and the passing of a loved one is just the same psychological mismatch between the reality of life and what your mind wants life to be like, as it would be if you were stuck in traffic on the way to a gig when you knew that Kylie had already taken to the stage in one of her little outfits.

If death wasn’t such an inconceivable enigma… if it wasn’t regarded with such finality, or if we could see past the veil to what comes after, life wouldn’t be so valued.

You can argue - if you withdraw your perspective to a global, governmental level - there’s little value put on a human life, or on life at all, but zoom back in to a personal, family or community view, and life becomes the most precious thing there is.

Where governments rubber stamp a ‘shocked and saddened’ response to disasters and are ‘regretful’ of the loss of life in war, get in close and there are hearts breaking… every death tears the world apart for someone.

(On a tangent, if our communities led the government – as it should be - rather than the other way around, World War II would have been Churchill and Hitler having a punch-up in a field, surrounded by a handful of men in suits egging them on. The other 120 million people from their respective countries would have told them to take a hike when called to arms. We’d have come up with a beer brewing competition, instead.)

We are here to live… on this planet to experience life… and death gives a focus to remind us of how important our time here is.

If there was no perceived ‘final curtain’ and we knew we moved on after physical death to somewhere better, there’d be mass suicides in traffic jams and at Morrissey concerts; stressed-out teachers would deal out capital punishment in schools; death would be the answer to and through almost every really tough challenge we faced.

If there was no respect for life, there would be no impulse to make the best we can of it.  

Death affects the living. Death has never troubled the dead.

As catastrophic as the experience of close death is, and however weak and powerless it may make us feel, we generally carry on living as best we can… reminded that our time is precious and, before very long – in the grand scheme of things – our own death will arrive.

All that comes to being in this Universe is subject to the same fate. People die. Mountains crumble into sand. Continents collide or are ripped asunder and their form is destroyed. Planets are obliterated in the death throes of stars. Galaxies are torn apart.

Yet there is one thing that defies that rule…


Energy doesn’t die and nor is it born. It’s just there. Look around your room and you’ll see some of it, in various manifestations – whether it be in the shape of a cat, a flower pot, some wallpaper, your own hand, or if you’re very lucky indeed, in the form of Keira Knightley… and she’s maybe beckoning you to bed, with a wink and a cheeky glint in her eyes.

Without that energy flowing through your body, you would have no perceivable consciousness or life right now, and if that energy was entirely absent from the Universe, there would be no body at all… no ground for it not to lay on… no Earth… no Sun… no other sparkly stars in the sky… nothing.

But it is there… and… therefore… you are immortal.

All that you’re made from is eternal.

You are life.

Earlier this week, I was stomping up the mountain in Lochgoilhead and stopped for a moment, wiping a sheen of sweat from my forehead with the back of my hand… looking up at the clouds forming and trailing from the peak.

The sweat on my body was my internal cooling system kicking in, and the fingers of mist at the summit of the hill was the planet’s own cooling system in action.

The Earth rotates around the Sun in just the right way to allow a changing of the seasons, to cool and warm the hemispheres at just the right time so as not to completely fry or freeze life, here.

We’re part of something so extraordinarily, mind-bogglingly complicated, subject to countless chaotic rules, yet there’s a perfection to it all.

An atheist could dismiss it all as nature… but then, like an ocean is made from drops of water, we are a microcosm of the whole, which makes us, by nature, that nature.

A devout religious-type could argue that God makes it all work like that, and we’re inferior, but that infers separation. I don’t buy it… and nor do I buy angry-sky-god that would have the power of this entire Universe at his disposal and be so petty as to judge people on their actions within a flicker of a lifetime, and condemn them to the rest of eternity in pain and anguish.

Your energy is inextricably connected to this whole, ancient, Universal energy, that defies the process of birth and death… billions of years old, and then infinity before and after.

You always were, you are, now, and you always will be that energy.

So… um… we’re all a fragment of what could be regarded as God – the Universal power.

That’s pretty much fact.

We know that energy can have consciousness, because we are experiencing it right now, in this life, and we see it in so many different forms on this planet alone…

The thing is, we don’t need to know everything there is to know to live and learn from this lifetime.

And perhaps that’s why our time is short and these bodies are so fragile.

Death is to be respected, but it frames lifetimes rather than steals life.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

- Desiderata, Max Erhmann


  1. So wonderfully written! Death of a loved one can be so terrifying and certainly leaves a gaping hole in all aspects of your emotions. Even when expected, death catches you by surprise. It chokes and suffocates and the pain is so excruciating. Yet, like you mentioned, death should be respected for it comes for everyone and we all know that death is a part of living. The most important point here is Life is meant to be lived in all it's cheers to life!

  2. Great post, and it is the truth. While you are still here on this earth, enjoy your time. We do fear the unknown, but that is what your faith is for that will keep you focus on enjoying yourself while you are on this earth. I think about death, at times and it is a natural thought, we all should think about it. We shouldn't think about 24/7 where it takes control over our own life. I would love to spotlight this post as a guest writer on my site sometime next week. We are already following each other so let me know if you're interested. @for_the_masses Take care!

  3. Lovely post. You're right. The hardest thing about death is being the folks left behind.

  4. This is a wonderful post. As a person who was raised in a religious cult for a greater part of my life and broke away. They made death seem like a punishment and life a sentence as well as a time to fear it. It was when I let go of that frantic fear of the uncertainty and of unknown that I really started to live. And now that I don't fear death, and spend my time on living, even though I've lost people close to me to it's seeming void of emptiness, I know that it is here to teach us how precious what we have right now is in this moment. And that if we do indeed pass onto something better beyond it's destination then that too will be it's own lesson and reward.

  5. Les, death is an anathema. Any of us are looking at something we haven't experienced. So what can we say about death firsthand? All we can tell is how the death of others affected us. So why come to general conclusions, instead of relating individual experiences?

  6. Exactly my thoughts but you express them so well.

  7. amazingly written - Rich with LIFE , energy and soul . You're a brilliant Writer :)

  8. Beautiful stuff, Les.

    FYI, we have an ongoing project called A BOOK ABOUT DEATH. I think you'd find it interesting... some 25 exhibitions around the world and you are free to join in any way you would like. See: and the archive site:

    Best, MR

  9. funny have just written a blog on death - about a beautiful experience i had when my little cat died... (
    )it echoes all you are saying here Les.

    beautiful blog... and i love your phrase 'death frames lifetimes'
    thank you :)

  10. Time, birth, and death – all intricately linked, and the formula never changes. The second we are born, the countdown to death begins—it’s the reality of our limited time in this world.

    The energy you speak of is ultimately important for what passes to the next life. Because of this continuous flow that outlives our physical bodies, we need to ensure to the best of our abilities that our final thoughts are positive ones: Love, not hate; compassion, not ill-will; and peace, not war.

    “…we don’t need to know everything there is to know to live and learn from this lifetime.”

    The irony is: This statement drives home "everything we need to know" about how to live in this lifetime.


  11. "The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." ~Richard Bach: Illusions--The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.

    'Nuff said.

  12. " what can we say about death firsthand?" and "...come to general conclusion", Irma remarks.

    Guess you're right, we can't, shouldn't. And neither does Les claim such, imo: "If death wasn’t such an inconceivable enigma… if it wasn’t regarded with such finality, or if we could see past the veil to what comes after, life wouldn’t be so valued." Thus claiming nothing on or about death. Nor about life or living. It is about perspective and our unconscious constructs. And, just maybe, hinting towards awareness :)

    I've never so explicitly read nor encountered thoughts and perspectives this similar to mine, ever before. Philosophical meta-like wonderings you just can't seem to share with anyone on an average day. Thus, many thanks, Les, for sharing these and encouraging me to further accept and rely on my abstract beliefs and awareness. Guess we might be on to something here... ;)

    Grtz from a Dutch alike thinker!

  13. Well said, my friend. It's so freeing when your deepest feelings are echoed brilliantly by others.

    "Call it god, or whatever you like,
    It is here to teach us something.
    And, don't forget that love is why...
    We are here and we must see this through."

    Lyrics from a song I wrote called, "Arman and The All" when I was 17.

  14. Great read. I also believe the scariest thing about death is not really knowing what is beyond. And I believe that what is comforting is believing that there is a better place. All we have is to make the best of today and at night knowing we did the best we could.

  15. Brilliant! Great post, and very true.
    Death never entered my thoughts until I became a father.
    I am a single father and my son and I are of course the world to each other, but more so in our circumstances in that his mother does not want to know him.
    Now death scares me, and I don't mind admitting it is a selfish emotion, as, not knowing what is in store, I don't want to be away from my wonderful son, and I hate to think of him alone so to speak. Of course I know I am being silly, and that he will hopefully have his own family by the time I go.
    But, at the moment, (I am 48 and he is 8), the thought of death is terrifying.

  16. Thank you for this beautifully written and wonderfully witty post, Les. Your blog, although I just found it yesterday, has been a great source of healing for me. I truly look forward to reading every last post and learning more from you. x

  17. Hey Les~sometimes you're a little scary. This is beautiful. The soul,spirit,or that energy you talk about, is eternal. It has and always will exist. Therefore, I know where I come from, why I'm here and where I am going. Yes, I am a Child of God. Thanks for the reminder.

  18. 'we’re all a fragment of what could be regarded as God – the Universal power.'

    Thank you, I really like that.

  19. Cheers, Sandra! I think it's very true. :-)

  20. Wonderfully written, def gives people something to think about life is beautiful and we need to stop worrying about things we can't do anything about. This blog is very inspirational def going to send this out to some family members keep doing your thing bro I see you.

  21. Wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing - I am glad I got your tweet :)

  22. Agreed! All well-written thoughts on transition. I once had a dream wherein I was writing on a cake with icing the words I was also saying very dramatically in a speech: "There is no such thing as death!" I really believe this to be true. In small ways, we change form daily. Reading diary entries from the past should illustrate how one becomes a completely different individual over time. Our bodies themselves are continually taking in the new and shedding the old. Our separateness from other people and things is an illusion. We are gradually changed by the people we associate with, taking on our favorite of their traits. I still possess the quality of an old boyfriend who found the humor in every conceivable situation. I took-on his attitude that "people are people," giving me a certain tolerance for all and a certain immunity from envying those who seem more fortunate. I hope I have left others with the better parts of myself in return.

  23. I love this! It reminds me of an article I read about our spirit and this person said that even though people dispute the idea of a spirit or soul (not connected to Christianity; just our spirituality) is just like the idea of gravity. We can't measure gravity, nor can we feel it or taste it or smell it--- it's just there. Why? Because we just know.

    Same with our spirit. I don't believe in organize religion but neither am I an atheist. But like you said I do believe in the value of life, honoring those we love who pass on, and the energy around us. :)

  24. So many fear death. But what is death other than simply the end of a stage. One can argue that energy is never lost, simply transfered... others would argue that the soul remains eternal... others may even argue what life really is to begin with.

    Personally I think Yoda got it right when he said, "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." Later he adds in with, "Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force."

    Ultimately the body will cease to exist, but I don't think anyone ever truly ends.

  25. I have recently had my death sentence. I've reviewed my life and have decided that I have done just about all that I would want to do. I'm only marginally productive now, so I'm no loss.
    To even think of having poison poured into my body in the hope that I may claw back a few lousy years and be more of a drain on the health system, is anathema.
    I'm proud of what I have achieved. I'm proud of my descendants (or most of 'em! LOL). I feel I've left some sort of a legacy to others. As far as I'm concerned, death is the last great adventure.

  26. Very well said anonymous I see death too as the final adventure and will welcome it with open arms Lolapowers

  27. I love this post. Amazingly, I have been having similar thoughts on death and nature and have been reading about Spinoza's God. I am not an atheist because I truly beleive there is more to this life that is beyond our imagination. I think when we die we leave life as we know it and enter another life form we dont know anything about. Lolapowers

  28. I recently read the wonderful book "Who Dies?" that talks about these very same things. This planet is a schoolhouse for us to learn the preciousness of life in this form. Beautifully said, Les.

  29. In this form I have already not existed for all eternity (back in time) and will again cease to exist for future eternity so death is not to be feared. I have already not existed. :-)


  30. Dude, you've just put down in words what I have believed for a long time (i ignore that belief a lot, or forget, but on good days that is exactly my outlook on our existence) thankyou for the reminder. I needed it :-)

  31. Les, very timely post. My wife was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer three weeks ago. Life is short...only now, it's much more precious than ever before. Thanks the awesome reminder! Peace to you!

  32. Wise words indeed - we came from the stars and to the stars we will return - it's the law of physics. So we are immortal. Live with it folks :-)

    As in the Havamal:
    Deyr fé
    deyja frændr
    deyr sjálfr it sama
    en orðstírr
    deyr aldregi
    hveim er sér góðan getr

  33. I find myself drawn into your world of thought.

    But.... how do you find the time. Share your secret.

    Whatever... We look forward to reading your thoughts.

  34. I have been continually drawn to your tweets and decided to look at your posts. I have found these very interesting reading. I have throughout my life had a number of deaths within the family which ranged from tragedy to health related with the usual impact of pain, rage and all the deep personal feelings that we endure however I have always believed their energies help and support myself and my family every day and which could be seen as my own mind buffering the feelings of loss however I know that their spirit is close at hand helping, guiding and protecting throughout this time on earth. I have no fear of death as I know they will be there to meet me to a higher plane but my fear is for my children and the way humans behave. Will they ever learn about respecting others, loving and giving and caring for others I think not?

  35. The only thing about death that concerns me is leaving behind my son, as he's still a child & needs me.

    The last 4 years have brought me face-to-face with news of death of people I knew and loved -- which has led me to the sense of urgency in doing what we want to do now and not putting it off until later. Later isn't guaranteed to come. --Adrienne

  36. Funny and beautifully written. Thanks for addressing the pain :-)

  37. I my self have always since I can remember feared my death,I have read your blog and to some point it has given me protection from that awful black void that we call death..As you point out we will always be part of this beautiful thing we call life but just in a different way..As I approach my advancing years *57* I thankyou for your blog x

  38. As an atheist who believes there's far more to the universe than we can ever know, I found this meaningful and beautiful.

  39. So very true and exquisitely put ive had to share this blog and if it were possible I would have to "like" it infinite times over again...take a bow young Jedi xx

  40. I first thought about death when I was 18 with a benign tumour thinking what if I don't survive this surgery? I really couldn't think behind that before I just have surgery because if I couldn't let my parents get upset incase if that was the last time they saw me they may feel bad knowing I went in upset, I couldn't have anything on my conscience and hid my emotions.
    I really though I was facing death at 21 when diagnosed with bone cancer 'osteosarcoma' and at one point told I was terminal and they really didn't think treatment would have any impact. I've never felt anything like that feeling in my life, my body and mind was in total shock constantly and I felt sick and couldn't sleep. Finding I couldn't have kids die to chemo was only could be described as grieving for something like a death or loss, it's hard to describe but at 21 I really thought that was it. Luckily somehow I'm now in part remission and now my head is totally confused!
    You can read more on my blog:
    Becki x

  41. What an incredibly wonderfully written and oh so true piece. I have been dealing for 16 months with the death of my wife from cancer. This piece somehow I feel I was intended to find this morning.

    I have always agreed with the statements about energy. My farther a physicist taught me that when I was very Young.

    In short I am so glad I found and read this. Thank you


  42. Death is natural though it frightens the best of us-I feel grateful I have faith in God-If it wasn't for that I would be hopeless-
    Great article and write up Les :-)

  43. Death-all belongs to the earth.........................................................

  44. Well written and not depressing at all. For the Christian, which I am, death is just a stepping over into another place where the shadow of evil does not remain. Yes, life is eternal - the spirit of a man lives forever.

  45. Amen! This is very well-written that addresses one of human-kind’s egoist puzzlement. Death is for the living because it does not exit and only change exits. Many among the human species find it difficult to accept divine purpose and kinship among all energy within our universe.

  46. The thought occured to me once, WHAT IF...God, immortal and unable to assume a mortal human form and experience his own creation yet remain God...created us in the hopes that we WOULD love him and accept his spirit in part so that he might live "life" through us? When we die we just go back to source having chosen Life or Death(spiritless).

  47. This is beautiful and perfect (I especially enjoyed the Morrissey concert bit).

  48. Speaking as someone "con un pie en la tumba" with a strong belief in the hereafter, I have never considered suicide a solution even in the darkest moments of my life. I cherish the life I have, am drawn to friends and family and miss them when they're gone.

    I hate the fragility of aging, subscribing to Woody Allen's notion that, "I'm not afraid of death, I'd just rather not be there when it happens." As temporal beings there is some value in keeping a sense of humor about one's condition.

    Also, George Burns put it well on the eve of his 100th birthday, "If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

    Live each day well. Treat your body with respect, don't abuse it and don't fall prey to believing it will last forever. It won't.

    I have stood on a beach so remote that my view to the horizon peripherally brought the curvature of the earth into view. In that moment I sensed that there must have been a Creator.

    My personal belief is that, in the moment of my death, I will be, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." (II Corinthians 5:6-8).

  49. The question is, where does that energy that makes you, you, go after death? Is the energy our soul that passes into the future or back into the past?

  50. What an amazing and inspiring post.

    I have been thinking about Life and Death a lot lately and this post has something extremely comforting to it.

    Thanks for this!

    Hopefully my post will inspire you at least a little as well:

  51. Thankyou. How beautiful and inspiring...

  52. the fear of the great unknown, how many little deaths do we experience until the big one, all that practice doesn't make it easier for anyone! but like you said, we are energy and as that old song goes "we are stardust we are golden" u know Crosby Stills Nash and Young, any hoot yes we are! thanks again for sharing u make me think