Everything that exists is a being. To understand “being” is to go outside of it and look at it from a distance. But, it does not mean that this has to be actually experienced in order to be understood. For instance, to take a complete view of an object, it does not have to be inside your eyes. Our visual senses work well if enough distance is being observed. In that manner, we can really see the truthfulness, oneness, and most of all, the beauty of an object.
These TOB (Truth-ness, One-ness, Beauty-ness), are metaphysically known as the attributes of being. In the first place, there is no nothingness, nothing is missing, nothing can be reputed, yet, there are things that cannot just be grasped by our naked eyes and fully understood by our limited minds. They are merely beyond our capacity to sense or understand. Second metaphysical doctrine is about oneness or unity of being: there is no dichotomy between or among existing substantial forms in this world; nothing in this world is separate—distances never separate–not even frictions or factions. Third, there is nothing objectively ugly–only things that do not match with our tactual, gustatory, olfactory, and visual senses. In the last analysis, nothing evolves from negative evil nor derived from the false or heretic, disunited or divided, and ugly or defective Creator—the Supreme Good.
Indeed, we, human beings, are endowed with the gift of life and sharing such supremacy. This privilege is what we called the determining factor or philosophical accident. In logic, this is what we call the relationship between genus and differentia (specific difference). We are the only beings who have the capacity to know that we do not know. Meaning, we are certain about our uncertainty. And, because of that, we submit our lives to the Supreme-Giver of Life. To the One who exactly knows when to take back, where to get, how long, and what kind of life-and-death we are going to enjoy.
I don’t believe that life is a problem to be solved; rather, it is a gift to be enjoyed. Death is just a privation of life. That is why, we have to enjoy life while we are still alive. Because, we cannot both dead and alive at the same time. Similar to a door which cannot be open-and-closed at the same time and at the same respect. For Buddha: Life is suffering. Life, according to Scott Peck: “Life is difficult. They both believed that life’s sufferings and difficulties are the great truths. Yet, once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult.”
Nevertheless, death, I would say is a gift. It is beautiful, and needs to be appreciated. If and only if we understand what it is. I don’t know if you would accept my points of view. That, death gives us the chance to anticipate and look forward to what better kind of life is ahead of us—the afterlife or shall I say life after death. To some extent, the fear of death prompted us to respect other human being’s lives on the street when we are driving. Of course, we are hopeful that there is always a karmic effect to whatever action we take. We are also aiming for an Eternal Happiness. Otherwise, if a person does not have the conviction that there is a reward and punishment in the end, then, there is a tendency that he would be acting horrendously.
Other points to consider about the reality and the beauty of death:
• It is a celebration
Filipinos have different styles of mourning. In some areas in Bicol Region, the bereaved use to having a disco party while mourning. Similar to what is being practised in some areas in Laguna Province; they are hiring musicians (orchestra), to play good tunes while mourning. Believing that the deceased has already joined the Creator, which for them is really nice to celebrate. The funeral is more actively participated rather than to a wedding and birthday celebrations.
• It is an Occasion: A Family Reunion and Venue of Reconciliation
Evidently, common to almost all families are inviting relatives, friends, and neighbours for any other occasions except of course when a member of our family passed away. We just disseminate the information about the death of someone we loved, and we just leave the decision to our fellows and folks to attend to the wake. During the vigil, people, regardless of religious groups, political parties, even those who have been having feuds and conflicts between each other are coming over to pay homage to the wake of our beloved dead. This occasion is most of the time an avenue to settle the conflicts between the adversaries. This is good and beautiful.
• Mirror Test: It is the time to reflect and re-investigate
A meaningful death makes us being remembered. We are being reminded by the death of our loved ones. It is the time to investigate our own lives. Socrates said: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Have we tried seeing our own faces the moment we take a glance on the face of the dead we are paying heed for? Have we asked and ascertained our own selves about the kind of life we are currently enjoying—the kind of life that will at least mitigate us from uncertainty?
• The Gateway or Final Destination?
I really wonder why, so many people want to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. Is it because of the forms or kinds of death we have witnessed or the kinds of lifestyle we cannot just leave behind us? The first reason is FEAR, while the second one denotes SELFISHNESS and VANITY.
In the Christian perspective, heaven is the state of Eternal Happiness. It is our souls’ final destination—where we can enjoy the life after this life. In this sense, how can we get into heaven if we are not going to die? If there’s heaven, I want to be there so I can enjoy such eternal happiness. And, if death is the only way to get there, why do I have to be scared of death? (I am referring to our natural death and not the unjust killing, murder, and terrorism). Maybe, we are just afraid of its processes or stages. As the saying goes: “The anticipation of death is painful than the death itself.” Here, there are two prevailing issues: pleasure seeking and avoidance of pain. In fact, we are not afraid of death; we just don’t like to feel the pain!
The Truth of death is inevitable. Human being is mortal; you and I are human beings; therefore, you and I are mortal. However, we have been given ample time to unify our purpose while we are still alive. We must follow a very simple rule or Code of Conduct: Live and let live. So when we die, this death is going to be a peaceful and a beautiful death. A beautiful death depends on how beautiful life is.
I am offering this message to my father, brother, relatives, friends, and co-workers who passed away as they nurtured, cherished, protected, defended, and sanctified their lives through the beautiful kinds of life they embraced and the good examples they have shown during their years here on Earth. May the merit in afterlife be theirs. May they be in union or oneness with the Creator.
Understanding death entitles us to live peacefully and responsibly. Fear not of natural death. Remember, nobody can kill us when we are already dead.
Death is not dreadful; murder is. Never cause someone’s death out of vengeance. We cannot change the world by killing the criminals. By killing one of them, more vindictive hearts-killers will be born.