‘He not busy being born is busy dying’
The title is a line from the Bob Dylan song, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) and it’s true, I suppose.
There are at least two ways of looking at the inevitability of that fact. One is that we are lucky to be here at all. Another is the view that a friend shared with me once, not long before they too died. That perspective went along the lines that the world is sad, bad place, filled with human suffering, in the main. I refused to agree at the time. And then, as if to prove the point somehow, the friend went right on ahead and died and made my own vault of pain a little more full than before.
In fact, the last decade seems to have been filled with people I love dying. I miss one or other, or all of them on any given day, in a multiplicity of ways. And yet I have reflected that on that one occasion, when I hotly denied the view that the world is a sad, bad place I think I did so, at least partially, in a reactive and naive way.
I was a player in the pantomime of human life.
Oh yes it is.
Oh no it’s not.
It’s behind you!
Actually, it’s not though, is it? It’s ahead you – your death and mine. The death of those we love is behind us, around us and ahead of us. But my question really is this? Does the fact of all of us being busy dying, does that truly have the power to rob the whole world of all its possibility and beauty and joy? Or is it just that the ego fears its own demise so very much, that it cannot conceive of a world of beauty existing, even when it itself is lost?
Are we so self-centred that we think our own suffering makes the whole world bad? Look out of your window and see what you see. It’s up to you which perspective to take. No matter how bad things seem to get, we always have a choice about how to see things.
I’m sticking with the awe-struck interpretation of the world, and even the pantomime of humans, for now anyway.