Ah crap. I went and got thoughtful again after a Facebook post earlier and someone went and mentioned writing and now this has happened.
To put it another way… I was feeling thoughtful and the result of one of my responding Facebook posts made me want to delve into things a little deeper.
Today I realised that I believe in Death. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a Heaven; however I do hope I’m very wrong about that. I do believe though, in Death, and that to me is a very different thing altogether. Death is defined by all who contemplate it in our own minds in such a way as to assist us in dealing with what for many scientists is simply, D’ end.
Zip. Dead. Nowt left. No consciousness, just a heap of dead matter taking up space transferring its eternal energy into its surroundings.
Sadly this is what I *think* happens.
But wait… there is a great deal more to it than that.
Death to me is something that I am not scared of. I am terrified of my life ending, don’t get me wrong… But I am not scared of Death, because Death to me is a state of existence where to be unconscious does not necessarily mean to be without feeling. Crumbs. I’d better explain.
When I was 19 years old I was happily going about my life when this big nasty disease called Cancer came along and struck my father down for a second time in five years. When I was 14 he had managed to get through the last major operation and despite losing 3 and a half pints of blood on the operating table, he survived and got a little bit more out of his life for a small time. He managed to gig again, to live again, and to take control of his uncontrollable circumstances. As a non-religious family growing up I watched my dad do this… not with the aid of faith… but with the aid of his family and himself.
To his and my Mum’s credit he decided with her at a very early stage not to have my sister and I baptised so that we could decide when we were old enough to choose our own path and faith system in life. He encouraged debates and the bringing forward of our own opinions right up to the day he passed away. In the same night we might see Songs of Praise and then a Bill Hicks video later on… It really was a liberal and open-minded upbringing.
Even so, I couldn’t bring myself to discount anyone else’s theory or opinions on the matter and that is something about me that has never changed… it’s a no brainer for a start. People who believe in something tend to be happy people.
But when 19 arrived and things were put to the test I was resolute in my feelings… My father passed away earlier than was foreseen due to major surgery fuck-ups which didn’t give him a chance in hell of recovering the second time round. I witnessed my father struggle in excruciating pain for months whilst he dwindled to 4 stones in weight and didn’t have the strength to feed himself. He was dignified to the last but his circumstances unravelled in most part due to the mistakes that were made and the series of tragedies that he endured.
I could never have witnessed all that pain and ended up believing in a God of any kind… because it was too cruel. I learned so much because I had to from my dad passing away, but I even remember distinctly at the time, that I had an anger towards faith and religion that took years to digest and become at peace with. After some time off I returned to work at Tesco and someone asked me if I’d thought about God maybe 2 weeks after he’d passed. I could have ripped their head off. I smiled and walked away calmly.
After that I wrote diaries to myself and filled books with writing trying to comprehend why I had to learn such a painful lesson at the cost of my Father’s prolonged pain and could never see the final lesson. I could have learned every single thing I did learn from his death without the tragedy and amount of pain that he went through. I know this because I have done now… many times over. You don’t miss someone any less because they died quickly and without pain.
And so the huge questioning began. It took years and years and only in my mid-twenties did I start to see the point that it didn’t matter anymore and that being patient with myself meant I would come up with my own interpretation of things over time.
To that end I now have a very open-minded belief system which is contradictory, self-protecting, and allows the concurrent existence of everyone else’s beliefs.
The post that started all this was a video I shared of Stephen Fry and his response to being asked “If you theoretically did meet God… what would you ask Him or Her?” I felt much the same as Stephen did only he put it so wonderfully well. The general theme being that he would question God and ask why He gives children bone cancer? Why be so cruel? This in turn resonated with me and my old feelings of 17 years ago.
One response to my post made me continue into what I believe about spirituality. This is the post as-is:
“I believe I’m on a similar page regarding the spiritual side… it’s what refrains me from believing that there is no chance that a God exists… so I say it very carefully to myself… I don’t *think* there is a God… but I don’t *know* that there isn’t one, and as such I shall respect all who choose to believe that there is. All I do *know* is that when I play my harmonica, I feel as though my dad is stood next to me… i can smell him, and feel his spirit next to me. I don’t *think* there’s a Heaven… but this feeling of his being with me still has never gone away and so I stopped asking the question because it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I feel him with me, and that is enough for me. I feel lucky that I have those feelings, and for once in my life… don’t have the need to forensically question them. Over time my image in my mind’s eye is of a musical chord which is always being played. Whilst I’m alive, I hear all the notes of everyone I love and share my life with… my dad’s note was a dominant one… and the chord changed character when he left… when I pass away… I feel like his note will join my chord again… and that in death we find a resolution of some kind of that nature… a harmony that once heard… lasts forever… whether it is being sung or not… In death i *hope* we hear the full piece of music and feel that connection of not having any holes anymore… and feeling at home. Safe… with the ones we cherish. Xx”
I have deliberately left it as I typed it because I felt it captured what I think really well and shows what I mean when I refer to “Death”. So yes… Today I realised that I believe in Death, and that I *hope* death is a form of existence where we resonate as spirits floating around the eternal cosmos as harmonics of our former selves, drawn to the notes of the people we loved when we were alive, but unaware of anything, except a sense of completion and of being at home in the arms of your protecting mother and father and all those you love, only as a piece of music that never ends.
I went on to say in the following posts that I *hoped* that if indeed I am wrong, that if I do make it to the Pearly Gates that maybe He or She might allow me to spend some time on some kind of naughty step before letting me get in. Whatever happens from here-on in.. I *want* there to be a naughty step in Heaven, if there is one. :)
So that is why I am not scared of Death. If what I *think* happens is true, and we know nothing about it, then so be it… but I now have my image to hold onto, as all humans do, that allows me to cope with that potential emptiness, by filling it with music and hope while I am alive.
On the other hand… I am utterly scared of HOW I might die. It just takes one chicken nugget going down the wrong way after all. How fragile a thing we are… but how amazingly strong and resilient we are also.
Human beings are amazing.
Controlling religions and not thinking about it for yourself are not so good.
One thing I really clicked with in that Stephen Fry video extract was the remarks about believing in a God who orders His or Her subjects to worship them. I’ve never sat well with that side of religion and even now at Carol concerts I cringe to see the money involved with Churches and Chapels being so royally endowed with Gold whilst people struggle in third world countries with famine.
The thing is *all* religions have their ugly sides and sadly the ability to control the many by the few has been extorted for many centuries to the point where we now have a percentage of people in this day and age who do not think as such, but act purely on others commands under the disguise of faith. In turn, the many seem to label and misrepresent the few to add to the chaos and not understanding therefore diminishes World tolerance. What is also worrying is that our media then add fuel to the fire and make uninformed people angry and ergo dangerous. It’s not the most ideal scenario to have throughout the World to be honest.
One thing we can do to counter-act this I suppose is to ensure that we continue to think for ourselves and to share good practise by always asking questions and always exercising tolerance and patience towards others. You don’t need a belief system to make that work… it’s called Human Nature.
Regardless of media, we all need to remember that no-one knows everything, not even the immense Mr Stephen Fry, and that as long as we go about our business being good to one another, not because your God says you should, but because YOU say you should… then one day all this shit will be over, and at least no one can pin anything on you.
Heaven’s above? Nah. I reckon it’s below us right now. I know more people who are alive than who have sadly passed from us and that right now there are more people on this Earth that I love than there ever could be in a Heaven of any description. Last Sunday night, at my album launch with all my friends and family in the same place… THAT was heaven… Even my dad made it along.