There’s a cycle to things. There’s such a cycle to things, it’s extraordinary. It’s the whole thing, the cycle. Trees grow and drop their seeds and more grow in their place; men and women have children, who then go on to have their own children, and so it goes, everything renewing and repeating.
I used to find my own existence strange. I still do sometimes. I couldn’t understand where I came from. At first this was a logistical ignorance—at the time I honestly believed children were made when two people loved each other and kissed, though obviously there was a little more to it than that, as I soon found out—but very quickly it developed into an existential quandary. Yes, I was formed when a sperm met an egg, which developed into an embryo, which then developed into a baby, but how exactly did it happen? How did a handful of cells no larger than the tip of a pin, over the course of many years, transform into a fully-grown, complex human being with his or her own thoughts, dreams, consciousness, talents? The miracle of life is a good reason as any to believe in a Creator, or some force behind ourselves and everything we see in the world around us, the way I see it.
Trying to imagine yourself not existing is impossible, because if you did not exist, you would not be aware of it. It’s what I comfort myself with when Death starts to creep in the corner of my eye, grinning and hefting his scythe: that death is what it was like before I was born. Can you think back to the period before you were born? You can’t. It’s just a vacuity, an emptiness less than an emptiness. You are quite aware that the world existed before you were born, filled with millions of other people who lived and died and had babies and laughed and cried. You can even hold objects, books, furniture, in your everyday life, which are older than you are, two pieces of time meeting each other. But to actually inhabit, at the flesh-and-bone, the concept of death, of non-existence, like the size of the universe, is too immense for our minds to comprehend.
It’s almost as if life is a dream you get to have for a little while, which starts when you are born and comes to an end when you die, and “wake up”. In sleep, when you dream and then wake up, the dream-world quickly evaporates, superseded by reality. The same goes for death—only it is a different kind of “waking up”, a realm beyond consciousness the way consciousness is a realm beyond dreaming. Oblivion, as people like to call it, though I don’t think there is a word in the human language to describe something we will never understand.
It’s magical, the whole business is magical and gorgeous. Little bees in their honeycombs, leaves growing, stars shining, water flowing, grass growing, seasons changing, a constant flux of change and motion, infinitely complex—and we’re caught up in it, each of us a little flick of colour, of energy, moved by forces beyond our ken. In fact, it’s more than that. We’re not only part of the cycle—I think we are the cycle, the way a leaf is not only a part of the tree, but in a sense is the tree, or the way a drop of water is the river, if you get my drift. When you see the world that way, and realise everything is you, and you are everything, and everyone is you, and you are the universe and the universe is you, you become more at peace with death, more at peace with the unanswerable questions, and are less afraid.
Somehow, I feel as though, even with all the suffering and the pain and the horror present in the world, deep down, it’s all going to be okay, even if you die, and there’s something to be said for trusting your heart and intuition, trusting happiness and the voice inside your head, because that is where the “everything” that is everything speaks through you. We don’t really have to think. All we have to do is live. All we have to do is be.