I woke up all melancholic this morning. I could feel it in the air, the tangible but indecipherable presence. Everything looks gloomy, the weather humid and uncomfortable and the sun refusing to come out of its covering cloud. Old, familiar tunes failed to make the usual impact. I could feel it in my body and my dread increased three-fold. What a day to go through. Reluctantly, I got off the bed for my morning chores and in came my daughter looking so downcast. My dread increased a thousand fold. Sweet beautiful soul who felt that daddy must share in her sadness. She has been grieving, grieving for the departed pop icon, an electrifying but confused soul. My daughter announced the death of Michael Jackson as covered by various news media that morning. While I was peacefully asleep, it appeared that the world had been bombarded with the news of the sudden death of Michael Jackson.
What is it about death that brings about the sober aspect of human nature? Why does it take the death of another man for us to realise our ephemeral nature? Life can be all encompassing and in the struggle of existence we tend to forget the unreality of it all. The fact that our journey on this plane is like that of a man passing through a market place is lost on us. And when life is so sweet with abundant wealth and possibly good health, we often wish it turns to an unending journey. Yet history has taught us that no man has ever failed to pay the ultimate price. Even in the Biblical days of old when men are reported to live for hundreds of years, death remained a constant presence. Whether a life was well lived or badly lived, death remains the final arbiter. The fang of death hangs around every man’s shoulder, sleeping and waking with each. The process called death has remained a burden that man has failed to shake off. In frustration, a poet asked: death where is thy fang?
It is inconsolable to lose a beloved friend, acquaintance or relation. While the corpse of the man in the street is just like a piece of wood, it is catastrophic to lose a loved one. The process of grieving never ends in some cases, when we refuse to let go of a departed soul. It is thus a testimony to the human nature when the death of someone, never seen or behold by so many in the physical, only interacted with by the vast majority through his music, evoked so much worldwide sadness and grief. It is a testimony to the greatness of Michael Jackson, that despite the confusion of identity and wholesome bizarreness which characterised the greater part of his life, his end was a worldwide catastrophe. For a single man to touch so many is a testimony of a great soul indeed. The world has lost another icon, never to come again for many generations to come. While we grieve at the death of Michael Jackson, we indirectly grieve at our own immortality. His cycle came to a full end in this existence and his soul gone back to continue the struggle in a higher dimension.
Perhaps we would all not grieve so much if the message of death has sunk in amongst so many. Death has so dwelt with man since the beginning of time that it so much of a surprise that we still have not got the message. Most walk with layers of clothing covering their vision, yet we presume ourselves to be wide awake with clarity of vision. In reality, we are asleep and in deep slumber. Great philosophers of old all pondered on our blindness. They all left messages that should have convinced mankind of the ephemeral nature of life and the immortality of soul. Messages that the soul is indestructible and outlives the attachments that characterise each life cycle. Death is nothing but an illusion. It is an illusion given prominence by the stupidity of man. A wise one once wanted an answer to a puzzling question. He wanted to know which would be higher, the population of the living or the dead. Pondering on this should provide a clue to those still clueless. Another sage in Nigeria, at the penultimate period of his life strenuously strove to raise the consciousness of fellow Nigerians. He wanted a copy of a book titled “Life after Death”.
Death is inevitable, representing the transition to higher dimension. It is the point at which soul’s dimension of reality is expanded. In essence, it is birth into another world. The death process has a cultural or orientation linkage in the sense that the experiences of the departing soul is often shaped by its belief system while on earth. What is perhaps akin to the death process while we live is nothing but the dream state. The body experiences other dimensions of reality using appropriate tools while in the dream state. So many people still alive have had pre-death experiences. Most of these have been described as sublime and wonderful. Perhaps in these we could see a glimpse of life after death. In these, a glimpse of “heaven” may be perceived by those who care to see. Death is nothing but merely a transition. It is nothing for man to dread being merely a necessity in soul’s quest to achieve perfection and return to its creator. It is indeed, another phase in the course of existence.
The study of death is vast and so many literatures have dealt with it. To mind comes easily The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Tibetans have also written a lot on it and there are also many contemporary essays on this topic. It is important for man to perceive himself first and foremost as a soul for him to begin to understand the process of death. Souls we are and souls we shall remain. The body is not real, a mere dust. Life on earth is nothing but an illusion, hence the market-place concept of life mentioned at the beginning. Since we are souls, we are immortal, transcending merely the identity of this existence and being a summation of many rounds of being. The attachments of this life are nothing but garbage, hence the foolishness of stupendous physical accumulation. Money, position, wealth and fame are all illusory, what matters most are our deeds while on earth. What is significant is the degree of experience that would further widen our spiritual consciousness. Most spiritual teachers of history emphasised this message. It was core tune in the teachings of Christ in his lifetime – never mind the junk being distributed to people in his name now. The concept of death is so vast and yet so simple. Amongst others, it teaches us about the concept of parallel universes. This concept has been postulated by leading quantum physicists. It is a topic worth studying by those who care.
Death, where is thy sting? The sting of death lies only in the agonies of separation from physical existence. The sting of death is only in turning physical encounters and interactions only into the realms of memories. The sting of death is only in further mystifying the purpose of existence for those who knew so little. The sting of death is only in creating fear in the minds of those so engrossed with the pleasures of physical existence. Sure, death is final and its occurrence brings finality. But this is only for those who want to remain ignorant. The wheel of karma grinds so meticulously, death being its close companion. Yet we have it in us the capacity to break this cycle. We have it in us to be liberated above death. We as souls have the potentials to be greater than we are. All it takes is the knowledge and the efforts.
It is appropriate to use the occasion of the death of the legendary superstar, the enigmatic pop icon, one of the most thrilling entertainers the world has ever produced as a period of sober reflection on life and the purpose of existence. As we all pay tributes and last respect, may we for once wonder on the necessity of birth, death and re-birth. For Michael Jackson, this cycle has ended and the journey continues on higher dimensions. For us still remaining, the opportunity remains to fortify ourselves with knowledge and re-shape our lives with purpose. While we say goodnight to Michael Jackson, the opportunity presents itself to create a bright afternoons for our souls. T
hat is, for those who care.
Adieu, Michael Jackson! May the blessings of the Creator be!!