The ‘Why?’ is sorted (probably)

BLW The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well here’s a start.

Maybe this is the introduction.  Very much a first draft, but feedback would be welcome.

Apologies for the western slant. Perhaps it will not hold so true for readers with other cultural references (but I’d be fascinated to know how much of it does…).

So in place of a proper blog post this week, please accept and comment, if you wish, on this extract, while I get back to the matter of the book.

Why am I writing this book?

Because for many centuries people have been persuaded by religious leaders that, one way and another, they’ve failed miserably at being human, which means that a very nasty afterlife awaits them (unless of course they are either incredibly saintly and prepared to die to prove it, or obscenely rich and able to buy their way into Heaven via generous gifts to said religious leaders).

Because over the last few generations humans have largely stopped believing the Hell story and more-or-less let go of the Heaven one too.  They’ve settled for the RIP version, where we just doze off for eternity.  It doesn’t sound great, but is at least preferable to the Day of Judgement, when all those skeletons in the cupboard could begin rattling nastily.

Because given that there doesn’t seem a lot to look forward to, humans have invested a massive amount of time, energy and money into trying to cling on to life – to staying human for as long as possible.

Because the current attitude towards death is deeply weird.  On the one hand, we fill our television channels with police dramas, hospital dramas, whodunits and tales of autopsies, with news reports of starvation, wars, fatal accidents and murder.  We play video games in which killing is not only commonplace, but usually the entire point.  We conduct wars in which the technology enables ‘push button death’ with any emotional attachment carefully removed; a soldier no longer needs to see the whites of his opponent’s eyes in order to kill him.  WMDs and IEDs abound.  And yet… Death is a taboo.  We avoid discussing it wherever possible. We change the subject with a nervous laugh.  “Yes, well, shall we talk about something a bit more cheerful?”

Because when we hear that someone is terminally ill, we don’t know what to say.  When friends are bereaved, we don’t have ways to comfort them.  We maybe send a card with a bunch of white flowers or a vaguely ecclesiastical-looking gateway on it and tell them we hope they’re getting over it now and that, after all, life must go on.

Because those who feel the need to know that something conscious remains of those they have lost will turn to mediums and spiritualists who, apparently, have polite queues of departed souls waiting to reveal themselves as someone on the mother’s side who had a problem with her knees or a military man who smoked and had breathing problems. Not, please understand, that I’m suggesting the mediums themselves are charlatans.  It just seems strange that Great Uncle Cedric should be hanging about for eternity, waiting to reveal his penchant for growing prize vegetables to a great niece who had been hoping desperately for news of her recently departed mother.

I’m writing this book because none of the above sounds particularly healthy to me.  Death casts a long shadow, and I’d prefer it not to.  I’d prefer ‘life’ to be something wider, richer and stronger than inhabiting a physical body for a while.  I’d like it to encompass what came before and what comes after, with death as simply one of the transitional states that lies within it.

17 comments on “The ‘Why?’ is sorted (probably)

  1. Dear Jan:

    I like it that you are writing about the topic of Death, to start with. I have been pondering about death since some time now, and I came to think of Death more reverently around the time I read about this play called, Death and The King’s Horseman, by Wole Soyinka. The Hindus have Lord Yama as the God of Death, giving Death a godly status and value. I have been thinking since some time, and apparently so have some other wise people like Eckart Tolle, that the opposite of Life is not Death – that the opposite of Death is Birth; that Life has Birth and Death as its polar ends, just like dark and light, up and down, in and out, etc. I write the above hoping that your book would also acknowledge the grandeur and virtue inherent in Death as a form/distinction in itself as much as words such as Truth or Dark or Existence vs Non-existence is not just a word but a distinction in itself, and of the lessons that Death has to teach the living, of how it’s acknowledgement while living can ennoble the soul. I am hugely indebted to the Upanishads in having me see this of Death. (I purchased an English translation of the Upanishads as I dont know Sanskrit…but timeless wisdom such as this translated in any language still has the intensity of condensed truth, even though a version of the original). Looking forward to your book. Wish you the very best, Jan. It is quite a journey just pondering about Death, and you are writing a book!! May timeless wisdom be your guide and mentor on this deliberation-and-message-to-the-world-worthy undertaking. May courage and harmony be with you.

    Much Love,

    • Ah Bitha, thank you so very much for giving your time and thoughts to this. I appreciate your contribution so much and you have – as I’d been secretly hoping you would – given me a much needed perspective from your ancient and venerable culture, which I know so little about.

      I agree completely that the opposite of Death is Birth, but am fascinated by your description of the ‘grandeur and virtue inherent’ in it. So much so, that I’ve ordered a translated copy of the Upanishads. A recommendation from you tells me I must extend my education further in this direction.

      Thank you, dear friend, for your good wishes. Yes, it’s a daunting subject, but one I have been befriended by over the years and feel the need to share.

      With love,

      • Oh you should then come to India! India is a civilization, not just a country. A treat in soo many ways if you have the eyes to see the beauty in the variety and plenitude, and even chaos that some people find daunting, but I think it is the kind of chaos that is fertile soil for the soul. People and economies insist on calling India a developing country, but people from ‘developed’ countries keep coming here to get developed, which keeps reasserting to me the confusion/weirdness in ‘labelling’ through words, which is so much my pet peev. Besides, your visit to India would then be also an opportunity to experience the work I do, that I call Body Intelligence Therapy, first hand. It is an experience that I find most if not all of humanity existing today needs to have for various reasons. I think I failed to thank you for your interest in my work in a previous reply. I was so moved to respond to perspectives and words of encouragement and that I did not jog along with the whole of your Reply and respond to everything. I was also peek-a-boo’ing into WordPress in between my office hours. (Gulp) for missing on replying to important responses such as that.

        I am so glad for you that you would be reading the Upanishads. It is a rich, deep, and profound introduction to some of the basic colors that make India, India but also an important study on the nature of Self (of all human beings). I cannot really speak well enough about the Upanishads so I make no more of that attempt. You will be reading it yourself, so you would know. I would say though that it is a book of Truths, so like all book of Truths (and if you have ordered for a hardcopy of the book), to read it like a gamble; meaning, to allow the Universe to talk to you through that book by opening a random page while holding the book in acknowledgement and reverence for its content, and for the truth that is meant for you at that moment in time to ‘show up’ to you. It is kinda fun that way, reading the Upanishads. To me, the book becomes ‘alive’ and ‘speaks’ to me, if you know what I mean, and through it the wisdom of the Universe speaks to me. I like such conversation. I hope you come to see what I mean. 🙂

        I must point out though that one of the Upanishads has the Lord of Death, Lord Yama, talking – teaching – and you may find that of interest for your writing. Also you may find this interesting (, in fact a lottt of TedTalks on death to research from are available at the reach of a few clicks :).

        Happy discoveries!

      • Thank you again, Bitha.
        It’s night time here now and I have to be out early tomorrow as I’m going away for a few days. I’ve bought the book on kindle, so that I can begin reading it on the train. that makes your gambling strategy harder (I have several books I love doing that with) but means I’ll get to read it sooner.
        When I’m home I’ll certainly check that TedTalk. It isn’t one I’ve seen.
        As for me travelling to India, well it isn’t something I’ve ever considered, but who knows… You’ve given me a couple of convincing reasons to think about it.
        Jan x

      • Yay! I like that something I wrote gave you reasons to consider visiting India. It is a treat for the soul, and everyone deserves a treat!

        Happy discoveries en route as well as through the journey through books, Jan.

        Catch up with you another time.

  2. Because we are not taught to look within for answers to the big questions: life and death. We are not taught to trust ourselves.

    I really love each of your Because… statements. I’m excited to see how you’re going to weave it all together! My recent (past 5 years) journey has been discovering just this sort of thing: what life and death really are, and developing a different view of it all based on what I know now that I didn’t know several years ago.

    • Perhaps it’s a subject we’ve ‘pre-arranged’ to work on during this incarnation. It seems many of us, in our various ways, are exploring this path.
      Thanks for your comments, Sue. I have no idea how it will all weave together yet, but I dare say it will if it’s supposed to.

  3. You’ve touched on so many things of note here and created interesting and stimulating reading in the process. So first things first, in your book, it would be best not to create a theme around what you would want to see. People do this all the time. It is called by a very nice name – religion. Souls flock to it to experience all those nice things that they feel in themselves. Problem is, religion, at least in its outer form, has little more than a grain of truth.
    I know you’re more intelligent than this, so I’m expecting a better angle.
    The humans have failed angle is very interesting. Why have they failed? What did they fail of? Who says? It brings up all kinds of questions worth exploring and positions that can finally be negated. Just find the truth among the verbiage and it will all be made plain.
    Heaven and Hell? Interesting concepts. True or false? Again, there is this reading between the lines that is begging to be explored. Perhaps someone will find the truth here. Perhaps it might be you.
    Everything around us is changing, opening up, and presenting itself in newer and truer ways. I’m really curious to find out if you’re tapping into this conscious stream.

    • Well thank you, my advanced friend, for taking the time to comment in such detail and with such perception.
      Your point about falling into the trap of evangelising is a valid one. Indeed, my major difficulty in getting started on this project has been in finding a justification for writing on the subject – or at least adding anything useful to what has already been said.
      Your final paragraph fits with my motivation. I have little interest in picking over the crumbling bones of any religion, despite the truths which are undoubtedly buried amongst them. The ‘newer and truer ways’ are what interest me.
      For over two thousand years humanity has set individuals up as leaders or teachers and followed their bidding. That time is now ending. The challenge is to find a way of sharing and disseminating new insights and ideas without reverting to the old didactic paradigm. (A lifetime spent as an educator makes this still more of a challenge for me!) I’ll continue to work on it, however, and to welcome suggestions.

      • Thanks for your reply. I can tell you’re going somewhere with this and look forward to your work. I don’t know if you, like I, are feeling a lot of this stuff wrapping up and yet at the same time moving into a true form. But you just might be, and I applaud you for it.

  4. Birth, Death and Life is a very good paradigm model. Very balanced. I feel I need to answer to the laws of death sooner or later. I’m excited to hear what you’ve found. I need some time to finish my books though before i start juggling 4 or 5 books. I’ve been really lazy reading lately.. just busy sorting out this new book business. I like to think of Death as another beginning for the spirit form. Just as we have function here on this physical world. I believe that we have function in the spirit world also. It’s always fun to learn new things though. Hope to hear about it soon though! Good luck.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Nam. Don’t worry, it will be a long time before the whole book emerges – these are very much my first, tentative forays into the subject.
      Good to have your views on the subject. I like the concept of ‘having function’ in the spirit world. that’s something I’ll try to explore further.
      Hope all’s going well with your book.

  5. Don’t know quite what to Say except that being of Advanced age I look forward To the book- Soon……..! W

    Sent from my iPhone


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