• Mara

Dinosaurs, elephants and death

Updated: May 4, 2018

Nature, it seems, is as wildly creative as any artist with a sketch pad. One species after another, features morphing into every conceivable variation, then toss the page and start another one. If you want to create elephants, the dinosaurs have to go. Destruction is part of the game.

Hard on us, you say? But is the loss of physical form the end of everything? That’s the unanswerable question. Though, considering the pile of accounts from people who’ve had experiences that indicate otherwise, a good hypothesis is this: we take off our bodies much like taking off an old coat.

Plants and animals seem to have a more relaxed acceptance of physical death than we do. They’ll try to survive, of course, but consider what a Native American friend told me, “My elders said that, if we pay attention while we eat, the food can see where we need to be healed and they will help us.” That includes deer, salmon and other animals.

The key, however, is that killing a deer with prayer and mindful respect is quite different from trophy hunting. One creates relationship that lasts past death, the other creates distance.

We don't like change, and we especially don't like death. We hate losing what we love. That's part of being human. But we're good at learning, we can change our thoughts about death, about the physical body and about what it means to be human, what it means to be in relationship to nature. And change is part of the game.

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