What a Corpse Taught Me about Living

“Everything else can wait, but your search for God cannot wait.” -Paramahansa Yogananda

I have been searching for God since before I knew I was. I think we all are, though we don’t all know it, and some of us who know it don’t always admit it, and even those who admit it sometimes forget it, intentionally or otherwise.

I think I came to Earth to find Him, which seems crazy because wherever I was before was probably closer to Him than here. Here I spend too much time looking under trash.

My work as an author might simply be more digging in the dirt, but in this moment it seems like a logical way to search. Read. Learn. Ponder. Discuss. Write. Share. Repeat. As Emerson reminds us, “The end of knowledge is action… but the end of that action again, is knowledge.” 

Writing is a way to make sense of existence, to establish my place in it, organize my thoughts and experiences, understand the past and shape the future—  after all, the best way to predict the future is to create it. Being an author creates the possibility for me to literally script my future.  

…  …

After my dad died, I was dumbfounded by the utter lifelessness of his corpse. It was odd to see his body so still. The energy and vitality it had possessed were gone— a reality I could feel as much as see. I was in awe with reverent appreciation for the precious, fleeting spark that animates each of us. 

I had seen corpses of people that I’d known before and it didn’t seem strange to me. But seeing my dad’s body absent its energy and vitality was particularly strange, not just because it was my dad, but because had been so powerful in life. He had been so passionate and intense about virtually everything he gave his attention to. He had been so alive. He had expressed his spark so fully.

I thought about my own life, and I realized that although we all have a spark of life, some of us possess a second spark. Seeing my dad’s corpse, it was clear to me that some people are more alive than others. In the words of William Wallace, “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” 

Some people live so fully and freely that their lives possess a character and quality as different from those of us who are merely alive as corpses are different from the living. When I understood that, I gained a desire to fully express the spark of life I’ve been blessed with, and if I can, to access and express this second spark.

Writing is the way I have chosen to attempt this. Writing is also a way I endeavor to find and understand God. I suspect that the effort to find and access my second spark is bound up with search to know God. And I know that it cannot wait.