Updated: Sep 18
Death is an organic and integral part of life, and it is very much in harmony with life. In fact, life cannot exist without it. Life owes its existence to death, as death provides the backdrop against which life thrives. Death is, in essence, a genuine process of renewal. It occurs continuously, just as life unfolds moment by moment.
Consider this: with every breath you take, both life and death are at play. Inhalation signifies life, while exhalation represents death.
Life and death are inseparable, like old friends.
When a child is born, the first act is taking that initial breath, marking the start of life. Conversely, when a person is dying, the last act is releasing that final breath, akin to liberation, and thus, life departs. Both life and death are incredible experiences, and we are fortunate to encounter both the good and the bad.
While we don't recall our own births, if we are fortunate, some of us will remember our deaths. Breathing epitomises the life/death process.
You cannot inhale without exhaling; likewise, you cannot truly live without experiencing death.
Those who grasp this concept die to the past in each moment and are resurrected anew. Acceptance is essential.
Photography, too, mirrors this concept.
Every moment captured in a photograph during life is alive, but once it's captured, it becomes a relic of the past. It cannot be replicated in the same way because it is unique. It's a fascinating observation to realise that each photograph encapsulates a life/death moment that will never recur.
That moment, known as life, is frozen in a photograph, and in less than a second, it becomes history. What remains is a photograph, a record of a piece of reality that is already gone.
The lesson here is that capturing life's 'decisive moment' as Cartier-Bresson put it, is both challenging and simple. Life exists only in the moment.
How do you feel when you see yourself in the moment?
Do you feel fear?
By looking deeply into life, you can comprehend death.
Only by understanding death can you truly grasp the essence of life. Both are interconnected, organic processes. Often, we perceive life as good and death as bad, and we attempt to shield ourselves from death.
This fear impedes our ability to live fully. To truly live, you must be prepared to die at any moment and embrace each moment as it is, with no expectations.
Who is afraid of death within you? It is not life that fears death; such a contradiction is impossible. Life cannot fear its own integral process. Rather, it is something else within us – the persona we have constructed since birth, the one that often lives miserably in our societal constructs. This inner entity is the Ego, the 'I am' narrative.
We must learn to carry our pain with consciousness, to bear our own cross, as every moment carries its own death. We must accept each moment just as it is, without anticipation. In one moment, we may feel like the happiest person in the world, only for the next to bring its opposite. And suddenly, we confront death. We favour life and disfavour death.
Life & Death, © Loredana Denicola