Life and “I”

 A philosophical dalience

What does it mean when we say we’re alive?
What’s it mean to be born?  Or to not survive?
If my body is the quick, then who is “I”
When my dead body rests in a lifeless lie
Does “I” live on – and who then, does die?

 Is “life” in the fabric of the flesh we well know?
If so, when that’s gone, life’s essence must go
Mortal are the bones so they have to pass
And return to the dust and the trees and the grass
So where then is life; in the heavens or our hearts?

Is “I” different from life force, or one and the same?
Do we live in our minds which exist in our brain
When forlorn fades our soma at the dusk of our day?
Does our mind leave our body, and wing on its way?
Taking “I” & life with it; unable to stay?

It seems we have parts that are not all the same
Body, mind, “life” and “I” to list some by name
We often confuse them when working things out
Or improperly use them around and about
Here’s how I see it ; though of course there is doubt

Our bodies provide a convenient frame
A vehicle to use, once given a name
Our minds; electricity; traffic of our brains
They generate concepts &mill thoughts into trains
And “I” is a concept to deal with life strains

“I” is shaped on life’s anvil by society’s peen
Fired in the forge of what’s happened and been
Formed by the sweet and sour touching of life
By probing the world and being split by its knife
Fragile identity built from goodwill & strife

So if the “I” we so cherish is shaped in the mind –
In the brain in the body on the bones of our kind
It’s not constant or real, ebbs & flows with life’s tides
It quakes under duress; on good health, high it rides
It is nebulous, frail, and mortal besides

So at last when the bones are laid in the dust
No longer driven and devoid of all thrust
When the brain and the mind have ceased to pulsate
Awareness dispersed, thought slipped through the gate
“I” no longer exists to bemoan its own fate

But the quick have “life essence”; for the dead ‘tis not so
Where does it come from and to where does it go
We know “I” turns to mist when the body wears out
So “I” is not “life force”, of that there’s no doubt
What dies then? What lives then? What is life all about?

When a mother gives birth to a daughter or son
A new consciousness flickers; we say a life has begun
But the young candle’s flame is born from the old
The same life burns on in a new body bold
Life of Mother, life of Father; No new life unfolds

And when our breathing desists, we are said to have passed
Some say our soul has moved upward at last
But think out of the box; try to cloud not your head
Take “I” from the picture; that concept now shed
“I” that clung so to life, knows not, it is dead

No life disappears when our bodies cry Hold!
Just one lick of flame gutters into the cold
Even if we should pass without heir or trace
And leave no dependents with our family face
Our life stream flows on in the whole human race

The real nature of life is not personal soul
We don’t separately live but are parts of a whole
The life force is real but not of flesh, blood or bone
It was, is, and shall be; but is ours not to own
Much greater extant by our joint seed is sown