Life and death
a twisted vine sharing a single root.
A water bright green
stretching to top a twisted yellow
only to wither itself
as another green unfolds overhead.
One leaf atop another
yet under the next
a vibrant tapestry of arcs and falls
all in the act of becoming.
Death is the passing of life
and life is the stringing together
of so many little passings.
~ Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro
Of Note: A question was asked whether some nations are more intrinsically fearful than others. As it turns out, the answer is yes. A definite geographic pattern of fear emerged when people of various nations were asked in six surveys spanning 2000 - 2009 about nuclear conflicts, terrorism, organized crime, medical accidents and avian flu. Topping the list were Malta, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Cyprus followed by the former communist nations. Besides being Mediterranean or former communist countries, the researchers asked themselves if there was a reason for this distribution. Turned out that the most robust determinant was "the proportion of citizens who believed in hell." This is not surprising. The teachings of ageless wisdom expressly state that the dark side keeps the masses in check by an underlying fear of death. Even worse than death would be a belief in hell and eternal damnation as punishment from an angry god from whose wrath we are powerless. This is pure illusion and directly contradictory to the facts but each of us must move through that falsity to arrive at the truth. One day the dark ones will have relinquished their control over humanity, and the fear of death and damnation will be a quaint historical curiosity. Until then, we can help our brothers and sisters, who do harbor that dread, by relinquishing any fear ourselves. The universe will be eternally grateful.