ONE OF MY FAVORITE definitions of life was spoken by a comic actress in some musical of years ago. "La vie, la vie!" she cried out, rolling her big, dark eyes. "We'd be dead without it!" And maybe that is all that we can say about it ever finally. Life is what we would be dead without. Life is what we are. Life is our little portion of Being itself. But that is only to define one mystery in terms of another. You and I and the most distant star and the dragonfly's wing and the rustle of leaves as they fall—these all have one thing in common, which is that they all are, we all are, part of Being. What is Being?
Think of this world. Think of the great globe itself, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, and all the people of this world. Then take it all away, take the world itself away and us away so that not a rack is left behind. Think of the universe itself. Then take away all the planets and the stars, take away every form of matter and energy, take away space itself and take away time. What is left? All that one might say is left is the absence of all these things. Now take away this absence. Nothing is left. Non- Being. So Being is what we have instead of this. Your Being and mine, the Being of our world.
- Originally published in The Magnificent Defeat