Why I am an Atheist.

Over the last year (as of writing this) I have come to a life-changing conclusion, God (god) most certainly does not exist. I am an atheist. But, like many other non-believers I have no affinity to the label, I do not see why the non-belief in something needs any labelling.

My non-belief was a work in progress, I do wish it came sooner, and for those who have known me for many years it came as quite the shock. I have always kept a healthy degree of skepticism and questioning in my life, but somehow I applied that level of critical thinking to everything else in my life except religion. As I begun becoming more vocal about my skepticism and atheism, as well as my unhidden disappointment with religion, many have asked how I came to this conclusion. This has lead to many discussions, heated debates, and others simply making assumptions of my declining character due to the lack of God. Even, hate-mail. I have decided to publish this.

Before I begin, I would like to start with the following warning which could not have been said any better than as described by my virtual friend, Mark Jacquith:

I should warn you that if you are a person of faith, I’ll probably offend you gravely with this tome. Make no mistake: I have no compunctions about doing so. I’m not one to hide the truth behind deferential embroidery. Still, if you are the type who is likely to take offense and refuse to continue reading, it would be most courteous of me to offend you early on, so as to respect your valuable time.

To that end: God is almost certainly a lie, religion is a scourge upon the world, and you are wasting your life with a cultish devotion to nonsensical superstitions and soul-crushing dogmas. Also, you don’t have a soul.

Now that I’ve dispensed with the discourteous courtesies, and we are rid of the chronically hyper-offendable, let us begin.

Originally, I wanted to publish a book (as a decision like this, is not merely suitable for a few words, and to help others going through similar thinking from similar backgrounds). But, that task presented to be too extreme, and others have already done far better jobs – my time is better spend elsewhere. For those curious, the book was to be titled, Uncreating God: The Resurrection of Reason (cover image here).

Early Religious Years and Believing

I spent the first few years of my life living in an ashrama at a local Hare Krishna Temple that my parents had dedicated their lives too. My mother and father were both initiated as Brahmanas (like a priest in Christianity) which was to say, they were serious – my siblings were not far behind.

Most of the memories I have of my childhood are religious ones. I remember learning and reciting stories from our scriptures about heroic feats of the God Krishna, and his many avatars. I would memorise scriptural verses. I would also spend hours a day in meditative repetitive chanting of a single mantra (sanskrit verse). I have an identifiable tuft of hair growing as a pony-tail that symbolises my servitude to God. Needless to say, the childhood indoctrination was a success.

As a Hare Krishna, I was born a vegetarian and have still not eaten meat – however, it is now for reasons of compassion not religion.

There are also the other 3 of the “Four Regulative Principles”: No Gambling, No Intoxication, and No Illicit Sex.

I believed everything.

I believed all the amazing stories of heroism, mysticism, many demigods, battles of the demons and the demigods (good versus evil). Everything.

I also felt a great deal, it was all real to me.

Until..

The First Question

In high school I had two really close friends; a muslim and a christian. We would share our cultures with each others and do so quite respectfully, we even went to each others places of worship. The First Question of my journey was asked one day after attending Church when I realised that logically, there had to be a “right” religion and a “right” God because in the Mosque they say Allah is the only way and in Church they say Jesus is the only way, and finally at temple they say Krishna is the only way

The First Question I asked was: Which Religion is right and which God is real?

I spent months reading, studying, and discussing the various Major religions in the world with friends and respected priests, monks, spiritual masters. Eventually, I concluded that they all have their own variations of profundity and flaws.

I then carried on as was before and put the question on the backseat.

It will be a few years before I ask the question that changes everything.

Some Bitter Tastes

There were a few events that forced me to view the world differently, I will tell you about a few.

When I was seventeen, I had decided to become more serious about my spirituality with God and my place in my religion. I even wanted to work my way up towards also being initiated. After finishing high school, I began staying over at the temple that I grew up in to help with my mission (and to help the mission).

An unfortunate event took place that was both horrific and cliched. On a sleep-over, during a road-trip for a religious festival, a devotee (read: Priest) decided to get frisky with me while I slept. It ended with my pants on the other side of the room, tears from the perpetrator, offerings of help from me, apologies from him… and then he did it again to another boy.

Upon hearing about the second incident, I reported both events to the temple authorities, who then proceeded to give him a temporary ban from the temple. He was back a year later to the esteemed position of which he had left, like paid suspension. Though, what disgusted me was the lack of human understanding and basic levels of support the temple authorities displayed. I expected them to offer some form of help, some form of counselling or therapy to us both, but the only person that spoke to us was the temple lawyer who basically told us to keep this just between the temple so that the movement (as they called it) would not receive a bad reputation and fall apart (Because a society ordained by Gods will can be taken down by the words of a seventeen year old boy and his unwilling penis).

The second event relates to my mother. Three years ago, during one of the most auspicious months in the religious calendar, after coming home from the temple, I had to struggle with my father to carry my mothers near-lifeless body in the rain to the car and to the hospital. She had suffered her first hyper-glycemic episode. Her health has been a struggle ever since.

That event was something I would never forget. The fear, the anxiety, the tears, the hopelessness of it all. Thats the first time I asked the question of why do bad things happen to good people most sincerely.

These bitter tastes were the catalyst to my final question.

The Final Question

I was then lead through the path of trying to ask more sincere questions. The first question I asked was: “Which God is the Right God?” – because logically, one had to be right, right?

But, that was when I thought that following a single God and religion was the only way, I soon found that there was an alternative. New Age Spiritualism.

The New Age Spiritualism offered a very appealing alternative to the mainstream God approach. It replaced a personal God with an autonomous ‘Universe’, the idea that we are all consciously connected, that this life is merely an experience, nothing is good or bad (everything is just an experience we are playing with), that love connects all of us, and when we die we become one with the Universe.

It was beautiful.

The only trouble I soon had with that was that it had so many version and all versions were apparently true, because its part of each individuals reality. That thinking soon faded and I asked the biggest and final question of this Journey:

Is God Real, Does God Exist?

The search continued.

Losing my Religion

Shedding my religious was no easy journey. I had over twenty-years of indoctrination to break through.

During this journey, I moved away from being a Hare Krishna as soon as I realised that there are a lot of stories, contradictions, rules, and no evidence. Everything was expected that you accept it as law. This still, however, did not rule out the possibility of there being a God – but I was finally decided that this religion was to be striked off the list when, at a religious festival, a speaker preached for intelligent design as scriptural truth and the theory of evolution as being a conspiracy – as s student of Science, I did not appreciate that at all.

To reject a process that has mountains of evidence, and to believe something merely because it allows us to believe something we want to believe did not seem right anymore.

Logic needed to be more solid.

I was then drawn to Christianity and Islam to strike-off the list of possibilities. This was not difficult either as neither had any evidence for Gods existence either.

The burden of proof (in logic) lays with those who claim something to be true, the default in science that a claim is not true unless there is sufficient evidence to suggest it ‘might’ be true and then further evidence that proves it to be true. There were none of these for God.

In the words of the late Christopher Hitchens: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

Some of the below has been temporarily borrowed from Mark, until I am able articulate all of it to more closely match my own experiences.

Regarding the crucifixion: why should God have to sacrifice himself to himself to save mankind from a penalty he himself imposed? That sort of plot wouldn’t pass muster on a daytime soap opera, and yet it was supposed to be the event of ultimate cosmic importance. It didn’t make sense.

Free Will in God’s Playhouse

While taking a “Philosophy of Religion” class in college, I tackled the idea of free will. If God is omniscient, then he knows everything that will ever happen. He knows what you’ll do tomorrow. He knows whether you’ll go to heaven or to hell. Denying this is denying God’s omniscience. In a class discussion, I proposed a scenario. “If God says that you’re going to mow the lawn tomorrow, there are two possibilities: you have to mow the lawn, or you can make God a liar.” Well there goes free will. If God knows what we’re going to do, we don’t have free will, because we can’t choose something other than what he has foreseen. In order to have true free will, you have to have options, and you have to be able to choose from those options without compulsion. That simply isn’t possible in a universe controlled by an omniscient deity.

That was a depressing thought. If our actions are predestined, and thus our eternal fate is predestined (heaven or hell), why even bother with creating this physical universe at all? It all seemed so pointless. And what kind of god would create beings fully knowing that they would unavoidably be subjected to eternal torture? That certainly wasn’t love. It was sadism. Christianity depended on the concept of free will, but at the same time made it philosophically impossible.

Rational Continuity

I am a rational person. I have an insatiable desire to know the truth. The world should make sense, and it should be rationally consistent. There can be open questions, but not conflicting truths. To quote Ayn Rand, “Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” Thus religion posed, for me, a lifelong mental crisis. I had to hold, in my head, two sets of truths. Observed truths, and religious truths. But there was only one truth! Even the church said so. So when religious truths clashed with observed truths, I had a serious problem. I have trouble explaining how I juggled that contradiction for so long. I’m ashamed I didn’t address it sooner. But finally, in my early twenties, I began to take an honest look at truth, science, and religion. I was done with evasive answers and irreconcilable facts. I wanted to discover what was actually, objectively, and coherently true about life, the universe, and everything.

I’ll spare you the suspense. Religion lost.

Science is Real

I’ve always been interested in science. In my late teens and early twenties, that interest deepened significantly. I stopped seeing science as just a collection of facts, but as an approach to discovering the truth.

Science is more than a body of knowledge. It’s a way of thinking… a way of skeptically interrogating the universe.

Carl Sagan

Any conflict between science and religion had to be zero sum. Thousands of years ago, we knew far less about science, and so we embraced religious explanations. It seemed that the more we learned about the universe, the more religion had to retreat. Science explained things in a way that was objectively true, and independently verifiable. Religion couldn’t compete. So it shrunk away. If God occupied the gaps between our knowledge of the universe, we were slowly but surely putting him out of a job. Some people respond to this by denying or vilifying science. I couldn’t do that. Science is real. Whatever I decided about religion and God, it would have to be integrated with the fact that science is real.

The Futility of Prayer

“Why do people pray?” I wondered. Specifically, why did they pray and ask for certain, specific outcomes? If that outcome wasn’t in God’s plan, it wouldn’t happen. And if it was, it would have happened without the prayer. Prayers of petition seemed wholly unnecessary, and frankly, a bit of an insult to God and the plan he crafted in his omniscience. But people keep doing it, and they swear by it. Some people would even get cute about the futility of prayer. “Sometimes God answers your prayer and the answer is ‘no’”, they’d say, thinking that to be quite a clever thing to say.

I read a study that had been done on the efficacy of prayer. One part was double-blind, where patients didn’t know they were being prayed for. They did as well as the control group. In another group, where the patients receiving prayers were told that they were being prayed for, that group did worse than the control group. The proposed theory was that knowing that someone was praying for their recovery created a sort of performance anxiety, with that stress causing subtly negative effects on their health. That seemed fairly conclusive, and lined up with my experiences throughout my life: prayer doesn’t work. So either God doesn’t care, God is not benevolent, or God doesn’t exist.

God & Amputees

I’d long been skeptical of miracles. They didn’t seem to fit into a universe of fixed natural laws. And yet we are bombarded daily with miraculous claims. “God sped up my wire transfer!” “God found me a job!” “God cured my eczema!” I was struck by how unimpressive God’s supposed miracles were. He seemed to be limited to things that have a chance of working themselves out naturally. In cases of “healing”, God would just be given credit for things for which doctors should be receiving the praise.

I stumbled upon a website. It asked a simple question, but one that delivered a death blow to the idea of a hands-on god who can heal us and answer our prayers.

“Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?”

Certainly an all-powerful god could heal amputees. And in terms of benefit to the person, it falls between alleviating eczema and curing cancer. So it’s not outside of those bounds. The only things notable about limb regeneration are that (a) it doesn’t happen to humans naturally, and (b) the results, if it were to happen, would be undeniable. But it doesn’t happen. Nor does anything else that satisfies those two conditions. I was left with no alternative but to conclude that miracles do not occur. If God existed, he had to be a hands-off god. I had effectively become a deist.

A Universe from Nothing

It was physics that got me from deism to atheism. I was still taunted by the Cosmological Argument for God (the so-called “first cause” argument). A universe couldn’t just happen, could it? Surely the big bang needed a spark… some outside source of energy. I read up on physics and cosmology. As it turns out, the universe is energetically neutral. No outside source of energy is needed, because net-net, there is none in the universe. We, and everything we can observe in the universe, are nothing more than specks of energetic pollution. We are one side of the equation. But the equation balances. Moreover, quantum fluctuations create “something” from “nothing” all the time. The most nothing nothingness we can observe is actually a boiling caldron of particles spontaneously popping in and out of existence. No god needed. That was the last straw for me. I ceased believing in any sort of hands-off creator god. The universe, for the first time in my life, made sense to me. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Integrity, Finally

It is almost indescribable how happy I was when I finally came to terms with the fact that I didn’t in any way believe in a god, and that I had a solid basis for coming to that conclusion. I finally had the coherent, integrated view of the universe that I’d been struggling to find for my entire life. The full beauty of biological evolution became apparent to me. I stopped viewing science as merely a tool for making our lives better and started seeing it as an approach to life and the best way to uncover objective truths. Everything was illuminated. My eyes were finally fully open, and I experienced a profound intellectual and emotional euphoria. It was transcendental in a way that religion never was, and never could be. I had rid myself of the last vestiges of irrational and incoherent ideas. And everything that replaced them was not just objectively true, but more amazing and more wonderfully resplendent than anything I’d ever encountered before.

I fell in love with the universe. I wasn’t just “in” the universe. I was part of it. It hit me that because of evolution, I was physically related not just to every other human, but to every other animal on earth. And not just to every other animal, but to every plant. The atoms that composed me were the products of stars that had gone supernova and spilled their rich guts across time and space. I realized that I was, quite literally, “made of stars”. How remarkable! And how true.

I found that my demeanor was massively improved. I think that much of it was related to the immense cognitive burden caused by holding contradictory ideas. I didn’t feel comfortable in the universe, because the universe didn’t make sense, and I couldn’t reconcile everything. It was like the universe was an M. C. Escher staircase. Losing that feeling of disconcertment was a great relief.

No, Really

This bears repeating, as it seems to be a common misconception among believers: I’m happy. Happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m not “mad at God”. I don’t resent my parents one tiny bit. I don’t feel abandoned, alone, or like nothing means anything. Those clichés about atheists are nothing but a discouragement by theists against questioning one’s beliefs. They are simply not true. There is nothing empty or unsatisfying about a godless view of the universe. It’s the only view that can be justified with evidence, and there is great comfort in knowing that the things you hold to be true are not “true for you”, but are true for everyone. Which is to say: they’re actually true.

Coming Out

I spent a good couple of months with my atheism being completely private. I had to be certain that it wasn’t just a phase. I read a lot more. But once outside the veil of feigned religiosity, I found it impossible to give that position any respect. It was, in a word, silly, and now that I had come to terms with my position, I couldn’t ever imagine re-embracing a bunch of superstitions. It honestly didn’t take me that long to get acclimated. I realized that a naturalistic view has always been my default view. All there was to do was just recognize that and stop pretending it was otherwise. I decided not to tell my parents directly, at the moment.

So I’m an Atheist

Atheists are not a monolithic group, so I should explain exactly what my position is. I do not believe in any gods, in any “higher power”, or in anything mystical or outside of nature. If you pressed me really hard, I’d admit that I do not rule out the idea of a god completely. You might be able to craft some definition of a god which is entirely unfalsifiable. I’d have to ultimately be agnostic about the existence of such a god. But only as much as I’m agnostic about the possibility of there being a miniature, invisible, pink unicorn perched on my shoulder at this very moment. In the words of the late Christopher Hitchens: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

I most certainly do not have “faith in atheism”. I lack faith in all gods. Atheism isn’t a religion or a creed. It just means I don’t believe in any gods. Religious people sometimes use the “faith in atheism” phrasing when talking about atheists. Maybe that’s because they can’t imagine having a position that isn’t faith-based. Part of me thinks that they recognize that faith is a poor justification for an idea, and by characterizing atheism as faith-based, they’re attempting to put the two positions on even footing.

I characterize myself, additionally, as an “antitheist”. That is, I not only do not believe in any gods, I think the idea of believing in a divine power is harmful, and I oppose it. Being wholly without evidence, the idea of God is not bounded in any way by facts or logic. The belief becomes its own justification. Thus, faith in God is carte blanche for every imaginable evil. There can be no rebuttal, because the justification claimed has no basis in reason.

On Death

Religion is, I think, ultimately a way of dealing with our own mortality. Different religions handle death differently, but almost without exception, they provide for some continued existence after death. This is a powerfully alluring idea. We have an inborn desire for life. No one wants to permanently cease existing. Religion offers an alternative: we can all live forever! There is, of course, no reason to think that this is true. But still, it is one of the issues that is most in need of addressing when rejecting faith. So, what happens when we die?

There’s a good quote about death that is attributed to Mark Twain, but is almost certainly apocryphal. Nevertheless:

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

That is spot on. Where do we go when we die? Well, where were you before you existed? Another way to think of it is to recall nights when you slept without dreaming a single dream. Or when you went under general anesthesia. If you went to sleep one night, and never dreamt, and never woke up — that would be the same as death. It may be something to avoid, but you certainly shouldn’t fear what comes after it. You won’t care, because you won’t exist.

Why Does Faith Persist?

Since I’ve been “out”, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to why religion and superstition have such a hold on the world. Why, in this age of unprecedented scientific knowledge, do people continue to accept vague, irrational, and unsatisfactory explanations for how the universe works? I have a few theories. One is that tradition is hard to shake. Indoctrination into a specific religious tradition is a powerful agent of thought suppression. There are also cultural disincentives to skepticism. For many, religion is the primary source of community. They go to church to socialize and connect with people. Abandoning their religion would cut them off from that community. I also think that people are scared for our species to be alone in the universe. It might be comforting to some to imagine that there is an all-loving, all-knowing god looking out for us. It makes our problems here on Earth seem transient. It’s an easy escape from having full responsibility for knowledge and morality in this existence. Finally, people fear their mortality. Religion pretends to offer an antidote to death. The allure of that proposition blinds people to truths they might otherwise acknowledge.

My Wishes for the Faithful

I’m not trying to deny anyone their faith. That’s not my job. That’s their job. If you are a person of faith, I’d like you to stop being afraid of asking difficult questions, and stop accepting weak answers. If your faith is in something that is true, then scrutiny can only improve it as you discover more. And if your faith is in something that is not true, don’t you want to know? The truth has nothing to fear from inquisition. You should demand answers that are intellectually satisfying. And you should withhold your belief if the answers don’t satisfy you.

Everyone of faith should contemplate the improbability of their birth in a specific place and at a specific time. What are the odds that you were born in the exact right time, to parents of the exact right religion? Isn’t it odd that the children of Muslims grow up to be Muslims and the children of Catholics grow up to to be Catholics? If there really is a one true religion, and you just happen to be alive at a time when it exists, shouldn’t the evidence for it be so overwhelming that people of other religions readily convert? Rather, isn’t it the case that your religion is as nutty to people of other religions as their religions are to you? What basis do you have for saying your religion is more likely to be true than any other?

Conclusion

Congratulations on getting through that. Seriously. Just a bit more, and I’ll release you.

My experience with religion is part of me. I might wish that I’d figured out it was all nonsense earlier, but that’s wishing for me to be a different person. I’m happy with who I am, including my religious past. I came to this realization later in life than most people do. But it’s never too late to question your fundamental assumptions about the universe. Whatever you’re struggling with, you don’t ever have to just accept your current position. Stay hungry, and keep searching for the truth. You won’t ever find all of it, but what you do find will blow your fucking mind. It’s a wonderful universe, and we are all incredibly lucky to be here.

Epilogue

A great debt of thanks goes out to those authors and speakers who helped me come to terms with my atheism and naturalism and have provided me with a much more numinous and coherent view of the universe and my place within it: James Randi, Ayn Rand, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. Two are dead. I hope someday to meet the rest.

You are already perfect.

The Japanese have two very beautiful philosophies that have intrigued me lately. Not the kind of ‘intrigued’ one becomes because of knowing something to be weird or absurd, but more because it isn’t.

The two philosophies are:

  • wabi-sabi (侘寂 – acceptance of transience and imperfection) and,
  • kintsugi (金継ぎ – golden joinery, or kintsukoroi 金繕い – golden repair)

These two are quite intrinsically linked, wabi-sabi being the over-arching philosophy that kintsugi is an act of.

Kintsugi is the act of repairing a damaged or broken item with gold lacquer, symbolising that something can become more beautiful for having been broken.

A Japanese Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsugi method
A Japanese Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsugi method

The beauty of this philosophy is that it finds very little beauty in perfect things, something we have been taught to love in modern western society. A tattered well read book is more beautiful than perfect one on the shelf, an asymmetrical forest is more wondrous than one of planted rows of pine.

Wabi-Sabi accepts change for what it is, and embraces imperfection.

Though what I found most intriguing is this kintsugi philosophy treats all imperfections, breakages, and cracks as merely an event in the life of the object rather than it being the end of the objects service, instead it chooses to highlight the cracks that symbolise its service rendered.

In life, I have always tried to be perfect. The perfect son, friend, lover, brother, or simply person. I have always failed at these by my own standards because perfection is such an elusive and unobtainable thing. Also, with my work of helping people live better lives, I am often faced with people who are struggling with accepting themselves and their imperfections. It’s difficult trying to show them the beauty of themselves when they keep pointing at the cracks.

You are already perfect, this has to be one of the most important lessons I could have learned or taught in my life.

We all go through difficult times in life.
We suffer heartaches and heart-breaks, yet we live.
We lose people we love, sometimes by distance, other times by death.
We get hurt by those we love, and we hurt from hurting the ones we love.
We are sometimes placed in extremely difficult situations.
We are sometimes in a place where it seems there is no way out.

But we live, we repair and we are here. I would never trade any of the pain and hardships I have had in life for a simpler life. Those pains have transformed me into the man I am today, and I might say, I quite like who I am and who I am yet to become.

Pain shapes and transforms you.
There is beauty in the broken. (tweet this)
May you find your best imperfections.

Eternal Smiles, Leo Gopal

Image credit: Lynnreck of Deviantart

On Being A Husband

These are my promises to my future wife. (I am not married as of writing this).

My Dear Love,
Thus far, I probably haven’t been the best boyfriend I could be.
But you make me want to be a better me.
Not a better me for you, No. A Better Me for Me.
Thank you for loving me as I am. Unconditionally.

My Dear Love,
You are perfect.
Do not strive to be any different than the wonderful you that you are.
You ARE Perfect.
I promise to never try to change you.

My Dear Love,
You will change.
We all always change.
And when you do, I will love you as much now as I will then.
I will love you unconditionally.
I love you.

My Dear Love,
You are going to go through some tough times ahead.
I want you to know that I will always be there holding your hand.
I got your back.

My Dear Love,
I will never judge you.
So please feel free to make mistakes.
Follow your heart.

My Dear Love,
I will never forgive you again. I promise.
Forgiveness is an act that says that you did something wrong.
Forgiveness says that you have offended me.
‘Wrong’ and ‘Offence’ and things of Judgement.
I will not forgive and make them real.
Be who you are and I will love you so.
I love your honesty, never change that.

My Dear Love,
I will never raise my hand towards you.
Neither will I ever raise my voice at you.
I will never scold you or chastise you.
You are not a child that needs to be taught a lesson.
I will always let you know how I feel.
I will always speak to you with love.

My Dear Love,
Others may hurt you.
Others may make you not feel beautiful.
Others may make you feel not good enough.
I promise to do my best to never hurt you.
I promise to always make you feel beautiful as you are.
I promise to always allow you to know that you are perfect.
When you feel unworthy of love, I shall love you truly – always.

My Dear Love,
I promise to be a good Dad to our kids.
I promise to love your parents as my own.
I promise to keep my promises.

My Dear Love,
I am not perfect and I do make mistakes.
Please forgive me.
I Love You.

(to be continued)

Poem: A Love Letter to Death

Death, My Dearest Friend
How wonderful it is to meet you again,
Your silent embrace calms the world and
sets forth new adventures for my soul.

My Dear Friend, Why dont people understand you?
People Fear you and Despise you.
They judge you and try and evade you.
They call you the enemy and curse you.

They blame you for taking away loved ones.
Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Lovers, Daughters, Sons.

“Shhh! Don’t say that!” ,they whisper as your name is uttered.
As if, by saying you name an evil omen is unleashed.

Why do they not see the gift that is you?

You are the worlds greatest healer.
The Change Agent of the Universe.
You clear out the old and make way for the new.
You end stories to make way for new ones.

Death, You are not the end,
not even close, you are the start of every beginning.

Shakespeare says it best:
‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players’

We come into this world with a role to play,
We choose the lines we wish to say,
and when the curtains close we wish to stay
but we need to leave for other roles play.

I really enjoyed this Role I played.
So many fascinating labels:
Leo, Gopal, Hypnotist, Brother, Son, Lover, Friend.
..and to think that they will all be renewed in the end.

Such weight, lifted of my soul as my ego is removed,
Aaah, a sigh of relief – when will we meet again old friend?

Death, The Most Glorious thing about your friendship
is that meeting you again is inevitable.
Every passing moment brings us closer to our reunion.

Tick…
Tock…
goes the the clock…
Let us meet again,
let us embrace,
and take me to that place
with no time and no space.

My Dearest Death, you are the greatest part of Creation.
Till we meet again.
With Love, Leo

Poem: If They Dusted Your Heart for Fingerprints

If they dusted your heart for fingerprints, would they find mine?
Would they find my DNA upon your lips left behind from our last goodbye kiss?
Would historians ever be able to find evidence that I loved you?
That you Loved Me? That you. owned. me…

I have tried not loving you
I have tried hating you
I have tried repeating ‘I love you’ over and over again
hoping that eventually it will lose its meaning…
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
…but all I ended up with was a stutter that scratched its way
towards my throat of I-I-I-I- Love you…
as if each word dragged itself out a little longer, to be felt a little deeper…

I tried crucifying my love for you…
I nailed its gentle hands upon a cross and hung it upside down,
but eternity passed and my love hung there, still alive,
still breathing, with broken heart strings bleeding the blues,
Love… it seems was immortal…
So I tied love up with silver chains and laid it in a mahogany casket,
sunk it six feet into the ground burying it alive amongst its shrieking cries of agony,
yearning to be felt…

Every new eternity I revisited loves grave through conversations with you,
laying red roses upon its still freshly dug soil, but leaving no sooner than I arrived,
as if the cemetery had visiting hours which were always too quick and never long enough.

But… one day all this changed, with a gentle whisper you said you loved me.
You uttered my name from your divine lips and said you loved me.
Softly as if not to wake the dead, yet my love was never dead and those
words worked upon the fault-line that is my heart and the earth shook under my feet.
I heard the shattering shrieking of the breaking of iron chains, I heard the splintering
of mahogany wood and witnessed the ground open up before my eyes…

Love walked up to me non-nonchalantly as if never buried for eternities and he touched
my chest and burned my heart and entered my body, he moulded like hot particles of metal
being cast into a Siamese twin with my soul. Love became inescapable.
You took me to the point of no return with a single utterance of my name and those three sacred words
strung together like a garland made of stars… endless, bright and burning in the darkness.

You said you loved me.
You said you wanted me.
We imagined beautiful eternities of happiness together and took my love to points of no return.
Theres no going back… love cannot be burying again without taking my soul with it…
Stuck in the limbo of your love…

do I keep walking towards you?
Will I be able to place my fingerprints upon your heart?
or… do I perish and become dust where I stand?

Poem: At The Speed of Light

If I could, I would fathom myself into a constellation
I would lay my body between the heavens and the earth
just so that if you ever looked above you and said a prayer to God
I would make sure he hears you.

If I could, I would fall from the heavens,
I would fall the same way I fell in love with you,
Continuous and infinite.

I would fall just so that amongst billions of stars, you would notice me.
I would fall and hope that you’d make a wish upon this falling star and I will spend my
entire journey down making your wish come true.
If I could, I would just keep falling for you.

Physics says that Time Stops at the speed of light, so If I could, I would fall towards you
at the speed of light, I would fall in such a way that the moment I touch you, Time stops
so that that single moment would last forever.

If I could, I would fall towards you with such intensity that would have me turn dust,
insignificant and everywhere.
I wana be dust upon this earth just so that you may
sometime or another walk upon me, and maybe, just maybe,
you would inhale the minute particles of me and for once have the chance to be a part of you.

Physics says that time slows down the higher the altitude,
So If I could I would live with you above cumulus clouds
so that every moment with you would last longer – so that
nothing would ever be able to rain on our parade.

Astrophysics says that inside a black hole Time Stops completely.
Inside a blackhole is where I want to kiss you… forever.

I once thought I was going to die and thats OK because I do believe in an afterlife.
And If this life was not the one that had me being with you again, there
would definitely be another coming soon.

Spending moments with you is like having a visitors pass to heaven.
Living a lifetime near you and not being with you is like
Standing outside the unlocked gates of heaven,
poised to enter but not pushing the gates open.
its… silly.

If I could, I would push, I would bend the gates bars like circus strong men,
In fact, If I could, I would light a stick of TNT from both ends just to
make sure that no other obstacle gets constructed to keep us apart.
And that my love… is just to start.

Everyone wants to go to heaven but not everyone wants to die to get there,
If holding you in my arms were heaven I would die repeatedly just to feel you constantly.
I will get resurrected through your smiles just to die to hold you again…
I want to be in the heaven of you.

Jean-Luc Godard said that every good story should have a beginning,
a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
And my love, we have already had our end, Our story is just beginning
and its already beautiful.

My love, we are soulmates and I have had dreams of thousands of lifetimes
of memories of lives with you. I dreamt that you were a princess and I was
a slave and I fell in love with you and you with me but our love was illegal
so they said I seduced you and they stole my life prematurely – they took me from you.

I dreamt that you were a maiden and I was a blacksmiths boy and your parents
married you off and I wasnt even an option, I spent my life melting metal and
shaping it in the same way you molded me, in the same way you melted me and
I died alone – hoping for things to be different when I get resurrected…

I was a bee searching for honey, and honey, I landed in the flower of your palms…
But you brushed me away and the rejection killed me.

I was a young traveler traversing the earth exploring its beautiful secrets when I met you – you said you
will come with me and I waited, but they took me away and I left breadcrumbs
hoping that you would be able to find you way to me again…

I was slain and resurrected from the dead
and I became me and you were you and we were free and
nothing more needed to be said.

We loved with such intensity that we caught up from all the lifetimes we couldn’t have.
We played out the ending of our story first just so that the beginning could last forever.
and after thinking I was going to die, I was given a second chance, and with that
Our beginning has already begun.

…and I want it to go slow, slow like the kisses I place upon your lips.
slow, like forever was still an infinity away… slow, like a traffic jam – moving
with a stop and go motion that leads you home… home, is when you’re next to me.

I want to spend all night making sweet sense to you,
I want you to scratch your future into my back because i got your back,
I want you to know that I have your back like a vertebrae.
I want to grow old with you, I want to count the wrinkles
around your eyes from all the times you smiled at me.

Our hearts are muscles that need to be flexed, and darling we have spent too many lifetimes
flexing it in the wrong ways, with the wrong people.

Darling, my heart beats to the rhythm of
your name and I am flexing it for you.

Things sometimes looked hopeless for us, and I was asked if I would ever give up on you.
If a million teachers were shouting at me, telling me the answer was ‘Yes!’ I’d still say ‘No!’
I would try until the end, just as a man about to die still gasps to try and continue breathing.
I will never give up on you.

I hope you know how much you mean to me, I hope you know that lifetimes are not enough
for me to show you how much I love you, I hope you know that I am never giving up. I hope
you know I want to spend forever with you, traveling at the speed of light into a blackhole
with you lips upon mine. I love you.

Poem: My Pain

I am a hooker for pain pimped out to calamity
because tragedy seems to be the only commodity
that’s suitable for my trade.

I strip tease insanity and lap dance to sadness
I pole dance for an audience of fear and anxiety
I give an erection to suicidal thoughts because life is hard.
But through the difficulties I give head to failure and
I promise a happy ending.

When my clothes of happy thoughts are lying on the floor
I have intercourse with expectation
and give birth to disappointment because we do not have
the protection of happy endings here.
Just endings.

Years later I get married to pain, you see
I have always loved her, and she loves me too.
and although you may not like it…
there’s is nothing you can do.

People keep trying to offer me a helping hand
but the thing they do not understand
is this pain… its mine… there may be many like it
but this pain… is MINE.

Do not tell me you know how It feels
because you do not know these feelings like i do.
They are unique, they are mine, so when you know
How it feels to lay in the darkness making out with despair,
then come to me and tell me life is fair.

Because she’s not, Life isn’t fair, she doesn’t even care,
Life’s a bitch, but you know what, I made that bitch beautiful.

As time passes my love story bends.
You see, pain no longer talks to me. It hurts.
I try to feel her up but the chemistry
just isn’t there anymore. Our story ends.

Turns out, I thought pain was just mine.
But she’s been around, everyone I know
has had her sometime soon or ago.
I thought I was unique, but all she ever
wanted to do was make me weak…

Pain and I are no longer together,
But I don’t regret it, I still love her,
always will, we’re still friends and
she does come around once in a while.
and when she’s gone im left with a smile.

Now I am best friends with letting go,
I have stopped visiting yesterday and
postponed my trip to tomorrow.
My address is today and the time is now.

My roommate is pretty wonderful,
her name is Contentment.
She doesn’t travel much, apparently
she’s never been to yesterday or tomorrow,
She says that’s where her ex sorrow lives.

If you ever meet pain, she has a lot to teach
but you don’t have to fall in love with her,
she never stays long, she’s out of reach.

But if you do… If you do fall for her.
Be careful, she will bind your wrists
with worthlessness and make you want
to cut its invisible binds.

Don’t. Do. It.

I have been there. There’s a better way.
You can cut your wrists on my shoulder blades
because I have only love to give.
I may not be a hooker for pain,
But I am a slut for hugs.