Attachments to things, identifications with things, keep alive a thousand different useless I’s in a man.
– GI Gurdjieff
Most of us live in total denial that the primary animating energy behind all our choices is a paralyzing fear of non-existence.
The truth is that the fear itself is in service to our highest good. It is the seed for the beneficent heart of all spiritual practice; a graceful mortification, or preparation for death. The fear is there for the purpose of bringing our conscious awareness first to the reality which cannot be escaped;
you are going to die.
Better to face this truth and do as much letting go, now. Die now and avoid the rush! 🙂
But the purpose is also to move beyond the acceptance of a reality, and into a new orientation to life!
It’s kinda like a check engine light on your car. It’s a bummer to see it come on, but it’s helpful to have the warning. You COULD just choose to drive around forever with the light on, stressing you out whenever you look down. Which, ofcourse, is how most of us live; worrying and/or pretending our “car” will just go forever and needs no attention whatsoever. But we can also sit with the fear long enough to touch a deeper reality. To get in touch with soul, essence, the Still-Point, or the god-space.
So much of what causes us suffering in life is the frenetic clinging to all that is impermanent, fluid, and illusory. The knowledge and acceptance of death is a gift, in that, it can help us stop wasting time denying its reality, and start preparing for that moment, consciously. This is what ‘spirituality’ is in so many ways. Conscious Preparation for death. The type, or flavor, or style, or tradition of spirituality you choose, simply depends on HOW you want to die.
Consciously preparing to die, the way you want to, is mortification. Mortification may sound like a negative word, especially as an emotion. I mean, who enjoys being ‘mortified’? But really, the only thing that experiences such an emotion is the constructed self, which is unreal, paranoid and immaterial anyway. Better to escape it’s clutches sooner than later. But mortification as a spiritual practice is another thing all together.
When I had cancer, there were days I deeply grieved, thinking “this isn’t how I want to die”. Which led to the question, “how DO I want to die?”
Which led to this realization:
The answer to how one wants to DIE,
is ultimately the answer to how we ought to LIVE!
Think about this… Today on the way to somewhere, you get in a major car accident and get tossed out the front windshield. As you lie in the concrete, glass and steel, your lifeblood pours out of your neck. YOU KNOW IT’S HAPPENING. YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE.
Now, try and imagine… what would come to your mind? What MATTERS? What MATTERED?
I’d like to suggest it will always and only be LOVE. When you gave it, when you let it in, when you became it and when you realized it is the only thing that’s eternal. Perhaps this moment lying on the pavement is the first time you are making the realization.
Now, come back to your body in the present moment. You know now what matters. Breathe it in.
It’s ONLY Love.
Not anger, bitterness, resentment, betrayal… none of that will come “with you”. So now that you know that, why not organize the rest of this incarnation around love? Why not prepare now, so that whenever you transition to whatever is next, it can be peaceful and without fear. In that mystical moment you can release tears of gratitude that for the time you DID have, you spent it in beautiful, redemptive, and meaningful ways. You can go forward into the Mystery saying,
“Yes! Yes! I love you all. It was such a gift to be with you…
Thank you, thank you, thank you…”