Death lurks behind the promise of infinite possibility inherent within the subjectively linear passage of eighty-six thousand, four hundred distinct moments each day. In the twist of a turn taken too quickly and the reflexes response, the weary drooping of eyelids during a 12 hour drive cross-country, or the slip of a shoe upon a hypnotically narcissistic, marbled floor. We will never know the day nor the hour of our passing, for each day is not promised us. While living life consciously ignorant of our impending doom, we cultivate a sense of immortality all out of proportion to the reality that, in each instant of each day, the possibility of leaving this world is present.
Death whispers seductive promises of eternal sleep, of oblivion. It is a subliminal choral accompaniment to the solo of our lives, a choir made up of death-masked ghouls leering and whispering between choruses, waiting for that inevitable intersection marking the passage between two states of being, life and death. Being a comforting illusion, the denial of our mortality is the glue that bonds society as one, that allows us to proceed about our ways each day with the confidence required to plan for tomorrow’s lunch or that vacation next summer without going stark raving mad, crushed beneath the weight of the realization that a moment’s laxity could lead to our final departure from this earthly coil. Halloween or Samhain, El Dia de los Muertos, All Saints and All Souls days. Celebrations of the passage of the Summer into Fall, the full vibrancy of life into the transitional state of renewal, marking that ephemeral time when the veil between the worlds has thinned, and passage – as well as communication – between states of Being normally separated by the Void of Forgetting becomes possible, eliciting flights of terrific fancy in those whose psyches are predisposed – by nature or nurture – to such perceptive detours from common experience.
When the fear of death underlies each decision that we make, shadows each moment of our lives, or threatens every happiness that we experience, maintaining our grips upon sanity often requires the purposeful cultivation of ignorance. That which marks the Seeker is Her search for Knowledge, His total devotion to living life without illusions and finding and traversing that path toward the highest aspirations of knowledge and spiritual attainment. All children are born Seekers. They are fearless, until fear is inculcated within their developing psyches. Once the materially-based realization that life is a zero sum game sinks in, fear also sinks its claws into the soul and the subjective and self-serving rationalizations that often accompany the realization of imminent extinction begins. The fear of the Unknown, the fear of the Other, the fear of Difference, the fear of Change. The fears of darkness, of sunlight, of skies, of women, of racial groups, of tall people, of short, of the mentally-challenged and the intellectually-superior, all can be linked back, at some point, to the fear of death itself.
Knowledge protects, ignorance endangers. And yet, ignorance promises a false sense of security. An illusory and subjective viewing of the world that is often shared by others in one’s group, who also fear death to the same or a greater extent. We are in this together, they seem to say to each other at some subconscious level. So let us create a world of experience around us that pushes death to the fringes, and relegates it to the darkness. Let us create stories and tales of terror that minimize death, while celebrating life as if it is to be lived eternally. Let us celebrate the Youth, and Sex, and Inebriation; let us make gods of them. Let us take joy in the sobriety and beauty promised by the light of day and then let us huddle together in drunkenness and sexual licentiousness during the dark of night, taking comfort in our materiality, since this is all that there is to existence. They reassure one another that no one knows what lies beyond death: so let us live this life fully, doing what we will, for tomorrow, we will be nothing but dust, ashes and fading memories in the minds of those who knew us once.
We make the choice of life over death daily. The opportunity to slip off the ladder while fixing a roof is, indeed, a possible choice. The choice to fall asleep in the bathtub is, indeed, another possible choice. The choice to veer into the oncoming lane of traffic is yet another choice and the choice to step over the ledge of a rooftop or crash through a 12-story window are other choices that we do not make, even though they exist simultaneously as possibilities within the endless quantum field of potential. And there are also happenstance choices that lead us away from death’s door, that seem to keep us within the flow of life purely by luck, or destiny. The choice not to take a certain path that, you may find out later, could have led to an unfortunate encounter with a major accident. The choice not to step in a puddle of water that you see, after passage, an electric circuit dangerously close to. The choice not to take a flight that crashes as you sit comfortably at home, watching the news. These choices, possibilities, mark each of our days, too often passing without notice, as we forge our ways heedlessly into the future and toward that inevitable day of reckoning, when our lives intersect our deaths and we finally find that moment that has been making its way toward us, through the confluence of time and space, since the day of our births.
The ephemeral nature of existence takes on a glossy sheen of improbability when all of the chance occurrences and lucky coincidences are added up on theSpreadsheet of Life’s Happenings. For those who cultivate and live the majority of their lives in a fearful state, the onset of old age is a terrible time. A time of reckoning and regrets, of reminiscence and reproofs. The dwindling days seem to pass faster and faster as the days shorten and the nights lengthen, the whispering shadows beckoning from the dark corners of rooms, take on the characters of long-forgotten dramas and passion plays, while the stark realization that more days lie behind than before sets in, steeping the bones in chilling, thought-stilling terror. The recognition of a lifetime lived in material pursuit can then be recognized as the highest of follies.
Worldly wealth nor pleasures may traverse the void. For some, the realization that there was another choice all along never arrives.They end their lives, fearful until the very last moment, meeting their Maker with wide, unseeing eyes, and often hanging onto the shards of their memories long past their time to ascend into the Corridor of Passage, from whence their further ascent into Light or descent into matter will proceed. For each lifetime is a lesson that solidifies the path of our souls, toward inevitable immersion within the light or dissolution into the dark, both necessary halves of an integral whole which lies beyond all perception of duality.
The time we are given upon this Earth is precious, and deserving of our full attention. Cultivating conscious experience, decrying ignorance and striving to understand the world, the people in it, and the situations that we find ourselves in should be recognized as being akin to learning the forms of the problems, in Algebra, or the structure of a sentence, in English, in preparation for the test that will be given upon our exit from this stage, in preparation to ascend, or descend, to the next or previous grade. In a quantum Reality, possibility is infinite, and yet, this infinity is accessible by conscious intent, ours to mold and fit into our conceptions and ideals, to live and form lifetimes only bounded by the perceptual limitations of our own potentially infinite imaginations.
Life is too short, too sweet, to live it in mundane disharmony. Comfort is overrated and “going along to get along”, the surest path toward dissolution. Take chances, explore, forgo your plans and live in the moment, accepting what the universe brings you and running with it, into a future undreamed, and a life beyond anything that you have ever conceived. For that is the true promise of Destiny and the call of your soul, often buried beneath a lifetime’s accumulation of thoughts and fears designed to break your spirit. Choosing to awaken – to cast off fear – is to leave the comfort of ideologies and belief systems, of friends and families, and to strike off into uncharted territory, or rather, territory that has been charted only by the intrepid souls who have preceded us upon this journey and who have blazed the parameters of the path forward with iridescent halos comprised of laughter and tears, holographic messages made of rainbows, volcanic eruptions and stark vistas of distant mountains painted purple and green beneath immense, oceanic skies.