I know I talked about death many times before. Perhaps, I am rehashing many things that I wrote about. But whatever the case is, it is something that is always on my mind. You can say that having death on your mind constantly is a very bad idea. It would always make you anxious and scared.
This is not true. In fact, being aware of death constantly brings clarity to my life. It is only death that has added any value to my life. It is only death that has added any value to your life. Because I know that I will die one day, I am consciously aware of the finite amount of time that I have. Because of this, I don’t dwell in so much nonsense. I try my best to always, always be joyful and happy regardless of what is happening around me.
I guess the topic of death appeared again because I read a fantastic excerpt from The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. Here’s the excerpt:
“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
When I read the excerpt, it really resonated with me. I find life so miraculous. I don’t even know how I exist. Yet, everything is fine. There are so many forces in play that sustain my existence here on earth without me being aware of them.
The earth is spinning, the sun is rising, the moon is cycling around the earth. All the cosmic forces are in play. They are ambient and subtle, yet without them we cannot exist.
My heart is beating, my liver is functioning, my lungs are breathing, and trillions of cells are coming together and making my life happen. I am not really managing any of these activities, yet without them I cannot be.
I am on life support, always. Yet, the drama of my mind is bigger than all of this. This is why I feel like I am constantly living in a world of illusions. There are so many things that I believe to be more important than life. But they are not. All my problems are minor and small. My relationships, my career, my activities, and anything else are small happenings. What I want to happen in my life may seem like the most important things to me, but in terms of living here, they don’t need to be fulfilled at all.
It is only death that allows me to see this. It is only death that breaks the illusions I created about life. In fact, death is the ultimate disillusion. Because you are truly no more, all the things that you have gathered will fade away.
When I am aware of death, I am aware of my own nonsense. If you know that you will die any moment, where do you find the time for nonsense? Where do you find the time and energy to be upset, angry, irritated, and agitated? You won’t.
It is no wonder why I suffered immensely for a long time. Because I don’t see life as temporary, I lived like an immortal. Only people around me die. It will never be me. That is all that I was saying.
Instead of living in the creator’s world, I was constantly conjuring up my own petty creations in my mind. I created illusions. Then, I created more illusions of them rising and falling. I was living in a world of make beliefs, never once touching anything real.
Illusion of Eternity and Security
We all came into this world with an expiration date. We don’t know when it is exactly, but we know death will happen to all of us. In life, there are only two compulsions. One is that we are born, another is that we will die. In between, whatever the hell we want.
Because birth and death are compulsions, you don’t even need to do anything. Simply allow them to happen because they are going to happen.
Yes, I am terrified of death because it is something so foreign to me. I don’t really understand what it means to die. It is an experience that is beyond me, but no matter what I cannot avoid it.
If I try to avoid death, the only thing I would be doing is creating illusions of preservation. I would build walls all around me and call it security. The truth is, life is insecure. There is no true security to life.
Everything I have done, in one way or another, is for self-preservation. It doesn’t matter if I am accumulating money, relationships, or anything. In a way, I am preserving myself here in this physical world. With money, I can live and prolong my life with all sorts of health interventions. With relationships, I can preserve the memory of me in others. Even the writings I make are just like that. They are legacies created with the intention of sharing a part of me with others. In a way, I am creating impressions of me in others.
The same goes with getting married and having a child. It is about security. You want something that last forever. If not you, then a part of you must live on, isn’t it? This much is true because it is a part of our survival instinct. Wanting to live and be secure is a natural tendency.
We really don’t know what it means to be secure. We don’t even know what eternity is. They are nothing more than ideas in our mind. They are our creations, the byproducts and interpretations of our instincts for survival.
Do you really think that security exist? There is no such thing as security because death is always there. In the end, you still die. So, this emphasis on protection must go. The need for security must go because the only thing you’ll do is avoid life.
The walls of self-preservation are also the walls of self-imprisonment. They make you secure, but they trap you. This happens to many people because many of them live within a vault. They close themselves off from others because they fear getting hurt. But if you never face your vulnerabilities, you never grow.
I know this because I do the same thing. I build walls of security because I am fearful of my own vulnerabilities. But in the end, nothing real will ever happen to me. I keep experiencing the same thing repeatedly.
Let’s be real here. Eternity is my making. Security is also my making. The trap is my making. The walls are also my making. None of these are real. They are all just a play of imaginations and memory. They are illusions I created.
But the question remains. Am I here to experience life or to avoid life? If I am here to experience life, then I should drop my nonsense. Let everything happen to me. Let me experience all dimensions that this life hold. Before I drop dead, let everything that can possibly happen to a person, happen to me.
Once in a Lifetime
I have made many conclusions about my life. I have made many conclusions about the people, my surroundings, and pretty much every aspect of my life.
Because I made so many conclusions of life, I never look at it clearly. I never sought to see that it is possible to live in the world without taking any positions.
There is no need to draw conclusions because we don’t need such a complex neurological system to do that. Instead of drawing conclusions, it is within our best interest to always refine our logic. I mean the point of the brain is thinking, not concluding.
When I look at life, I am constantly surprised. Even if all your five senses are stretched to their limits, you cannot perceive all the things that are here, not even one percent. If you lived for a million years and look at life carefully, you still wouldn’t know it entirely! That is the wonder of life. So vast, amazing, and endless.
Let’s talk about some wonders that I see.
In my experience of life, I realize that every moment is unique. Every breath that I take is unique. The number of oxygen atoms, the composition of air molecules and particles are different in every breath that I take. There is no one breath like the other.
Every moment my surroundings are different. The strangers that are around me, the people, location, and time is unique to that situation every situation. There will never again be a time on March 13, 2019 where I am clustered on the right side of the computer lab surrounded by the same exact people, smell, surrounding, everything, and anything.
If you don’t believe me, just go walk outside on the sidewalk. Look at every stranger that passes you. Most of the time, you will never see those people again. Your first encounter will most likely be your last encounter. The order of which you see them are also unique. The events that happen around you: the birds flying by, the direction of the wind blowing, the types of clouds in the sky, and everything else are different. Just look around you.
If you are consciously aware of this, that every moment of your life is once in a lifetime, how can you not gasp at the wonders of life?
Because I know that I will die, I see this. When I go outside for a walk, I pay attention to every rock, tree, sky, people, and everything and anything. Because I know that this very experience is once in a lifetime, I don’t draw conclusions or put labels on what I am seeing and experiencing.
If you look at everything fresh, how can you not see the wonders that are here? All the close friends that you have now were once strangers around you. But because you got involved in their lives, your connections grew.
With over 7 billion people in the world, you won’t even meet 1% of the people that exist now. Yet, isn’t it beautiful that you still made such loving connections with the friends that you have?
I have my nonsense of so many things in life. I know that it is difficult for me to give them up. They are my creations and my drama that I reinforced with years and years of mental concrete. There is rigidity in my thought process. This I know.
I also know that I am a total illusion. If my body is an accumulation of food and my mind is an accumulation of impressions, then who I am right now is just an accumulation. Because I am a brief happening, I am made up. My personality is made up. What I am thinking about is made up. And what is made up can never withstand the test of time.
I came into existence with nothing, and I will leave with nothing. But because I came with no investment of any kind, whatever is happening in my life, I am always profiting.
So, death doesn’t take anything away from me. If anything, it just takes away my nonsense. Only then, can I live sensibly.
I see that there are limitations to what I do at each moment every moment. I also know that I don’t have much time here, I could fall dead within the next few minutes. I am not wishing for it, but it is possible.
If I am going to die, then how would I interact with others? How would I deal with situations around me? If you ask these questions, then surely you would know how to live at this moment, wouldn’t you?
Every person you see, you would smile at them. Every encounter you have, you would yield your best to the situation. Because there is no better way to live. There is no better way to be. If there is, please tell me. I would really like to know because I’m dying, you’re dying, and we’re all dying.
Since I am dying, I don’t really have much time to waste. I would like every moment of my life to be a pleasant experience. This is my choice, and it is my choice every day.
I have gone through so many mental gymnastics to look at life. I thought about my purpose to life all the time. I think about death, and every aspect of it. I realized that I was going in circles.
I ended up with some more words and knowledge. Words and knowledge don’t transform your experience of life. Even the things I write cannot transform my experience of life. It only adds extra layers of sophistication to what I say, that’s all.
But the good news is you cannot bullshit yourself. If I am lying, I will continue to suffer. And I will suffer greatly if I cover my lies in great beauty. So, there’s no need to worry. If the things I say is an illusion, then I will know in due time. I will suffer again.
Yet, I don’t mind because I know it is bringing me closer and closer to reality.