[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
When we’re young it’s basically impossible to consider life past, say, the age of 50. Now so many of us live in what was then called “old age” in better or worse financial and health conditions. I just watched “The Notebook” movie again – probably for the 5th time at least. I’ll never get tired of that story, it’s so well told. You’d think that a love relationship with such stormy and crazy beginnings wouldn’t have any hope of succeeding. But in this story, it does, and it’s ending is wonderful and perfect.
I like a line James Garner says in the movie: “I’m experiencing wearing down.” Many people feel that way in my age bracket. We are indeed wearing down. A whole gamut of emotions follows this wearing down. For some it’s a blessing, for most, I’d say it’s never acknowledged, and for others, it is feared and fought to the end. It does mean that we are approaching our rendezvous with death. However poetically one phrases that, it is not a pleasant thought – honestly.
I am of those, perhaps having been raised quite strictly religious, who not only believes that life goes on beyond the body, but that it does so in full consciousness and “I” continue to live my life, replete with choices and destiny. Later, when I overcame the need for religion, and the need to be totally dependent upon the caprices of some god, the inner knowing that life is eternal and infinite did not go away with my religion. It was, in fact, the one thing from my religion(s) that remained true, if only for me. (I think that in the realm of eternity, such choice to believe or not is entirely up to an individual, a sacred belief that no one has the right to either deny anyone, or force on anyone.)
Does that awareness make it easier to face the reality of death? Not for me. I don’t like the idea at all, even if, being of those who remembers past lives, I’ve gone through the process before. It is the place where one, alone and helpless, faces the ultimate stripping of attachments to this life.
For those who cannot believe in continuance, death is the end. The termination of all awareness. That, to me, would be unbearable. I think one has to be incredibly courageous to meet death with such stoicism.
For those, like myself, who “know” (as in some sort of unshakeable awareness) that life continues, the passage nevertheless is fraught with questions and trepidation. I know, for example, of the many things I did (in this one life) that makes me a poor candidate for any sort of, shall we say, graduation to something better. Countless thoughts, words and deeds must be there, ready to accuse me. Is there some balance, some way that thoughts, words and deeds of the non-selfish variety can outweigh the others? I honestly do not know. There must be justice, that I know.
So as I inevitably wear down; as I come closer and closer to death (of the body) I ponder such things. I don’t know what to expect, not exactly. I have some ideas, some thoughts, on the matter but where are the facts?
There aren’t any. So what do I have to offer, if indeed some sort of judgment is in the offing? Very little. I can offer a changed life, from selfishness to detachment and self-empowerment in order to practice compassion and develop empathy. I can offer forgiveness, certainly, that having been one of the easiest lessons to learn. I can offer my personal commitment to my chosen purpose of a life lived to serve others – however much that effort remains wanting. Beyond that, I have nothing to give in exchange for some sort of pass. Perhaps that “nothingness” is what is needed?
Life is truly short and throughout its meteoric passage it never stops from asking us to make meaningful and life-affirming choices in all things. If only we weren’t so spiritually and mentally deaf to the teachings we are given so freely, and all the time. If only such would suffice to turn us from our baseless fears and selfishness that make us such bad stewards of our world and of those who need our compassion now more than ever just to survive. If only…
“Throughout history, empires and civilizations have collapsed once they degrade the environment below its capacity to carry the human footprint imposed on the environment.” – Paul Craig Roberts
“When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, you stop reaching out, and reach inside, instead.” — Amanda Eyre Ward
“Nothingness is a sigh of eternity, a casual avowal of the infinite.” — Edmond Jabès, The Book of Resemblances.