Life is a comic affair, though it is not often funny. It only takes a second really for everything to simply change over, flip, and then chaos and confusion over what happened. Others grow old, get sick, lose their jobs or get divorced; it is always the ‘others’. Perhaps it is like living in a dream where everything can be observed from a safe place, high up, and that it will continue forever. A family member can get sick or a friend and while it is horrible, well those things happen to ‘others’. So we mourn and slowly move on, until some resemblance of life returns. A structure seemingly indestructible, for not being one of the ‘others’, life will go on forever, for what would the world be without me. Being young, healthy, secure and yes happy of course, and if one of the above is missing, well things will get better, they always do.
Until one day something does happen, something personal, dangerous, that wipes away the facade that was so carefully constructed and maintained, even if unconsciously. This can happen at a young or much older age. It is like having a dream, yet perhaps it was ‘the before’ that was the dream. Perhaps that ‘event’ was in fact causing a wake up from a long slumber. At first there can be anger, rage, shock, in learning how can this be, this can’t be happening. It can be something as simple as aging, one day being conscious that the person before you that you are relating to is in fact much younger, from a totally different generation. A cold breeze can be felt when that comes into focus, for perhaps then it hits; “oh my God, I am the oldest generation, the next in line”. It can happen more than once, for the dream beckons and it is easy to embrace illusions that give some sense of control. The body changes, looks fade; commercials on TV or directed towards those younger and yes more vital in so many ways; it can give a sense of being overlooked and left behind.Or one day, a doctor drops the bomb; “you have Cancer, or Parkinson’s, or something worse”, and with it comes the first death, the final waking from the comforting dream. Temporality can be a hard pill to swallow, that just like the “others”, aging comes, sickness and additional things that can flip ones life over in and instant.
Yet perhaps it is then when living really starts to happen, when things are not taken for granted and over looked. When time becomes rich because there is so little of it and then to understand it was always so; for there is really little time for anything much, so why waste it on things that are part of the illusions and comforting dream, though the feeling of aloneness (at least at first) can be overwhelming to the point that all other experience of isolation seem like nothing. Those asleep and those awake can have a very hard time communicating, for it is not yet their time to be roused from their slumber, yet in the end, we will all wake up. Life seems geared towards that.
It can also open up reality in all of its vitality and beauty, in which each moment is complete in itself and precious, for in an instant it will become past. What last is the presence of mind that savors life in a new and deeper way. It is a hard road and we must all in our unique way traverse it, this inexorable movement towards the death of all illusions. Yet if the little deaths are accepted, if the awakening lasts there is a paradox, death can become a part of life, though a very unpleasant aspect, and then ‘others’ become ‘us’. Sight returns, it is like the eyes open after a long nap and the shinning beauty of others, even those who are a problem shine through. It is the ‘deeper’ that becomes manifest, inner caverns open up to light, compassion flowers as well as deep love, for we in truth on a journey together, on our pilgrimage to the truly great awakening in which everything we have learned and know is turned over into the mystery that we are all part of. Perhaps that is why death is feared, this stripping and all that must go with it.