№ 281


This post originally appeared on a previous personal blog. I’m republishing it here with the original post date. 

Suppressing the fear of death makes it all the stronger. The point is only to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that “I” and all other “things” now present will vanish, until this knowledge compels you to release them – to know it now as surely as if you had just fallen off the rim of the Grand Canyon. Indeed you were kicked off the edge of a precipice when you were born, and it’s no help to cling to the rocks falling with you. If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over – fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don’t die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.

Alan W. Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

We are vapors and fine gray ash, riding the currents of our own spirit, rising to meet and mix with the clouds of our dreams, both joyful and ghastly. It’s all ephemeral. Marvel at it as it roils and flows, no shape remaining for long. Just as no man can stand in the same river twice, we cannot exist in the same universe twice. It is ever-changing and so are we. The greatest mistake we can make is to cling to it, to try to hold on. That is, of couse, unless you enjoy the feeling of loss as it all slips through your fingers. Better to let go and relax, see where the currents take you. Breathe deep, loosen your grip, and remember that impermanence is a gift. Grasping at the ethereal is un-faith in your own existence.

So let go, already. Realize what you are and aren’t and that neither idea amounts to much. Accept it. Accept that we are all lost. Accept that nobody around you knows what the hell they’re doing and that’s OK. We’re all on the same beautuiful sinking ship, and that includes the sea.

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