A recent health scare compelled me to re-address my priorities.
Confronting the real possibility of death in the last few days brought certain things into sharp focus. We can intellectually think about ‘the transitory nature of things’, but when we are pushed right up against that concept, as an imminent truth, it tends to concentrate the mind a little.
With many of you I have developed a personal relationship of one kind or another, and I want you to know that that is valuable to me, and will continue to be valuable, whatever happens. For those of you whom I have never met, you are also important and will continue to be so.
Your importance to me is independent of any other factor, is what I am trying to say, I suppose.
What happens when you look mortality in the face is that it seems as though a huge Loss is about to occur: everything and everyone that you know is about to disappear. That works the other way, too: you are about to ‘disappear’ from the view of others. But I came to see — through fortune, through help, through meditation — that what actually is lost is a false perception. What death rips away is the Grand Illusion that we are the lords and ladies of our relative domains, and that Life is ours to play with for as long as we wish. We come to believe that we can order things, and plan things, and mould things according to our own desires, and that this state of affairs will continue in one way or another for as long as we wish. An encounter with personal mortality tears this away like a bandage, to leave us with an exposed truth beneath: none of it was ever much under our control.
What remains, when the bandage is torn off, is, though, a real thing. It’s what’s left when we have no more illusions.
It might seem strange to you, but I found that comforting. And I came to just about accept it. It opened up, however, an opportunity for me to communicate what became truly important to me before anything happened to me, and so I decided to write this.
As it turns out, I’m apparently OK. That imminent disappearance doesn’t seem quite so imminent. When you’re about to disappear, you tend to take a good hard look around, let me tell you. And now that I am perhaps not going to disappear quite so suddenly, I’m left with that focused snapshot of my immediate life. That’s where we all live, in the space and time which surrounds us right now. Let’s be thankful for that truth, that ‘illusion-free zone’, and let’s make the most of it by treating it and each other right.
Things will inevitably drift back to ‘normal’. Some illusions have a peculiar persistence.
I’ll let you go now.
Thanks for reading.