Death as an Advisor

Carlos Castaneda often spoke of using death as an advisor, and I think it is worthwile, but how?   First, it is important to remember that many of the ancients suggested this same course, with teachers from every mystic tradition saying much the same.  Death tells us to go for our passion, and to do do it now.

We have two basic options in facing death:  to be inspired, or to be terrified. There may appear options, but we find in reality only two.  Even those who appear to have an indifference to dying really experience life hiding and not really facing death.  We may go many years living as as though there is no end to this experience.  However reality is instantaneous, and one morning life has melted away and we find ourselves in bed with mortality, an embrace far closer than any lover.

It has been said that that a dying person needs death the way a tired person needs sleep, and certainly this is true.  Death is the central subject of our lives. Every action is really a masked statement about it’s presence.  The Hagakure remarks that the warrior has contempt for death.  We focus not on the fear of what might happen, but in the power of our own actions.  We as warriors act and are reacted to.

A good relationship with death prepares us for the disappointment that is part of every situation.  To lose the fear of that disappointment is to come to peace with the contradiction of human life.  It is be at peace.  It is to be.
Drake PoweComment