Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath
Just die over and over.
Nothing can save you now,
because this is your last moment.
Not even enlightenment will help you now,
because you have no other moments.
With no future, be true to yourself
—and don't move.
–Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
–Robert Desnostranslated by Todd Sanders
Relatively speaking, everything in our world and experience appears and exists.
Absolutely speaking, those same entities are not what they seem to be.
The solidity of these objects begins to fall apart when we examine them more closely, whether we use the logical reasoning of analytical meditation or the empirical methods of science as the basis of our investigation. That is, our perception of them is transformed through a stage-by-stage process that breaks down the object into different, smaller and smaller parts, and then into nothing at all.
Mind Beyond Death
"Nothing is possible in love without death,” says the Sufi.
The soul’s love for God frees us from our self, and yet this freedom can seem like death, as we die to the person we think we are. Again and again we die to our limited sense of self in order to step into the vaster dimension of our being. This dying is what separates those who want security and stability from those who are reckless, crazy, or driven enough to venture into the depths.
What security is there for us here in her caravanserai
when every moment camel bells cry, “Pack up the loads!”?
The dark night, the fear of waves
the terrifying whirlpool,
how can they know of our state, those who go lightly along the shore?
Earth, isn't this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there's nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me,
no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over - even one flower
is more than enough. Before I was named
I belonged to you. I seek no other law
but yours, and know I can trust
the death you will bring.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
In Praise Of Mortality, excerpt
Wait for evening.
Then you’ll be alone.
Wait for the playground to empty.
Then call out those companions from childhood:
The one who closed his eyes
and pretended to be invisible.
The one to whom you told every secret.
The one who made a world of any hiding place.
And don’t forget the one who listened in silence
while you wondered out lout:
Is the universe an empty mirror? A flowering tree?
Is the universe the sleep of a woman?
Wait for the sky’s last blue
(the color of your homesickness).
Then you’ll know the answer.
Wait for the air’s first gold (that color of Amen).
Then you’ll spy the wind’s barefoot steps.
Then you’ll recall that story beginning
with a child who strays in the woods.
The search for him goes on in the growing
shadow of the clock.
And the face behind the clock’s face
is not his father’s face.
And the hands behind the clock’s hands
are not his mother’s hands.
All of Time began when you first answered
to the names your mother and father gave you.
Soon, those names will travel with the leaves.
Then, you can trade places with the wind.
Then you’ll remember your life
as a book of candles,
each page read by the light of its own burning.