We don’t really talk about death in America. Sex or death. We surround ourselves with images of bloody violence, decapitation, murder-death-kill, TV shows stuffed with dead bodies and unsolved old testament murders… we salivate while 25-year-old cops who look 17 dragnet 28-year-old guys into sting operations in suburban houses – so we can have our ridiculous schadenfreude at their (or our own) expense.
And then we prostitute Micky-Mouse teenagers to shake their empty heads and trailer park hips to “entertain” us. But we don’t really embrace the reality of life:
Life is for living. For loving. For kindness. For generosity. We live it, We embrace the moments on the mountaintops. We relegate them to college, or vacations. We move to cul-de-sacs and bury our desires in the tomb of yesterday’s dreaming. We take Zoloft, Xanax, Prozac and Paxil to soothe our dying souls as we suffocate them with our two open palms pressed hard against our mouths from above.
Then as a reward for our punishment, we suck down the Lipitor for the one indulgence America allows: too much food and all the wrong stuff.
And then we age, starting whenever we decide we’re dead and old and parents and responsible and over and irrelevant. As soon as the media stops reflecting images of us as something that has life in it still.
Then we sputter on the way to death. We cower from it, we hide from it. We prolong its agony in beeping rooms in Clorox-and-shit-stained corridors of murder wards in modern hospitals. (When did we stop living? How did we get here?) Our voice, small and frail, whispers in the corner of our blackened minds. We are so afraid…
We don’t know death as we should; to be greeted as warriors do – walking to the plain and finding the sacred tree, the sacred river, and letting a few days of hunger take us when it’s our time. Instead we shit into tubes and eat from tubes and then we are truly dead, but the machine keeps us alive, our chest rising in shallow remembrances of our hale and hearty fiery demon and angel possessed youths when we flew down hillsides and into valleys screaming Viking and Indian cries before tackling each other and laughing at the mirth, beauty and endless sorrow and rueful heedless joy of the world. We used to run. We were warriors, all of us. By birth, by nature, by right.
But we die as cattle. As worms die. Death is not Charon whose vessel takes us to the next eternity. Death is not Abraxas who unites our polar eternities into an unconquerable beam of light….Death is the sad moment when flowers are sent to a fallen colleague’s chosen home and checks made to a charity in his or her name, and we look no further.
Or, we imagine that the Christian Muslim Jewish neo-Pagan neo-Egyptian Isis-Osiris masqueraders own the mind of the world, and we blindly, mindlessly and literally (to the point of absurdity) dedicate all our religious searching and our duly believed, frightening and shaming, angry father-and-absent-mother deterministic fables.
But death is not that. Perhaps it is the veil after which all is silence; perhaps it is the springboard to immersion in the answer to the mystery. We won’t know. We can’t know. We don’t know, and we don’t bother to revere it properly by truly living. And in our fear, we miss life.
We forget that sensual experience full of excitement and joy, pleasure secret and shared, love given and received with hearts burning like embers, even as the limbs quiver, we race forward the waves breaking on the shore, pulling at our feet as we run on and on.. and turn laughing and swinging and spinning each other…like the children of sensual delight that we are – that we are inside, beyond the management of life and self and other by Old Testament Babylonian Jihadi rule books.
We forget ourselves, and only allow to remember in the movies and television what we really are – deep inside.
We are always being born, and always dying; but one day we leave this place. What do you want your regrets to be? I am faced with that question more regularly than I was; perhaps more than most, till the time comes. And what are my regrets?
They are summed up in this prescription:
Have more meaningful, joyous, un-Jesus-like sensual experiences. Tell Moses and Mohammed to fuck off. Go to more hot tubs. Soak in the waters of life. Hug more and often. Worship the gods whose natures call you from the wild parts of the sky, the land, the river, of the self, the soul that is the splinter soul of the mind that is and becomes all things, hungry for this loving experience of life.
Watch out for the task masters, the rule layers, the hypocrites in priest’s clothing; the scolds and those poison-drunk with the hatred of their own misery and self-denial of the impulse to live.
Avoid them. Do not follow the prescriptions of those who hate you for laughing. Do not listen to those who despise you for being freer than they are. But don’t fight them. Just walk the other way. And don’t look back.
Walk the other way, and don’t look back. Because…
Someday you’ll be dying. Someday nothing will be what it was – and your only real regrets will be that you worshiped shame and hatred in its mask of stony criticism and vain moralizing far too much, and didn’t love and laugh, swim and play nearly bloody fucking enough.
Things you know when looking at the veil of life and knowing you aren’t so far away as you were:
Kindness is more important than winning. Love is more important than being correct. Gentleness wins more than any fundamentalism. And in the end, you must trust enough to give more than you take, and take all the fun you can (without ending up in rehab. There is that, too.. nobody said it was simple.)
We’ll never learn this as a species. But maybe you will in your own life. Minus all the shame-death-fear that our culture sells as religion, family values, science and politics, ethics and government.
Love more. Fear less. Live more. Listen to the monsters who claim to run things less. And remain open to ideas without letting them become your masters.
And, if that’s all too much new aged sex-happy free-love, run-in-the-canyons and jump-in-the-rivers bullshit for your speckled spotted soul…then I recommend an enjoyable drink, a puff of magic smoke, a walk in the woods, a roll down the street, or whatever way you get around, and a dozen hugs from friends today, because we all need them.
Here’s me getting stuck with the holy needles of electrical mayhem that spool some of my misfiring lightning into the exosphere to give me some rest.
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