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Fwd: Fw: 55 - DEAD AHEAD

Sep 14, 2001 05:45 AM
by Katinka Hesselink

Once again somebody sent me this. For those who want to
receive all of the quotes mail to Spiritus@Alltel.Net ;
ScottR@Spiritus.Org . 

This is about finding death close. Or not ignoring death as
part of our daily lives. This is not meant as a reference
to the happenings in New York by the way. 

> From: "Scott Reeves" <ScottR@Spiritus.Org>
> To: <Spiritus@Alltel.Net>
> Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2001 11:31 PM
> Subject: 55 - DEAD AHEAD
I've often said to people that the way to really live
is to die. The passport to living is to imagine yourself
in your grave. Imagine that you're lying in your coffin. 
Any posture you like. In India we put them in
cross-legged. Sometimes they're carried that way to the
burning ground. Sometimes, though, they're lying flat. So
imagine you're lying flat and you're dead. Now look at
your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything,
doesn't it?
> >
What a lovely, lovely meditation. Do it every day if
you have the time. It's unbelievable, but you'll come
alive. I have a meditation about that in a book of mine,
Wellsprings. You see the body decomposing, then
bones, then dust. Every time I talk about this, people
say, "How disgusting!" But what's so disgusting about it?
It's reality, for heaven's sake. But many of you don't
want to see reality. You don't want to think of death. 
People don't live, most of you, you don't live, you're just
keeping the body alive. That's not life. You're not
living until it doesn't matter a tinker's damn to you
whether you live or die. At that point you live. When
you're ready to lose your life, you live it. But if
you're protecting your life, you're dead. If you're
sitting up there in the attic and I say to you, "Come on
down!" and you say, "Oh no, I've read about people going
down stairs. They slip and they break their necks;
it's too dangerous." Or I can't get you to cross the
because you say, "You know how many people get run over
when they cross the street?" If I can't get you to cross a
street, how can I get you to cross a continent? And if I
can't get you to peep out of your little narrow
beliefs and convictions and look at another world,
you're dead, you're completely dead; life has passed you
by. You're sitting in your little prison, where you're
frightened; you're going to lose your God, your
religion, your friends, all kinds of things. Life is
for the gambler, it really is. That's what Jesus was
saying. Are you ready to risk it? Do
you know when you're ready to risk it? When you've
discovered that, when you know that this thing that people
call life is not really life. People mistakenly think that
living is keeping the body alive.

So love the thought of death, love it. Go back to it again
and again. Think of the loveliness of that corpse, of that
skeleton, of those bones crumbling till there's only a
handful of dust. From there on, what a relief, what a
relief. Some of you probably don't know what I'm
talking about at this point; you're too frightened to
think of it. But it's such a relief when you can look back
on life from that perspective.

Or visit a graveyard. It's an enormously purifying and
beautiful experience. You look at this name and you say,
"Gee, he lived so many years ago, two centuries ago; he
must have had all the problems that I have, must have had
lots of sleepless nights. How crazy, we live for such
a short time. An Italian poet said, "We live in a
flash of light; evening comes and it is night forever." 
It's only a flash and we waste it. We waste it with our
anxiety, our worries, our concerns, our burdens. Now,
as you make that meditation, you can just end up with
information; but you may end up with awareness. And in
that moment of awareness, you are new. At least as long as
it lasts. Then you'll know the difference between
information and awareness.

An astronomer friend was recently telling me some of
the fundamental things about astronomy. I did not know,
until he told me, that when you see the sun, you're seeing
it where it was eight and a half minutes ago, not where
it is now. Because it takes a ray of the sun eight and
a half minutes to get to us. So you're not seeing it where
it is; it's now somewhere else. Stars, too, have been
sending light to us for hundreds of thousands of years. So
when we're looking at them, they may not be where we're
seeing them; they may be somewhere else. He said that,
if we imagine a galaxy, a whole universe, this earth of
ours would be lost toward the tail end of the Milky Way;
not even in the center. And every one of the stars
is a sun and some suns are so big that they could contain
the sun and the earth and the distance between them. At a
conservative estimate, there are one hundred million
galaxies! The universe, as we know it, is expanding
at the rate of two million miles a second. I was
fascinated listening to all of this, and when I came out of
the restaurant where we were eating, I looked up there and
I had a different feel, a different perspective on
life. That's awareness. So you can pick all this up
as cold fact (and that's information), or suddenly you get
another perspective on life --

what are we, what's this universe, what's human life? 
When you get that feel, that's what I mean when I speak of

Anthony de Mello, SJ

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