Thoughts about Dying

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

(Preamble: What does one do when one day away from one’s 70th birthday and having been living for 20 years in what I call sudden death overtime?  I don’t know about other people, but for me thinking about dying seems a logical and proper mind exercise.  After all, the closer one is to departure, the more likely one is to think about it.  About what will be required at the gate, and about the destination, of course.  Who goes on a trip and doesn’t know, or care, about their destination?  So, let’s do some thinking about dying.)

  Yeah, I’ve thought about dying.  In fact, I’ve thought about dying lots of times.  Before I began to think about dying in English, I used to think about dying in French.  Somewhere in between, when I worked with Central American refugees from the White House’s Assassin–in-Chief Ronald Reagan whose CIA contras specialized in capturing, torturing and murdering unarmed Guatemalan native campesinos, I learned a bit of useful Spanish, and then I thought about dying in Spanish.  I learned to sing Guantanamera in Spanish and sang it as close as I could to the original as sung by The Sandpipers, ) then I learned the English translation.  “My words are like a wounded fawn seeking refuge in the forest… Before I die I want to share these words of my soul…” 

          When I was little I thought about dying because I was afraid of it.  I knew, even then, that I was born to die.  I remembered a previous life in which I had died painfully and violently; when I had spent a lot of time in a cold, dank prison, thinking about dying; about how nice it would be to just go to sleep finally one night and never wake up.  When you are being tortured, you think about dying.  Dying is a gift the gods are very reticent to grant you because, I suppose, the gods invented suffering and death and they feel cheated if you arrive at the one without fully experiencing the other.  They get off on man’s pain and suffering, you see.

          I still think about death a lot.  I think of it as the bottomless, endless topic.  But I no longer think of death as an escape from reality.  I’m experienced now, and I remember that death was never an escape.  I learned that whatever I was; whatever I’d become; passed with me through those black doors.  Whatever I was, that was inescapable reality. 

          I cannot escape what I am. So when I think about dying now, I have to remember this simple lesson and prepare myself for death accordingly.  It’s no different than planning a very, very serious trip.  It could even be a journey if I beat the odds this time around and I don’t find myself right back here with only a few months, or years of interim fogginess of mind.  Death is funny that way; it likes you to go through its doors over and over.  Death has a magnificent set of ebony black matte revolving doors and he’s unduly proud of them.  The more times people pass through them the shinier they get. 

          How did Death design his doors?  I’ll try to make a long story short.  Think of all the doors of the world designed to keep something, or someone, from escaping.   Think prison doors, and how inventive, clever and imaginative man has been in designing prison doors to create a sense of utter hopelessness behind those doors.  Take every design of every prison door and put that into one set of massive doors.  Pretty impressive.  It’s psychological.  You’re supposed to think; to believe; that when you cross that threshold you’ll never get out again.  So you lose your mind; you go into a coma; you remember nothing when your time’s up and you are set “free” for another round at the wheel.  They wipe your memory so you won’t remember.  The reason is simple: they want you to die all over again as if it was the very first and only time. 

          They want you to live in an inescapable fear of death.  Those who fear death are easily manipulated into unthinkable antisocial acts against anyone they believe can rob them of life.  Fear of death is a belief in serious limitation: one life, then nothing.  Or for a dwindling number, one life then a judgment by a god of terror.  Some choice.  I remember that god of terror.  He was even more frightening than Death because he held those eternal chains that would keep you in a burning hell forever.  I remember doing the math on my chances at an eternity in heaven instead of hell: the odds weren’t good.   And I remember thinking also, how can I be sure that an eternity in heaven with a psychopathic god will be better than one in hell?  I thought, it probably compares to voting Republican or Democrat.  Liberal or Conservative.  The lesser of evils is still evil.

          Then I grew up some.  I learned some tricks on how to access deep memory; the part they can’t wipe out before they send you back.  The data wasn’t great and lots of it is corrupted, but there was enough to reconstruct some memories; to remember.  From delving into those remains of past lives I reconstructed some of them and learned Death’s great secret; that it isn’t an end, nor is it a passage into a predetermined eternity of bliss or the most terrible of eternal pain.  It was a revolving door and if I came to that door again I could hold some seriously powerful bargaining chips with which I could bargain for my freedom – if I did the work that is.

          So I’ve been thinking about death a whole lot more since the day I exposed its secret.  When I think about death now, I do it while looking at this world.  I think of all the death that accompanies what passes for life here and the termination of a body allowing me to push through those revolving doors in self-empowered mode isn’t an issue anymore.  The way I look at it now is, I’m living a free life in sudden death overtime.   

          Here’s how John Donne put it:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

29 thoughts on “Thoughts about Dying

  1. Joel F

    I always enjoyed your writing. Most of them makes me think. Some made me smile. Yes, who isn’t afraid of death? But eventually a borrowed time gives us more wisdom in spending our precious moments. thanks for sharing this. Have a wonderful day ahead.

  2. my valiant soul

    This is so thoughtful.I,myself have encountered the idea of deat few times but I sustained it somehow.
    This post is completely informative and pragmatic.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for the comment. Those of us who have “encountered” death get to know this doorman a bit, and realize the limits of his power. I suppose the most frightening aspect of death for many people is their psychological inability to deal with their accumulation of attachments to others, to accomplishments (or lack thereof) and to things. Death seems arbitrary and sudden but when you think about it, we are all born to die, and we’ve a lifetime to prepare for it – the one essential thing we generally fail to do. That’s why I appreciated Lisa Palmer’s post yesterday, “72 hours” – right on the money, that.

  3. thesarahdoughty

    Very illuminating. Though I haven’t tapped into any previous memories, I still fear death for the mere fact that I won’t be able to finish or see everything I want to see.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      It is scary, that plunge. But when we know it’s unavoidable, it has to be accepted, either through anger or fear. There is a blockage in most people’s mind about life beyond death, and so many puffed-up cretins, religious or of the scientific variety, to assure people of dire judgment, or total oblivion, no wonder people are confused. Perhaps those of us who have had near-death experiences are better equipped to understand the passage. Let’s say a person refuses to believe in the existence of a certain island somewhere. “Impossible in that location” he’ll say. Then he flies over it, sees it, comes back and has to admit it’s there. Not only that but now he wants to go there, it seemed so nice from the air. Gone is the angry denial.
      As for past life memories, I think that fits in there too somehow. You do have memories, I’ve got several novels of yours downloaded, and being read, about “memories” that aren’t of this age, and perhaps not even of this world, but a parallel one. In my philosophy there is no such thing as fiction. If you can imagine it, write it, talk about it, describe it in words… it exists. It is impossible to imagine non-existence. Think how much science fiction has become reality. Leonardo daVinci, Nicola Tesla, Einstein and many other “geniuses” tapped deeper into the web of life than many dared. Your writings also tap into that “esoteric” web and bring out a history in symbols particular to yourself. All creators do this, they don’t work from nothing. My thoughts on the subject.
      (PS: when I was writing “The Antierra Manifesto” – as yet unpublished – I was convinced that I knew the characters involved and that I would meet them again. They told me their stories, and I wrote them down.)

  4. Lisa R. Palmer

    I was 17 years old when I discovered death would not open his doors to me this time, no matter what. I still don’t know if it’s permanent, but such a ban still applies, reinforced a few years ago when all the “medical authorities” agreed I should not be alive at all. And yet I am…

    I also have dug up some lost memories, and the most poignant and vivid are the ones in which I died. It is truly fascinating to discover the many, many ways one can go. (My least favorite so far, I think, is drowning; my favorite was electrocution… lol)

    So, yeah, I think about dying quite often, but, like you, I have had to focus more energy on thinking about living. Not living well so much as living “right.” And I have come to realize that only I can judge the truth of that.

    Thanks for a thoughtful, informative post, Sha’Tara! I love the revolving door image, as it shakes the concept that there is “time” between lives to ruminate, process and plan… 🙂

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I think that “Death” has his orders from higher authority, and that some of us at least, have “sponsors” in other realms who supervise our life here. Perhaps they are people we’ve “hired” to help us when we falter in doing what we came here to do. If, as Shakespeare said, we’re all actors on a stage, then there are a lot of “extras” who just meander about with no great personal involvement in the outcome of the play but there are some of us who are the main actors, who have an actual purpose in being on the stage and without whom the play would not go on. If we forget and start emulating the extras not caring how the play goes there may be trainers, directors, prompters in the wings to remind us to get our s**t together and act the part we’re on the stage to do! For the main actors, quitting isn’t an option. I’m always thankful I chose to be one of the good guys this time at least. Too often the bad guys are more dedicated, better actors, than we are.

  5. We come from dreams ~

    Having died twice and living with two dead people did a lot to open my eyes. I’m reminded of the comments of Mycillus the Cobbler in Lucian of Samosata’s “A Journey to the Underworld:”

    “This tyrant, now, was thought happy while he lived; he was feared and respected by all: he had his gold and his silver; his fine clothes and his horses and his banquets; his smart pages and his handsome ladies,–and had to leave them all. No wonder if he was vexed, and felt the tug of parting. For I know not how it is, but these things are like birdlime: a man’s soul sticks to them, and will not easily come away; they have grown to be a part of him. Nay, ’tis as if men were bound in some chain that nothing can break; and when by sheer force they are dragged away, they cry out and beg for mercy. They are bold enough for aught else, but show them this same road to Hades, and they prove to be but cowards. They turn about, and must ever be looking back at what they have left behind them, far off though it be,–like men that are sick for love. So it was with the fool yonder: as we came along, he was for running away; and now15 he tires you with his entreaties. As for me, I had no stake in life; lands and horses, money and goods, fame, statues,–I had none of them; I could not have been in better trim: it needed but one nod from Atropus,–I was busied about a boot at the time, but down I flung knife and leather with a will, jumped up, and never waited to get my shoes, or wash the blacking from my hands, but joined the procession there and then, ay, and headed it, looking ever forward; I had left nothing behind me that called for a backward glance. And, on my word, things begin to look well already. Equal rights for all, and no man better than his neighbour; that is hugely to my liking. And from what I can learn there is no collecting of debts in this country, and no taxes; better still, no shivering in winter, no sickness, no hard knocks from one’s betters. All is peace. The tables are turned: the laugh is with us poor men; it is the rich that make moan, and are ill at ease.”

    The whole thing is here:

  6. Pingback: “Thoughts About Not Dying…” | the otherhood of one

  7. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thanks for that link, Roy. Mycillus may have had a bit of a rosy view of the Underworld, but he makes the point well. With no attachments, it’s so much easier to go with the flow. Why resist? No one can swim upstream of the river Styx.

  8. Pingback: Thoughts about Dying | Talesfromthelou

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Joel, got two jobs on the go today to keep me out of trouble… or get me deeper into it, whichever comes first! Have a nice day, and you’re next, remember.

  9. michnavs

    I have always been a believer of the exercise called “happy death”..its when you get to experience how you would want to die…write your own epitaph (i did ..i shared it in my previous post)…write list of people you would want to see visit you…write your own eulogy or aasign someone to do it for you.

    Your post has encourage me more on this..

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you. Always good to know when one’s tendency to write “tough” thoughts doesn’t turn into total negativity… 🙂

  10. Phil Huston

    A barber once made death perfectly clear to me, without trying. “Nothing really dies.” He held the black plastic comb under the water faucet. “All that static electricity? It has to go somewhere, has to belong to something. Maybe someone else’s comb, maybe part of an A bomb, maybe it’ll stick a balloon to a dog. But nothing is ever dead. Energy has to go somewhere.” So knowing that anything from heaven to making a balloon stick to a dog is what’s next, I can handle that.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Yes, energy. But for me it has to be more than that. It must include my intact mind, all that I am, in that capsule of energy. Some people say we are a drop in an ocean of consciousness and it’s stupid to think that your drop can remain singular when mixed in the ocean. Well, this little drop ISN’T the ocean, it’s just one of the zillions of other individual drops that make up the ocean. Fling a bucket of ocean wildly into the air and lo and behold, it turns back to drops!

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hello VP, thank you for your comment on that article. Glad you found it informative. I read some of your blog and decided to follow. I’m curious as to what part of the world maintains such control over home and school. I saw the word “Kerala” so that would put you in s-w India…?

      1. Vocal Pendulum

        Yes, it is the South Western state of India indeed! Thank you for the follow and comment. And I am glad that my blog made you curious about our culture and norms…I suppose it helps both sides to know more about the other side and learn/evolve from it.

  11. We come from dreams ~

    Damn, how rude of us! An apology and…….Happy Birthday, baby!

    Roy, Sara Jane and Ceannt


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