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September 17, 2018

Musings on Mortality - Holistic Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy - Los Angeles

The week before last, a long-time female friend of mine died She was eighty years old.  A friend, not an ex-lover. I knew her for about forty years. Her name was Celeste, who I used to jokingly address as “Celestial Being.”  Early on in our friendship, she gave me a gift of such loving kindness, which I will remember for as long as I live. 

My brother, five years younger than I, also died that same week, at seventy one. He lived in the UK, and I had not seen him for over forty years. He sent me a card every Christmas. We were not close. I am seventy six, nearly died once. I was on life support in intensive care after emergency abdominal surgery, for two weeks, a few years ago. I am only alive today due to the miracles of modern intensive medical care

I first began to become aware of my own approaching mortality many years prior to that. At around fifty years old I began noticing occasional obituaries for a person who was younger than I was at the time. This was not reassuring. As the years have been going by, these obituaries increased to a trickle, then a river, then a flood. But something else has changed. Now, when I see an obituary for someone older than myself, I find myself subtracting my current age from theirs, and calculating how many years I have left, should I live to their ripe old age. Each year, the average number is shrinking, diminishing, as the looming horizon of my own death is approaching.

One effect I am observing this is having on me, is to lessen my attachment to possessions. Knowing I won’t be around forever, or less, gives me more of a “so what” attitude towards my earthly goods. Even in the past, if someone strongly liked some book of mine a lot, or some other minor possession, more than I cared for it, I would give it to them. I grew up in a household that did not celebrate Christmas or Birthdays with presents, and I am OK with that, and I don’t give them as an adult. Besides, I don’t allow society to control when and what I give. But if I have a good feeling for someone, I may give them a gift at any time. I tell my wife when I give her something, that they are Unbirthday Presents. This idea comes from “Winnie the Pooh” by A.A. Milne, I think. She loves that. When I first met her, fearing rejection, I hesitantly told her, “You may think I’m crazy, but I don’t give Christmas or Birthday presents.” She replied, “You don’t know the freedom you just gave me!” A match made in Heaven, n’est ce pas!

During those passing years, I also reached some conclusions about life and death. After studying all kinds of literature from all kinds of spiritual areas, I have come to believe that, “Nobody knows nuttin.’” about it life and death. For human beings, thinking they are going to comprehend life and death and the Cosmos, the infinite, with their finite minds, to me is arrogance. In this area I have decided, there are many opinions, but very few facts. Speculative suppositions dressed up as actualities reign supreme.  Accepting that nobody knows, never has, or never will, gave me freedom from having to find the meaning of life, which I worried at like a dog with a bone. I think this is what the Buddhists are referring to when they say, “The finger pointing at the Moon is not the Moon.” And, “He, who thinks he knows, knows not. He, who knows he knows not, knows.” I myself know I know not, so I’m OK. 

 Now believing that whatever the essence, the Soul, the personality, the consciousness or energy that constitute the Earthly entity which I currently recognize as Brian, may not persist after my demise: or if it does, it may not be in a form that the Brian I am now would recognize, sets me free from one aspect of my fear of death. This was actually a fear of disintegrating or disappearing, it turns out. As I know nothing about the afterlife, (or the before-life for that matter) if there is any, I am powerless to affect or control it. And one lesson I have learned thoroughly in this  life is that letting go of and not thinking about that which I am powerless over is the only way to go. Acceptance, I have discovered, is the gateway to peace of mind.. And happiness, without peace of mind, is not a possibility.

Holistic Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy - Los Angeles 

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