Perhaps 3 Ways to die before you die is in itself a bit misleading. We cannot actually do this. There is the story of a couple of Africans who in the midst of religious awakening in Rwanda many years ago climbed a mountain and were going to fast and pray to the end that they may ‘crucify the old nature’. After a ‘very spiritual time’ they came back down the mountain horrified that half way down they had entered into a blazing arguement. A wise Christian said ‘Do you not know that you have already died with Christ?’ (A reference from the Bible). It seems that all the effort, stress and strain to achieve something paradoxically had produced the opposite. So lets get this straight – this is not something that we can gain any credit for. If it were so we would be defeating the object. Far from having ‘died before we die’ we and all our egoic structures would be very much alive!
I remember a time when a friend told me I was so humble. I felt very proud about that. There are times I have struggled so hard to be humble knowing, if I ever achieved it, i would be so proud. So equally however hard we struggle to achieve some super spiritual condition it will only result in a spiritual pride which is by far the worst sort of pride there is.
So lets rephrase this to 3 ways a dying can take place / happen before you die.
Yes this is my first WordPress blog thanks to Mr Rossmeister. What a morbid title I hear you say … but wait …. there is more to this than meets the eye. All the great religions, metaphysics, philosophies and seekers for truth and reality have in one way another agreed with G K Chesterton who was once asked by a London newspaper to join other authors and thinkers to address the weighty and important question of “what’s wrong with the world.” His response:
Yes – if we are honest we all come to the same conclusion. If we choose rather to point the finger at others we ultimately discover that there are 3 fingers pointing right back at us. (that is unless whem you point at others you use all 4 fingers). Perhaps if we did not want to take responsibility for the whole world as did Chesterton we can at least (there is no escape from it) conclude that … my main problem is myself.
But isn’t death a bit … terminal? Couldn’t we soften the edges ease it a bit … make this a wee bit more palatable? I dont think so for at least 2 reasons … the very question betrays the quest for self(ish) preservation. It is as if the proposition of ‘dying before I die’ carries within itself its own reason for being. ‘Why should I die?’ … ‘Why do you ask?’ We need the statement with all its radical/ness to provoke the response which confirms its veracity. Jesus was full of provocative statements. He often followed questions with questions. The purpose being to create in the other an awareness of the truth he was proposing.
Secondly death deliniates a clear dividing line which other words fail to do. This dividing line separates us sufficiently from that which at best is merely a perpetuation of the old in new garb to a new spacious reality clothed in the pristine. It is this terminality which enables us to make clear the lines … the axe at the root of the tree … the ending which presupposes a new beginning.
Furthermore the whole idea of something new, lightbearing, novel has a certain wellbeing implied that can quite unintentially only serve the very self whose thraldom we sought to escape from – a point of return. Death therefore, dramatic as it sounds, is the only term that suitably carries us beyond the point of no return.