Moving Forward


Entry 09/18/2014 03:51:47 PM – Mentat 735

How we face death is at least as important as how we face life…” – James T. Kirk; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

I’m doing the old man thing once again… Fell asleep reading Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Series at about 8 o’clock and then ended up waking up at 4 AM. Sure it’s uninterrupted sleep. Sure the autumnal catch-up time from the 6 hours of sleep a night I typically do during the summer, but it’s not quite the sort of sleep I regiment myself do as a Daywalker. It’s just too… one-off. I’m sure it’ll continue for a while longer; hopefully toward the end I’ll be able to better control it.

The fun (read: challenge) though was the energy that I tapped into both when I began falling asleep and again an hour after I woke up. You see, Mr. James Radcliffe had posted a positively inspiring Part I of a 2-part series on gratitude and death. One that inspired so many different thoughts and feelings and even a perspective on how much work can be behind the simplicity we often take for granted. It created the kind of thoughtforms, the kind of feelings that invoked interest, curiosity, intrigue and the sort of mental energy toward inspiration tapped into the imagination. I had been looking forward to Part II with anticipation, and based on what I saw on his personal comments when he split up the elements he was trying to cram together it should have sped Part II out relatively quickly. That is to say within a couple of days… Maybe a week tops…

One week passed.

Two weeks passed.

During the beginning of the third week, I send him a tweet reminding him of the time passed since Part I and hoped that his “secret love” (a cello he had recently acquired) hadn’t distracted him.

Then I saw the tweet of his studio time about a day or two later and realized that in my experience with the artistic; Mr. Radcliffe would be tied up anywhere from three days to three weeks working on the passion that drives him: his music.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always adored, respected and appreciated most artistic types. They are well known to be the most impulsive of the energy types in humanity that I have witnessed. Following their passions the artistic type can work on something for weeks to produce music, poetry, art-work and subsequently thoughts that can culminate Harmony through Conflict to produce sublime beauty. However, the issue I have is that I intimately understand through my own personal experience is the fluidity of the human mind: changing thoughts, changing perspective, changing mood, etc. That even I could not possibly maintain the mental discipline over the course of several more weeks the thoughts and feelings I had at the end of reading Part I while I wait in anticipation to an opinion and a perspective from someone else for the next part. Even the delicacy of the energies I might preserve is going to change because of events and meditations that happen with me from the day to day and the week to week.

And so last night, I started the necessary meditations to respond to Mr. Radcliffe’s un-submitted Part II based on the energy I have been holding close in anticipation in my own online blog without waiting any longer.

This morning, I continued to work with the energy and knowing I had family obligations of schlepping over to my mother’s house to watch her monster child (her spoiled absolutely rotten Chocolate Labrador) while she was at the Orthopedic Doctor’s, I set up Eärendil (my laptop), started chugging my iced coffee and headed over Mr. Radcliffe’s WordPress page and do a quick re-read of Part I to set my mind and passions in motion.

That’s when I saw that Mr. Radcliffe had finally posted Part II.

Having read Part II, I found myself keenly disappointed. Not exclusively because of the content of the second part — which covered the subject of death and facing it instead of shying away from it — but also because I found the thoughtforms that I had been slowly building up falling apart and crumbling right before my (mental) eyes. I hadn’t remotely expected him to be talking about death quite as intensely as he did talking about life in Part I. I maintained the energy for the original inspiration as long as I could, posted the changed comment and wandered off trying desperately to hold on to the original inspirations and mental side notes that I started with last night.

Spending time caring for my mother over the course of the next few hours, I was snarkier than normal. While she did her usual of raising protest and eventually being equally sarcastic as defense and retribution, nothing she could do was going to assuage the direction of my thoughts and emotions. It was going to take me retreating to my apartment and with some attention from my cat, I focused on a meditation to reset.

Reset is precisely what I did, opening up my mind and my imagination to comprehending the universe around me as I laid there listening to the sounds in the neighborhood.

The first thing that struck me after I came out of my afternoon meditation was that it was necessary for Mr. Radcliffe to focus on death and getting people to overcome their fear(s) of it. I often forget that I am part of one of the rarer groups of humanity that has faced death (in my case by Car Accident and DOA) and came out on the other side not only facing the fear of it, but understanding that death isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s simply the end of the cycle that every living being starts when we’re born into this world. And that near-death experience has lead me to both my personal enlightenment as well as my embracing its inevitability in my own life. While I had hoped that Mr. Radcliffe would have continued his train of thoughts into the more positive, as I sat with Moe on my stomach, purring to his heart’s content it dawned on me, that perhaps it’s not Mr. Radcliffe’s obligation to continue the creation of those thoughts — but may in fact be mine –as reader and follower of his blog.

Mr. Radcliffe was quite correct when he stated that once you face your death… the ennui created when running away from your fears about death and dying makes regret (and that horrible grey area of entropy) unable to grow. But the question that it raises was left unasked other than in the hearts and minds of his readers & followers. That question was left unanswered by Mr. Radcliffe as he brought the readers face to face with the shock of one’s own mortality… it’s something that I have often answered of all that have asked it in my direction during my wanderings on Planet Earth…

What do you fill that space with?

What can one do to bring joy into one’s own life?

The first thing that I remind everyone that I speak with is to always safeguard against fear returning. All people fall into habits… get lazy… Follow the path of least resistance and when they return to those habits, fear comes back. For me, I happen to use the Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear as part of a daily ritual:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Once the fear is faced (and perhaps even obliterated temporarily from the consciousness) however you choose to remove or embrace that fear, then it’s time to find a purpose and remind oneself of that purpose routinely.

For me this was set before I joined the Army (that was when I was 19)… As I sit here and think about it further, if I recall as correctly as I can (the time between my graduation from high school and sometime shortly after the car accident is a hazy blur), was set sometime around the time I was finishing up high school when I worked out a philosophical dilemma when my friend asked me as a challenge, “how are you planning on changing the world?”

My answer was “… I will change the world, one person at a time..”

I worked then– and continue to work now — on the concept that if one person is changed, be it given a bright spot in their life, given advice to make a tough decision a little bit easier, made happy, given peace and solace against personal pain and suffering, give them laughter, a happy day, something for being thankful for, paying something forward, educated to a different perspective… even so much as simply listening to that person talk about something that’s been on their minds — then that person has been changed for the better — even for a moment — and the decisions made by that person forward from that moment should also change, and in changing — the world as I understand it has been changed. It is different than it was the minutes before.

Sure, it’s a Sisyphean undertaking. Changing 7 billion people one at a time will take longer than any of our individual lives. And until my epiphany when I was 25, it certainly felt futile at times. But in that moment of my epiphany — 25th of June, 1989 — I realized, I’m not the only one trying to change the world. There are others, even if I don’t readily see them around me. Even if it’s not exactly the same way I’m attempting. Ultimately though, they are also changing the world.

Fast forward 25 years and through all the karma that I have been working through, all the struggles I have endured. The gains.. The losses. The joys and the sorrows… I have learned one thing above all… The only way to know how strong (you truly are) is to keep testing your limits. This is positively necessary in any goal you choose for yourself. Be it raising a family, be it being in love (and/or) monogamous to one special one. Be it helping others one at a time or thousands at a time. Be it as a member in your circle of friends, within your neighborhood, your community, your town or city, or even as a loner. For whatever you choose to do — do it. And keep testing to see if you can do more — even in that one choice you choose.

When in doubt, also remember what the Dalai Lama once said, “If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.” That includes harming yourself. Push your limits yes, but never harm yourself by exceeding those limits foolishly.

I fear I’m beginning to ramble and get myself caught up in all the nuances of all the things I’ve learned in assisting in my want to change the world, so I will leave you with this.

Whatever you choose to do with your life…

  • Be it breaking old habits through activism and civil disobedience.
  • Be it through love and understanding and imparting wisdom to all those who will listen.
  • Be it as the analyst that enacts the ability to subtlely change things in wisdom by word and deed.
  • Be it as the artist (like Mr. Radcliffe) in bringing inspiration through the clashes of harmony and discord to create the sublime and a change in perspective.
  • Be it as the scientist.
  • Be it as the faithful to an ideal.
  • Be it as the magician that can make reality out of thoughts in the imagination.
  • Be it as any combination of these archetypes and more unlisted and seen through experience.

…Embrace it and — most importantly – live it!!!

Until the next time.

  1. 09/20/2014 at 10:48 am

    Beautiful. Eloquent. Perfect. 😉 This is wonderful.
    – J

    • 09/20/2014 at 11:03 am

      *bows* Thank you kindly.

  2. 09/20/2014 at 10:49 am

    P.S. I am sorry that Part II left you ‘keenly disappointed.’ 😉 I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

    • 09/20/2014 at 11:12 am

      Mr. R —

      Heh! You have nothing to be apologizing for. You were being you, I am being me…

      Besides I got over it completely when I realized that you were absolutely correct in the direction you had chosen to go with Part II. It was necessary and something that — while I might not have appreciated or more importantly anticipated — was positively *required* for those that often take life for granted.

      And as always, I look forward to learning more of your perspective. It is surprisingly close to my own…

      Michael Andrew

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