When I was a very young baby, I had an epiphany. I suddenly realized that I existed. I mean really grokked the fact to the extent of it being a mind-blowing discovery. At that moment, I knew what an extraordinary and mysterious thing Life was/is.
Naturally, as we live our lives, we come to take it for granted. It is good to remind ourselves from time to time what a gift life is. Nobody has ever been able (so far) to create life in a test tube. All the ingredients of life (as far as we know) can be present but the ineffable quality that makes life occur remains elusive.
I am now 72 years old. The miracle of my life is reaching it’s conclusion. I am residing in an assisted living facility where I am constantly made aware of the inevitable encroachment of death. Lots of my housemates have dementia to varying degrees. Many are mobility impaired and/or suffer from a variety of other health issues. I know I will witness the passing of many until it is my turn.
David Bowie’s death is extremely timely for me. His amazing parting gift, his Blackstar, is one of the most awesome exits ever made. In life, Bowie was deeply immersed in occultism. He was a member of OTO, a Masonic spiritual path of western esoteria which has been profoundly influenced by Aleister Crowley. The serendipitous death of Alan Rickman speaks to me, and I hope to others as well. An excellent video What is Real? discusses this in depth. It connects The Golden Dawn, The Great Work, the Qabalah, the New World Order, the Illuminati, the Great I Am, a Black Star, 9/11, Harry Potter. See also my own discussion of these themes, The World We Don’t Readily See.
I used to be afraid of dementia. Now I am not. I guess it’s the price we pay for longevity. I used to think it would be better if we were euthanized before we experienced this state, a mockery of our humanity. Perhaps. Or perhaps a more gradual way to let go our our ego(s). The inevitable loss of the Self, as we have always known it faces all of us. Some deal with it by means of religion. Western religion lets us believe our souls will go on forever in a recognizable form. We will never forget ourselves. Near death experience provides evidence that there will be some kind of life after death. All who have had these experiences report going through a tunnel and having the chance to cross a bridge. They know that once they cross that bridge, they won’t be able to come back. So, while we can accept the afterlife as it exists between the tunnel and the bridge, we still don’t know what awaits us on the other side of the bridge. Perhaps obliteration of all we know to be our Selves, the ultimate ego death. People suffering from advanced dementia experience a partial ego death before their body ceases to perform the mysterious functions of life.
Decay is disgusting to all but the most detached. To live with people who are close to death is to witness all signs of illness, dysfunction and decay. Someone once remarked to me that old age is not for sissies. I have chosen to look upon this part of my life as my next great adventure. I hope to rise to the occasion as did Bowie and Rickman. I have faced many strange transitions in this way. Waking up in Bellevue and facing a ward of crazy people at the age of 13, I embraced the adventure with total courage. My tool of choice is determination to remain in present time as much as possible. To be present, is to experience everything.