We spend eight hours a night, on average, practicing for death. Letting go of the consciousness we fight so hard for in the end. We slip into the unknown, night after night, with no promise of waking. Am I not the only one who thinks that should be terrifying?
Have we developed such overwhelming object permanence
that we believe not only that everything will still be there when we open our eyes in the morning, but that we are, ourselves, permanent objects?
We wear the evidence of our impermanence on our faces, first in laugh lines and freckles, then in wrinkles and liver spots. We slowly gain experience and wisdom and lose days...
But I digress, of course the typical mind would not dwell on these questions, lest it be robbed of the very desire to continue chasing continuity. We crave infinity. We cannot grasp immortality, but we all run towards it. Some have resolved themselves to the reality that it is not truly attainable, but most are still quietly dowsing, at least internally, for the fountain of youth.
That practice of divination points us instead towards other more immediate pleasures, and as the drink and the lust make us forget, they draw us nearer still to that which we are running from.
So what are we to conclude from this? I am no sage or guru, but I will tell you this:
I think an awareness of the end is important for the journey. Knowing something is temporary allows us to pay attention while it is present.
So keep a hand on the wheel, watch the stars at night, gauge the wind, and keep the figurehead pointed toward the mark, lest you wind up adrift and find you are no longer practicing.
Jacob A. Pauwels is a fiction writer from Grand Rapids Michigan. He enjoys spending time with his wife Audrey and playing board games when he is not writing. He is currently working on his first novel. You can find more of Jacob's work here: www.featherdagger.com