Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Art of Dying - Part 2

Many many years ago I read this book about an Indian saint. The one thing I remember is that this saint was so desperate to understand what his life was about, that he decided he would rule out everything it wasn't about, and see what was left after that. He used to wander around saying, 'Neti, neti' (not this, not this). So for example, he would come across something in the world that promised him some satisfaction and he would either do it, or think about it, and decide, no, that's not it, and then he would move onto the next thing.

I never really forgot about that book, or to be more accurate, my memory of it.

Several years later I was working as a builder on a big project turning a house into a hotel. As it turned out the guy who owned the place had a heart attack and died while we were working there. As he lay dying his last words were 'Don't forget to tell Brian about the vent axia'.

Now, that's what I'm talking about here - how everything in life is relative. Just how important was the vent axia? For me, I've never been able to make it that important, because I know in the end the vent axia is neither here nor there. And that is what I mean when I say maybe there is some value in practising the art of dying. Get ready cos it's coming - that moment when the truth dawns will arrive. Neti neti will stare us in the face.

* * *
This morning I was sitting down as I usually do, and observing the thought patterns going through my mind. I could see that I had a choice to pursue those thoughts, or abandon them. One topic after another came into my mind, and each time I did my best to leave it behind. Beyond those thoughts is nothing.

Nothing matters - nothing ever happens - nothing is forever - It feels good!

PS - no drugs were used before or during the writing of this post.
PPS - if you are living your life for the afterlife, this post won't make any sense whatsoever. Sorry!


  1. What a great post. Now I finally see why these people hang around. They're waiting for diamonds in the rough.

  2. This reminds me a little of something I heard on whatever stand-up comedy show was in the Radio 4 6:30 humour slot this evening, which I'll now misquote slightly:

    "I hate people taking a cynical attitude to life - it's not like there's a prize or anything, when you die someone won't come up to you and say 'Well done: You didn't enjoy any of it.'"

  3. I think it makes wonderful sweet sense to live this life as best you can, to enjoy it and be joyful, while keeping an eye to the fact that there IS something more after we return out bodies to the earth.

    There is sooooo much more. I truly believe that....and yes, I do enjoy every bit of this life.

    Ok, sometimes I don't enjoy the teenagers so much, but hopefully that won't last too long.

  4. I should imagine that at the point of death I'll be worrying about whether or not I've got enough money left over to cover my funeral expenses.

    Haven't prepared for an afterlife though. That would be terrible! Three score and ten years is long enough to have to put up with stress, tedium, annoying stuff and other human beings, thank you very much.

  5. I'm with woody allen...not afraid of death, just don't want to be there at the time.
    You'd think different about that vent axia if you were using the bog just after me.

  6. the thing is, when you die, nothing happens.

  7. The Vent Axia? I don't know what it is, but it certainly sounds important enough to capitalise. I certainly won't be forgetting it in a hurry. As for death - it's death that makes life worth living.

  8. I think that my cosmological imperative can be summed up quite nicely by a line from the Woody Allen film Zelig.

    On his deathbed, Zelig's father tells his son that life is a cruel, meaningless, nightmare of suffering, and the only advice he gives him is to save string.

  9. No, nothing lasts forever but during the time that we are doing nothing, it makes life all the worthwhile.

    But personally, I for one, plan to discover the fountain of youth. Or at eas die in a mental state of thinking I did.

    Hope you have a happy and great 2008!

  10. eas is least....dang sticky keyboard! :)

  11. Are you sure it was Vent Axia? And not just a very poorly annunciated ' Don't forget The End Of The Tax Year.' This wouldn't be sometime before 5 April would it?

    Happy 2008, Tom

    It promises to be great if you look in the right places x

  12. Tommy dear, a client hired me to write an eBook on 2life, so last night I went in and created an account.

    Oh my. What a place. I'm still learning how this all works. I can see how you can get caught up in it all.

  13. Henry - that's about how it's been in my life - just the odd diamond now and again.

    Glenatron - Welcome back. you know I think a lot about cynicism, which I suffer from a lot. i think it is actually not healthy to have none at all.

    Pammy - I so want to argue with you but I'm not going to. xxx

    Betty - yes, that's so in character, worrying about your funeral expenses. Reminder to Betty - don't worry, you won't be there!

    Murph - well I guess from that perspective the vent axia is pretty damn important.

    Erica - and it happens while you're alive too.

    Gorrilla - I would say that to a gorilla the vent axia is of even less importance. But hey, what do I know, I have little to no knowledge of gorrilla requirements.

    HE - sound advice indeed. Are you going to leave a kind of trail to find your waay back to life.

    Awa - Go for it Awa, hopefully nothing will stand in your way!

    Cherrypie - oh my god, i've used this story so many times and i've had it wrong all along. By the way how much more important is the end of the tax year. I know, a few quid yeah!

    Pammy - Give me acall, and I'll show you around.

  14. Reg has just written an article about tits. I wonder whether he will get more comments than you.

  15. Tommy, I can't even figure out how to add you. I tried, but it wouldn't let me. I've lost your email addy so I can't email you here. Do you still have mine?

  16. I agree that you need a bit of cynicism or you would believe the lying scum in authority and whenever I read Greg Palast or George Monbiot it reminds me that I'm not really cynical enough. I'm far too ready to attribute things to mistakes rather than malice.

    However I know people who are cynical about everything and that is certainly too much of a good thing. I guess they're too self-conscious to be able to give themselves up to anything so they feel they must disparage anybody who is.

    I'm sure it creates an atmosphere that they are happy with, but to me it seems to devalue the idea that there is anything that matters or is worth going out of your way for.

  17. I want a soap opera death so that I can get in one more eloquent post before I draw my last breath. Since I tend to ramble, that should buy me a good half hour extra. I'm so brilliant.........

    Oh, and.......yes, something DOES happen when you die.....your heart stops beating......DUH!

    An eternity of Oblivion can be such a sweet experience compared to listening to George Bush butcher language for eight straight years.

  18. You're getting some new readers, Tom. Let's hope they don't discover your fearful secret, eh?

  19. Vicus, it is my hope that as I get more polite and intelligent comments, I can offload some of the more cynical, bitter and twisted readers that I have managed to accumulate over the last couple of years.
    Until then I will take what I can get.

  20. michael - I can just see you now with 30 minutes to go, clinging to your laptop and banging in your last post (mmmmmm didnt mean that quite that way!!!, but good luck, you never know)

    Glenatron - 'the idea that there is anything that matters or is worth going out of your way for'. sounds like an interesting idea, or am i being cynical again?

  21. I was gonna skip commenting this time. Too necrophilish. Just expecting not to have been offloaded.

  22. I heard of a guy once who was so into hanging out with a bunch of animals he drove half way across america in an RV so he could learn more about the animals and how to relate with them from some of the best teachers around.

    I'd say he felt pretty strongly there was something worth going out of his way for.

  23. Glenatron - did I not say, I only went cos the wife wanted to go.

  24. So it was the wife you felt it was worth going out of your way for?