On Dying at the Edge of Time, is this a somewhat strange title? Well, not really, because it is exactly like that; dying takes place at the edge of time. For when we die, something enters the course of time as we have known it so far, another level of being, another level of becoming.
It is something unknown. That’s probably what scares people the most, that there is something they don’t know and can’t control. There is no way to resist. We will eventually surrender, we have to surrender.
But we can also give ourselves over to the process of dying, and for that we need trust. For that we have to trust life. This seems to be a paradox – and yet it is the key.
For already during our lifetime, we experience again and again that things come to an end, e.g., circumstances of our life, relationships, etc.
Then we let go – voluntarily or because we have no other choice – and life goes on. Maybe at the beginning it feels a little strange, or even quite odd, but our life goes on.
This is true for our outer life as well as for our inner life. We go through processes in which we shed our skin, we get rid of patterns of thought and behavior, we leave old emotional patterns behind. They die, whereas we live on. And as we learn that we can grow through all these processes of dying, our trust in life also grows. For life teaches us how to die.
O Lord, grant each one their own death
A passing from a life
filled with love, with meaning and need.
For we are only skin and leaf
The great death inherent in us all,
that is the fruit around which all revolves.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Krishnamurti on death
Death has always been one of the problems, perhaps the biggest problem in human life. Not love, not fear, not relationships, but this question, this secret, this feeling of coming to an end is what has worried mankind since ancient times.
Dying is something in the future, something that we are afraid of, that we do not want. And yet it is always there. Whether through an accident, through illness or old age – it is always there. Whether we are young or old, frail or full of zest for life, it is always there.
Most of us are frightened of dying because we don’t know what it means to live. We don’t know how to live; therefore, we don’t know how to die. As long as we are frightened of life we shall be frightened of death. The man who is not frightened of life is not frightened of being completely insecure for he understands that inwardly, psychologically, there is no security. When there is no security there is an endless movement and then life and death are the same.
To find out actually what takes place when you die you must die. This isn’t a joke. You must die – not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things you have cherished and to the things you are bitter about. If you have died to one of your pleasures, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement or argument, then you will know what it means to die. To die is to have a mind that is completely empty of itself, empty of its daily longings, pleasures and agonies. Death is a renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all because thought is old. When there is death there is something totally new. Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.
(to be continued in part 2)