Friday, April 1, 2011



In our struggle with the silent and secret companion, death, the crucial battle is the one between the ego and the soul. The ego is the defensive shell we pull around our lives. It is afraid; it is threatened and grasping. It acts in an overly protective way and is very competitive. The soul, on the other hand, has no barriers. As Heraclitus, the great Greek philosopher said 'The soul has no limits.' The soul is a pilgrim journeying towards endless horizons. There are no exclusion areas; the soul is in touch with the eternal dimension of time and is never afraid of what is yet to come. In a certain sense, the meeting with your own death in the daily forms of failure, pathos, negativity, fear or destructiveness are actual opportunities to transfigure your ego. These are invitations to move out of that protective, controlling way of being towards an art of being which allows openness and hospitality. To practise this art of being is to come into your soul rhythm. If you come into your soul rhythm, then the final meeting with your physical death need not be threatening or destructive. That final meeting will be the encounter with your own deepest identity, namely, your soul.

Physical death, then, is not about the approach of a dark destructive monster that cuts off your life and drags you away to an unknown place. Masquerading behind the face of your physical death is the image and presence of your deepest self, waiting to meet and embrace you. Deep down, you hunger to meet your soul. All during the course of our lives we struggle to catch up with ourselves. We are so taken up, so busy and distracted, that we cannot dedicate enough time or recognition to the depths within us. We endeavour to see ourselves and meet ourselves; yet there is such complexity in us and so many layers to the human heart that we rarely ever encounter ourselves. The philosopher Husserl is very good on this subject. He talks about the Ur-Prasenz, the primal presence of a thing, an object or a person. In our day-to-day experience, we can only glimpse the fullness of presence that is in us; we can never meet our own presence face to face. At our death, all the defensive barriers that separate and exclude us from our presence fall away; the full embrace of the soul gathers around us. For that reason, death can be a wonderfully creative event opening you up to embrace the divine that always lived secretly inside you.

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