Today, I seem to have cracked a riddle of existence.
What am I/What is death?
In such a way it could be said to also answer the question:
What are you?
THE DETAILS are where the juicy bits are, otherwise, here's a bit of backstory on how this fact arrived:
I was under the padded blows of this tinnitus disease that I have. If you don't know what that is, from the outside, it's described by medical doctors as a condition where one of the muscles in the inner ear twitches involuntarily, making noises go off. Beethoven had this, they say, but as my hearing is otherwise unspoiled, his case sounds way worse. Anyway, it's not worth the association - from the insider point of view, I can tell you it's like having these invisible warm drops of air land right into one (or sometimes both) of your ears at these senseless intervals, though there seems to be a vaguely twisted logic it wants to instruct you on.
When it gets severe, you have these flurries that splutter past, like a violently dry kitchen tap going off behind your ear. This is probably exactly how my nerves are firing.
When you first get it, it's distressing. In the end, though, you get used to it. But before you cross over into acceptance, you're convinced that the sublte, but necessary total silence of your body at rest has been irrevocably rent. If not for eternity, the certainly for big chunks of your day, and that can suuuuuuck. I'd recently read lines by Antonio Machado, which I think is wonderful advice for times like these:
Greet the slash of the axe
said the Buddha - and said Christ! -
with your scent, like the sandalwood
I thought it sounded cool, but I didn't know exactly how that finds practical application. But as you try your best to hold on during teose times, those words are a good distraction to chew on.
So it went this afternoon. "Arghh! Axe blows!" I was thinking, my mind in the midst of fire, despairing for the rest of my Sunday once it suddenly hit me. As my mind thrashed around in the pain of anguish, I wondered if this was the weakened entry point for what would eventually kill me. Perhaps soft as they are now, these blows had obscured heft to them. I'll win the fight this time, but the punches are actually real, and driving me to the wall. And something as helpless as blood does seem to be oozing out of me from the site of the attack, survive it though I will. Then it STRUCK.
...I then realized that everything that touches me - the tighness of the scarf around my neck (I wish you could come and feel exactly how softly my neck is being crushed right now), the clothes that I'm pressing down on with my gravity - all of that totality is death itself. It's, after all, the "everything else" that I'm not, reaching around from the other side, making an implacably firm insistence upon acknowledgement, in what could one day be a fatal understanding. Only one of those sensations around me just has to intensify in the right way - my scarf, perhaps, is charmed by a magician and starts to close in on me, or maybe there's actually someone ever so slowly pulling harder and harder on the noose ends. Now the scarf is slowly fiercening into rope around my neck, tightening unavoidably, and past discomfort to pain and then terror, I squeak and die. Now repeat the same thought-experiment for all sensations that place you put in the world right now.
There's a disease I have that has now forced its way in. This is, quite simply, death in 4D. But then, everything else is as well.
I realized something else for the first time as well. That I've been thinking of myself turned inside out the whole time, up until now.
If the wall of sensation bordering me is death, then world doesn't surround me - rather, I'm the one who's got the world surrounded. I'm the pure emptiness wearing the colors and shapes of the world. If I got up and started to walk, I'd be rolling the world about with my feet - this is the casual miracle of my motion. For now, I pick up my hand and examine it. That hollow-feeling fore-finger of mine on my left hand that I move? It might one day crush inward in pure pain from the weight of a car door in a car crash I may later be involved in. And then maybe sawn off. Emptiness replaces emptiness. But for today, it's just the coldness of a New York's winter day that surrounds it and gives it shape. That coldess is a frontier to my borders. I recognize these borders forever more as very definite, though soft is the air that I swish them in today as I type.
*I stop typing, I look at them again, and continue* - they're quite nice-looking chocolate brown-colored fingers. Odd that this is what the physical interface looks like, if I check it out from the outside. Other than the racial history that includes me in, I'm wearing an older story too - the very physical nature of the universe's materiality.
From this observation, everything about me, and you, adds up. But at the same time, it seems doubly interesting now.
"All the things we see when awake are death, even
as all we see in slumber are sleep."