At my age, the realization of how few days I have left reminds me daily of how perishable this body is.
While I doubt there are many who’ve more belief in a spiritual afterlife than me, I still wonder if we ever do get over clinging to our everyday life, as humdrum as it can be.
I know we definitely are eternal, everlasting, forever.
Still, can we ever really step beyond the “Sting of Death,” as Saint Paul so aptly put it.
Death and Dying
I’ve been blessed with idyllic sunset years.
I’ve got the best hiking trails in the world, a wonderful wife who excuses my grumpiness and does her best to assure I have delicious gourmet meals every day and makes me happy in every way she can.
I have good friends.
And I’ve good enough health to continue hiking.
That’s decent enough health, despite a catalog of ailments – diabetes, prostate cancer, a brain hemorrhage, open-heart surgery, A-Fib, angioplasty and continual heart disease.
While I’m blessed enough to enjoy my everyday life, it also creates my desire to cling to it.
And these thoughts are more present since losing my dear hiking companion, our dog Tessa.
Mourning takes time. After more than a year, I still miss her dearly.
Tessa was my constant trail companion. We hiked every morning and took four shorter walks every day.
Still, while I am hiking my Spiritual Self reminds me that Tessa is always there with me, just up ahead waiting for me at the next twist of the trail.
I just can’t see her. But it’s a comforting illusion.
You can call all of life an illusion. I can’t quarrel with that.
BUT . . .
The rubber hits the pavement when I know, with zero doubt, that even more than the inevitability of taxes, Death is stalking me, just around the corner. As it did Tessa.
In the Eastern Advaita Vedanta tradition there is the concept they call ananadamaya kosha, the bliss sheath.
It is supposed to be the final veil that covers the eyes from seeing the Absolute, or what we would call God here in the West.
This clinging to the pleasures of life that I am going through may be exactly what ananadamaya kosha means.
But, to confess, I’m sort of with Arjuna in the Bhagava Gita’s Eleventh Chapter
When he pleads so intensely for it, he is allowed to see The Absolute, face to face.
But he pulls back and says something like this, “Please Lord, let me return to my old self and see things as they were – in everyday life.”
Perhaps I am just too cowardly to want to “see” my dog, Tessa, as she is now in Dog Heaven. That will come. I know.
But please Lord, not just yet.
Geezer Book in the Works
I’m writing a book on how we geezers can best cope with our last days. If you have topics you’d like to have me explore, please let me know. Just pop me a few words in an email to BackpackerBill@taosnet.com I’d love to hear them. I may not have answers but I will raise the questions, I assure you.