Meditation on Death

My daily praxis hasn’t been so daily lately. Contemplating the death of Cemia Dove, unable to more than doze off and wake again all night, I’m determined to practice my minimum daily praxis daily. Part of the daily praxis for every sorcerer and sorceress — and everybody else, really — should be meditation on death. I use the Hagakure of Yamamoto Tsunetomo as my guide:

Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.

Twenty minutes of meditation — visualization, actually, and as intense as I can make it, incorporating the sensations, emotions, sounds, taste of various deaths, etc. — on these things leaves me simultaneously disturbed and with a sense of peace. The disturbed feeling soon fades, leaving only the sense of peace. Do not mistake me, it is not exactly a comforting sense of peace, but it is a sense of peace nonetheless. Even though such meditation is a preparation for the real thing, for my actual death, the benefits of this meditation begin now. Fear is lessened. Honesty with myself about death increases.

Why do such a morbid thing? —If you make friends with death, it will set you free in ways that I’ve only begun to understand. After all, we give no thought to and have no fear of the million years before we were born. So why do we fear the million years after the death of our current body and personalities? There is no more sense in fearing the million years after the death of our present incarnation than there would be in fearing the million years that preceded our present incarnation. And yet we fear it mightily. We must lessen this fear, annihilate it if possible.

Again, why? Because death is inevitable. This is a truism. If death is your friend, perhaps you will be one of those people who die with grace and dignity. In my experience with the dying, these are a small minority. The majority become petty, mean, weak. Do you want now to act with grace and dignity? Then you implicitly want always to act with grace and dignity, including during the hours, days, weeks or months of your own death process.

You want this. The only way is to make death your friend. I myself don’t have the opportunity to spend time in cremation grounds as Buddhist monks do in Asia. Daily meditation upon death is the only substitute in the mundane world in which sorceress and muggle alike live. I myself want the results of this daily meditation. So I begin rehearsing death now.

And I think of Cemia Dove. I’m a transsexual woman too. The probability of my being murdered — solely because I’m a transsexual woman while odds are you aren’t — is probably many times yours. If I were in Cemia’s place would I face death with extreme fear? or with little fear at all…

I don’t want to die abjectly. And I don’t want to live now with an abject fear of death just beneath the threshold of my consciousness. So I rehearse my death now.

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