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I SING OF DEATH TODAY!Death is not what we think, nothing like what we’ve been taught. How do I know? I don’t. I am only singing my song of Not Knowing and you are as free to listen or walk away as I am free to sing it. Death is no image, no state, no place, no person; it is not even in the realm of experience itself. Death! Sweet death! The dogmas and religions have tried to make us fear you, made threats and false promises, cleft a heaven from a hell, separated life and the afterlife, good and evil, God and the devil, forces of light and forces of darkness, fractured an original innocent Oneness. The mind has tried to conceptualize you, sweet Death, for as long as there has been a mind. (Just for fun, let us go beyond all we have received or imagined or believed. Death is coming for all of us, whether we like it or not…)Death is barely different from birth, conception is hardly separate from that glorious and inevitable moment of dissolution beyond limits. We did not fear being conceived or not, why should we fear its lover and friend, death? There was no ‘I’ there either way. Ah, this fleeting experience we call ‘my life’, so precious, so beautiful, so full of adventure and connection, so messy, so fleshy, so earthy, is such a tiny blip in time, so unspeakably miniscule from the perspective of the Ages. Death is sleep beyond sleep and beyond, infinite rest beyond rest, and none of that is true. For there cannot be infinity or any conception of the eternal when time disappears, which is what death must be, for when did time begin? When did the mind begin? Just now, when you thought about it? The disappearance of time, memory, story, fantasy, anticipation, regret, the story of “me and my life”. The end of all suffering. All our concepts of death fall away in death, including any of these concepts, if they ever become concepts, and for now they are just notes being sung. I am a poet today, not here to teach but merely to sing. I am not saying I know what death “is”. Nobody does. I am only questioning all we have been told, made to believe, force-fed, scared into. I am dissolving into death myself. This is a living inquiry. Urgent now. I may not have long left. Death is the absolute Mystery beyond mysteries, the place we emerged from, the place we all return to, the place we never left. It is utterly harmless, soft, intimate, like putting on a warm sweater on an icy winter’s evening, like taking off a face mask that’s felt hot and suffocating all day. It is a wonderful exhale after holding our breath way too long. It is delicious rest, after a long and exhausting fight. It is the darkness we feared, all lit up with love. I am not talking of dying, I am speaking of death itself, the moment of death although it cannot be a ‘moment’ because it is the explosion of time itself. Dying can be uncomfortable, for sure, the death process can be painful, I am not denying suffering, believe me! I have sat with the dying and witnessed their pains. Suffering can be hellish, but there is no hell after death only before. Dying can happen quickly or slowly, but death negates time. Some may argue we are dying all the time. Some may say that we are killing ourselves and the planet through our unconsciousness every single day. Some may say that our addictions are a slow way of committing suicide. But death itself is not an experience. I sing it again, “death cannot be experienced”, and this is what everyone forgets or misunderstands or never bothers to think about because it’s just too… dangerous. Dark. Disturbing. Trippy! And paradoxical. And impossible to comprehend, using the very mechanism that death itself destroys. Death is the falling-away of the experiencer itself, the dissolving of the very mechanism by which we experience the world, experience hot or cold, comfort or discomfort, sleep or waking, red or blue or sunflower yellow, the first light of the morning or the touch of a friend’s hand. Without the experiencer, there is no possibility of experiencing death or any of its friends. And so anything we say about death, anything we know about death, will just be our dream, our projection, our story or someone else’s that we’ve taken as our own. And there is nothing wrong with that. Our stories, myths, legends and holy books are beautiful. Death becomes a great Canvas on which we can paint literally anything. Fiery hell realms if we want to scare ourselves. Wonderful eternal visions of bliss if we want to comfort ourselves. Reincarnations as marvelous beasts, fantastic travel to other dimensions, if we want to delight or entertain ourselves. “Infinite nothingness” if we want to freak ourselves out. We dream whatever we dream, and that is our death to us. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong. We are all just artists. Death takes us beyond right and wrong. It is the great equalizer. It the one place we are all headed, young and old, president and pauper, healthy and sick.If we believe in heaven, we will go to heaven. If we believe in hell, hell exists for us. If we believe in reincarnation, we go to our next incarnation, full of anticipation! But in the absence of the experiencer, what can we know?I cannot say death is “never-ending sleep” or “eternal rest”. I cannot even say, “death is nothing”. For who would know that? Who would experience the nothing? Who would rest, eternally, in an infinite void? Who would know “pure awareness without content”? The idea of infinite nothingness terrifies us, maybe, and if we wish to be terrified, we can dream that dream too. We can dream any dream we wish! Whatever delights or comforts or scares us into behaving a certain way or satisfies our curiosity, we can dream it. What happens when we stop dreaming about what happens, and we are just with ‘what is’? What happens when we lean into death, the great Unknown?Today, I sing of the wonder and mystery and utter simplicity of death and the Unknown. The end of suffering, the tumbling into the arms of our God, our own loving arms perhaps, or the 14 billion year-old arms of the Universe itself, and perhaps GOD is only a sound pointing to the utter Mystery prior to the very first thought, prior to and infusing all worlds and transcending them all. We return to what we are, and yet, even that is not true, for we cannot ‘return’ to a place we never left, just as a wave can never actually ‘return’ to the Ocean. It was always the Ocean, it never abandoned its source for one moment.And so here words truly dissolve. Of course they do. What is left? Who can say?Can the mouth utter that which comes before any mouth?How can we begin to speak of a sleep so deep there is no sleep at all?Before the Big Bang, before any notion of God, before even the notion of ‘before’, what is here?Death is nothing like what we suppose, nothing like the scriptures and dogmas tell us, or the old or new age teachers teach, or the philosophers philosophise, not even anything like the poets and artists so beautifully and courageously try to represent, and some have died trying. Death is closer than your next inhale and exhale. Surely it is. How can it be apart from you?It is nearer to you than the comprehension - or not - of these words, more intimate than the most intimate lover, as mysterious as the morning sun, or the sound of rain falling. How could it be otherwise? The sun has always broken your heart. The rain falls inside of you. When you were young, you always knew, the world sprang out of you.Every night you die, every night in deep dreamless sleep you return - without returning - to the Ocean, where there is no world, no time, no space, no history, no future, yet you wake up, and there seems to be a world again. Miracle upon miracles! Death is not “final”! I sing of death, then, the miracle that makes all things possible, the womb of wombs and the lifeblood of all worlds and that which renders all things in all places at all times precious, holy, worthy of great devotion and veneration. In the days we have left, and who knows how many days we have left, let us befriend death, or rather, loosen the shackles that bind us to outdated notions of death, liberate ourselves from all the shame and fear surrounding death, and rest in its warm embrace.We can hide from death but it will not hide from us. We can face death or not, run from it or not, but either way, it is near, always. It is death that writes these words, and death that reads them, I would suppose.It is death that perhaps sings for itself today! I do not expect anyone to agree with me or sing with me, I do not expect anyone to understand these ramblings, I do not expect that I am right in any way, but this is my song, and I sing it, and I love my song, and I feel death near to me now as I sing…As my beloved Walt Whitman sang, “And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier”, and maybe it is. Maybe it is. - Jeff Foster ... See MoreSee Less
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Hi Everyone. As you may know, our dear friend Jeff Foster is seriously ill with chronic neurological Lyme disease a…
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