I am not.
That distinction has set me free.
In a time of veracious global illness and vast dying there is an invitation to open into the inescapable truth that I’m dying. Most likely not today. In all probability not anytime soon. And yet even that is questionable. The only thing that is beyond question is that it will happen.
Equally beyond question is that I am will never die.
There is a tension of sorts between those two unquestionable truths.
One day the who of me will release its final exhalation and this incarnation will be ended. The what of I am will remain unaffected. The what may well carry on becoming another who. Unlearned lessons will move with that final exhalation to resolve themselves in perhaps a more hospitable inner environment. I suspect that in the realm between states everything is simultaneous, making multiple incarnations irrelevant. And yet experientially we evolve within and between these embodied states. Embodied states that we tend to identify with and attach ourselves to.
And then they come to an end.
And yet the essence of them does not.
And so, when I die, I also will not. This is not for me a happy sticker to assuage a fear of leaving this body. It is a lens through which I remain awake during a time of unprecedented illness, fear, grief, suffering, and death. It does not discount those experiences. It does not diminish the loss being felt. It does not give me license to live recklessly during these pandemic days.
It gives me a context in which I may hold all of this dying and loss without drowning in hopelessness and despair.
Even more than that it implores me to live these days fully and wakefully. It invites me to meet my moments repeatedly and courageously with a brave and open heart. It allows me to face death straight on, tears streaming yet knowingly smiling.
Those who rationally and carelessly quote statistics will not do so when the fatality is someone they love.
This body could easily be added to those numbers. I could get sick and I could die.
To some I would be another digit in the statistical reporting. For some there would be meaning and loss. Soon, however, I would be a memory and life will go on. And that is how it will be.
I am not.
There is no question that I will die. The question really is about how I will live.
I am on a train out of here. I do not know whether it is a local or an express.
If this all seems fatalistic to you, so be it. It is enlivening for me. A bit confrontive for sure. Knowing that I am on that train implores to fully live each moment of the ride. To live radically and to love freely. To not take advantage of a single moment here upon this wondrous planet in this miraculous body. To honor each and every being that will die today by relishing the fact that I am still alive.
I will always be immortal. That can never die.
I have this precious chance today to inhabit mortality. How will I do that in such a way that my breathing and my embodiment light the way for those who think that dying ends in death?
I’m dying and I am not.
When I go into the always now here, I intend to do so fully used up and freely given. So full that I simply had to empty out.
I am living like it could be today.