Being Present
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Luke the apostle, conscious of his own life, preparing to write a book of the New Testament
Luke the apostle (Master Theodoric), conscious of his own life, preparing to write a book of the New Testament.
September 2009

Life Before Death

You are a child of the moment; make it infinite beyond the curving snake of passing time and space.



In the round of a life, time appears to be linear, a thread of days and nights stretching behind and beyond, where memory is a kind of eyesight on past events, and where the future is the guess-work of imagination. The thread circles to a common point, the moment of birth and the moment of death, f or ‘where everything ends, everything eternally begins.’ At this point, the enigmatic force that animates one’s life enters, and after its partnership with the body, then exits.


The difference between life and death then is a mystery. After death, the body appears to be just a physical form, used, empty. Yet life also appears to be ephemeral, where nothing of it can be sustained. Thoughts and emotions rise and pass, leaving no trace. Breath stops at death. A life ends in a heartbeat. As Rodney Collin wrote, ‘Death is only interesting in relation to what cannot die.’ If life is ephemeral, how can one truly live before death?


Presence does not follow the apparent linear path of time, nor is it confined by dimensions. In a second, one can penetrate eternity. In a moment, one can ascend to another dimension. Presence echoes immortality because it does not decay with the body, nor fade with the memory. To human experience, immortality is incomprehensible, even alien. Yet when one is in a state outside of time, one has the capacity, non-human yet one’s human birthright, to experience immortality. The effort to be present, to be in the moment, begins the ascent out of the rut of mortality. In a vision of the Old Testament, a ladder connects earth to heaven, and one climbs up from the material world into a rarefied, super-world, a world that does not require the functions of the senses, nor a physical vessel to exist.
Stars, darkness, a lamp, a phantom, dew, a bubble, a dream, a flash of lightning, and a cloud; this is how to look upon the fleeting world.
Diamond Sutra
Not all of me shall die. For Death, although he stills my beating heart, takes but a fragment with my breath and leaves untouched the greater part.
There can be no life after death, if there is no life before death.