Momento Mori

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31 Oct 2017 10:41 #305105 by MadHatter
Momento Mori was created by MadHatter

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Today is one of remembrance. It is a day where to celebrate and acknowledge those that have passed and the fears that we might have. I ask you today to meditate on the fleeting nature of life. Make the most of what we have for remember you too shall pass.

Breath slowly in. Let the memories of those who have passed wash over you. Good or bad acknowledge them and thank them for the lessons they have provided you. Commune with these memories for the amount of time that feels right. When you are ready slowly comeback to yourself and commit to honoring the lives that have gone before you into the Force.

Knight of the Order
Training Master: Jestor
Apprentices: Lama Su, Leah
Just a pop culture Jedi doing what I can
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01 Nov 2017 21:48 - 01 Nov 2017 22:01 #305185 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic Momento Mori
It took me for-EVER to accept the fact that Carlos Castaneda was not really an apprentice to a Mexican-Indian sorcerer. The three things that worked together to finally settle me to the truth of it were 1: he died of cancer, which was simply incongruent with my bias of what it meant to be a sorcerer/shaman, based on the description that he himself developed. 2: The cultish (and VERY corporate) silliness and controversy that is tensegrity and his girlfriends, aka his "chocmools", and finally (and most convincingly of all) 3: going back to school and learning various academic theories in the realms of psychology and sociology, and learning about "NLP".

I wanted to believe that his writings were basically true because it was through his writing that i was first exposed to the realm of ideas that could be generally labelled "philosophy" or "mysticism" and especially, the idea of adopting the Warriors Way. I resonated with his work because i always felt that much of what he talked about was USEFUL, and tht it was meant to orient a person towards enhancing their own strengths, and making the most of their lives. If you filter out some of the extraordinary goings on in his books, such as astral projections and "inorganic beings" aka "spirits" (sort of) and people turning into birds and all that, there was a core set of pragmatic ideas and a prioritization of ideals that, to this day, i fundamentally respect and agree with. For this reason, even though i accept that they are works of fiction, i still look to those stories as useful material from which to draw inspiration and guidance.

For example, (and thank you for your patience this far, im getting to the point right now) in his second book, Journey to Ixtlan, he introduces two powerful concepts in the chalters called "Death is an Advisor" and "Assuming Responsibility" which have stuck with me, and recurred to me constantly, and which i still work- with greater and lesser degrees of success -to fully implement into my everyday life.

Ive recently learned that these are also key concepts in Existentialism, which i suspect is where Castaneda himself found them, as he would definitely have been exposed to Existentialism at UCLA, where he was studying for a degree in Anthropology. Some of you will recognize the name Viktor Frankyl, probably the most well known Existentialist. He was the author of Mans Search for Meaning and the creator of "Logo-therapy".

These tao concepts are intimately tied to each other, and to this topic.
Or at least they are tied to the phrase that is the topic's namesake: memento mori: remember that you are going to die. Acknowledging the reality of ones death is meant to promote a feeling of urgency and impetus to take full responsibility for ones life, and to help one sort out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Our time is incredibly short. You can probably look to your own experience and confirm that time has passed and you have aged, and there is a sense that much of it just slipped by while you werent looking. "Where did the time go?" is a common refrain. Pink Floyd: "and then one day you find, ten years have got behind you..." or as Tom Petty said "days go by, like paper in the wind".

Fully appreciating the shortness of life makes frivolty less appealing to many. Very much related to living in the present moment, if there is something we want, NOW is our chance to make efforts towards it. Given the choice between sitting on the couch in front of the television or going out to run a mile we might ask "is it important to me to be able to run a mile? Does it signify something more than mere time and distance? Does it say something about me as a person that i consider important? If now is my opportunity, isnt it worth it to force myself into going through the motions of running even if i dont feel like it? Shouldnt i claim this as a personal responsibility to myself and my own life?" By framing it in this way, running isnt just for exercise, its for everything that we want our lives to be. Our love lives, our careers, our hobbies, whatever is genuinely important to us. Since we are going to die and we have to choose what to do with the time we have, is it more important to run that mile or to see the latest Walking Dead episode? Does one have more personal significance than the other?

Its also useful when dealing with stress and anxiety. Well, it is useful once you can face the anxiety that comes with thinking seriously of your own death to begin with. When youre really connected to the reality of your death, and through this, to the authentic priorities and ambitions of your own life, it is infinitely easier to let go of the small and ultimately insignificant annoyances that drive most of us crazy, such as feeling insulted by someone online or being cut off in traffic. No big deal compared to the fact that we're going to die.

Even things that tend to be more emotionally charged, such as personal failure and rejection become opportunities to BUILD resilience, rather than moments requiring resilience in order to overcome. "I have my Life and my ambitions, im moviing forward and there no telling how far i may go. This moment is not my death, im not dying, im still alive and both my life and my death are still ahead of me. I may not enjoy this moment but it wont kill me or derail me from my life, and my future is still full of possibilities". That is a powerful set of realizations to internalize. I can tell you from personal experience, they can get you through a lot of sh1t.

For those who appreciate the ideas of Budo or Bushido, the simplest description of the Warriors Path that ive encountered goes something like this: Bushido means to live in such a way that no matter what form your death takes when it comes, you will face it directly, with courage, dignity, and self control.
Of course thats a tall order, and im not going to sit here and tell you that ive mastered my own fear of death, just as likely that i will pee my pants and cry like a baby, but i do have the feeling that familiarizing myself with the reality of death MIGHT help me better face it than i would if i had simply always ignored it.

To relate some of my own experience, i have to admit that it took me a very long time for my own death to become real to me. My mind understood at a rational level that everyone dies, and therefore i will die, but my BEING couldnt really connect with that. To use Castanedas words, i felt like i was immortal. Im not sure if it is simply the result of the process of aging, or of it was the experiences of witnessing death in some of its manifestations in other people, or if it was a result of learning about life and death through the formal lens of textbook biology (aka science), that the truth of my own death has become more real to me. Whatever the mechanism, i can say that the shift which took place had to do with my understanding of the finality of death: the realization of its inevitability in my own life, noting the unpredictability of its arrival, and understanding its permanence.

Many people believe in the immortality of the soul. I dont, because everything you could name that would constitute some component of the soul is rooted in our biology, our bodies. Our bodies are not only the bulb and the filament, but the engine which produces the electricty. When the body dies, theres no more current, nor any conduit. The light simply goes out. Thats my belief and you may not agree. Thats ok, i wont tell you that youre wrong (I kind of want you to be right, actually) but whatever your beliefs are about the after-life, i do hope you can find a way to utilize this concept of Death as an Advisor in a way that is useful for you, here and now.

People are complicated.
Last edit: 01 Nov 2017 22:01 by OB1Shinobi.
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02 Nov 2017 13:32 #305221 by
Replied by on topic Momento Mori

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05 Nov 2017 07:07 - 05 Nov 2017 07:09 #305502 by JamesSand
Replied by JamesSand on topic Momento Mori
One of the more delightful things we do around where I live is....


Mark the side of the road whenever there is a crash resulting in death of injury..

So, whenever you're flying along (either in a cage, or on a crotch-rocket), defying god and physics, you get to see where lesser mortals paid for their hubris.


(Red = Maimed, Black = Dead)

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Last edit: 05 Nov 2017 07:09 by JamesSand.

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