“The Art of Living Well and The Art of Dying Well are One.” ~ Epicurus
Here we are again…
The end becomes the beginning, and the beginning is heralded by the end.
The cycle of one Gregorian year culminates here in the sphere of circles; the great precession of seasons ends and begins here; here in the sphere of spheres. This sphere once again falls, dropping down to end the current paradigm, and beginning the next to come.
What is in a year anyway? What does one annual return, or any return hold for the human being? Why are people so infatuated with cyclical endings and beginnings? What purpose does this ingrained fascination serve us?
I believe there is much more to it than simply a completed series of checked boxes. Our intrigue and celebration of these events suggests much more than the simple acknowledgement of the passage of time, or for the coming of a new era. This is a deep chasm, one to be wary of when traveled.
I’ve often thought of endings and beginnings as being synonymous. It only makes sense to me. One thing cannot end without something beginning, transforming or becoming. It is here where we must view the cycle as it should be viewed; as ongoing, never broken but instead artfully creating the illusion of the passage; the finishing, the end.
A very ancient philosophical view takes form in the art of death; the ultimate end, the sure passage of finite life into ether. This view is found in many cultures across time and geography. One can find the source of our celebration in these thoughts, so long as he looks closely so as not to miss the simplicity.
It is upon the precipice of death that we live our greatest moment, find our greatest strength and glean our first view at our own true reflections. In the moment where all is sure to be lost, we will defy the logic of our own minds and of the world in strides of saving ourselves or another.
Dying is the celebration. Death is the celebration, for death is no more an ending than a grand beginning; the point where we transcend the physical, become one with space and time; where we then move beyond the boundaries of human thought.
This is the universal craft; the art of death.
The art of dying, of becoming aware of your death, knowing that at any moment you will no longer be is acknowledged throughout time. This is a cornerstone of philosophical thought found throughout ancient Greece. Bruce Lee spoke of this art when facing an opponent. The ancient Roma looked upon remembering death as a form of magic.
In Latin, the phrase “Memento Mori” reminds us that we are already dead, just not yet. This forms the basis for the practice of relinquishing earthly and worldly chains, desires and wishes. It is the quickening, the recognition that frees the spirit from becoming hardened by the world, from drowning under pleasures which afflict the body, mind and spirit. It’s the thought that whispers in our ear, begging us for the remembrance of home; to remember where we truly belong.
It is no wonder that we celebrate our endings and our beginnings, for we have long known that our lives are to become more than dust. These returns of cycles represent the singularity; the archetype of the grand death, the great transformation; the resurrection and the ascent of pure spirit.
Here in our celebration and revelry, we find the flight of the soul, the beginning of the true journey.
In our travels throughout life, we walk toward a light, we travel toward home, and ultimately we know that our death will bring us closer to that place of peace, that home of homes waiting in the presence of the divine.
Enjoy the end of this year, and be happy as the new cycle begins. Celebrate, give thanks and praise each other’s company. It is within this sphere that we all truly dwell; aware yet avoiding the realization of what our celebration truly represents. And the celebration is well deserved.
For one day, in the end, we will all become.