I asked, ‘Why is bringing life to life a way to prepare for death?’

It’s seems clearer now, why positive values of creativity, generosity, compassion, kindness, intimacy, authenticity, impeccability, love, fearlessness, responsibility… – many qualities of the heart – are a preparation for death.

Positive qualities of heart (’qualities of heart’ being a phrase indicating the invisible) reduce our narcissism. Narcissism, remember, is, primarily, the habitual trance state of being in love with one’s image. Check it out: Aren’t we besotted with our images, our thoughts? Who’s the big theme of your thoughts, the subject of your ‘songs’? As George Harrison sang: I-me-mine.

If we organise our life around self-representations (which most of us do), then we allow thought to shape our energy flow, and that usually means staying within the familiar; that is, within the small bounded territories of object relations (of ‘me’ and ‘mine’).

When positivity flows, we expand into the limitless. (In classical Buddhism such qualities are called ‘the immeasurables,’ and are valued because they make the ‘deathless’ accessible). With positive qualities, we give up doling out our energy in commercial transaction-sized packets.

We (in our unawakened mode) are self-absorbed, just like Narcissus. I came across this today, in Gil Friedman’s book Gurdjieff – A Beginner’s Guide. He is talking about ‘singing’ in the Gurdjieff Work:

We have all sorts of things we want to say to others and think of how we are going to give them a piece of our mind when we see them again. In the Work, there is a concept called Singing your Song. This refers not to a physical song, but a psychological song. Everyone has his or her song. It is what they repeat over and over again in their heads and sing out loud when with others. For some, it is that life isn’t fair. For others it is that no one understands the difficulties they face. Other songs could be about how badly they have been treated, how they married the wrong person, or how they have not been appreciated. There are literally thousands of these psychological songs that are sung over and over again.

The Work also talks about good singers, those people who sing their psychological song at the drop of a hat and never can get beyond themselves. For some, one or two drinks will allow them to go into their song. For some, just greeting them will bring on their song. Moreover, people sing their song not only to others but when they are by themselves. What is your song?

Bringing the life of the positive heart to the life of the senses and action means means (in essence, and with patient development, of course):

– dying to the song that I am a material thing (subject) in a world of material things (objects);

– dying to the certainties of an ego-system (with ‘I,’ ’me’ and ‘mine’ at the centre; and

– dying to identifications, which are based on ‘ownership.’

– being real.

Now, as best we can know, what happens at death? You can explore this by mindfully falling asleep; and/or, exploring lucid dreaming. The process is very similar. Materiality dissolves. The rigidities of the ego-system dissolve. Identifications are dissolved (especially in non-dream sleep. What is presents itself in the raw. If you want to see this attune yourself to the transition between wakefulness and sleep. Can you maintain a fixed sense of self in that particular passage?

(The transition between wakefulness and sleep is called the hypnagogic state, from the Greek for ‘sleep’ and ‘leading.’ It’s the lead-in for sleep).

Talking about traversing the hypnagogic transition reminds me of a really important part of the work of the ‘invisible’ (the heart-mind), and that is love of truth. By this I mean: loving what is. That, too, is bringing life to life.