You are going to die. It happens to everyone. It is an absolute certainty. There is nothing you can do to avoid it. People hang on and live their lives like their days are unlimited, but they are not. You hear of wealthy old men getting re-married well into their 80s, still sitting on the board of their company and starting new subsidiaries. You can marvel at their tenacity but death eventually catches up with us all.
It is worth setting aside a little time to think into this reality. Not many people want or like to think about death, they just carry on as if life will last forever. About the closest people get to it, is writing a will and planning for their children and spouses when they are gone, but that only deals with the material assets you leave behind. It doesn’t pay attention to the actual process of death and letting go.
We reel from the subject because it’s morbid and sad. It hangs heavy on our consciousness and our brain staggers like a robot in malfunction – we turn away. Logically, if you clearly allow yourself to embrace the concept of death, it is the most important thing that is going to happen to you outside of your birth, which you had no control over and little recollection of. You can’t brush death off with some macho talk – it requires considerable contemplation.
How can you consider and accept your own death?
I believe that a man who has prepared himself for death is a much better man. He is free from one of the most primal fears. He is able to clear his consciousness and literally live like there is no tomorrow. What primarily governs the animal state is the fear of death. A dog, a cat, a bird, a rat, they are constantly on edge living with a low level fear, because they know and are painfully aware that their animal life is threatened and they could lose their life at any time. The animal kingdom is far more brutal than the human realm; it pays little heed to feelings, compassion, individual needs and so forth.
Several things happened to me in my life that forced me to confront death. Firstly when I was 16, we were travelling on a freeway in Europe. They drive fast, the roads are narrower and we were in heavy rush hour traffic. My mother drifted off to sleep for an instant, in the fast lane at 140+ km/h and just slightly clipped the tail of the car in the slow lane next to us. As she jolted herself awake she yanked the wheel far too hard and span the car. We span 180 degrees and skidded backwards down the freeway with oncoming trucks and cars all around us. I can only imagine what it must have looked like; something from a Die Hard movie.
I was in the back seat asleep. It was a long trip and I’d nodded off. I woke to the sound of squealing tires and the car lurching about as it span. I clamped my eyes shut and prayed, “OK, I can die but please make it quick and painless.” I resolved my death, I was ready. I was not afraid, tense or riveted with fear. In that half awake, half asleep state, I was able to know it was really happening, but also soften it as a kind of dream.
The luck of the gods was with us that day
My father told me years later he’d put brand new low profile tires on the car the week before the trip and he credited a few hundred bucks of new rubber with saving our lives. Old tires would have blown and the car would have flipped. We scratched along the crash barrier going backwards at 70-80mph, and somehow, my father grabbed the wheel from the passenger seat, span the car back around and we stopped in the emergency lane.
My father is quite an adventurer. At 71 he had a triple bypass and heart value replacement and 6 weeks later was out on his yacht in the Mediterranean in 15 foot seas and 40 knots of wind. I’ve been helicopter skiing with him. He was 68, I was 38, and I couldn’t keep up. When we were young kids he took us off sailing for the weekend, we set out from port and the weather forecast was wrong. It was so rough we had no chance to turn back for port, so he sailed us single handed in 60-70 mile an hour winds for 8 hours straight until we got to the port we’d set out for. It was the safest thing to do.
He retired at 50, my mom left him and he’s spent years going all over the world on adventures with various girlfriends. It earned him the nickname of James Bond, after getting caught in a fairly heavy avalanche and breaking a couple of ribs. Anyway, I side track. That’s an ode to my old man whose still alive and saved my life on a number of occasions.
So the car was all scraped up along one side, but perfectly drivable. We were getting back in to continue our journey when the police pulled up, and we realized another car had also gone off the road because of us. Insurance paper work ensued, no charges were made and we carried on within an hour or so. That was my first real brush with death.
My second brush with death was from a huge financial loss
I wiped out everything I owned trying to learn to trade futures. Back in the day you had a real broker you could phone. He held my positions in the markets until I owed him money. He believed in my trades and he backed me up as much as he could, but finally with the market going crazy against me, he had to close the position. He was almost in tears on the phone. Within a week, my trades would have all come good and netted me a cool ½ mil. – instead I was barely able to pay the rent.
I was quite deeply depressed for a few days after that and I began considering the possibility of killing myself. It was an interesting experience. I had it enough under control to remain lucid and yet again I found myself at such peace with the whole concept of dying that it didn’t hold much sway over me either way. I didn’t have a gun, but I found a way onto the roof of my condo and sat up there for an afternoon, wondering what the 20 story drop would be like. I became so peaceful with the idea of it, that I almost felt compelled to go ahead and jump, but then at the same time it now seemed unnecessary. Death could wait for another day. I moved cities and rebuilt my fortune and got on with a new adventure.
After that day, I carried on meditating and thinking into death. To the point now that I have no real fear of it. A year or so later, I proved it to myself. With bank accounts partially restored from a new business venture, I went on a ski trip with my father. We flew into Austria in a tiny turbo prop that was way overloaded with passengers and ski gear. They’d already taken a load of luggage off the plane it was that packed. They were pushing the limit.
We had to swoop low over the mountains to the air strip, but the cross wind was too strong and the first approach to land was aborted. As we touched down, the wing nearly scarped the runway because the cross wind hit us. The atmosphere became tense in the plane. I am sure it was probably safer than it looked, but the turbulence and bad weather caught the plane and tipped it on its side as we circled for a second turn. Hand luggage went flying and the mountains skimmed past my window.
Half the passengers were clenching their seats
I sat there like Brad Pitt in Fight Club actually hoping the plane would go down in a spectacular ball of flames. I was ready. It was a great experience. By embracing death in that perilous moment I actually felt so wonderfully alive and present in the moment. I was liberated, free, conscious, happy, even excited at the prospect of crashing and burning. This is probably one of the most basic life lessons you can learn. It should be taught to 10 year olds. I can only imagine the socialists squawking as I dangle their kids off the roof of the school cafeteria, but honestly, removing the fear of death is what makes a man a man.
I’ve read a few autobiographies of soldiers who are forced to some extent to rationalize their own deaths. It’s not exactly something the army teaches, but the nature of their work makes them confront the possibility. It seems the better ones that enjoy their work, have actually set aside this fear of death and it is that factor, as much as skill and training that enables them to remain so clear and focused when under fire.
Just as Roosh has pointed out in the past, it is primal animal fear that prevents us from approaching a beautiful woman. In times gone by, her prospective mate, father, brother, tribal leader, etc, may have been ready to club us to death. The same principal applies to all life. The nagging fear is always there but with practice you can learn to override it, ignore it and lose it almost entirely. Then you really do feel free, and better yet you are able to remain clear, relaxed and focused on the task at hand. Very important if you are a sniper in battle.
Big wave surfers, extreme skiiers and snowboarders, base jumpers, sky divers, racing drivers and so forth have also rationalized their fear of death to some extent, at least as far as being able to push it aside, to enjoy the moment and remain focused enough to function.
Another close encounter
I went out surfing 6am one morning on a new beach I wasn’t familiar with. Literally no one was there. I couldn’t understand why, as I’d heard it was an excellent break. That was until I paddled out and like the idiot novice I discovered the most brutal waves, with no form and a vicious under tow. I was royally screwed and there was no one around to spot me or call for help. I began to panic, but knew that would be the end of me. After a good half hour battling the current and getting frequently held under, I washed up on the rocks and resolved to be more cautious in the future.
I’m not suggesting you go and start having brushes with death. I am simply saying that a man who has thought into his own death, and learned to control the animal fear, is not only far happier and more free in spirit because of it, but also far more able to remain calm, clear and functional under pressure. Bring that into all your life and I honestly think you cannot fail in whatever you decide to do. Life is now your playground and although your demise will be sad to those you leave behind, from your perspective it will just be another experience.
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