Forget for now the new beginning. Focus instead on what awaits its end. Endings are essential. High-quality endings are gem-like in their simplicity and clarity. Until something old dies, nothing new is born. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat, having fallen to the ground, should die, it abides alone; but if it should die, it bears much fruit.”
Death is not the opposite of life. It’s the opposite of birth. We’re born astride the grave, as that hard-nosed existentialist Samuel Beckett put it. Anyway, life is non-dual. It has no opposite.
Most of what we do—maintaining a home, raising a family, holding a job—is relatively worthwhile and culturally approved. Trouble is, everything relative involves pain, death and disappointment. We seek compensation for this through the ardent pursuit of pleasant experiences. But pleasant experiences are essentially meaningless, and eventually we find ourselves in a state of disenchantment. We wonder: What is infinitely worthwhile? Absolutely worthwhile? And we are abruptly aware that the vaunted mind cannot help us.
Overheard: “Family is everything.” “My children are my proudest achievement.” “He died surrounded by family.” Culture is groupthink. Its aim is to create a fear of being alone. To alienate us from ourselves.
Who will be the first to drive a stake through the dark heart of ambition? Young man! Ambition leads to competition. Competition leads to conflict. Conflict leads to death all over the place. See how swiftly ambition conjures conclusions. And how the mind shuts with a clanging sound and the ability to learn dies at the doorstep.