On this day I will pay my respects to Epictetus by carrying with me a gentle reminder: Every person I see today, including the man in the mirror, is going to die soon.
The door to the heart opens on the realization that the ground of our being, the essence of who we are, is formless. All else is congealed energy. “Our bodies are like prisons,” said Einstein, “and I look forward to be free, but I don’t speculate on what will happen to me. I live here now, and my responsibility is in this world now.”
If I am full of fear, I do not know myself. Not knowing myself, I become identified with my body, focussed on how to protect it, pleasure it and prolong its existence. So deep is my ignorance that I don’t even know I’m afraid.
There’s a commonly held belief that we’re merely bodies. What an extraordinary diminishment!
Fear is always of the body. The more identified we are with our bodies, the more fearful, superstitious, competitive, security-driven and future-obsessed we are. Relationships with men whose knowledge of themselves goes no deeper than the body—these relationships are full of hiding places.