In Praise of Death

The Deadvlei finds itself in Sossusvlei of the Namib Desert. Vlei means a marsh in Afrikaans. Deadvlei is an extremely dried up marsh where dead trees are left out and their trunks are turned into charcoal grey due to relentless scarcity of water. Life as we scientifically define it is absolutely over. However, the dark trees firmly rooted into the thirsty land abundantly emit flow of energy which touches me warmly. I lay my whole body on the white pan and softly put my right ear on it. The warmth absorbed from the morning sunshine caresses my skin. The endless high red dunes draw breath-takingly elegant skylines between the clear blue sky and the paled salt clay. The Deadvlei casts a smell of death odorlessly and leaves me speechless in awe of its hidden beauty.

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I experience for the first time in slaughtering animals as part of the volunteer program at the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary. In total six of cows, a horse, and a donkey for the lions, hyenas, and black leopards to be fed. Local farms in the area donate their cattle to the sanctuary when they are dead due to deceases and aging. Usually it costs quite a lot for the local farms to treat their dead cattle. Therefore, giving it away to the sanctuary is a win-win situation.

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With a big sharp knife, I slice the skin off from a dead cow and support sanctuary staff in cutting off the body into pieces. Unless you know the anatomy of the animals, the process of slaughter gets harshly bloody. Not only blood but also whatever liquids that you can imagine flood out of the body. Unbearable stench of putrid flesh and bare internal organ fills in the air. Overnight severe thunder storms often kill wild animals such as impalas which tend to sleep under trees. They are another important source of food for the predators living in the sanctuary. Everyday, phone calls come in to tell the sanctuary “our cows died” “dead antelopes were found.” The staff drive down to pick them up and slaughter them as soon as possible to keep the meats as fresh as possible. Heads, bones, and skins are burned to soils. Internal organs are dumped away for vultures and crows to eat off. In the sanctuary, dead animals are reduced to particles and elements, and return to the cycle of the earth.

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Death is detestable in our society. Our socio-cultural system is developed in a way that occupations related to death are ranked the lowest with disrespect and veiled so that none of us have to be aware of it in our daily life. Longevity and elixir of life become our foremost values, even ethics. Our dreadful effort of avoiding death is tremendously extended and enlarged beyond our bodily consciousness. In return, our intrinsic physical ability of sensing death deteriorates.

Should death be the taboo? Do we have to avoid and procrastinate our death? It is primary instinct of living organisms to avoid death and live out. However, our fear for death is unreasonably intensified. Deluded, distorted emotions and mind which are drifted away from our “animal instinct” weaken our capacity in survival. How often is our false “civilized” fear for death and loss actually lead us to death? Losing a job. The number in your bank account decreasing. Worrying about the others’ judgement on yourself. Becoming an outlier in our group. There is a crucial difference between two: 1) the truly functioned instinct that enables us to sense a risk of death and desperately try to live out; 2) the avoidance of death resulted from our illusionary fear for it because we objectify and externalize loathsome death. We who have evolved in the secluded human empire that institutionalizes our fear and hate for death are missing resilience for life. When death visits us, that’s our turn for departure. It’s an inevitable fate.

I witness various kinds of death through my journey in Africa. Mummified plants and trees in Sossusvlei stand still in the harden white pan. Dead impalas and sheep hit by thunders whose eye lids are hollowly open and necks are completely knocked off like a marionette. Two Lions incredibly easily tear apart an impala’s body for a few seconds. When I enter into their enclosure for cleaning after their meal, nothing but bones is left. The dead one becomes part of the living ones, reincarnated.

What I receive from a myriad of death is my pure surrender with awe towards indispensable beauty. Vitality in corpses. There definitely is energy that death gives and rejuvenates us who are still alive.

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Our lives are based on dead plants and animals. Regardless of vegan or frutalian, our life is gifted upon harvest of death. As soon as we chew, what we put into our mouth can’t help but dying. Dead creatures become our nutrition, blood and flesh. Death fuels life. Black magic worships blood of scapegoats. I feel that our life is by nature somewhat characterized with the essence of black magic. For that there is no good and evil.

My existence is based on my father’s death. (I do NOT mean that his death allows me to grow further or a loss of his life yields a new gain.) Simply, I grope and crawl for all that are generated by a phenomenon of his death, whether it’s negative or positive. It’s beyond dichotomous judgements. Whatever shit it is, every fxxking thing becomes a crop for my living (yes I’m using “negative swear words, I know.) I grapple with my desperate life until the last drop of tears. After a while, I swim in the sea where his ash is spread, looking unconcerned.

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Of course I mourn. Never healed scars of sorrow are curbed deep. So deep as a bottomless swamp. Nevertheless, what has sprouted from the seed of his death, whether it is once regarded as despair, karma, or mercy, ought to be praised. Kudos on death.

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A rosy song for life

The second night of South Africa.
A squall wrathfully has the land soaked and wet.
Lightnings ripple the dark sky.
Thunders roar onto the yellow Earth.

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A little girl around the age of 5 in the next room is amusingly inquisitive.

“What’s your name?”
“Why are you alone?”
“What do you do?”
“Why do you eat dinner?”
“Why do you get hungry?”

Then all of a sudden she bends her knees and sits on her butt on the floor, telling me “Oh! Something is pushing me down! So heavy that I can’t move my legs. Can you pull me up?” She extends her arms towards me to invite my hands to hold hers. By holding her underarms, I lift her up and have her jump back to the standing position. We repeat this new play a few times.

Her dazzling questioning continues.
“Do you have daddy?”
Unlike to the other questions, this one freezes my mind for 0.0001 second.
“Yes, I do.”
“What language do you and your daddy speak?”
“Japanese”
“Why Japanese?”
“Because we lived in Japan,” noticing myself mixing the present and past tenses, which clearly reflects my psychology. Different voices debate in my head, how honest shall I be to this little girl who I most likely won’t see again?

“I have daddy but he is now gone. Up in the…” pointing my index finger upward, while I feel awkward to complete my sentence with the word “heaven.” I skip it by replacing with the gesture. I ain’t sure which words to use to the girl. At the same time, I laugh at myself who is automatically about to using a cliche explanation about death to a kid. Is that me? Nooooo.

She asks, “why is he gone?”
“Because he is dead,” said I, without hesitance.
“Why is he dead?”
Another pause my mind has to take. That’s an interesting question. I wanna know, too. Why?

“That’s a good question. …..Because he was called.”
“Why was he called?”
This question really really gets me like lightning strikes.

Why?

(A deep breath)

Why?

A riddle yet to be solved.

“That’s another good question honey. …..He was called because it was his timing. Everybody is called at their own timing. I will be called someday. You will, too.”

Her name is Rosy.
A minstrel with a rose sings for his life (which is equal to death).

Riddle

Dad asked a riddle to me before his departure from this world
which I have been guessing since then.

It’s ever to be solved.
The answer will be unknown.
however I’ve resolved.

A bard ridicules me,
hiding clues in his ballade.
A bard ridicules me,
masking the truth in his facade.

—————

A minstrel leaves own time
following a trace of old verses once mattered
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Flying over straits of the salt water

A minstrel seeks own rhyme
A thorn of a rose: she merrily sings
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
A faint scent of pink colors her wings

A minstrel retrieves own chime
Ripples of a sound echo in the blue yonder
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Until the honey due crescent will she wander

A minstrel is asleep in own time
Breathing out the tail of ancient lyrics
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Her dream is as lucid as acrylic

死を語る

いざ死ぬとなったら平静でいられないのはわかっているけれど、これまで死を自我に内包せんと全身全霊やってきたので、それなりに満足のいく距離まで近づけている。

私個人的には、自分がどのように死んでも後悔しないし、死のプロセスに入った時に(それが瞬間的で準備ができないものだとしても)なるべく恐れずpeaceful mindに繋がっていられるよう訓練してきているので、例えどんな死に方だとしても家族や友人には、死に方にまつわる変なストーリーを後からくっつけて、やれ悲劇だ可哀想だ、いやいやよく頑張ってあの人らしかったなど言わないで欲しい。後悔も納得もしないで欲しいと思う。

病気に事故に自殺に他殺に、disabledになって死んだも同然になったり行方がわからなくなったり。自分がどのような最期を遂げるか、いろんな死に方を日々想像する。でも、自分の思想哲学を毎分毎秒の行動や有り様に反映させる「人生をアートする」生き方を地味〜にやってきて、この命にとことん満足しているから(すべての願いや欲望は叶っていなくとも、それは満足と相反しない)、どんな死に方でもあまり変わらないなと感じるようになってきた。どのように死のうともあまり関係ないのだ。

死のプロセスは長くて数年を要するだろう。でも、それで残りの生きてきた十数年、何十年の人生を全部ひっくるめて語られたらたまったもんじゃない。人間は、他者の死に際して自分の悲しみや喪失と折り合いをつけるために、「この人の最期はこれこれこうでこうだった」みたいに意味やストーリーをあてがって治癒するわけだけど。死にひっぱられて残りの人生をさくっと記号化するなんてないよなー。

今死ぬのと20年後に死ぬのと、どれくらいの違いがあるのだろうと素直に考えてしまう節がある。決して他者には抱かない問いかけなのだけど。だって、私は他者の命(の長さや質量)に言葉を挟んだり影響を与える立場ではないから。あくまで自分の話だけ。死にたい願望なんてないし、生きることは素敵だ。もうしばらくは生きているだろうと漠然と考える無意識の私は確実に存在する。「しばらく」が数週間なのか50年なのかはわからない。でも、今夜ではなさそうだとは思っている。今夜の可能性だってあるのにね。

何が言いたいのかはよくわからないけど、ほんとにね、至高を体験してきているんだよね。特にベルリンに移住して、100%自分の哲学をひたすら毎日実践する暮らし方に持っていってから。そうすると、動物の持つ純粋な死への本能的恐怖に従っていられるようになって、そうすると不思議と人間社会の人間意識が構築するたくさんの恐怖が減っていっている。己の死を語ることも、その一つかもしれない。

 

 

間(はざま)

表現するとは何か。

音色か、配色か、線か、膨らみか、手触りか、光の反射か、言葉か、形か、空間を操ることか、

極限まで引き伸ばされた一瞬の物語か、跳ねる肢体か、合わさる息遣いか。

動物的とは何か。

喜怒哀楽の咆哮か、闇を嗅ぎ分ける嗅覚か、靴を脱ぎ捨て駆けることか。

胸の内を去来する断片を捉えて万華鏡を作り上げたい衝動と、

こぼれ落ちる砂つぶのめくるめく様をただ見届けていたい誘惑。

双方に表現方法があり、動物たる要素がある。

はざまを手探りする。

 

メモランダム

交換ではなく循環。受けとったら使い、使ったものは流れ、向かう先はわからないが、やがては形を変えてどこかに辿り着き、また表れる。この世からは無くならない。循環には(事前の)約束が必要ない。あるとすれば、生き抜くということ。

廻らすことが役割であって、得ることが目的ではない。

人間を知る為の最初の窓口、一番のツールは自分自身である。他を知るには、まず己を知ること。

作り出そう、統合しようとするのではなく、自ずと機が熟し生まれ出づる実りを待つ。子を産み落とすように。

 

A new ingredient

A friend of mine who follows trends of IT over 20 years visited Berlin to cover IFA as a press. (IFA=the German biggest trade show for consumer electronic products) As her interpreter, I joined her in the mega event at ICC Berlin. Coincidentally I got to see TEDxBerlin since IFA collaborated with TEDxBerlin. I met her at Betahaus, a co-working place in Berlin. As soon as we gladly hugged for our reunion, we jumped in our conversation as we had much to catch up.

Two years and three months of my Berlin life. It’s an expedition of the human consciousness and the body. It enables me to re-discover the intuitive, intrinsic, and simple side of a human animal who is freer from patterns and habits that s/he unconsciously and blindly acquires as growing in societies and organizations.

We humans and many other species whose intelligence and consciousness are capable of choice and judgement make a decision at every moment. Our life consists of an accumulation of decisions. Without choices and decisions, no life survives nor evolves. A decision-making behavior and energy consumed for it is like a “quantum” (=the minimum unit of any physical entity involved in an interaction) of sentient beings.

I practice in tuning up and refining the body, brain, cognitive process, perception, sensual faculties and energy flow. With the attuned eyes, I observe my decision-making process to grasp the essence of human decision-making process. The more conscious I become of factors that influence the decision-making process, the more reductive it becomes. Less and less grey clouds of miscellaneous thoughts. More and more simplified games of random emotions. My decision-making process comes to have less choices but more certainty.

The exploration of the human animal goes further. I make progress and move forward during the waking time. What about while I sleep? Do I make a decision during my dream? Where does my consciousness go? Why do we lose our consciousness over and over, again and again, every night? Losing the conscious is like a little death. (and yes, la petite mort is another virtual dying experience!) As a result, I practice the Tibetan Dream Yoga, which I believe is the key to decode the enigma of the human consciousness, body, dream, sleep, and death.

The pursuit for finding out the essence of the human animal leads me to another realization. Why do we not communicate with the other animals more frequently on a regular basis? Majority of animals are domesticated ones around us. I would like to contact to more diverse wild ones. They co-live and fight against each other, while the human animal is secluded way too far.

My friend attentively listened to my words and displayed an amused expression on the face. She wasn’t reserved to show her surprise. “That’s exactly the same as what scientists who do research on Singularity want to investigate.”  She lately interviewed Japanese top scientists and engineers in the Singularity field.  “This is so interesting!” said she. It was totally out of the blue to me as well, because Singularity didn’t attract my attention at all until this moment. My attitude toward it was “none of my business.” I’m not techy IT savvy. but more fascinated with sentient beings of the analog physical world. Moreover, the theme of TEDxBerlin was “exponential change,” all about Singularity. A title of a book that she happened to bring with her in the airplane was”The Problem of 2045.”  Now I’m reading the book that she gave me. “This synchronicity is something. Why don’t you read it?”

In my theory, the human body must evolve drastically in oder for the human consciousness to advance deeper. Why? Because the brain, body, and consciousness are interconnected. It’s said that genetics of Homo Sapience have remained the same for the past 50,000 years at least. Biologically we haven’t changed for that long time. If the container is the same, how can only the consciousness and mind transform? I suppose there is a physical limitation to a paradigm shift. Therefore, the extension of human body such as technology and media is a huge potential. Needless to say, we have to discuss agenda in bioethics and philosophy. But, I think we can expect positive outcomes as much as fatal risks. Otherwise, growth of  the human consciousness will be stagnant, I guess. (this is where we are now?)

Such an ancient practice as yoga and meditation is the art of transforming the physical body on our own. However, this approach isn’t for everybody. A wide variety of approaches should be available. Hence, it’s relevant that genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and biohacking develop rapidly.

The exponential change of technology might accelerate the gap between the human consciousness and the extended human body, and yield even more disasters. Some Singularity scientists warn it. Nonetheless, I think there is probably another path. Breakthrough because of maturity of the extension of the human body.

I got a new ingredient to cook in my tray: Singularity.

The new land

I used to think that no sound should echo to avoid imbalance in silence.
I used to imagine that peace had no scars of resentment and misery but would be filled only with brilliant light.

In reality, however, dark clammy shades of coiled despair and desires are blended with a ray of delicate sunlight shedding in-between space of tender petals of Ranunculus.
Like the Yin-Yan symbol, the completely opposite colors melt into each other. Harmony, instead of eradication.

A frequency of pains which I’ve devastatingly tried to tune out synchronizes with that of peace.
I enter into a place I’ve ever wished for. I’m becoming who I’ve envisioned.
Though it is beyond my anticipation, I know this is it upon the first step into the land.

Sadness never disappears even if it appears to be cured. The same volume of anguish as it was before swallows me.
But, it isn’t as heavy as before. I’m sad, yet it no longer belongs to the same pains. I cry from the new land.

space in-between

When I sense the center core (or the central channel), it feels not like the straight blue line paralleled with the spine. It is like a tiny narrow space in-between fragile pink petals of a captivating rose which is just about blooming.

中核(セントラルチャネル)は背骨に沿ってシークレットチャクラからクラウンチャクラに一直線に伸びる青い線と言われるけれど、私にとっては、艶やかなピンクのバラが可憐に開き始めた花弁と花弁の間にある薄く小さな空間に居るように感じる。

A big lazy cat curls up on a pathless land.

 A friend of mine said to me, “you’re creating a path, instead of following a path.” and suggested Kurishnamurti to paraphrase my living art in Berlin. I hadn’t paid attention to Kurishnamurti before. After reading this http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/about-krishnamurti/dissolution-speech.php I do see similarities to his world view.

A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others.

Especially I agree with the wording he chose in bold: it becomes dead, crystalized.

At this stage, there are only a few things that I earnestly want to learn. Achievement, crystallization, and results per se no longer interest me. I don’t have a desire for producing outcomes to the society, curving a trace of my existence into a history, and creating new values. Many people expect and egg me. But my heart is somewhere else.  I’m becoming a lazy big cat.

After living in Berlin as a social experiment, some say to me, it’s time for you to crystalize, generate something. However, it doesn’t resonate to me. Truth is a pathless land. What an intriguing message Kurishnamurti left! A pathless land would be an equivalent of emptiness, Ku (空), in Buddhism terminology. Ku means the sky and space.

During meditation a few days ago, the axis within me shifted. I could be grounded on the center core deeper and stronger than ever. I used to concentrate on healing and removing pains. My whole life at that time had been dependent on the pains that possessed my left side body. After a while, I realized that a persistent never-ending attempt to completely heal pains didn’t make sense. Awareness of the pains yielded pains. They never disappeared. They harrowed me again and again. I began practicing to avert my awareness/attention from the pains. It’s been an incredibly slow progress. One day I felt “I could remove my consciousness from the pains!” Another day, they madly preoccupied me. It’s still more or less like that now. Nonetheless, I’m finding the firmness and stability very strongly. The pains reside here as always. But, electro currents running through my left body don’t bother my meditative state. I can rest on something but the pains.

It’s not about eliminating the pains. Life is to keep connected to inner peace no matter what and where, even on a road to death. That’s why I’m doing Dream Yoga. Not vibrations of pains but vibrations of bliss are slowly taking over me.

These days, I feel that time doesn’t belong to me. No “my life.” No “my time.” Anybody else doesn’t own time either. Time is like air and water. Time and space is everywhere. It penetrates us. Suppose this is neither my life nor anybody’s, what possibilities lay here? What choice could (my) consciousness take?

When you’re becoming fully present from a moment to a moment, you may at times become very subtle and least active, because you’re so satisfied with the world where you live and what you have done that you have few desires, no interest in future plans, goals and achievements, and the other people’s recognition. You feel stunningly touched and mesmerized just by walking on a street and sitting by the window looking at dance of fallen leaves with a wind in-between fresh green leaves and their black shadow cast on the ground. You live for weeks and months in that way, waking up, eating, walking, cooking, eating, going to bathroom, enjoying what comes into a day, and sleeping.This condition is seen to be no motivation, no energy, no ambition, no good social engagement and contribution, no significance. No attachment to outcomes, laissez-faire, appears to be at best resignation, or simply useless and lazy. I have no clue about purpose and significance of the lazy cat.

Lately, the new word is added to my lexicon: the universe. “I’m connected to the universe, goddesses, and dakinis.” I deliberately didn’t say it since it was such a misleading cliche, sounded toucy-feely new-agie, hippy-ish. Yet, I now know what it is from the gut. The universe is neither the God nor the horoscope. It’s like emptiness, and probably a pathless land.