"To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave."
-- Michel de Montaigne
Death is too important to be left to the end of life. Better to face death now while you can still enjoy what it has to offer. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this, and there's a special outfit for each encounter. In jeans, chartreuse windbreaker and parachute, you can dangle your legs out the doorway of an old prop plane and push yourself into oblivion. In fatigues and helmet, you can endure the daily routine of terror and courage until death is an easy friend. Sitting silently in a loose-fitting black meditation robe, you can follow your inner corpse to its ultimate ego-annihilating epiphany.
Maybe you shy away from these encounters. "I can't face the truth," you say. "It's too intense. I'd like to have a destiny, but not just yet." To find your resolve, remember what's at stake. If you push death away, you'll be plagued by the nagging dread of oblivion deferred. But when you face death now, you avoid the long wait in the chamber of fear. You turn the tables. No longer the hunted, you become the hunter. In this way you get a head start on your destiny.
Once I learn to die, I can get on with my life.
Reprinted with permission from "Daily Afflictions" by Andrew Boyd, published by W.W. Norton. To order a copy, click here