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The Death Of Living Legends

October 07, 2010 | | Comments 0

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 “ Suppose…suppose…”

        Wyatt Earp’s recorded last words

We’re all living legends – that is, we live the life that’s handed down to us; the Legend that finds us just at the time we’re looking for it! For me, as a boy, it was Wyatt Earp! I got into him right around my sixth Christmas, when I awoke to  find him –and not Santa! – under the tree. Actually, what I found was his guns! I strapped those six-shooters on and …whoa, could I outdraw and out-shoot all my friends! That’s the First Legend I lived; it was followed by a life-long train of living legends that huffed and puffed and wound their tedious way through mountain passes and desert plains , culminating in the Crash of ’06, when I completely left the rails  right in the middle of a long, narrow ,carefully constructed hanging bridge over the Canyon of Uncertainty. A bridge which I had, I thought, very successfully built and maintained. Oddly enough, it all came down with  yet another “thought” that was absurdly positioned on my bridge! It was a single stick of dynamite placed right at that delicate point of equipoise where the weight of the entrained Legend was maxed at the same time as the speed of my momentum was stressed into a stall. What brought the Legend down was…the Legend! The sheer weight of it, the realization that where I thought I was going was where I’d already been. That, and the seeing of something entirely new, produced a sudden dejavue that left me teetering, then dangling, then dropping into what Thomas Merton called “the abyss of freedom”.

The “new thought” which created this personal 9/11 mess was simply this: “ Who am I? “ For the first time, the Legend went into a stall, the thought was not only seen for its ability to renew my moribund curiosity, but felt  with the weight of truth.

“Who am I? “ evokes a lot of strange stuff when it’s  first sincerely contemplated. It starts out like a mild musing at your neighborhood bar with a stranger you just met, and it develops into a love affair that moves in to live with you!

That’s because reality is nuclear! Truth, no longer conceived, but received, works exponentially; it is trans-rational. Life is no longer seen as our ideas about it; we go beyond the rational, beyond the mind, beyond make-believe. We almost literally fall into truth…into a deep intimacy with what is.

That falling away is, in truth, a dying away. We fall into Love. As Leonard Cohen says, “It’s not in love we are made; in love we disappear.” Whereas before we met love, we lived alone, we now live alone, together! So we in fact die into this truth we are:

“ Death is the epitome of the truth, that in each moment we are thrust into the unknown…in which all of us lived before birth.”

                                                  Alan Watts

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