Koan: When you forget that you’re going to die

“Look! Look! If you look really hard at things, you’ll forget that you’re going to die.
Montgomery Clift

Think of that moment when you are completely absorbed in something–everything else disappears, time ceases to exist, the world stops. This is the state we all lived in as babies and the state that dogs (presumably) live in all the time. We can’t know exactly what, or how, dogs think, but it’s hard to imagine that they entertain worrisome thoughts like, “Oh, I’m getting so old, and soon I’ll die–oh no!!!”

With no thought of the future, or death, or even time, we live in perpetual Enlightenment. The paradox remains, however. How can we, as time-aware humans, be both prepared for the future and ignorant of it at the same time?


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