Every man has experienced how much of this ardour has been remitted, when a sharp or tedious sickness has set death before his eyes. The extensive influence of greatness, the glitter of wealth, the praises of admirers, and the attendance of supplicants, have appeared vain and empty things, when the last hour seemed to be approaching: and the same appearance they would always have, if the same thought was always predominant.
—Dr. Samuel Johnson, The Rambler #17
The Rule of Saint Benedict: Keep death daily before your eyes.
Nhat Hanh, translating, The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone:
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
Stephen Batchelor: Remember to remember to remember.
Dullards we are, I am! Vows made with such sincerity, soon forgotten.
“I won’t waste time like that, ever again!”
How we disappoint ourselves….
I am 62 and a half—Face the facts.
“This is it!” Another Nhat Hanh-ism.
And Epicurus—If I am, then death is not. If Death is, then I am not.
Ergo: Be here now.
Trust I will continue in a variety of forms when this body is decomposing. At least that’s what Chris Wallach tells me.