Using Death as An Adviser

Within the Toltec tradition there is a very powerful technique called using death as adviser. Sooner or later your death will tap you on the shoulder and say, “come on sunshine it is time to go!”

In general people vacillate, prevaricate, procrastinate, beat around the bush and generally avoid making decisions wherever and whenever they can.  People rarely take the difficult option because there will always be tomorrow, so they piss about, bullshit and generally take the path of least resistance. They live in an illusory world of quasi-permanence.

They have not attained impermanence.

The most unarguable thing is that as medical science currently stands each one of us will die and leave behind a slab of meat. Death is inevitable.

The best way to cut through all the BS is to ask yourself if my death was fairly imminent how would I behave in this circumstance? Listen to the advice that death proffers.

I mentioned in the previous post my own cancer. When I found out about it, I used the full extent of my organisational and leveraging ability to ensure that the operation took place as fast as possible. I even paid for private CT scans to jump the queue. Believe me although I am an old git, my organisational skills are still top notch.

I have been using death as an adviser for over 20 years. It tends to increase decisiveness and stops one from fannying about or piss arsing around. It can cause one to fully open your heart. There is no point in nit picking or arguing the toss if death is imminent.

Théun had me write a letter to myself as if I was my very best friend writing the letter to a dying man, me. That did the trick.

I have been in potentially fatal situations a number of times; the crocodile incident in Zambia, a near drowning in Australia, the night I was close to suicide, the gang event in Brixton, various solo hiking situations and when I bust my hip 2 years ago. In situations of crisis, I am nearly always “cool hand Luke” so to speak.

This is because I have used death as an adviser. I know I am already dead.

In heightened awareness you can sense the proximity of your own death, sense his breath on your hackles.

His advice is nearly always, “act impeccably!”

That is pretty much it, he is a bit of a succinct introvert methinks.

I have heard it said that the only thing a warrior ever truly owns is his or her impeccability.

The next time you are facing some decision, or a “dilemma” simply ask yourself, “If I am going to die soon how would I in all honesty act?” You must be honest else there is no point in doing this. You cannot hedge things in the face of your own death.

I’ll wager that if you do this you will in time become more decisive and perhaps impeccable.