On Love and “Deathbed” Values

A gentleman named Rob Pray wrote: 

9 hrs ·

“Nothing to post this evening. Just a quick history. About a decade ago I went through one of those fun events in life, a heart attack. I had ignored symptoms and in doing so I complicated things. My ventricle was damaged and I underwent open heart surgery. It was amazing what they could do. There was one point when, well when I was more aware of the world we can’t see, and in that place for some moments that seemed like a very long time I saw, felt such great things, about us all, about how we should live, it was oddly a wondrous moment. This was not about learning new things, but it was about knowing what trials I had followed and believed correctly, and where I had wondered astray. I knew life was best not feared. I learned I could not help everybody. I was not told what I must do, what I must say. I just knew fear was my own invention. I had to learn that we need not fear trying to help people see that above all things, kindness and understanding were simply the right way to treat one another. They smiled at me. “It is not his time yet.” That was when I awoke. |

Still, despite all the feelings shared with me in those hours, I did not learn how to deal with people who could not see beyond the hate. I don’t know how to get my words across. I don’t know how to help people become stronger. I can not stop hate, not alone. I can only ask my friends to listen, to follow the path to tear down the hate, the bigotry, the false anger in so many hearts. We were not created to hate! We are all of the same family. Lets build our family, not tear it down.

Love you all. I am so glad I have such friends in my life, such a strong family, and I will do my best to enjoy this life. I do not fear the next, but sure don’t wish to miss any of what we have here. I will find something to post to make you all smile, at least those of you who stick around to watch. *bows*”


Yeah, Rob. Take a bow. That was lovely.

I had intended to speak about rituals to anchor states in your body…but that is the “how” of the equation.   More important (by far!) is the “what” and the “why.”


Remember: the Path is to live your adult life in alignment with BOTH your childhood dreams and your deathbed values.

The paragraphs above are totally typical of deathbed epiphanies, “what’s really important”-type revelations.

Let me unpack it just a tiny bit.

  1. Life is best not feared.    We have fears, that is normal human stuff. But when they stop you from loving, or manifest as anger that cannot be immediately expressed as action, that fear can poison your life.


Fear that is a primary emotion is one of the greatest allies you can have.  “I am afraid.  Why?”   Just yesterday there was a horrid example of this, a reference to a story about a transsexual who only revealed her truth after having sex “of a kind” with a man.    And that man erupted in rage, stabbed the transexual 119 times, including three throat slashings.  The murderer got forty years.


How much rage do you have to feel to stab someone 119 times?  ANGER IS A MASK OVER FEAR.   Do we really need to dive into how terrified of your own emotions and responses you’d have to be to respond like this?  I mean…back in the day, something like this would lead to someone getting the hell beaten out of them.  I can “get” that response, even if it is still assault.   But 119 stabs?  That is a level of existential terror that, had it never been specifically triggered, would still have poisoned the killer’s life.


That’s what fear does.  And fear is usually produced by anticipation of something to come.  In the moment, there is action. In the past, guilt or relief.  But fear is about what might happen NEXT.  A breakdown of ego-shells.  One suspects that “I really LIKED that” implying something about your being that is in massive conflict with an ego identity, the sense that “you killed me! (My self image).  I’ll destroy you! (The evidence of my disgrace, and my temptation to future actions).”


I cannot calculate the amount of human misery that has resulted from such reactions.


Life is best not feared.    The tiger crouching in the grass can rip us to shreds, so it is important to be aware. But it is AWARENESS and PREPAREDNESS that keeps us safe, not fear.  Fear keeps us safe if it increases awareness and capacity for action.   Love can do the same thing.  Enough love to protect yourself, to engage with your surroundings, to pay attention to your emotions.


Your childhood dreams evolved from and affect your core identity. When you can live your day-to-day adult life in alignment with them, this is happiness. But when you can align both with the deepest values, those you will hold when all ego has gone, all competition is meaningless, the “game” is over…THAT is the door to a different level of human existence.  Kind of a “human laser”.


Love and fear compete for the same place in your heart.

Fear protects you…until you have taken care of your basic needs, at which time fear begins to consume you: you must shift to love.

Anger is a mask over fear.




So…to evolve toward “Lasing”, start by

  1. Loving yourself.  Enough to be aware and safe, with permission to protect yourself.
  2. Love another person.  Enough to begin the process of opening your heart and expanding your identity.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.  This does NOT mean allowing people to hurt you, or accepting bad behavior. It is learning to ask “why are these people behaving so badly?  What are they afraid of?”  And then, understanding, to…
  4. Find and nurture your tribe.  Do NOT waste your time engaging with trolls, or trying to wake sleeping children.  While you do that, snakes will bite the children of your tribe.  Take care of the people who have opened their hearts to you.
  5. Win.   With honor, courtesy and compassion.  Treating others as you would wish to be treated.  But seek to live a life in alignment with both your childhood dreams and deathbed values. What does that mean for a society, by the way?   I’d say to seek long-term pleasure and happiness through positive actions and exchanges with your community that keeps your eye on the fact that we are building something to pass to future generations.  Ensure survival, and then make room for self-expression and growth.


Easy to say, hard to do.  But…it starts with you.  If you cannot see the humanity in the people around you, even those who oppose you, you lose the right to expect others to see it in you.  And that’s a world that will drown in blood.



Our children deserve better, and so do you.






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