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Saturday, August 14, 2010

The existential psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, coined a new term for living beyond one's death: rippling. Rippling refers to the salutary effects that one can have on others while still alive. If I am kind to people, my kindness can ripple in the minds of those I have affected. This is as close as one can come, the existential therapist believes, to immortality. It's a significant concession for someone who doesn't believe in life after death. You can find Yalom's musings on rippling in a recent book he wrote about death anxiety called, STARING AT THE SUN.

I question why one needs to believe that humans live on after death. The longing for immortality is rooted in the ego's terror of annihilation, non-being. Why should I give in to this terror by searching for palliatives? Death is death; let's have courage enough to face our finiteness. If I have made a small, but significance during my lifetime, that should be enough; it IS enough for all but my ego. I refuse to succumb to the dictatorship of ego. It drives out all humility, rationality and serenity. On death, let the lake be still...

a last walk
just as it is
Spring Lake

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