Death as a Way
A warrior thinks of his death when things become unclear. The idea of death
is the only thing that tempers our spirit.
Death is everywhere. It may be the headlights of a car on a hilltop in the
distance behind. They may remain visible for a while, and disappear into the
darkness as if they had been scooped away; only to appear on another hilltop,
and then disappear again.
Those are the lights on the head of death. Death puts them on like a hat and
then shoots off on a gallop, gaining on us, getting closer and closer.
Sometimes it turns off its lights. But death never stops.
Every bit of knowledge that becomes power has death as its central force. Death lends the ultimate touch, and whatever is touched by death indeed becomes power.
Only the idea of death makes a warrior sufficiently detached so that he is
capable of abandoning himself to anything. He knows his death is stalking
him and won’t give him time to cling to anything, so he tries, without
craving, all of everything.
Death is our eternal companion. It is always to our left, an arm’s length
behind us. Death is the only wise adviser that a warrior has. Whenever he
feels that everything is going wrong and he’s about to be annihilated, he
can turn to his death and ask if that is so. His death will tell him that he
is wrong, that nothing really matters outside its touch. His death will tell
him, "I haven’t touched you yet."
In a world where death is the hunter, there is no time for regrets or
doubts. There is only time for decisions. It doesn’t matter what the
decisions are. Nothing could be more or less serious than anything else. In
a world where death is the hunter, there are no small or big decisions.
There are only decisions that a warrior makes in the face of his inevitable
A warrior must focus his attention on the link between himself and his
death. Without remorse or sadness or worrying, he must focus his attention
on the fact that he does not have time and let his acts flow accordingly. He
must let each of his acts be his last battle on earth. Only under those
conditions will his acts have their rightful power. Otherwise they will be,
for as long as he lives, the acts of a fool.
A warrior-hunter knows that his death is waiting, and the very act he is
performing now may well be his last battle on earth. He calls it a battle
because it is a struggle. Most people move from act to act without any
struggle or thought. A warrior-hunter, on the contrary, assesses every act;
and since he has an intimate knowledge of his death, he proceeds
judiciously, as if every act were his last battle. Only a fool would fail to
notice the advantage a warrior-hunter has over his fellow men. A
warrior-hunter gives his last battle its due respect. It’s only natural that
his last act on earth should be the best of himself. It’s pleasurable that
way. It dulls the edge of his fright.
A warrior is only a man, a humble man. He cannot change the designs of his
death. But his impeccable spirit, which has stored power after stupendous
hardships, can certainly hold his death for a moment, a moment long enough
to let him rejoice for the last time in recalling his power. We may say that
that is a gesture which death has with those who have an impeccable spirit.
Death is the indispensable ingredient in having to believe. Without the
awareness of death, everything is ordinary, trivial. It is only because
death is stalking him that a warrior has to believe that the world is an
unfathomable mystery. Having to believe in such a fashion is the warrior’s
expression of his innermost predilection.
For a seer, the truth is that all living beings are struggling to die. What
stops death is awareness.
The worst that could happen to us is that we have to die, and since that is
already our unalterable fate, we are free; those who have lost everything no
longer have anything to fear.