Afterdeath: The Second Bell

The Second Bell or “clearing the decks” is similar to washing and sanitizing a utensil before you reuse it. Washing is fine… it looks brilliant and shiny. On top of that gloss, however, lies bacteria and chemical traces inaccessible to the human eye. It must be boiled at a very high temperature. So it is with the carrier of fear. He or she must go through the fire to be cleansed in order to become useful to itself.

Ok… you gain the courage to leave the table of grinning faces and bounty. Now what? Memories of hunger come back. You want to turn around, take your seat, and re-engage the knife and fork to destruction. Yet you are not really depleted. Scared maybe, but only enveloping the fear of being hungry once again. This is the time of searching for the next meal; one of substance and stability.

Learning to defeat your fears is the most important lesson of the second bell. It took courage to leave the table. That courage is a sprint in the race. It pushes you ahead, yet only to dissipate as you walk through the doors of the café. Look around you. There are other venues filled with different sorts of meals to enjoy equally, yet more beneficial to the body. The carrier of fear must learn to push anxiety to the background. It must become a slow hum, decreasing at a rate of two decibels per minute. Simultaneously, the carrier must fill the void with visions of what their healthy environment or meal will look like, taste like, feel like as it passes their lips and engages the pit of their stomach. That vision must become all encompassing. I heard a story of George Washington, where he crossed the river with his troops, then ordered them to burn the ships. There is no retreat, no surrender in the quest to the perfect self-realization. The carrier must establish a vision of their perfect world; arm them self with resistance,  and turn a deaf ear to tunes out of sync with their music.

Everyone carries music. You hear it in their walk; hear it in their talk, or the wave of their hand. Listen for your own symphony first. Let the wholeness of it drive out fear. After you have your ideal piece in place, run, not walk, away from the sour notes of life – no matter how beautiful they sound on their own. They belong to another chorus and will only ruin yours. If you cannot distinguish off beats, you have not yet developed your symphony or are too filled with fear to hear it. To do this, you must become the rejecter, – not the rejected.

Afterdeath: The First Bell

Leaving the focus off of self-inflicted catastrophes, such as drug and alcohol abuse, leaves a still wider array of situations open to us as humans. The climate of drug and alcohol rehabilitation has created a community of parasites, both apart and inclusive in the human rehabilitation or recovery systems. Due to the complexity and delicacy of the situation, we will leave that community for a more extensive conversation as it deserves a volume of chapters all its own. Accidents, layoffs, physical and mental, illness, mostly psychological trauma, constitute the worst forms of human pollution since they damage with no category of victims or prohibitions.  Everyone is open to each of these situations regardless of race, class, gender, or occupation. We may say, “What about a doctor?” Surprisingly, the more education or prestige a person acquires, the more destructive forces available to them. For instance, a dentist’s wife dies in a plane crash. While suing the airline for millions, he begins to drink heavily. He is not only a dentist, but a white male with a luxurious office in a prominent part of town.  In America, he is king.  

Each working day, he eats breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner at a more bar than restaurant near his office. The owner of the bar-restaurant is honored to have a dentist among the truck drivers and office workers frequenting his place. They form a firm friendship. Meals are half-priced or free. Drinks are always full-price, plentiful, and include a tip. The dentist meets a young administrative assistant during lunch. He tells her his story. They begin to meet every day and form a solid friendship. He loves her, she loves him. He’s counting on the $4,000,000 suit with the airline to cover his faltering work ethic.  They fly away for a two month vacation tour of Europe. She is only a temp at the office. He returns to his stool broke and alone. She finds another bar.

The dentist’s partner forces him out of the LLP. His clients have dwindled. One woman slaps the drill from his wobbling fingers after smelling the alcohol on his breath. Now, the dentist is at the bar morning until evening. The owner becomes less friendly as the dentist’s running tab is not paid at the end of the week. The owner must demand his money but is conflicted.   The owner has just learned he has prostate cancer. Turns out, the building housing the bar-restaurant, he leased for 25 years, is being sold. The lease will not be renewed. Therefore, his home, which he also leases, he can no longer afford. An IRS audit shows him owing in excess of $200,000 and his car, also leased, must be returned. Oh! His wife is leaving him. She is not going to move into an apartment with an ailing husband who has treated her badly for the past 10 years of their 32 year marriage. The dentist and the bar-restaurant owner are more in love than ever.  

  Accidents could be due to carelessness. There are varying degrees of carelessness in the human condition. Individuals and worldviews dictate the concept of responsibility. Yet, there is always a point at where we have a conscious or unconscious choice — to the left or to the right. Then sometimes, the choice is made for us.