Skip to main content

The Lazarus Cometh




What a trash / To annihilate each decade.
Sylvia Plath, "Lady Lazarus"




It is not about resurrecting. It is a matter of dying.

Because to rise is easy: it is just forcing yourself against the resistance of gravity, holding on to that friction, willing your way up naturally.

But to fall is another physics. You have to befriend gravity--entrust your life to it--and see where it takes you (deeper, deeper, deeper). This fall, if it be a true fall and not merely a slip or an accident, must be done with faith. Faith in what? Faith in finding that inevitable support and ground where you can finally rest. Like the rock, all things wish to find their resting place and there stay for all eternity. This longing for eternity: no longer physics but already metaphysics.

Rising, like living, is just too much trouble. It betrays the selfishness that rears its ugly head in all your goodness and love--all for show. And you know that to be selfish is difficult: it goes against the intentionality of the eyes which sees everything else but yourself.

That I wish to live unto forever means that I wish to love myself unto forever. Of course, there is honor in this; this is the stuff of legends and heroes and great men of courage. But to really see the world no longer with your own eyes but with the world's may be too much for some men.

This is why the wise die young and why saints become martyrs.

It's not that the world is hopeless and all the suffering and despair that it gives become too much for a feeble mind or a weak heart that then wishes to surrender itself, that is, to kill itself. This is not a question of fighting or giving up anymore; it is a question of lucidity.

And no one achieves complete lucidity like the mind that has understood everything and now becomes indifferent as to whether it should live or die. To achieve such a clarity belittles any question of existence: you feel like a god.

Because when you see the whole under the aspect of eternity, it is just a small step to conclude that you, too, are eternal--that you, too, are immortal. And an immortal god is indifferent whether it dies now or later.

Lazarus knew this.

But his poor band of weeping followers could not understand. So Lazarus allowed himself to be God's little experiment. A wonderful little magic show. He rose to the applause of the crowd. "A miracle!" He was holding his laughter: after all, men who come back from the dead must appear all serious and stern. So Christ winked back. It was hilarious. The duo would then be the only men who have risen from death, the only resurrections in history.

But we all die and rise and die and rise everyday. It is only a question of consciousness.

Most of us ignore it; a few seek it, hold it, and the rarer achieve it. I am talking about immortality.

And of course, immortality can only become possible for a man who realizes he is mortal--that he will die. The reason why most hold on to life down to the last gasp of air that fills their dead lungs is that they understand too late that life was not about the living but about the dying. About dying?

Yes--because your life was not yours but your death is in your own hands. This is the irony--the last joke--that we fail to get. And for you to have the last laugh at the last gasp, you must answer the riddle and repeat it again and again in your life. And the answer to the riddle of life is this: that you must die all the time.

You must practice dying.

How do you practice dying, you ask? This is easy.

Look at how the poet dies in every page he writes. And see him rise with the next.

This is immortality.


30

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Fields of Amorsolo

The first National Artist in Philippine history, referred to warmly as the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972) still stands today as a looming figure in Philippine art responsible for being one of the artists who helped define what we up to now visually imagine as essentially Filipino. The images of rural life, of golden fields below clear blue, blue skies; the smiles of farmers which diminish their weariness as they plant, harvest, and winnow rice;most especially the iconic figure of the Filipina maiden working in the fields—the beloved dalagang bukid--; these, I believe, even after generations of Filipino painters since Amorsolo, have remained in our hearts and memory. Amorsolo did what great masters do for their country: bestow upon it its own icons, represent its native beauty, that is, to give its people and lands an identity and a face. There are, however, as many intentions for art as there are works of art. And these intentions will always remain in…

[Payapang Daigdig]

Written by Pat Nogoy, S.J.

Payapang Daigdig Felipe de Leon, Sr. 
Ang gabi'y payapa Lahat ay tahimik  Pati mga tala      Sa bughaw na langit 

Kay hinhin ng hangin Waring umiibig          Sa kapayapaan          Ng buong daigdig     
Payapang panahon    Ay diwa ng buhay Biyaya ng Diyos       Sa sangkatauhan
Ang gabi'y payapa Lahat ay tahimik Pati mga tala Sa bughaw na langit  
Pati mga tala           Sa bughaw na langit


The gift delivers Being/being Jean Luc Marion

There is something about the night.
The blanket of darkness hovering the other half of the day sparks ambivalence. Everything is the same in darkness—fear, joy, pain, triumph, doubt, glory, sorrow. Identities recede unto the vast anonymity. There is a pervading anxiety where existence slips into nothingness. One is never certain what to make out of darkness; maybe that is why the night shakes us because we never know. One cannot avoid imagining a something that is greater, higher, mightier, (even sinister) that lurks (hence the power of ghos…

Without Why (The Rose) II

Lifetime is a child at play; moving pieces in a game.
Kingship belongs to the child.

Heraclitus, Fragment 52


The child at play never asks itself why it plays. The child just plays; and if it could, it will play as long as possible, it will play throughout its life. See its delight and witness its smile.

If it would never go hungry or if the sun would never set it too will never leave its playmates and playthings. Time flies at play because it stops or suspends time. Time -- as we grownups only know too well -- is the culprit for order, schedules and priorities; yet for the child, there is no time, there is only bottomless play. It is we who impose that this or that should be done at this or that time. We stop the absurd and supposedly endless play ("He does nothing but play") because we insist that discipline, order and priorities be instilled in the child at an early age ("He needs to learn other things beside playing"). So that the child will become like us one da…