Since this is a weekend when most of the Western world is concerned with a “death & dying event” some 2,000 years ago, there’s no better time to talk about what is arguably the biggest fear in Life.

You see, much of how your life works is directly related to your outlook on Death.  And yes, we’re all going to die…at least in terms of leaving here.

There are two wonderful books I have been working my way through (as time permits) that are helping me to see through some of my own delusions about the personal ‘end times‘ and I’d like to share those with you.

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The first is a book I have mentioned before by Napoleon Hill of the personal/human potential movement.

It’s Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success.  A few reader notes and you’ll understand what is  so attractive about this book:

First, it is divided into two parts.  In the first, we go along with Hill as he escapes to West Virginia to avoid a gang of criminals which was out to kill him.  Along the way, though, he makes an amazing discovery.

Seems there are two “occupants” of our minds.  One – which we access in normal operating times – and another that he calls the Other Self who comes around only in times of extreme stress and need. Unfortunate are those who don’t realize that that Other Self (often taken as a Voice of God) is really there the whole time.  Acting as a co-pilot.  Pipes up only now and then.

I don’t know if you remember the old Road Runner/Wylie Coyote cartoons, but there was a marvelous picture used often by the artists that showed a character with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.  Both were coaching some hapless cartoon figure to answer questions like “Do I drop the anvil, of what?

In a moment of extreme stress, Hill welcomes his Other Self into full communications with his “daily self” and the results – as demonstrated by his life and collecting the 17 Principles of Success – are indeed remarkable.  The thing worth pondering this weekend is “Why haven’t I done that?”

My friend Chris McCleary who took up and expanded our fledgling project, has been dedicating his life to learning about the mechanics of just this kind of mental topography.  With four (or is it five now?) masters degrees, how many retired F-15 pilots do you know who are working to more clearly understanding the relationship between the Dream world and the Now world?

Conventional psychology likes the “current model” of how things work – the integrated right brain/left brain model.  Some of the time you think in one sphere but at times you venture into the other.  Oh?

Says who?  Suppose for a moment that we all live 99.99% of the time in one hemisphere, or the other?  In such a model, the dominant side would be able to mimic the other – an engineer’s mind (left dominant)  borrowing a bit of art or music from the right brain.  In the alternative model –  the whole time – there’s a co-equal intelligence hiding out in the opposite “brain” that has been silenced through social and educational conditioning amounting to dominant-brain repression.

Makes for an interesting rethink of pop psychology.  And it asks our all-time favorite question:  What IF everyone else (save Hill in this case) is wrong?

The second half of the book is much simpler.

The set-up is Hill has a conversation with the Devil, who he can compel to answer all questions truthfully.  As things roll out, the Devil lays claim to 98% of humanity because he has mastered a single concept – and it’s the one that is in the headlines today (we think suspiciously timed, too…).


As Hill explains the Devil, he’s all about one thing only:  Capturing people by means of fear.

In this regard, his allies (significantly) include the big Churches of the world.  And to hear him tell it, that’s because how the Churches scare people.  Hell, fire, brimstone, and all.

Why, it’s the Devil’s tool fear, of course.  Afraid of Hell?  Repent…oh and while you’re at it, toss a little something in the collection plate.

Hill’s interview with the Devil has already helped Elaine and I to see our present Life situations a bit more clearly.

You see, Elaine and I have similar mechanisms to deny the possibility of Death.

Last night, as we were talking about how fear paralyzed a lot of aging people, I explained to her how fear of death has been a back-seat driver of my behavior.

You don’t know this, but I have at least eight HF-ham radio stations.  Of those, perhaps six need either further restoration or repair.  After a lot of Hill-inspired reflection, it became immediately apparent to me that the reason there are so many radios is that I’m really afraid of dying.  My delusion?  By having radios that demand I work on them, I build a need to remain alive.

You can see how it’s alsot a paralysis trap.

I don’t work on the radios (at least very seldom) because in the back of my mind, if I complete all the repairs, will I have a reason to live?  My brain is tricking me into thinking if I have projects ahead, I will live.  No, not really, but emotions are not especially rational.

Elaine has a similar “block” regarding three books – each of which is about 20% done.  She is having a hard time picking up where she left off and continuing the writing process to completion, for a very similar reason.  Why, if all her books are written, what would be her reason to live?  Different mind, same trap.

Some people (not doers) have it easier.  they head for the couch and wait for Death to knock at the front door.

The result of the fear of dying is, in Hill’s interview with the Devil, one of the major tools that flips “motivated people” into “drifters.”  who ask what’s the point?

A comment about how to read the Hill book:  There is all kinds of text – which the Amazon Kindle version fortunately sets as a different font, that is eminently “missable.”  This is how I read all books with commentary.  Skip the interpretations by others.

A  lot of people who will be aghast at this, but 10-classes from a doctorate, and 69-years of hands-on Life experience, do,  I need the advice of others on how to read anything?  Hell no!. Books either stand on their own as great, or they don’t.  The Bible, the Hill book, got a million of them.

But fear is a strange adversary – and it’s in reviewing how we live with it that determines how life rolls out.

On to the second book, then:

Serge Kahili King’s Urban Shaman.  4,8 stars on Amazon which, for a book of it’s sort, is quite remarkable. – especially when you’re reading the Hill book in parallel.

King’s got a nice way of being in the world.  And in many of his discussions, you can  see how people’s fears drive them.

In Hawaiian lore, there are hunas – the shamansAnd there are the master shamans which we call ka-hunas.  It’s a complex view of things based on living more cooperatively than confrontationally.  It suggests the reason Hawaii ended up ruled by warriors was because the hunas didn’t confront the arrival of violence but rather withdrew.

That’s not the best part of the book (though it’s dandy).  It provides a lot of different ways to approach things and compliments the Hill book (and that different topology of how thinking works) that we covered above.

By the time I got up this morning, what distilled into a thought that could be captured was this:

People are mostly afraid.  They cope in a myriad of ways on the surface, but underneath is a variety of denial driven by fear.

An Application Note:  I know of an aging couple, where the woman has cancer and the husband has “packed it in” mentally – withdrawing from supporting his wife’s household needs.  Some members of the family have confronted the husband, but he’s in huge pain “My wife is dying!”

Stepping back, you can see a whole-family fear dance.

When you read these two books, it will  make a bit more sense.  As you become aware of how fear works, and how people react to it (denial, drift, blame, etc.) it will help you deal with those elements in your own life.

Face it:  We’re all going to die.  What defines us is how we react to that certainty.

I modestly propose that there are only two things that really need “doing” in life.

First, there is the conquering of fear.  Once you deal with fear in this life, you can tap into the almost unlimited energy available to a mind uncluttered with that terrible background process.  It’s the one that leads to eating the wrong foods, stressing too much, worrying constantly, and so forth.  It is dispelled with faith.  More hints in Hill’s book.

Second, there’s “arming for the afterlife.”  Which, in case you haven’t guessed, is ruled by very jealous entities and these rule by fear.  Conquer fear, conquer afterlife.

While the Catholic Church quickly walked-back the Pope’s hint that Hell might, indeed, be a “fear play” it’s actually grand to see someone who can entertain (leak?) the idea that fear isn’t healthy.

An interesting notion to follow is that the Pope may be in a similar “drain the Swamp” mode in the Vatican (pedophile claims and such) that parallel’s Donald Trump’s Swamp project in D.C.

But enough.  The point is that all you can take with you to the other wise are the spiritual tools and the ways of being that make us either high humans, or animals.  Simple enough choice but how many people take it on.

For me?  The nature of my treadmill time has changed a bit this month: I’m inspecting almost everything I do and asking the hardest question of all:

Am I living my own plan, or is fear in the driver’s seat?

That, and a slow, thoughtful read of Dylan Thomas’ poem will occupy some time this weekend:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

As long as the light’s on, commit to being fully present.

And kick as much ass as you can. It’s the Way of the Peaceful Warrior.

With luck, we’ll all be “risen again” come Monday.

Write when you get rich,