Die Before You Die

December 19, 2012 | By | 5 Replies More

Konstantin Eriksen, Guest Writer
Waking Times

“Die before you die” is a famous zen saying. It is a strange phrase, it sounds pessimistic. And yet, if you truly try to understand it, you realize its true meaning and its ability to transform your life.

Have you ever seen somebody transform completely? Perhaps you know somebody who was not a good person and then, something bad happened to him, and his personality changed. What happened to his old self? Where is the “person” that he was before? Is he the same “person” or not?

Are you your thoughts? Are you the concepts you believe about yourself? Are you your habits? What are you?

Die before you die is about metaphorically “killing” your past self: The things you held on to cease to have importance. If you were egoistic, you drop your ego and become human again. If you were obsessed with money, money loses its value for you.

In short, you drop your attachments to your thoughts, your emotions, your ego, money, people, your ex-husband, beliefs, everything! You wipe the mirror clean. You are no longer the person you used to be.

This is what it means to die before you die.

Life is a process. You are a process. You are not a label, a career, a social status, a social category or a relationship.

What the Zen masters and sufi poets were getting at here is that only by letting go everything that pins you down, of everything that constrains your lifestyle and thinking and emotions, then and only then can you truly transform yourself and change your life for the better.

Otherwise, you become an actor. If you go out and buy a bunch of Zen books and start thinking “I believe in Zen now,” that’s not it – you’re not getting it. You’re deceiving yourself. If your dog takes a shit in the house, you clean the shit, you don’t cover it with a blanket, light incense to fill the room with lovely smells and forget about it, do you? The shit is still there.

Die before you die means you have to get rid of the shit in your mind and all the useless shit in your life. The more you let go, the more free you become. As you let go of past habits and things you were attached to, you become free to transform yourself and your life.

Your past “self” becomes like a reflection in a pond. You remember yourself, but you’re not that person anymore. Your processes are different.

Die before you die is practical. Bring yourself into the present. How would you describe yourself up until now? What label or labels would you glue onto yourself? Shy? Fat? Not good at ____ ?

Now wipe the slate clean. Start thinking about the first step you can take to improve. Each second is a new you. Let go of everything.

Imagine the possibilities of who you could be if you let go of all the negativity from the past.

Die before you die is optimistic, because it means that you can transform yourself. Have a look at the resources on my website.

I’ve let go of a lot of my former “self.” Perhaps you can do the same.

About the Author

Konstantin Eriksen is a philosopher and a 32-year-old former stock-trader, long-time natural health researcher, neigong enthusiast and fledgling internet entrepreneur. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, music, mountaineering, meeting interesting women, studying whatever interests me and Piazzolla. Please visit his excellent blog, Life-Sucks.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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Category: Consciousness, Contributors, Culture, Evolution, Guest Writers, Ideas, Inspiration, Mind, Philosophy, Resources, Self, Transformation

Comments (5)

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  1. rollsthepaul says:

    Life is about doing violence to yourself, not physically but the death of the ego, is always the objective and the SOB won’t go down easily. This came as a revelation to me “People who think with or decide with their gut, are actually referring to their ego which resides in the second chakra where the gut is”. The most powerful muscle we have is our ego and we must kill it on our lonesome, if we are ever to grow in consciousness. No one can help us and the task is life long and solitary. The less important must make way for the more important. The great yogis refer to reaching a point where the kernal of ego is burnt and dies and never returns. Sounds good to me. A major step in any success is applying effort to achieve what is right. Initially we will be the world’s greatest failure when we slam into one brick wall after another. Our world is full of people doing the wrong thing right and prospering very well from it. They are proud of their achievements, yet they fail to address the real challenges of life. Such is our path from very low to higher consciousness. Success and failure are of very little importance when we stack them up against meaningful vs futile effort. We are here to struggle and we have met the enemy and it is us. Conquering the self or at least trying, is how we get to where we need to be.

  2. rollsthepaul says:

    Therefore the wise person says:

    I do nothing, and people become good by themselves. I seek peace, and people take care of their own problems. I do not meddle in their personal lives, and the people become prosperous. I let go of all my desire to control them,

    and the people return to their natural ways.

    The Tao Te Ching is very much based in observable reality. Lao Tzu observed his society and noticed different things that caused troubles. He mentioned that,

    The highest good is not to seek to do good,

    but to allow yourself to become good. The ordinary person seeks to do good things,

    and finds that they cannot do them continually.

    The wise person does not force virtue on others,

    and thus is able to accomplish their task. The ordinary person who uses force,

    will find that they accomplish nothing.

    The kind person acts from the heart,

    and accomplishes a multitude of things. The righteous person acts out of pity, yet leaves many things undone. The moral person will act out of duty, and when no one will respond

    will roll up his sleeves and uses force.

    When people cease acting in a natural way, they create “righteousness.”

    When righteousness is forgotten, they create morality. When morality is forgotten, they create laws. The law is the husk of faith,

    and trust is the beginning of chaos.


  3. Cfree says:

    Isn’t that the true crucifiction … getting rid of the little ego?

  4. DarkStar888 says:

    “Our new belief system which is referred to as everything from infinite love to new age thinking, channeling, wholistic healing, etc. …but it’s still polarity based on duality and absolutely entrenches the 3 dimensional belief that energy and light is the basis of truth. Certainly some physical health benefits have been rediscovered in some ways, but health for the body without complete awareness, is temporal and extremely misleading and a manipulation of reality. The medical drug system is so flawed, and purposely flawed, to allow room for new age light workers to come up with improved healing techniques. From this, it has appeared, that they must be filled with wisdom and insight. Not so however, as improved healing techniques are simply walking deeper in the ditch of ignorance from which it is much harder to escape. The purpose of humanity is not to see how much health or prosperity we might attain. Neither are we here to worship a God in exchange for an eternity of peace and bliss.


    To BECOME AWARE that the whole body of HUMANITY IS AN ILLUSION, an utter fabrication, that the 3D experience, and the conjured up body of humanity, IS the veil of deceit that makes it utterly impossible to rationally conceive that it, humanity itself, is the deception keeping the disconnection from reality intact. This is what we must come to recognize.

    We are already in our Paradise State!

    We are already perfect, pure, eternal and ALL KNOWING. And WE are NOT this body of humanity, neither are we this 3D illusory mass of energy and spirit. We are WISDOM! We KNOW ALL! We have to learn NOTHING! If it wasn’t for the THOUGHT PROCESS that indoctrinates the elitists, that IT, the THOUGHT PROCESS itself has conjured up, we would be AWARE and PRESENT and completely reconnected to eternally drinking from the fountain of wisdom in our Paradise State. For we are the Paradise state!

    In our original state of awareness, there is no light or energy. There is NO SPIRIT and NO SOUL. Each man and woman, is without form, without division, and are not man and woman. This differs from the 3D state in that there are no physical forms to deceive, causing the ecstasy to end. Simply put, we are complete in awareness in the wisdom state, and the ecstasy of being one in union is constant and eternal. There is no division, no individuality, no male or female in the Paradise State. We are not WE, which denotes individuals, or division, but we are WISDOM and the ultimate state of being, and we are that WISDOM ALREADY. We just have to reconnect to who we already are!”

    Quotes by Bryan Kemila



  5. DarkStar888 says:

    One this more to add. Hope you don’t mind.

    To prove we live in a Matrix…an Illusion of the 3D Kind… look at the messed up math that creates our science our numbering system our limited lettering system, etc. See that it is flawed right from the initial design. Read and try to understand that is a hard concept when first introduced to this Matrix thought process. Open your mind to the present and BE! – DS888

    “We become horrified at the thought of losing our 3 dimensional possessions and will resist and react furiously at the thought of losing them, …just as they want us to do.

    This resistance and reaction is the manipulative tool that they need to keep perpetuating the veil that disconnects us from REALITY. Without the fear they purposely manufacture through wars, genocide, religion and science, and so on, they would have nothing. Fear is the manipulation machine they need. Fear is resistance. Fear is reaction. Fear, resistance and reaction is mind control hypnosis of the masses. We have no need to fear, react or resist. The world systems should have no hold on us and the loss of anything gained from the 3 dimensional world should be incidental. The reason it shouldn’t have a hold on us is because it’s not real. 3 dimensional physical wealth in any form, is just energy, a light molecule whirling about, mascarading as something real and it’s simply not there. ENERGY is THOUGHT, and this THOUGHT originated with the exercising of the EGO in the eternal state by the egregore thinkers.


    Why should we then be concerned about losing something that’s not there in the first place?

    There are no numbers in the infinite awareness state. Everything in the 3 dimensional natural realm is based on Real Pi (3.141…with endless decimal numbers) and the Golden Mean, or Phi (1.618…with endless decimal numbers) which have no ability to support any religious, magical, geometric, mathematical, algebraic, chemical, astrological or numerological formula. Pi and Phi are concerned with light energy, which is the corrupting force in this physical realm, and is what the physical realm is totally formed of. Then, when the egregore thinking entities play the natural forces it created against the man made systems it also inspired, (a process called DUALITY), that incorporate the sacred geometric equations, the result is illusion of endless greed, death, disease and fear. To those in the illusory TRANCE STATE, the greed, death, disease and fear all seem totally real, yet, it remains a complete fabrication and separation from REALITY.

    All this deceit is the result of a numbering system. This so-called, 5 sense world reality, based on these sacred geometric and religious systems are unwittingly worshiped by every human being on the planet as being the truth of what life is all about. In reality, all these systems are corruption and have no connection to awareness. Life itself, is also a complete fabrication, and an immense illusion. Lies based on previous lies, multiplied by yet more lies, does not foster truth. It creates a Universal Lie, which is exactly what the whole universe is.” – Quotes by Bryan Kemila

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