Chapter 24 – Last Hour Of Life
To know how to settle accounts every hour is something every man should have
learned in school, just as to learn to breathe, to eat, to move, and to awaken the
machine should be part of any genuine curriculum of education.
How would you like to discover just how precious life really is, but only in your last
moment, just as the machine is taking its last few breaths? What would you learn
about life? What would you appreciate suddenly, that you had never really
appreciated – maybe never even noticed – before this moment?
Above everything else would be breath. Perhaps for the first time, you would notice
that every inbreath was accompanied by smells!
And what exquisite smells! Suddenly you cling to the experience of every aroma.
You notice that each scent is a combination of many different tones, and you may
even be able, for the first time in your life – and also the last – to be able to seperate
and identify many of the individual tones and overtones which combine to produce
what we call an olfactory chord.
Next, you may come to notice the physical sensations of the machine, and even
though many of them may be painful, some will suggest by association all those
wonderful experiences of the past which suddenly seem so precious.
Every movement of the machine may be its last, and you may be struck by the beauty
of machine-sensations, your attention following each movement and involuntary reflex
of the body intensely, thirstily, as a lover follows even the smallest movements of the
You may think to yourself, “This is a fine time to begin this exercise!”, but now there
is nothing you can do to make up for your past lack of will or enthusiasm before you
became aware that the body was actually dying.
Why, suddenly, has life become so very precious? Why does your attention cling to
every micromovement and every sight, smell, sound, and sensation? Why does your
brain recount with nostalgia all the main events of the life of the machine? Why, suddenly,
is everything you have failed to do in life important to you, even though there is nothing
you can do about it now?
What is it that has really changed? You knew all along that someday the machine would
die. Why was this knowledge not sufficient to provide you with the motivation to exert
your will to awaken over the will of the machine to remain asleep?
Why was it not enough to make you appreciate life to this extent: that just the
mechanics of bodily survival and the passage of time, which before this seemed
to drag on interminably and now rushes by inexorably, can be easily followed in detail
by your attention, as if you had just now suddenly discovered a treasure you had never
known existed. Yet you had it all the time!
Can you explain to yourself why, although you were told about this years ago, you
failed to treat every breath, every movement, every sensation, every relationship,
every activity as if it were the treasure it is now, at this moment, as you lie here
Now suppose you somehow learned that you had exactly one hour to live. What
would you do with this last precious hour on Earth? If you could use this last hour
of life to complete all your business with the machine and with the organic world,
would you understand how to do this? Would you be satisfied, at your last breath,
that you had really done everything possible in life to complete your life to your
Not only is this last hour of your life the most important hour of your life at this moment;
it sets the scene for the final impressions received by the Being through the machine.
How fragile organic life really is! At any moment the machine is only a hair’s-breath
away from death. From the first moment of conception, we live on borrowed time.
In order to really have the freedom to live, we must settle all our business before we
die, even in the final hour of life if necessary. But…how do we know exactly which hour
will be our last? To be absolutely safe we should settle our accounts with nature and
with the machine at the beginning of each hour, then death can never catch us by surprise.
Exactly how to settle accounts every hour is something every human being should have
learned in grade school, along with breathing, eating, moving, invocation of presence
and the awakening of objective conscience. One thing we can ask ourselves is
who would be hurt by our death if we died in our present condition.
At the moment of death we should have presence, a clear mind and conscience,
taking our last breath with the definite satisfaction that we have done everything
within our power to fully use our life.
Day by day, if we should ever take the trouble to look, we will discover things which
have been left undone and which are in need of repair. It is a mark of a real human
being who has really lived that he has squeezed from life every possible drop of quality.
We should strive to live our life so that one day we can say at any moment, ” Today, I can
die without regret.”
Never waste what might very well be for you your last hour of life. No matter how
long you live, this last hour will be for you the most important. If you do badly at your
last hour, you will certainly feel the sensation of regret. This sensation – if you can
allow yourself to feel it now – can be a powerful motivating force to prepare yourself
for a clean passage out of the machine. If you knew for a fact that this hour were
really your last, you would eat impressions as if they were gourmet food. A real
connoisseur of life knows how to extract from every morsel of life the last drop of
Demand quality in everything; do not live life as a savage.
During the last hour of your life, you may not have a choice over where you are,
or with whom, but you definitely have a choice over the quality of the time, because
it is you – and you alone – who determine the state of the machine, whether it is alive
or dead, at any moment, including the last.
The extraction of the essential qualities from life utilizes the same technique as
the extraction of higher substances from food, air and impressions, which is to
say, it is automatically accomplished by the awakening of the machine. If you
wish real quality from life, your life must be given up to the Work for the
greater good. For just your personal self, you can have very little. Working
towards transformation of your Being not for your own benefit but for the
benefit of the Absolute, which is the same thing as saying for all Beings
everywhere, is an effective technique for evolution.
If you are not satisfied with the quality of your last hour of life, you will not be
satisfied with your life as a whole.
To die is to move past something that will never come again in exactly the
same way. All great philosophers practiced for their last hour of life. I will
give you the same exact exercise which they used to practice for their final
hour on Earth. Take care not to change even one word of this instruction:
Look back at the last hour which has just passed as if it had been your final
hour on Earth, and you have just now realized that you have died.
First, ask yourself if you are satisfied with how you have used this last precious
hour of life.
Now return to the stream of organic life and set yourself the aim during the next
hour – if you live that long – to extract just a little more quality from life than you
had during the previous hour.
Determine to awaken the machine just a little more, to have just a little
more presence in the present, a little more inner fire.
Now open your eyes a little wider; by this I mean awaken the machine
and bathe in its transformational effects…be a little more brave than you
were for the past hour. You can afford to have courage now that you know
it is your last hour and you have nothing to lose. Of course don’t be foolishly
Know yourself a little more; see your machine just a little more impartially.
Now that you are dying, there’s no point in defending the machine’s personal
vanity, is there?
Every hour, from now on until your real final hour, demand from the machine,
by its awakening, more quality of life, more life in the intuitive.
Take a moment or two, every hour on the hour, to appraise the previous hour
impartially, then set yourself the aim to use the hour yet to come even more
fully than you used the previous hour.
Taking each hour as a seperate unit of your life, strive to use each of these units
of life with greater and greater quality.
Force yourself to find a way to make each succeeding hour more profitable for your
work than the last and, at the same time, find a way to settle all your debts with the
machine and with nature, up to the present moment.
To live the remainder of your life rehearsing for death, hour by hour is not a morbid
fascination with death, but a method of living life more deeply.
No one can extract more from every moment of life than a terminal patient who knows
more or less when he can expect to die. If we have thought deeply on the possible ways
in which we can spend our last days, we change our lives radically.
If we know with certainty that we will soon die, we will bend every ounce of will
available to us to the extraction from every hour remaining to us of every possible drop
This is the real meaning of the ancient Essene saying, “The Last Days are at hand.”
We all face judgement not from others but our own last-minute final appraisal of our
lives. We must not fail to pass this test.
Every single moment is an eternal part of Creation.
In each moment it is possible to extract a finer substance which we can call
“essence of life”.
On a clean sheet of paper, draw a picture which represents for you the substance
“air”. Now draw a picture of the substance “food”. Now draw a picture of the substance
“impressions”. Finally draw a picture of the substance of
Because these can all be pictured as substances it should give you the hint that they
really are substances – that even moments of time are a form of matter.
If we are successful in extracting the finer substances from these more gross material
substances familiar to everybody in general, then we must sooner or later pay
something for them.
This is called the Law of Equilibrium. We must eventually pay for what we extract from
But to pay in the moment for our use of the moment is what we call “real doing”.
In the beginning, we can only imagine what it is “to do” with the thinking, feeling or
moving apparatus, but eventually, with work-experience, we find that real doing is
paying in the moment, leaving nothing for the future.
It is not too late even now, although much of your life has been wasted in sleep.
From today you can begin to prepare for death and at the same time increase the
quality of your life with the machine.
But take this warning: do not wait too long; maybe this one last hour is in fact all
that remains to you!
You may be able to glibly repeat this verbatim, but unless actually practiced, this
cannot mean anything.
The awakened machine, functioning higher mental and emotional apparati,
and radiation of one’s presence are the only real tools of communication.
At the end of each hour, having completed your appraisal of the work-profit of the
previous hour, imagine waking up suddenly in a completely new world in which you
recognize the fact that you are a total stranger, even though everything
looks vaguely familiar to you.
Establishing a whole new working relationship with this new world demonstrates
clearly that your apparent automatic continuation in the flow of life is not really
the same at all from hour to hour.
You could see yourself as a ghost destined to wander from world to world as an
uninvited guest…From this vantage point, of what value is anything accomplished
in the course of ordinary life? Consider the results of all your strivings of the past.
What are they worth now?
We in the Work are in many ways dead to the world, and at the same time more
alive than anything in it. Work…a small, strange difference in our lives and yet, to
some of us, life is meaningless without this little difference.
It should be easy to see that life is futile in the ordinary sense. Every accomplishment,
no matter how great in the scale of planetary life, sooner or later is lost in the big sense.
Time grinds every grain to dust. Even the biggest names in history sooner or later
will be forgotten. To understand the real possibilities of life on Earth, we must
discover what can be accomplished in this world which would be of use beyond
Study the lives of those who managed to amass great wealth, armies, influence and
power over others. Of what use to them, now that they are dead, are their great
accomplishments? Even during life they were empty dreams.
LEARN TO USE EACH HOUR TO THE FULLEST POSSIBLE PROFIT. WRITE A DETAILED
PLAN FOR THE LAST HOUR OF LIFE.
By this little exercise you will be able to sink your roots of mentation deeply into the
whole question of the real value of life as a prisoner in the human biological
machine just to understand how to die.
Not just anyone is able to really die. The human biological machine can be converted
to one form of fertilizer or another for the use of organic life on the planet, but, because
the Creation is eternal, we cannot really die just because the
biological machine dies.
To die forever to this world is an honor which must be paid for by conscious labor and
intentional suffering through the process of Conscious Eternal Return.
Picture the events, sensations, thoughts and feelings of each hour of life on Earth. Ask
yourself, “Is this really what I wish to do with the last hour of my life?” If not, you must
find a way to satisfy this question.
Look at life as a business in which time is money.
Time literally represents the money of life. We are given a certain amount to spend and no
more when we come into this world.
Perhaps now you can see how stupidly you have spent much of it.
Even your aim in life just to relax has been defeated. As a consumer of life you have
All your life you believed everything was free. Air is free, time is free. Now suddenly you
discover that these are not free, that you pay dearly for the use of the machine; you pay
with precious time. Every moment you are here, it costs something, one moment is the
price of each breath.
How can you ever recoup these losses? If you have spent all your money on vacations,
nothing is left to you now but empty nostalgia.
For years you have spent your time as if it were one continuous, endless allowance from
Only now, after the family fortune has been spent down to the last penny and you find
yourself bankrupt, do you discover that you are forced to earn every hour of life. All your
life you were like a child, spending time, the money of transformation, like a newly wed.
You will find many excuses not to practice the last hour of life. The will and habits of
the machine are very strong, but you can learn to do more and more once you begin.
Think of your last hour of life as a great ballet for which a lifetime of
continual practice is necessary.”