More To Dying Than Meets The Eye — Martha Atkins (The Wall, The Illusion)

Last six words Steve Jobs said before he died were:

Oh wow!!  Oh wow!  Oh wow!


The night before my grandfather passed in 1998, I was staying with him at the hospital throughout the night.  At about 2am, all was still.  Only the dim lights of nearby buildings and street-lamps made their way into the room with the beeping sound of a heart monitor.  Granddad was weak.  His heart was going to go before the bit of cancer could kill him.  Read that again.  “Could kill him.”  

“Could kill him?”  

Who am I?  What am I?

Granddad rose straight up from his bed that night and his last three words were, “Öh my God!”  How he rose up baffles me still. He couldn’t even roll over without help.  Not sure what he saw, but I have a hunch. I’m certain about the help, however. 

I write in the early morning and I’m talking about 1am till around 11am, usually. It’s quiet and most of the rush of the hurrying and worrying wonder of humanity hasn’t yet started a shared robotic trance along with its forestalling dance of death again. “Idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”  That’s cute and there’s some factuality to that.  But, look at it again.  A silently still mind in tandem with the present moment is sheer gift.  Few, very few, know how to practice this. They can BUT doing gets in the way.   In America, we think we have more choices than we do.  The evidence?  Debating.  Opinions. Parroting ideas that (if you are honest) largely aren’t your own.  Dad said it or mom said or granddad or uncle or friend or group said.  It’s often not what you know to be true for yourself.  Trump OR Hillary?  And you might have voted for the lesser of two evils or idiots as it is.  I shouldn’t have said that.  I wrote it so I’ll let it stand and maybe someone will crack a smile or fart over it.  Fight or flight?  Kill or be killed?  Stay or go?  Forget Or remember? Another day, another dollar. Another day, another day to look forward to nothing or reason to even be?  As you read, I ask you to drop as many pre-conditioned belief systems as you’re willing.

On the morning of June 14, 2010, my wife’s cellphone rang at 4am in the morning.  Per usual, I was up.  I write when everyone goes to bed.  Terry, my wife’s late brother (not sure what he’s late for) finally called our home line. Every time I answered her cellphone, he’d just be quiet and I’d ask him if he was okay.  Heard what sounded like a party during his first call and then he was just in silence with no background noise whatsoever the last time he called.  He wanted to speak to her.  She was all he felt he had left.  Their mom and dad had both died in the last 4 years leading up to that night. Terry went to Iraq in 1990 one day before he was to exit the Army for the Army Reserves back home.  He was a Bradley Tank Gunner.  If one had to choose the worst MOS in the Army during wartime, he chose it.  Maybe he didn’t have a choice. He was a rough guy and a fearful guy when he wasn’t in fights.  Every night he had nightmares. When he’d stay with us, every night I’d hear him screaming. Had to physically awaken him from those damned things. His battle buddies were killed in front of him by friendly fire and he somehow lived. He received a Purple Heart and rode in a parade when he got home from the hospital he was moved to in Germany. He refused to talk about the war. He didn’t give a rat’s ass about the Purple Heart. It’s in drawer in the kitchen now.   Terry’s last spoken words were, “Goodbye and I love you.”  Terry was anything but formal.  I can hear him saying, “Later dude, Gotta run, See ya man, Peace out, or even just Bye.” But, Goodbye? I wonder if even in spite of what he would eventually do some five minutes after hanging up with his sister, whether he accidentally said the right word about what surely seems to be a very wrong action. But his suicide letter written some three weeks prior contained what we all must do during the first half of life and that’s label our containers.  Rank, social security number, titles, position, genus and species — Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christian or Sufi Muslim (although being Sufi is a mystical thing and nonviolent).  But Terry did ask two questions that generally most people begin asking in their forties and surely by the time they’re in their fifties.  Who am I?  What am I?  With the labels, might as well say, “I’m a corn dog.”

Be it an Arminian Christian or a New Atheist.  It is the content that we are too afraid to discover due to years of concocting a poorly ephemeral and embarrassingly easy wounded egoistic identity concoction.  And, when the pain of decades of having bought our own PR about the caricature kind of cartoonish mental idea we have had of our-selves begins unraveling or is busted open, that’s the hell that is hopefully allowed to get loosed for our true Self’s good.  And, ironically, our cultural and religious teaching has historically, in the West, been the very hindrance that actually encourages busyness over Being.  

And when wealthy church members die and aren’t any longer productive members of the church’s weekly offering plate, paying his or her membership dues every Sunday like clockwork, the top brass of the church is staffed well to swiftly seize upon the obituary, make the obligatory phone call, offer to send another member over with some chicken and ensure the grieving loved one that their posthumous other half or whatever the relationship was will be remembered.  And a love offering is surely the best way to keep that empty pew warm until another elderly member is cajoled into switching memberships.  What’s that about?  44,000 denominations.  Well, I guess genus (American) and species (Christians) do have choices.  Maybe not so much choices as winning lotto numbers to pick.  Surely one of the 44,000 belief formulas will pay off.  No, not the mortgage. The burial plot.  And that’s how the American nightmare ends.  I admit it.  This paragraph was horribly cynical and I’m laughing while I write it.  Haha! 

(And now the parroted jargon justifying misery never living in the now)

“But you just can’t sit around and do nothing!  You gotta make things happen and prove haters wrong!  Everyone has to pay his or her dues, pay the rent, have goals, get ér done and hopefully make enough money and have the better life that our parents knew.  And the end of the day after we all circle the wagons and get to the bottom line, the only question is very simply, ‘What have you done lately!’  Even that Apostle named Paul said that a man who doesn’t work should starve to death.  No free lunches!  This bliss ninny nicety nonsense sounds absolutely delightful but, please!  What world are you living in?  That’s what I thought!  And I do think.  I overthink and worry but who doesn’t?  Right?  Look pal!  We live in the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  And, by God, His grace shines on Thee.  That means us and another thing!  I get that bad things happen to good people like me and that we all need help on rare occasions but this isn’t a dress rehearsal!  This is it my man!  Work hard, play hard, study hard, think hard, sleep hard, it rains hard and if you look hard you’ll understand me. Anyway, you get my point.  You feel me and get me because what I say is for your good, right?  Good.  Listen! I don’t mean to be hard on you but I’m trying make you see the light before you have regrets and completely ruin what you’ve got left of your lame reputation.  Reputation is all a man and woman has in this world.  Don’t you want to have the spoils and enjoy the good life 50 years from now after you retire and go out to pasture?  You should!  That’s the way we have always done it and that’s the only way there is to do it.  My way or the highway and my kids understand me.  Do I get stressed and understand life is hard and that I have a world of problems that bombard me every day and even at night while I lay awake in bed?  Of course!  But who would I be without problems?  After all, in an ideal world you and your fanciful ideas might be okay but this is hardly an ideal world.  This world sucks and then you die.  We all know that.  Right?  Right?  But I am thankful that I am a hard worker and not your average bear.  Everything I’ve got I had to work for.  No one gave me nothing!  I’m not one to accept handouts or ask anybody for nothing!  See? Caliche? And yes!  I get that this is a big world and I understand other cultures. How else do you think I knew how to say ‘get my point’ in Italian?   I didn’t fall of the turnip truck!  Got to plan ahead.  Always plan ahead.  Do I appear angry or unhappy?  Well, if I do I have good reason.  That’s what being an American is all about.  And I’m devout too.  My belief system is in place and I’ve checked that square off a long time ago.  Am I perfect?  No one is perfect but I’m getting close. Mistakes are unacceptable and we need that wall!   Admittedly, I was happier when I didn’t have to think about the wall but now that I am fearful of what those type of people can do, I know it’s time to protect our freedom!   What was that?  If we don’t protect our freedoms like the choices we have when we vote, where to attend college, who we avoid being near due to class distinction, denominational division and what our parents and grandparents and our grandparent’s grandparents taught us about competing, taking care of number one, getting our fair share of the pie, helping those who don’t need any help, talking the language that kids understand because let’s face it; the only language I was told kids understood was a switch and a belt.  That’s it!  Pardon?  Yes!  That’s it!  I’m a one trick pony and I can race the rats like the best of them.  Pardon me?   I don’t know who the best are and that’s why I joined the megachurch and pay 30,000 dollars a year for my neighborhood’s country club dues!   You get what you pay for!  What was that again?  I don’t like what I do but it pays the bills and I drive a nice car.  It’s about brand name.  Status, recognition, winning, getting the spoils, working hard and playing hard and saying that you do even if you don’t and fitting in and having better golf clubs than those other rubes!  A man has to do what a man has to do!  Pardon me?  Well, a man has to do what he does and I’m stuck in my ways so enough with this now.  I have places to go, people to see, money to make and whatnot.  I’m going to leave my kids with my legacy.  When I deep six, they’ll have enough money to start off above the rat race but I’m not above anyone unless they’re beneath me.  Right?   Oh my!  Aw shit!  Aw hell that hurts!  My arm is like freaking numb!  I’ve talked to long and it’s all your fault and as hellfire and I am weak like a game of Twister and I’m confused and my heart is beating like a kettle drum and…. Aw shit!  I’m blacking out but I have something to do and call 911 but don’t tell them it’s me cause I’m asking nobody for nothing and…, Pa pa pardon my pontoon boat needs gas and aw hell no!  Not this way and not now!   Wedding song… We pee we pee pee freaking Willie Pinkie we’ve only just begun and the lace and promises, oh honey I want to stop how I’ve treated you and I hear a siren now… Coming forth to carry me home… No!  Wow!  That siren is blaring and my chest is like Fruity Pebbles and numb arm and I ain’t taking nothing for free!   Hey there pretty EMS lady!  Don’t worry about me because I’m sure it’s just a ja ja ja ja goo goo gah gah Goober Peas and what’s that long high pitch tone?  I gotta pay my fire insurance dues at chi cha chum trains and church… Pardon?  As hell no!  Lady!  PMS is product member of insanity and what’s wrong here?   I’m what?  Dying?  What’s Father Galloper doing standing over me?  I know I have rights!  Aw shit!  Line lines and flatline last rights?  Give Father my wallet and bring me back and it’s…”  (Over and out and the Fat Lady fell through the floor and forgot the lyrics of the swan song)

In the West, we have been taught what to look for but not how to see.  Terry’s two questions:

Who am I?  What am I?  


Is there a chance that you’re in the trance.  “So, I guess you must be enlightened or something!”

Reminds me of my brother’s accusation whenever I became angry while discussing religion and cursed.  

“I thought you were supposed to be a Christian.” 

Darn it.  Had I gotten to know the truth before I nervously walked into the front of the church at age 16 during the alter-call so as to make the required public “Confession of faith,” followed by the baptismal formality, I’d have had neither the label to protect much less would I have ever confessed that my first sin as an official Christian was this confession of having faith?  Seems like proclamation would have been a better word.  

There’s a chance that someone reading this is tired, weary, anxious, angry, lonely, scared, bitter, feeling down, defeated and even suicidal.  There’s a chance someone reading this has attempted suicide, knows someone who has or someone who went beyond the realm of attempt.  There’s a chance someone reading this has a loved one nearing death or they themselves are nearing death.  There’s a 100 percent chance someone reading this is everyone who will face the five letter fear, spelt: DEATH.  And, in the West, we’ve been for whatever absurd reasons taught to (furtively) sidestep and drop the very thought of the word DEATH in hopes that we won’t have to experience it.  IT. IT. IT.  So, we don’t talk about IT.  

Whether or not I am enlightened, awakened or whatever other jargon one imagines to use is irrelevant. There’s a chance someone reading this is considering suicide now. I miss-understand.  99 percent of that arbitrary percentage of humanity miss-understands such considerations, contemplations. That’s why most all of us have considered it if but even once and briefly. 


What a fucking word?  What does the fxxking word even mean?  Why does the word xxxxing mess with the religious and irreligious alike?  Why do I feel the need to say xxxx?  To prove a point or act tough?  Good questions. “What in the hell are you trying to say if anything?” And that’s the best question containing one hell of a word leading to a point we can dull if we keep trying to sharpen it. Cart before the horse and then we beat the horse to death.  We even beat around the bush until our waywardly beating around the bush has killed the thing and left nothing but its root.  A surefire brimstone way to miss points, miss presents, miss reality, miss life, miss-take mistakes as wrong, miss Presence and especially miss out on who and what is within.  

Furtive.  Comes from the Latin word, ‘Furtum.’ Furtum means, ‘Theft.’ Furtive means secret, hidden, cloaked.  

The brain creates consciousness.  At first and fast glance, that seems reasonable.  But, what part of you loves and who is presently within you who you’ll know once you recognize her or him again for the first time?  Sooner OR later isn’t a choice but a lexically nonexistent delusion.  Lexical information—it tells you what the word “cat” means, not all there is to know about cats. Well-intentioned scientists, Priests, Pastors, red-faced Preachers and Popes tend to do the same.  We tend to do the same.  But DO what?  Protestants, even the self-appointed pre-destined self-preserving Calvinists, largely and incessantly ask (alone, fearfully and silently), “Am I going to go to heaven?”  Consciousness creates the brain.  

The great Catholic mystic, Meister Eckhart, wrote:  “Do not give thought to what you should do. What we seek first that is within is the truth that will last as truth knows the freedom that beliefs remain burdened by. Get your Being right and this doing will take care of itself.”

 Watch language.  Observe words within sentences.  Wxxx time is xx now?  (Self-evident truth) 

Ask sincerely and know that infinite love loves answering with infinite patience.  Infinite love has infinity to suspend and dismiss humanity’s finitely final judgments.  Final judgment?  

“She’ll NEVER change!” 

“Wrong, Romper Room.  The scandal of the particular.”

“But that’s just how all women are!  When they make up their minds about you, there’s no going back!”  

“Off the rails again, Rambo.  We don’t see people as they are but as we are.  The question isn’t about she never changing. You’re afraid perhaps you’ll always stay the same.”

“Ï hate you now!”

“Why’s that?”

“You didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, you son of a bitch!  So, do you agree with me, asshole?”

“Yes. You’re an asshole.”


“Ï’m not a Priest or the President.”


Infinite love didn’t create hell.  Infinite love didn’t create priests, presidents, pastors, preachers and Popes. No label guns. There wasn’t even a word for hell 2019 years ago. Not until the Germanic word, ‘Hel’ and ‘Hölle‘ were coined  during the Old English era (5th century up though 11th century and beyond), did such a word as hell begin its insidiously and intentionally divisive twisting.  Why?  Fear sells and keeps the fervently religious coming back for more reassurance from the very clergymen who are paid only if they dangle the carrot of, “God loves you but you can’t know this without us.”

That’s strange.  All of the great spiritual Masters thought such dependency was not only strange but downright wrong and dangerously destructive.   Especially Jesus. 

It is written in the Prophets: ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ -Jesus who became the Christ

They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. -Jeremiah 31:34

That’s not conjecture, that’s many prior labeled clergymen’s honesty.  They had to break free from the labelling and didn’t want feel libel. The word ‘libel’ is via Old French from Latin ‘Libellus,’ which translates, “A falsely written document intended to malign the true identity of the good character in which it initially was intended to approximate.”

Anyway, back to the word hell.  Hold onto your seats unless you’re standing up. Hel or hell came from the Germanic Indo-European Hölle which means, “To Hide by way of identity Theft.   Remember the word furtive?  

Comes from the Latin word, ‘Furtum.’ Furtum means, ‘Theft.’ Furtive means secret, hidden, cloaked.  

There wasn’t even the word, empathy, until 1906 for English use.  We felt it, I guess, but couldn’t define or explain it.  


“The best we can do is choose between the lesser of two evils.” (Platitude pop quiz)

If to choose between the lesser evil out of the possible two evils, what will have be chosen?  Evil.  


“Hey Cindy! Why did you decide to marry Timmy over Todd?  You told me you would hold off on making a quick decisions because both Timmy and Todd are evil rubes.  What happened since then?”

“Get off my back, Martha!  Timmy isn’t as evil as Todd.  I don’t have time to talk shop with ya! I’m running out of time! Oh, Todd’s figuring out a new way to make plastic explosives!  Isn’t that exciting?”

“Yeah buddy!  Explosively exciting! I’m running out of time too!  Ah, to hell with it!  I’m going to ask Todd to go with me to that quilting convention in Eastern Kentucky next weekend!  Think he’ll go with me?”

“Sure thing!  That’s where he goes to get the stuff he uses to make them explosives! Timmy says he always brings back a lot of J-3 jet aircraft fuel and military grade glue!”

“For the explosives, I guess!”

“No. He likes to huff the gas and sniff the glue!  He’s not really evil, just excessively dull.  The glue and all!”

“I think I’m in love.”


Ask questions — sincere questions and know that infinite love loves answering with infinite patience.  Infinite love has infinity to suspend and dismiss humanity’s finitely final judgments.  

“What time is it now?”  The absurd question answers itself.  So obvious we make it smashingly complicated.   God is a noun, LOVE is a verb. Two oppose until a Third exposes.  Two sides of a penny is still the same coin. Infinite love knows perfectly and precisely how to flip and restore — no hell needed and no hell was ever anything but man’s idea to very temporarily make a buck by selling fear.   Infinite love wants so much now to reveal very simple secrets hidden by illusionary cloaked and dangerously miss-informed external miss-perceptions as to your value and who you really and truly are!  Ready, set, I’ll see you like (snap)!

Sink OR Swim?  American Dualistic Thinking.  Yet there’s truth.  Science agrees with Trinity here now.  

Sink OR Swim?

Float on your back.  

No one left to hate, impress or pretend to be.  You have always been Wonderfully U.  


The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an illusion; the tunnel is. 

I’m woven in a fantasy,
I can’t believe the things I see
The path that I have chosen now
Has led me to a wall
And with each passing day I feel a little more like something dear was lost

It rises now before me,
A dark and silent barrier between,
All I am, and all that I would ever want be
It’s just a travesty,
Towering, marking off the boundaries my spirit
Would erase

To pass beyond is what I seek
I fear that I may be too weak
And those are few who’ve seen it
Through to glimpse the other side,
The promised land is waiting like a maiden that is soon to be a bride

The moment is a masterpiece,
The weight of indecision’s in the air
It’s standing there, the symbol and the sum of all that’s me
It’s just a travesty,
Towering, blocking out the light and blinding me
I want to see

Gold and diamonds cast a spell,
It’s not for me I know it well
The riches that I seek
Are waiting on the other side
There’s more than I can measure in the treasure of the love that I can find

And though it’s always been with me,
I must tear down the Wall and let it be
All I am, and all that I was ever meant to be, in harmony
Shining true and smiling back at all who wait to cross
There is no loss


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