The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

This experience is:
for 2 people
1-2 hours long
relational, psychological

  1. Invite a friend over for tea or coffee and conversation. It should be someone who seems appropriate for the experience described in these steps.
  2. Prepare a pot of tea. It should be a kind of tea that you find relaxing, such as chamomile. Bring the pot of tea and two cups into a clear space on the floor of the house somewhere quiet.
  3. Find a piece of fiction or non-fiction on your shelf that is about mortality. Open to your favorite section. We recommend the opening of Sleep Memory, by Nabokov.
  4. Make sure there are no distractions: turn off cellphones, shut off the computer, use the bathroom if necessary.
  5. Set a timer for 30 minutes, then sit on the floor with your friend and take turns reading the book, paragraph by paragraph. Do what you can to not allow anything but what you are reading into your mind, and do not talk about anything while you are reading.
  6. When the timer goes off, leave the house and walk to somewhere beautiful near your house. It should be less than a 20 minute walk.
  7. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Have a conversation about mortality. Do you think about death? Are you afraid of it? What do you wish to leave behind? Do your best to stay on topic – this is your main opportunity to get to the heart of the matter.
  8. When the timer goes off, walk home silently. Your mini-odyssey experience together is not over until you get home.

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