Friday, August 8, 2008

On Death and Dying

My three year old daughter looked at me with her bright blue eyes and asked if I would ever die. Her Grandfather died last year and she understands that now he only lives in her heart. My dedication to truth (except in the case of Santa Clause and his annual voyage) led me to admit to her that yes, indeed, I would one day die. I added that we all eventually die, just like the flowers we pick for our home, and that one day after many many years (I hope) even she would die. Maybe this reality is too much for a three year old, as she responded by stating clearly that she did NOT want to die. I gave her a big hug and assured her all was well.

Her statement reminded me that this is part of what drives all of us to search for meaning in this brief existence. We know that death will come. It's arrival and method are unknown to us until the end. Life itself is ever changing and uncertain. Yet, for those of us that meditate regularly we find a place that seems to remain unchanged. It's the same calm place time and time again. There's a moment between the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, where thought is suspended and we feel an awesome unity with some vast unknown. Is this our true Self, this blissful Self that seems boundless? Maybe this is a glimpse of the Divine. Enlightened ones seem to have found a way to stay in this place even while participating in the mundane activities of this physical, space and time constricted, world. In that place there is no fear of dying or anything else. It's moment of both power and humility. I believe that Gandhi worked from this place. When you're no longer afraid of dying, or losing those you love, or losing your material belongings you can do amazing things. And when you've contracted yourself down to nothing you can expand your love to every sentient being equally. It's from this place that nonviolence grows. I believe that this concept, ahimsa, is the ultimate truth. This is where I find meaning.

Like my daughter, I don't want to die. I still have desire and fear. But I will continue my experiments with truth so that when the time arrives for me to travel that last moment alone, shedding this old coat of a body, all of my loved ones and all my possessions, I will be ready to donne the next or simply enter that blissful place where no breath exists - in the loving arms of God.


MonkeyDude said...

Terri! Great article, great blog. I'm honoured to be blogrolled by you ;D

Your thoughts on dying and moving on into the next chapter of your existence remind me of a verse I have read several times:

"It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people's minds. Yet, mortals still can't grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end [of time]" Ecclesiastes 3:11

We do not know where we are going next or what it will be like, but I think most of us are aware that something as beautiful as a human being cannot simply end at physical death.. though it be beyond our comprehension, and scare us a lot!



Seda said...

That's so beautiful! Thanks, Terri!