Saturday, August 31, 2013

what is the opposite of death?


 



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Death is not the opposite of life.
Life has no opposite.
The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.
Death is a stripping away of all that is not you.
The secret of life is to “die before you die” and find
that there is no death.

–Eckhart Tolle 





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image via datura




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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

note to self

 



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Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. 

This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. 

Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude. 

Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.


 

–Jeff Foster




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via whiskeyriver 




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Monday, August 26, 2013

3 things i learned while my plane crashed









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know this






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Know that the outward form passes away,
but the world of reality remains forever.

How long will you play at loving the shape of the jug?
Leave the jug; go, seek the water!


–Rumi






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image via datura

Friday, August 23, 2013

what then?


What if you slept?
And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if, in your dream, you went to Heaven
and there plucked a rare and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?

–Samuel Taylor Coleridge






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More incredible than a celestial flower or the flower of a dream is the flower of the future, the unlikely flower whose atoms now occupy other spaces and have not yet been assembled.


—Jorge Luis Borges

The Flower of Coleridge
image via datura





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Monday, August 19, 2013

Learning to Die





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A person who does not know how to die does not know how to live, and vice versa. You should learn to die—to die immediately. This is a practice.

Are your ready to die now? Are you ready to arrange your schedule in such a way that you could die in peace tonight? That may be a challenge, but that’s the practice. If you don’t do this, you will always be tormented by regret.

… We should never forget that dying is as important as living.


—Thich Nhat Hanh
You Are Here (2009, pp. 116, 131)






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Sunday, August 18, 2013

the end of suffering







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Hearing the bell
I let go of all my afflictions
My heart is calm
my sorrow ended
No longer bound to anything
I learn to listen to my suffering
And to the suffering of others
When understanding is born in me
Compassion is also born


–Thich Nhat Hanh




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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

what is true?




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The first undeniable reality is that every living thing dies, and the second undeniable reality is that we suffer throughout our lives because we don’t understand death. The truth derived from these two points is the importance of clarifying the matter of birth and death. 
The third undeniable reality is that all of the thoughts and feelings that arise in my head simply arise haphazardly, by chance. And the conclusion we can derive from that is not to hold on to all that comes up in our head. 
That is what we are doing when we sit zazen.


–Kosho Uchiyama




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Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Place To Lay My Head







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Eckhart Tolle on Death and Dying


 mordmardok:

Eric Valli
http://www.ericvalli.com/



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Q: How does one be with the process of death in such a way that it can be celebrated?

ET:  Death is a great opportunity because death is one way in which the formless dimension comes into this life.  It’s precisely at the moment of the fading of the form, that the formless comes into this life.  But if that is not accepted, and the fading of form is denied, then it’s a missed opportunity.

As people around you pass away, you become increasingly aware of your own mortality.  The body will dissolve.  Many people still, in our civilization, they deny death.  They don’t want to think about it, don’t want to give it any attention. 

There is enormous potential there for spiritual flowering.  Even in people who, up to the point of the beginning of the fading of the form, were completely identified with the form.  It’s your last chance in this incarnation, as your body begins to fade – or you are becoming aware of this limited lifespan.  It’s your last chance to go beyond identification with form.  This is true whether it’s to do with your body, or somebody else’s body.

In the proximity of death, there is always that grace hiding underneath the seemingly negative event.  Death in our civilization is seen as entirely negative, as if it shouldn’t be happening.  Because it’s denied, people are so shocked when somebody dies – as if it’s not possible.  We don’t live with the familiarity of death, as some more ancient cultures still do.  The familiarity of death isn’t there.  Everything is hidden, the dead body is hidden.  In India you can see the dead bodies being carried through the streets, and being burned in public.   To the Westerners, it’s terrible.

As the consciousness is changing, I feel that more and more death will become an important part of the evolutionary process, the process of the arising consciousness on our planet. 

At any age, the form can dissolve.  Even if you are very young, you may encounter death close to you.  At any age, it is extremely helpful to become familiar with, or comfortable with, the impermanence of the physical form.

I recommend to everybody, to occasionally visit the cemetery.  If it’s a nice cemetery, that makes it more pleasant.  Some cemeteries are like beautiful parks, you can walk around and feel extremely peaceful.  But even if it’s not nice, spiritually it is just as helpful to walk around the cemetery and contemplate the fact of death.  I still do that, quite often, whenever I have a chance.

In Europe, in the villages and so on, you have a cemetery next to the church very often.  I love walking around there.  My favorite thing is reading the names on the gravestones.  Sometimes if the gravestones are very old, you’ll see that the name is not there anymore – it got eroded by the weather.

It’s the contemplation of death and the acceptance of the impermanent nature of the human form that opens up, if you accept it.  Don’t intellectualize it.  Don’t come to some kind of conclusion about it.  Just stay with the simple “isness” of the fact of the impermanence of the human form, and accept that for what it is without going any further.  If you go further, you get into comforting beliefs, that’s very nice too.  But what I am driving at is something deeper than comforting beliefs – instead of going to some kind of conclusion, stay with the fact of the impermanence of the human form, and contemplate this fact.

With the contemplation of the impermanence of the human form, something very deep and peaceful opens up inside you.  That is why I enjoy going to cemeteries.  When you accept the impermanence, out of that comes an opening within, which is beyond form.  That which is not touched by death, the formless, comes forward as you completely accept the impermanence of all forms.  That’s why it is so deeply peaceful to contemplate death.

If someone close to you dies, then there is an added dimension.  You may find there is deep sadness.  The form also was precious, although what you loved in the form was the formless.  And yet, you weep because of the fading form.  There too, you come to an acceptance – especially if you are already familiar with death, you already know that everything dies – then you can accept it more easily when it happens to somebody close to you.  There is still deep sadness, but then you can have the two dimensions simultaneously – the outer you weeps, the inner and most essential is deeply at peace.  It comes forward almost as if it were saying “there is no death”.  It’s peace.  





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image via datura




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Friday, August 9, 2013

note to self ...


 
 
 
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We took such care of tomorrow but died on the way there.

—Warsan Shire






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via datura




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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

who shall say?









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via datura




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Monday, August 5, 2013

uh oh





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I interviewed a woman who is terminally ill. 

‘So,’ I tried to delicately ask, ‘What is it like to wake up every morning and know that you are dying?’ 

‘Well,’ she responded, ‘What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you are not?’


–Unknown




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Sunday, August 4, 2013

requiem for a friend (excerpt)





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I have my dead, and I have let them go,
and was amazed to see them so contented,
so soon at home in being dead, so cheerful,
so unlike their reputation.  Only you
return; brush past me, loiter, try to knock
against something, so that the sound reveals
your presence.  Oh don't take from me what I
am slowly learning.  I'm sure you have gone astray
it you are moved to homesickness for anything
in this dimension.  We transform these Things;
they aren't real, they are only the reflections
upon the polished surface of our being.

–Rainer Maria Rilke




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via datura






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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Obituary




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Just once, you say,
you'd like to see
an obituary in which
the deceased didn't succumb
after "a heroic struggle" with cancer,
or heart disease, or Alzheimer's, or
whatever it was
that finally took him down.

Just once, you say,
couldn't the obit read:
He got sick and quit.
He gave up the ghost.
He put up no fight at all.
Rolled over. Bailed out.
Got out while the getting was good.
Excused himself from life's feast.


You're making a joke and
I laugh, though you can't know
I'm considering exactly that:
no radical prostatectomy for me,
no matter what General Practitioner
and Major Oncologist may say.

I think, let that walnut-sized
pipsqueak have its way with me,
that pebble in cancer's slingshot
that brings dim Goliath down.

So, old friend, before I go
and take all the wide world with me,
I want you to know
I picked up the tip.
I skipped the main course,
I'm here in the punch line.
Old friend, the joke's on me.


–Ronald Wallace





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Friday, August 2, 2013

After Visiting Hours





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All unnecessary weight is eliminated. . . . Even the brain cells needed for song are lost and replaced seasonally in some birds.
All the Birds of North America, p. 63


At midnight, in the sunroom of the ward,
when you’re locked in your pajamas, stupid
with heartbreak, and your throat a frozen stream,
you’ll read how birds in winter lose their minds,
or lose that part that urges them to sing—
each glad cell dying in the blood, until
they know no love but the sparse, sterile seed,
the bitter pills that fatten and preserve
their hearts against this thoughtless cold, this dark.

And yet they seem at peace with this: they love,
they turn away from love, they wait for love
to come for them again, and trusting, sing
the song they knew was gone for good—I knew
you’d come back, I knew it, I knew you’d come.