not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Death and Dying...and LIVING.

And this is why I love Jess....

As I said in the previous blog, been having a bit of a sad time the past two days. Recently I have been able to think about Dad and be truly feel love and happiness, and to count the days and years that we had as a blessing, instead of being sad about the days and years that we will miss out on in the future. Something shifted the other day though and I just can't help but to have a heavy heart....

Jess had mentioned before that she'd picked me up a gift in Arambol during the training, and was waiting for the right time to give it to me. Well, when I was walking out the door today headed into the taxi, she handed me "The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying"....

During the taxi ride to the airport I contemplated the past few days, my friendship with Jess, my parents...all of the people whom i love and who love me, and all of the out-freaking-standing-fun times that I've had in this short life. Made my way through the Indian-airport-madness and then settled into my seat by gate 2C with a cup of tea and my new book, with Alt-J pulsing through my headphones (new favorite band, thanks to Mabons dad, Ed). GAH. Two seconds into the book (and into Alt-Js powerful tunes), I had tears streaming down my face. Silent, steady stream. Sogyal Rinpoche has written a "gentle, humane and eloquent guide"....and I recommend that EVERYONE go out and get a copy, not Now- but Right Now. When asked what he had hoped to achieve with the publication of this book, he said :

"I want every human being not to be afraid of death, or of life. I want every human being to die at peace, and surrounded by the wisest, clearest, and most tender care, and to find the ultimate happiness that can only come from an understanding of the nature of mind and of reality....

...To learn how to die is to learn how to live; to learn how to live is to learn how to act not only in this life, but in the lives to come. To transform yourself truly and learn how to be reborn as a transformed being to help others is really to help the world in the most powerful way of all....

...Imagine how things would be if we could live our lives infusing them with a sacred meaning: if we looked on life and death themselves as an inseparable whole. What would be the effect of seeking to make love and compassion the measure of our every action, and of understanding, to any degree, the inmost nature of the mind that underlies our entire existence?

His Holines the Dalai Lama begins the book by saying :

"Death is a natural part of life, which we all surely have to face sooner or later. To my mind, there are two ways we can deal with it while we are alive. We can either choose to ignore it or we can confront the prospect of our own death and, by thinking clearly about it, try to minimize the suffering that it can bring. However, in neither of these ways can we actually overcome it. 

If we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life."

So now, on the plane, flying over the huge country of India- I have some peace back in my heart when I think about Dad. Because I feel like he lived his life well, which is why he died well and peaceful, without regret. And I feel good about the love, care and community that surrounded him in his final days.

I'll leave you with one last snippit from Sogyal Rinpoche: "Whatever we have done with our lives makes us what we are when we die. And everything, absolutely everything, counts".

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