To Die is to Live


pondering...Lying in the bath late at night, reading my novel, the sudden predicament of it’s lovable main character prompted me to ask myself the question, “If I found out I was going to die very soon, what would I do?”.

The first thoughts that came to mind were more about what I would not be doing. Like working on a new e-zine for example. Or trying to drive more traffic to my Facebook page. I suspect I’d be utterly relieved and liberated of the need to be anybody or do anything at all.

I’d drop the grudges that I know still niggle at my heart sometimes. I’d tell everyone I know that I love them, which I’d have only just realised quite so fully. I’d drop all of the judgements that I still hold against myself, tear off the invisible hair shirt that I don from time to time – punishment for what I have deemed to be unskilful actions of the past.

I’d forgive my friends and family for not always being perfect. I’d just let them be. I’d let a lot of things and a lot of people simply be.

I would shut down my computer and walk outside, and thank God for every tree and every flower, every creature and critter that I saw. I wouldn’t be afraid of anything or anyone. I would rejoice – liberated at last from the tyranny of the future (that never quite arrives as anticipated anyway), and just be in the fullness of the present.

I would know that I am already enough. That my Being is love and nothing that can be, or needs to be improved upon.

I would breathe, slowly. I would speak, boldly. I would realise that actually I’m not confused at all, never was. That it was all simply a trick of the mind, a case of mistaken identity.

I would laugh. I would really really laugh my arse off, most likely until I cried for the terrible pain that we inflict upon ourselves and each other in the name of God. Knowing that I am God I would know that love is all there is and that all the rest is nothing but a game of cops and robbers, hide & seek.

And then I would most likely get on a plane to India, for although I would know this whole world to be Her body, I would want to get as close as I could to Her heart. And then I’d curl up right there in the arms of my Mother Narayani, overcome with gratitude that at last, She killed me, my life’s purpose fulfilled.

2 days later…

Far out. What a powerful process it was to all of a sudden ask myself that question. It utterly shifted my perspective. Yesterday was such a beautiful fluid day, doing mostly very ‘ordinary’ things, but lived from a place of cherishing existence and all that showed up within it, as though it were one of my last.

In Buddhist practice meditations on death are commonly used, because it’s only by recognising how precious and how short life is that we choose not to sweat the small stuff. Acknowledging each day as a gift and potentially our last, we remember what’s important, and drop what’s not.

Meditation on Dying

If moved to, I invite you to join me. Sit quietly for a moment and ponder the question, “If I found out I was going to die very soon, what would I do?”.

After some time grab a pen and paper and just scribble down your thoughts and feelings in an uncensored, free-write kind of way. See what comes…

And then live that insight. A beautiful way to support this is by taking a moment on both rising in the morning, and going to sleep at night.

Upon rising, when you first open your eyes and start to hear the sounds of the world, before you launch into a tirade of thought about what you need to get done that day, just lie for a moment and acknowledge the sounds around you (yes, even if it’s your kids screaming!), and just be the space in which those sounds arise. Remember the Eternal, Unlimited, Pure Awareness that you are – big enough to hold all the comings and goings without getting obliterated by them. And ponder the thought, if today were my last, how would I choose to live?

And then again, at night, before going to sleep, skim over your day finding something to be grateful for. Let your awareness ‘zoom out’, shifting perspective from being the Star in your life drama to the quiet spacious Witness of it all. Rest in, and as that. Remember what’s important, let go of what’s not. Forgive. Allow. Love.

“Normally we do not like to think about death. We would rather think about life. Why reflect on death? When you start preparing for death you soon realize that you must look into your life now… and come to face the truth of your self. Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected”.    ~ Sogyal Rinpoche

Om Namo Narayani