Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learn to Die

Thou shalt understand that it is a science most profitable, and passing all other sciences, for to learn to die. 
  – Heinrich Suso

Over that last several years it has been my good fortune to be with my mother and my mother-in-law as they complete their lives. In our culture, it is not easy to talk about death and for many it stirs deep fear and an unwillingness to let go. It becomes a terrible struggle or a long slow painful nightmare.

All of the great teachers and gurus tell us to recognize we are not the body and to let go of whatever attachments bind us to this body. If we don't, the experience of dying will certainly be difficult. What a tragedy because death will come. It is only our response to it that we can prepare for.

Ethnath Eswaran, a great spiritual teacher, says, "There is great artistry in this. Death comes and growls something about how our time has come, and we just say, 'Don’t growl; I’m ready to come on my own.' Then we stand up gracefully, take off the jacket that is the body, hand it over carefully, and go home."

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