Autumn greetings, dear friends! The season of harvest and brilliant fall color is here. Soon winter will arrive; growing things will appear to die as they direct their energy below the surface to their root systems to prepare for the long winter. We become a bit more introspective as we, too, settle in for a quieter season after summer's activity. Perhaps our thoughts more naturally turn to the topic of death at this season as the year winds down to a close. But then, a New Year is born – a new beginning! Out of death, new life. So may our mantra be as we journey through this life toward its inevitable transition to the next. Our natural fear of the unknown experience of death is calmed by the sure knowledge that life continues . . . we die to this world only to be reborn into another. Out of death, new life.
One day as I was about to step on a dry leaf, I saw the leaf in the ultimate dimension. I saw that it was not really dead, but that it was merging with the moist soil in order to appear on the tree the following spring in another form. I smiled at the leaf and said, "You are pretending." Everything is pretending to be born and pretending to die, including that leaf. The Buddha said, "When conditions are sufficient, the body reveals itself, and we say the body exists. When conditions are not sufficient, the body cannot be perceived by us, and we say the body does not exist." The day of our "death" is a day of our continuation in many other forms.
~ from LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST by Thich Nhat Hanh
I recognize that even in the valley of the shadow of my own tangled thoughts there is something holy and unutterable seeking to restore my soul... I always stop and touch the coarse gray bark of one particular tree with my hand or cheek, which I suppose is a way of blessing it for being so strong and beautiful. Who knows how long it has been standing there wearing its foliage like a crown even though a part of it is dying? Because of that quality of sheer endurance one morning I found myself touching it not to bless it, but to ask its blessing, so that I myself might move toward old age and death with something like its stunning grace and courage.
When people have made peace with death, they live with greater consciousness. Every day, every moment, becomes more complete in itself. According to the Talmud, we are not required to complete our life's task, but neither are we permitted to lay it down. Perhaps through life review we can reframe what our life task truly is. Perhaps through loneliness, vulnerability, fear and grief we can come to acceptance and to wisdom.
Risk. The word had a whole new meaning when uttered within the context of these jungles and the people who populated them. For most tribal people, the risk was not so much of dying but of not living properly. It was the quality of your time on earth, not the quantity, that was important. How different that dream from the one I had been taught! Where, I wondered, did we get the idea we must do everything possible to postpone the inevitable? What is it about the words more and longer that has made them assume such a paramount position in our language?
~ from THE WORLD IS AS YOU DREAM IT by John Perkins
Our life is shorter than flowers. Then shall we mourn? No, we shall dance Plant gardens Dress in colors And teach our children To make the world more beautiful. Because our life Is shorter than flowers.
At death, the soul witnesses an incredible energy release of that which was only on loan, and an even more wonderful homecoming of all that has been given you by the Creator. That which is commanded by your love is yours to hold forever. All who have shared your love will remain in union with you. That is the ultimate harvest.
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