"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

October 27, 2011

How Fear of Death and Fear of Life Relate to Each Other

"Our fear of death is directly equatable to our fear of life.  When we think of dying we think of losing something we call 'me." We wish to protect this thing at all costs, though we have very little direct experience of what this 'I' refers to other than as some idea that seems constantly to be changing.

In death, we fear we will lose our 'I,' or 'me-ness.'  And we notice that the stronger this idea of 'I,' the more distinct is the feeling of a separation from life and a fear of death. The more we attempt to protect this idea of 'I,' the less we experience anything beyond that concept.

The more we have invested in protecting something of 'me,' the more we have to lose and the less we open to a deeper perception of what dies, of what really exists.  The more we hide or posture or postpone life, the more we fear death.

Protecting this precious 'I,' we push life away, and wonder at its meaninglessness.

Until we have nothing to hide, we cannot be free. If we are still considering the contents of the mind as the enemy, we become frightened, think we have something especially wrong with us.  Not recognizing the mind as just the result of previous conditioning, nothing special.  That all these states of mind which we fear so much can actually be mulched back into ourselves to become fertilizer, the manure of future growth.   Which means that in order to allow these materials to compost, to become rich fertilizer for growth, we must begin to make room in our hearts for ourselves.

We must begin to cultivate the compassion that allows the moment to be as it is, in the clear light of awareness, without the least postponement of truth."

Stephen Levine in "Getting Born"
from Who Dies?  An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying"

For more in-depth dharma articles and instruction, visit:  METTA REFUGE

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