Tuesday, May 24, 2005

No Death, No Fear

"Experiencing the bliss of God, you see that there is no such thing as time, and know you shall never die. Everyday I enjoy that consciousness."
Paramahansa Yogananda

I’m curious to know how you see death and what lies beyond this plane when we are no longer present in physical form. I’m of the firm belief that how you see death determines how you live your life.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a wonderful book entitled No Death, No Fear which is a must read for those seeking a deeper understanding to life. I know little, personally, about death and tragedy. I've lived a rather charmed life. I know that this will change and that I will become more familiar with death as I grow older. I know that nothing is certain but change.

How do you see death? Are we who know little of death and dying naive when it comes to this subject? I know of what I believe- but what of all that I don't know and haven't experienced yet?

6 Comments:

Blogger Trev Diesel said...

I'm not sure what I believe or speculate it will be like after this body falls away. My meditation practice IS helping take me into that realm, however.

But for the most part, I don't worry too much about it - afterall I'm alive NOW. And I've been around so much stuff in the past that looks only toward death as salvation that I'm (for better or worse) insistent upon living NOW rather than hoping for the future.

That being said, I resonate with the famous Rumi quote - "When I die I shall soar with the angels,
And when I die to the angels (or when I die to my small idea of "heaven"), what I shall become,
You cannot imagine."

Have you read the Tibetan Book of the Dead? I haven't personally, but have intended to for some time.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Amy Harden said...

I, unlike my husband, like to face death head on. Your statement about how you face death is how you face life, is something that truly resonates with me.

The women in my family, tend to die very young of cancer. For me, death is a very real reality. When you see women at 37, 54, and 63 die, you face death as more of an immediate threat.

Me being the planner that I am, I began planning my own funeral a few years ago. I have scriptures, songs, etc picked out. I've already told Trev my burial clothing choice (jeans), what jewelry goes to whom, and of course my preferences on how to raise my daughter.... In my opinion, death is an unavoidable occurance that needs to be embraced equally as you embrace life.

I know what heaven looks like in my mind's eye, and to be honest, it doesn't seem too bad of a place. That being said, life isn't too bad of a place either. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in a hurry to leave this life yet. But when I do, I'm excited to enter that stage with open arms as well.

Just my 2 cents though..

9:51 PM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Trev,

"My meditation practice IS helping take me into that realm, however."

Yes, I understand. I'm moving in the same direction, for whatever reason. I am not afraid of death- I believe it is as natural as living and only a transition in form. What and where after this plane...I, too, am not that concerned... I believe it isn't important. What is important is how we live, here and now.

I love the Rumi poem!

I have read excerpts from the Tibetan Book of the Dead...a new translation is out (just what I need is ANOTHER book right now.) The Tibetan burial ritual seems so natural to me (your body is placed on a mountain and left for the elements and wildlife. Later, the bones are ground up so the wind can carry the last vestiges of the physical into the ethereal.

You should read No Death, No Fear by Thich Bhat Hanh. I would also recommend Sacred Journey : Living Purposefully and Dying Gracefully
by Swami Rama.

Amy,

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1-3

I take much comfort in these words of Jesus and they can be interpreted in many ways leading to many conclusions... but the sense of inclusion gives me comfort....whereas many in Christianity choose to focus on only those who will be excluded... BUT, the key part here to focus on is "... do not let your heart be troubled." People are living longer and healthier due to so many advancements made through the years and the focus on healthier lifestyles (including thinking).

I think it's wise to consider the issues surrounding death as a parent...and a young adult. It really does help shape the way you live your life...and even more importantly, you will be a positive influence in your children's lives as they form their views on life and death.

8:32 AM  
Blogger "James" said...

Hmm. "No Fear, No Death" sounds like a great read. So is "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche" and "The Zen of Living and Dying" by Phillip Kapleau.

Well, now my thoughts on death. I see it as a beautiful step to be embraced. It is a time of transition that allows us to better ourselves. I too firmly believe that you will die the way that you have lived your life. I also agree that the best thing that we can do to prepare for our death is to live our life now.

I see death as nothing special but yet something extraordinary. It is no more of no less important then any other aspect in life in my opinion.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Mark Walter said...

One way I see death is a way my Sensei taught me when he handed me a book one day. Here are the opening lines:

"One who is supposed to be a warrior considers it his foremost concern to keep death in mind at all times, every day and every night, from the morning of New Year's Day through the night of New Year's Eve.

"As long as you keep death in mind at all times, you will also fulfill the ways of loyalty and familial duty. You will also avoid myriad evils and calamities, you will be physically sound and healthy, and you will live a long life. What is more, your character will improve and your virtue will grow.

"Here are the reasons for that. All human life is likened to evening dew and morning frost, considered something quite fragile and ephemeral. While this is so of all people's lives, the life of the warrior is particularly precarious.

"If people comfort their minds with the assumption that they will live a long time, something might happen, because they think they will have forever to do their work and look after their parents - they may fail to perform for their employers and also treat their parents thoughtlessly.

"But if you realize that the life that is here today is not certain on the morrow, then when you take your orders from your employer, and when you look in on your parents, you will have the sense that this may be the last time

"When you always keep death in mind, when you speak and when you reply to what others say, you understand the weight and significance of every word as a warrior by profession, so you do not engage in futile arguments. As a matter of course you do not go to dubious places even if people invite you, so there is no way for you to get into unexpected predicaments. This is why I say you will avoid myriad evils and calamities if you keep death in mind."

Cleary, Thomas. Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinsu. Boston: Tuttle, 1999. 3-4

3:42 PM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Mark, Thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading from "Code of the Samurai" It reminds me of "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche, which I am now just getting into.

Yes, I very much like what you have posted. Feel free to visit again whenever you wish.

8:35 PM  

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