Dealing with Death while Living
Death tends to drift towards love
You really don't want to hold back
Letting go at the end of struggle
Fare you well to find what you seek
We love you and support you on your journey
Whoever rightly understands and celebrates death, at the same time magnifies life.
Whoever teaches people how to die, teaches them how to live.
That’s what seeing death can do, make you fall in love with being alive.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one
The impulse to death may not be conceived as an anti-life movement; it may be a demand for an encounter with absolute reality, a demand for a fuller life through the
Striving for life, I seek death; seeking death, I find life.
...but death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man's
best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.
Death, the refuge, the solace, the best and kindliest and most prized friend and benefactor of the erring, the forsaken, the old and weary and broken of heart.
Call no man happy, until he is dead
Fear of death is actually fear of life. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life.
There are some who regard death awareness as the ultimate practice. The Buddha himself left behind such a statement. “Of all the footprints,” he said, “that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all meditation, that on death is supreme.”
Awareness of death is the very bedrock of the path. Until you have developed this awareness, all other practices are obstructed.
—The Dalai Lama
Meditation is learning how to die by learning to forget the sense-of-self,
Void fulfilled - nothing to hold onto
The emptying of self into the fullness of life
Die before you die, so that when you come to die you will not have to die
Become no one special and disappear
LET GO - you'll see, it’s vastly worth it
To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each
moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to BE WILLING TO DIE OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Having a relationship with death in everyday life means that we begin to be able to wait, to relax with insecurity, with panic, with embarrassment, with things not working out. As the years go on, we don’t call the babysitter addictions quite so fast. Death and hopelessness provide proper motivation—proper motiviation for living an insightful, compassionate life.
Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?
The meaning of life is that it stops.
Every hour wounds, the last one kills
Your body is like a dew-drop on the morning grass, your life is as brief as a flash of lightning. Momentary and vain, it is lost in a moment.
The problem is you think you have time
Death is connected to rebirth. The rupture of bardo inevitably leads to whatever is next. If we appreciate these successive deaths and rebirths in our lives, then we
can value the bardo for what it is—the pause that makes movement apparent, the silence that makes all sounds more vivid, the end that clarifies what exactly we will now be beginning.
Impermanence is not just an illuminator of loss. It is an illuminater of newness, the ever-unfolding present moment and it’s creativity.
It cuts through delusions so that whatever we contact, we do so with a raw presence, without the denial of impermanence. As long as we remain in this illumined state and still REMEMBER THAT GRASPING IS FUTILE, a new kind of openness becomes available.
It is the messenger of uncontrived being, delivering us into a basic space of pure being.
-Pema Khandro Rinpoche
Yalom has shown that a considerable part of our life energy is consumed in the denial of death.
Becker wrote that the mind looks down at the body, realizes what flesh implies, and panics. As a consequence, “everything that man does in his symbolic world is an attempt to deny and overcome his grotesque fate. He literally drives himself into a blind obliviousness with social games, psychological tricks, personal preoccupations so far removed from the reality of his situation that they are forms of madness.
Only by ceasing to repress the dread of death, and then accepting my death, can I begin to live. Until then, my life is a kind of death-in-life, made compulsive by
the need to overcome death in one or another symbolic fashion.
Uncovering that repression, recovering the denial of death for consciousness, requires the courage to suffer. To free us from the paralysis of death-in-life, the energy which is distorted into symptomatic activities must be translated back into its more original form, the terror of death, and that terror endured.
Death Denial - Becker
The new perspective on psychoanalysis is that the consciousness of death is the primary repression not sexuality.The fear of finitude and the dread of death.
I believe that those who speculate that a full apprehension of man's condition would drive him insane are right, quite literally right.
This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating yearning for life and self-expression- and with all this yet to die.
We might call the existential paradox the condition of individuality within finitude. Man has a symbolic identity that takes him sharply out of nature. He is a symbolic self with a name and a history and a creative mind. And at the same time he is a creature and destined to be food for worms. A terrifying dilemma.
This is the true terror, to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating yearning for life and self-expression and yet with all this to die.
Self-consciousness and a physical body. Consciousness of the terror in the world of death and decay. Terror in the knowledge of one's own death. We become enslaved to the strategies we employ to shield ourselves from the knowledge of these truths, crippling our true growth and freedom and choice. The defenses we use determine our lack of freedom.
Consciousness of what could happen at any moment deconstructs this comfortable cocoon by reminding us, at every moment, of our mortality; in psychotherapeutic terms, this demolishes one's unconscious power linkages or supports.
The only way out of the human predicament is full renunciation. To return one's life to the highest powers. Absolution has to come from the absolute.
The Dalai Lama describes his life work as being a simple monk who is preparing for his death.
To daily acknowledge mortality is the path of courage. Pay the price, allow life to engulf and completely use you up.
To yield is to disperse ego defenses, your characteristic hiding places. To admit to your lack of self sufficiency. A complete emotional admission that there is no strength in oneself. That support has to come from outside yourself and justification for one's life must come totally from the self-transcending web in which we live suspended.
Etty Hillesum experienced this paradox: By “coming to terms with life” I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak,
been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its
It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it.
Beyond Death Anxiety - Firestone
The paradoxical truth is that only by experiencing our existential despair are we open to the fullness of life.
Despair is the appropriate response to death and is endemic to the human condition. To not be able to meet and experience our despair is even greater torture.
Cut off emotions only elevate anxiety and tension.
Disengaging leads to a fundamental existential guilt for denying life and forgoing the project becoming an authentic self.
Death anxiety is a complex phenomenon that represents the blend of processes and emotions: the dread of death, the horror of physical and mental deterioration, the essential feeling of loneliness, the experience of separation anxiety, sadness about the eventual loss of self, and extremes of anger and despair about a situation over which we have no control.
Reacting to death anxiety most people regress and become emotionally cut off. They will depersonalize, limit their capacity to relate, restrict ability to make
choices and narrow their life experience.
Some will become extremely defensive.
Denial is the major defense against anxiety, literal denial manifests itself in religion. Even the nonreligious may still unconsciously harbor a sense of immortality through elaborate fantasies of connections to persons, places, groups, organizations, institutions and ideologies. Modern psychodynamic research shows that people use romantic relations to protect themselves from the fear of death.
The fantasy bond [or bondage] to other individuals, groups or causes creates the false sense of continuity.
Spiritual thoughts and feelings are among the most effective defenses against death anxiety. But in the end all defenses against death awareness whether literal or symbolic fail on some level to completely reassure us about our immortality. Dealing with death directly by bringing up the subject, feeling the painful effects and using the emotional release to affirm life is the most positive approach.
As long as we crave immortality we are dead.
Reflect on whether immortality— the actuality of an existence that never ended— could really satisfy us. As much as we may fear death, would ceaseless life be the solution to our problems? Perhaps the only thing worse than not living forever would be living forever.
Most people have not met the fear of death in themselves and thus are not clearly able to share their feelings about it. Having someone knowledgeable to open to in
talk can help all concerned to move through their suppressed feelings and fears.
The creative people, shamans and artists have been mediators of the natural terror, indicators of the triumph over it. They reveal the darkness and the dread of the
human condition and fabricate a new symbolic way of transcendence over it.