buddhism

Thinking about death to start living

FullSizeRenderI have been pondering end of life issues lately.  It’s no wonder with watching my step dad die and observing all the swirling issues and emotions that accompanied this event.  Illness and death are scary.  I have tiptoed through life – taking as great a care of my physical and emotional health as I can –to avoid the inevitable.  Even saying the word Death has been scary for me.  Doctor’s appointments have also been faced with dread.  I don’t think I am alone.IMG_7793

So how to face our mortality with the same sense of gusto that one faces life is what’s on my mind.

Here are a couple of ideas I have run across in my reading and reflecting.

Be like Steven Jobs and wake up every day and look in the mirror and say “If this were the last day of my life, how would I spend it?”  If you are doing things you love with people and animals you love and not aimlessly, mindlessly going through the motions of your day, then you might feel OK about death.

Staying present in the moment.  So much time is wasted regretting the past and worrying about the future.  Really all that does is waste the precious moments of the present.

Slowing down and breathing.  Observe the quality of your breath.  Notice your heart beating.  Watching my dad die left me in awe of the strength of breath and the heartbeat.  The rest of his body was withering – ten days with no food and only a few sips of water– and yet there he was with his eyes closed but his heart was beating and his breath was still coursing through his body.  Our bodies and soul are amazing.  So is our desire to live.  So for me, no resolutions for this year, just reflection and focus on how to live so I am not so afraid of dying.  Just reflecting “honestly upon our present reality and consider how to build” on what is right in front of us. Maybe finding some serenity in the process.

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I wish you serenity and peace in 2017.  Namaste, Andrea

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