The nature of living and dying for the common good
The master was at the beach with his disciple observing Nature without a reason or purpose in mind.
As they were looking, a bird similar to an eagle appeared flying from behind them. It was quite big and descended quickly like a rocket into the sea, to catch a fish with its claws. It was a successful catch. The bird took the fish to a near electric pole and devoured it.
The disciple exclaimed: “Poor fish!” The master smiled and took a moment to respond: “ To put yourself in the shoes of another ’s fate is empathy, that is laudable. The human world has lost contact with the laws of Nature and thus, perceptions are contradictory. In Nature, the hunter and the prey are merely fulfilling a harmonious order, a balance in Nature. Death is part of Living. The population of birds, fish and other animals and plants are in balance and can fulfill their purpose, their roles of living without being extinguished. That holds true for every species except humans.”
The disciple said: “Then it was right for that bird to kill that fish to survive?”
The master said: “ Let us not think in terms of right or wrong. In Nature, things happen without ultimate reason but the common good. The bird did not act in an evil way despite killing. The fish wasn’t a victim despite being killed. There was an ultimate balance, for there wasn’t a purpose other than the common good.”
The disciple said: “ I don’t understand your lack of empathy for the fish.”
The master said: “Observe. It is not about my empathy or yours. When you judge Nature based on human morality there will be contradiction and misunderstanding. Nature cannot be understood through the mind made reality of written moral standards. Harmonious balance for the common good is the song in Nature not a written paragraph. We cannot judge Nature’s methods.”
The disciple tried to understand but had a puzzled look in his face. The master then continued: “In the human world there is an ultimate purpose. It is called profit, gain. That is not for the common good but for the perceived benefit of few above the rest. That is why their killing or any other action behind that purpose is ugly. Look at how people succumb to Nature. That is what is labeled as natural disasters. Balance is the ultimate purpose and humans are in that as well as any other beings on Earth. We are all one. There is no will for profit there. Observe how humans kill each other or other defenseless beings for a reason which only fit their own interests. Remember this: Your intention behind your action is the most important ingredient for the type of Life that you will experience. If your intention is service for the common good, how wonderful your life would be. Life itself will be with you. Knowing that, you wouldn’t live without serving others. You may need to go beyond good and evil to observe a different reality.”
Then the master sighed and continued: “What I said may be misunderstood for our human conditioning and beliefs are very strong. Just remember this: I am not here to change your beliefs. What you need to understand will come to you naturally without effort, without struggle.”
Dying is the way of Living
The significance of Death changes according to consciousness.
For most, there is only one death; at the end of Life. Typically, we will perceive death as something “bad”, which we need to delay even though quality of Life may be lacking. These are the individuals “fighting Death.” We hear: “After a long fight, he lost the battle with cancer” (or some other disease.) From that nonsensical perception, we don’t realize that “we will always lose to death.” Always.
Our petty fighting attitude only brings animosity towards the inevitable. A trauma.
Embrace death. After all; it is part of living. The duality of life and death will be experienced. Why reject one side of the same experience?
Death brings fear to the unknown. However, what we truly fear is to lose that which is known. Thus, we may need to learn to die from the known.
It is in that understanding, how a different consciousness could perceive that there is no better way to live Life than dying psychologically while living.
In one lifetime, the one who was born, is not the same as the one who dies. That may require a bit more awareness to understand. The one who experiences death has no part of him identifying with the one who was born: The body is different, the mind is different. Nevertheless, what creates the linear identity of ‘I am the same,’ is the attachment to different things in Life. That could be names, people, objects, positions, ideals, beliefs, etc. That creates the sense of “self.”
Therefore, the greatest attachment is the perception of “self.” We greatly cling to it.
Life will bring many experiences where we feel that we “have lost” something but then, we DO things to gain something back for ourselves. That game, we usually call Life.
“Self” is being built through that game.
When Life brings the experience to “lose” something; we don’t see that this brings the opposite as well, automatically once the old is “lost”, newness is gained. We “win” newness through that duality.
If the above is fully understood, we could observe that dying from something is the way to gain; but the hardest part is the mental clinging of the past, for that which is gone. Then, we live in the past and we are not able to die from the past. We fight. Thus, there is no newness.
Observe. Become aware. Accept. Move on.
Life will “give” but also will “take away” to give something else. Are we willing to play that game?
“Willingness” means our capacity to die from who we were and accept the newness of who we could be. “Losing is winning.”
That game when fully experienced, will change that sense of self; reducing its size until one day, we have died from “self.”
Then, there is nothing to be attached to. We dropped the burden by dying psychologically from a static sense of “self.”
When the psychological “self” is not there, Who is going to die?
Learning to die at every moment, is the way to live.
Life will show us where we are
Ananda visited his family 7 months ago. His family live in another country away from here.
Mathias, the wise tree; shared to Ananda at that time:
“You may wish good bye to your father.”
Ananda understood that his father was going to experience death at any time but he wasn’t sure when.
When Ananda approached Mathias for a particular date as to when this will happen; Mathias replied: “ Friend, I hope that you don’t forget that I do not bring a fortune teller glass ball with me.” 🙂 A date means to wait idle for life rather than to enjoy the experiences.
At that time, Ananda gave a good hug to his father before departing…. conscious of the “last hug goodbye.” He knew that he couldn’t share that information with relatives who are not ready to understand the different threads of the Drama of life.
What for some is the opportunity to “say good bye,” for others is the chance to go into desperation or to brush that information off as “nonsense” for there is “no scientific evidence.”
Ananda’s father was losing his memory. He wasn’t able to walk very well but with the help of a cane. His activity was being reduced little by little. At 77, he was enjoying good health. In the past, he used to be very active, lover of sports and dancing. In Ananda’s memory, he is a caring and tender man, ready to enjoy life. He is “spiritual” because he knew how to enjoy life, the “now” without ever joining a religion.
Last week, Ananda’s father had appendicitis, which became infected, damaging some internal organs. He had surgery, which he survived, but the infection continued. The doctors mentioned that he has 30% chances to survive.
Ananda’s family members are sad; seeing the scene of a man hooked up to different tubes; a man who would like to go back home to relax but who is unable to eat or drink.
What to do? Where to go?
Life will present many scenes, what is important for the “life walker” is to be aware of his feelings at that time, the Now. Anything that is going on is merely a chance to look inside.
Look inside, look inside… observe the feelings that arise.
Death is not an enemy. It is not something to fear. It is not an adversary. Ananda’s father is not “losing” the battle, when life itself is around the “corner” for him.
Mathias, the wise tree; mentioned: “Remember that the best time of your father’s life is just about to start.”
Any “spiritual” knowledge about “how to behave” in life is only information, until someone experiences life itself happening to them. At that point, without inner observation the option is to “act” the rules, what it seems “good” but that may be dishonest if contrary to our own feelings and emotions at that time.
Some may call that experience of seeing a loved one at death’s door, a “test.”
Ananda feels that it is not a test when our emotions and understanding of life are aligned; but when that is not the case, it is not only a test but an opportunity to ingest sorrow and sadness for “free.”
That is lack of awareness.
How can you enjoy life under that circumstance, we may ask?
When the perspective is turned 360 degrees around, and the “indoctrination” of smelling death everywhere is not the focus of the experience, but to see that every end is a new beginning.
That is to celebrate life.
The above will be completely dishonest from Ananda’s part to share, if Ananda was feeling emotionally devastated, hurt, in pain and anger…blaming the doctors, life, God and everyone else for taking his father away from him… why.. why.. why it had to happen this way… 🙂
There is no one taking anyone away. How could Ananda explain this in words? It is not an intellectual thing to understand.
Ananda is discovering that his work for the past year on his emotions is paying off. Many posts have been shared already on that.
Thoughts will appear such as: “ You should feel sad and cry… your father is dying, don’t you see it? What an insensitive son you are!
The thoughts are allowed to exist but there is no identification with them. In observation, those thoughts dissolve and become the past. Simply become aware of them, thoughts are not you.
Mathias the wise tree, would call that “to embrace the bloody Buddha” that is to embrace even those things which are thought of as “negativities” in ourselves, just to give it a label.
It is a discovery “about us,” which cannot be rejected into the duality of “good and bad.”
As his father, Ananda will have a new start in life tomorrow. He is moving to another place!
Life continues on… The day is bright and sunny outside for those who are able to see it, to enjoy that scene means to live in the “now.”
When we observe that we are no longer theory but we live our words, is definitely a day to celebrate!
Cheers for inner honesty and for the new beginning of father and son!
Until Thursday… 🙂
Dealing with death and dying
There are 2 individuals that I know who are currently dealing with a loved one experiencing the “transition” period: A loved one who is about to die.
It is interesting to observe their behavior. It is different in both cases.
In one case, “Ron” is a “down to Earth “ individual. No nonsense, logical and methodical. His mother is about to die and he has lived with her for many years. They both bought a house together.
He was trying to contain his tears while speaking about this situation. His “hope” is that his mother will reunite with his father, who already passed away years ago.
Ron is just looking for words of support and encouragement in these difficult times.
Ron’s pain could be felt. Ron knows that his mother will not return. Ron knows that after some weeks, when he gets home from work, no one will be there to greet him.
It is fascinating how we call ourselves “rational” beings; in theory, as a concept; when in reality human beings are anything but rational.
Rationally we could understand that death is “normal.” It is part of living. Everyone will go through it and there is no escape from it. It is a matter of fact; yet if someone we care for, faces that time to die or even ourselves; we are not willing to accept that destiny.
So much for “rational” talk.
It doesn’t bring any comfort when “real” life “hits” us with an experience such as death of a loved one.
The only comfort that a “normal” human being has is a belief. Either the after life or even no hope at all. The “I don’t believe in anything” has an in built belief and that is the belief of the existence of “I.”
“I” have lived. “I” have enjoyed. “I” have suffered. Now, “I” have to die. That is practical life … 🙂
Nevertheless, there is more.
Why is that “I” identifying itself with experiences? How is it possible for that “I” to even go to sleep, when there is no “certainty” to wake up ever again?
The fact of life is: The more we “build” that conceptual “I” with its possessions, expectations, desires and hierarchies in the “reality” of our world , greater attachment will be experienced to those things which in our mind, we feel are important to support the “idea” of ourselves.
Life is water being poured in “our” hands. The sense of “I” makes that need to posses that water by holding tight to it, by closing the hands, hoping to grab the “water” of life. Observe how that sense of possession enters the mind. In that possession, in that attachment there is no longer enjoyment of water being poured as an experience.
Because we have separated ourselves through our minds from life itself; then fear appears.
Fear from losing “water.” Fear from not being able to enjoy “water” anymore as much as before. Fear from the “other” who can come and snatch that water from us.
At the end, we cannot stop water from passing by. The nature of water is to be transitory, in movement so it never stagnates.
It is the moment to be enjoyed to its fullest, it is the instant, which brings “newness.”
The mind just remembers the past. The mind wants “pictures” to be taken, it wants to hold onto something which is no longer there.
Perhaps one day we could recognize that actually life is living through us; although we live life. Perhaps one day we could recognize that we could be that “I” while being “nothing” at the same time. It is interesting how everything changes but the ideas that we have about ourselves.
Life exists. There is no space for death there. Only when “I” am born is when “I” need to die.
Empty yourself from that “I” to be life itself. That is the value of “emptiness;” while the value of “I” is to experience life.
Loss and grief
Tammy had a beautiful daughter, Brandy who was completing her second year of college. Tammy made all sorts of efforts to give Brandy the opportunity to go to college.
Brandy was a happy-go-lucky person. She had many friends due to her prompt smile, beauty and friendly attitude. Her future was bright. For Thanksgiving, Brandy traveled with her boyfriend, Fred to visit his relatives in Canada. They were driving at night through the mountains near a lake. It was freezing cold.
Another car driver hit the couple, and their car effortlessly slipped through the icy mountain into the frozen water. Brandy and Fred met their death there. No one knows what happened with the hit and run car.
When Tammy knew about this, she was devastated. Tammy was angry. She had so much anger towards that person who hit her daughter’s car, but she couldn’t make a picture in her mind of that person; so her anger went towards God, towards life and towards every hit and run driver who was caught.
Psychologists could describe Tammy’s experience as being “normal,” under the circumstances. As a matter of fact; there is a “5 stage mourning process” which is usually described as: 1. Denial and isolation, 2. Anger, 2. Bargaining, 4. Depression and 5. Acceptance.
Tammy started the process in anger and hopefully, she will be able to reach acceptance at one point in her life.
In spirituality, acceptance is the first and only step. Acceptance is something to be aware of and thus, practice every day at every moment.
I could share many beliefs as to why we need to accept things as they are; but a belief will not help if we face a life experience similar to Tammy’s.
Whether we believe in predestination or in bad luck or karma or in the “will of God,” all of those things will not change the most important item in this experience; that is how much this is affecting me.
Life is a gift. Acceptance of situations means to accept the gift. Any rejection means to reject life and thus, to slowly die.
The strength to accept a moment of grief is not gained after living a “normal” life of wanting and getting things “my way.” A life of “fight” to get things done. It is a slow process of acceptance, to let things be, to allow things to happen and to continue smiling for the gift of life is not something to possess, but something to enjoy and share.
The flower blossoms and then dies. Timing among flowers will be different. That is life. If I am appreciating that gift of life, there is no space for attachment to a particular flower. If I am attached, then there cannot be appreciation.
The butterfly is meant to fly. It comes and it goes. It has the freedom of life. If I close my hand to keep that butterfly with me; its freedom will not be acknowledged.
The 5 stages of loss and grief are nothing else but to learn to open that silly grip towards life, to learn to open our clenched fingers little by little: first is denial then anger, then depression, etc. until the open hand is seen and truly enjoyed. That is acceptance. The hand is now ready to feel and to let go. Ready to appreciate the gift of life.