this time of remembrance

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To speak of sorrow

works upon it

moves it from its

crouched place barring

the way to and from the soul’s hall.

~Denise Levertov

as you begin your remembrances and review of 2016, please be kind and allow it all….

inquiry for today~   can you be with death for a moment? be with your whole life for a moment? can you sit still for just a moment? is it all ok for this moment?

circumspect but listening

One dying man told me, “I remember being with my mother as she was dying. She was old like I am now and was ready to go. I used to just sit with her, hold her hand . . . will you hold mine?” So we sat together in silence, with touch joining our hearts.

What message do we want to leave behind when we die? When poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning died, she uttered the word “beautiful.” “I am not in the least afraid to die,” exclaimed Charles Darwin. And Thomas Edison said only, “It is very beautiful over there.” These wise people on the threshold of death carry a message to the rest of us that death is our friend and not to be feared. What have they seen that we wish we could know? What is this mystery that all of us will enter?

All of these last words teach us how we can give over our spirit to the experience of dying—and how we may live in the meantime. They are testaments to the power of the human heart to transcend suffering and find redemption by encountering death fearlessly, and even beautifully. Thus, we come to understand the truth of impermanence, the intense fragility of all that we love, and that, in the end, we can really possess nothing. Yes, we may meet each other on “the other side.” Yet we may also ask ourselves: Can we meet each other now? Knowing that death is inevitable, what is most precious to us today?

~Roshi Joan Halifax

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