Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Death is Life's Door

--by Paul Fleischman (Oct 26, 2015)



(Note from the Editors: 'Sitting' here refers to seated meditation)

Sitting enabled me to see, and compelled me to acknowledge, the role that death had already played, and still continues to play, in my life. Every living creature knows that the sum total of its pulsations is limited. As a child I wondered: Where was I before I was born? Where will I be after I die? How long is forever and when does it end? The high school student of history knew that every hero died; I saw the colors of empires wash back and forth over the maps in the books like tides. (Not me!) Where can I turn that impermanence is not the law? I try to hide from this as well as I can, behind my youth (already wrinkling, first around the eyes, and graying), and health insurance: but no hideout works.

Every day ends with darkness; things must get done today or they will not happen at all. And, funny, rather than sapping my appetite, producing “nausea,” (...) the pressure of nightfall helps me to treasure life. Isn’t this the most universal human observation and counsel? I aim each swing of the maul more accurately at the cracks in the oak cordwood I am splitting. I choose each book I read with precision and reason. I hear the call to care for and love my child and the forest trails that I maintain as a pure ringing note of mandate. I sit at the dawn of day and day passes. Another dawn, but the series is limited, so I swear in my inner chamber I will not miss a day.

Sitting rivets me on the psychological fact that death is life’s door. No power can save me. Because I am aware of death, and afraid, I lean my shoulder into living not automatically and reactively, like an animal, nor passively and pleadingly, like a child pretending he has a father watching over him, but with conscious choice and decision of what will constitute each fleeting moment of my life. I know that my petals cup a volatile radiance. But to keep this in mind in turn requires that an ordinary escapist constantly re-encounters the limit, the metronome of appreciation, death.

I sit because knowing I will die enriches, and excoriates my life, so I have to go out of my way to seek discipline and the stability that is necessary for me to really face it. To embrace life I must shake hands with death. For this, I need practice. Each act of sitting is a dying to outward activity, a relinquishment of distraction, a cessation of anticipatory gratification. It is life now, as it is. Some day this austere focus will come in very, very handy. It already has.

Paul R. Fleischman is a psychiatrist, a teacher of Vipassana meditation, and an author of eight books, most recently, "Wonder: When and Why the World Appears Radiant". The above is from his essay, "Why I Sit".

Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

Previous Reflections:

 
On Oct 26, 2015 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

As the author suggests we each have a choice: to fear death or embrace and accept its eventuality and to greet life with gratitude and gusto. In my own life I do my best to fully embrace each day and to know that at any moment it can end. And this is with appreciation for every day; to live, love, learn and grow each day. To tell people how I feel about them with a caring heart. To do seemingly small things like offer hugs to strangers, a listening ear to someone in need to talk, to jump in puddles, to dance in the rain, to smile at the sun, to notice the flowers (even weeds are beautiful when looked at with new eyes.) This has been a work in progress. I have been challenged with Depression and when the darkness comes, I push even more to focus on the light that is always there even if a bit obscured. My father tried to kill himself 5 times and lost his battle with heart disease (when diagnosed, he did everything he was told not to do, a slow form or suicide) I chose to live fully, every day and not become like my father consumed in sadness. Some people seem to die a little every day. I choose to live a little (or a lot ;) ) every day. Gratitude helps so much in embracing life! All those seemingly small things add up into so much beauty! Hugs from my heart to all of yours. I hope you can embrace life too!



On Oct 26, 2015 sheetal wrote:

I had a classmate since my kindergarten days and we went in the same bus, shared the same bench in the class and were also born on the same date. Through our highschool we were inseparable till we chose different subjects and went to other classes. Both of us made new friends and slowly got out of touch. After a few years I heard she stayed in a town close by and I wished to meet her and reconnect. This, I kept postponing as other things were more important, i was so self absorbed with my work and family that I had no time. One day, i received the news that she passed away in cancer. That moment hit me in the heart..i cursed myself for not picking up the phone and calling her or making any effort of seeing her. i regretted my self absorbed, selfish behaviour. This was my wake up call. I made a resolution to listen to my heart and do what it takes to live life, love more and be present for all and the self. Since that day the practice is,  touching as many lives as possible allowing myself to learn and love in the process. Calling one friend a day, giving happy surprises to bring a smile on someone's face and mine too :) Going out of the way to take care of somebody, learning to give in that way. So giving, receiving and dancing can happen naturally..as a way of life. Death to me now is an awareness that if i am to live 10 more years which is 3500 odd days what would i do each day :) One can do the math to increase or decrease no. of days but all we have is "today"!!



On Oct 27, 2015 david doane wrote:

I believe that forms end or die, including every inanimate thing and every animate cell and body, and I believe that life goes on.  As a child and for a long time I believed in 'heaven' as a place that I would live in after I physically die.  That's a belief and wish that goes back thousands of years and is still alive for many people.  As for me, I now simply believe my spirit or soul will continue to be.  I believe in the continuity of spirit, and death is life's door in the sense that the end or death is a new beginning.  I haven't personally shook hands with death in the sense of consciously being at death's door myself.  The closest I've come to shaking hands with death has been the death of loved ones.  I didn't shake hands with death in order to embrace life -- neither I nor death are that goal-directed -- but the death of loved family members, teachers, and friends has helped me accept the inevitability of death and to embrace more this brief time of life in this form.



On Oct 27, 2015 Syd wrote:

I like how the author says, “To embrace life I must shake hands with death.”  The author goes on to say he needs practice.  From my experience death feels like nothingness, no purpose and it creates this crushing negative self-consciousness.  Death is mean.  It mocks life and it creates this alienation from life.  In my human body death is felt as darkness and the chasm of inner darkness can be like a black hole draining life out of me.  And when death is felt as depression or despair, where there is no choices, the only choice is to welcome death.  It is a choice to merge with nothingness.  This death can be a way of saying no to life and refusing to going on being tormented. 

Because my cells do not produce sufficient energy for my muscles, creating lots of exhaustion and fatigue, death is a moment to moment experience for me.   My daily death is felt as nothing in the world to identify with, nothing true or valuable in which I can believe in.  The meaninglessness can bring about insecurity and powerlessness.  There are even points of terrifying attraction to the darkness because how I felt repulsed with my daily death.  However, lately I have begun to trust this darkness and death.  I am beginning to learn to accept my powerlessness/nothingness and of all things there is a self here.  There is a self in the void, in the darkness and in the death. 

This self within death, for me, is the heart of faith.  It is a realistic faith and is its own value without reference to anyone.  It is a point I trust, even when I cannot deal with the lifelessness anymore.  This faith ask no questions, consents to the meanness of death and learns to accept my having no choices.  I am disappointed in this dying because it has weaned me from my feelings and weaned me from my beliefs.  And yet faith being all there is left is like the sun.  It does not matter if I believe or not because faith becomes this inner Essence and this supportive Presence where death becomes life.                  



On Oct 27, 2015 Manuel Castrillo wrote:

 All are cycles, life and death are human notions of existence, transmutes the physical and the spiritual, the soul manifests itself in different stages. Enjoy and bring in peace and harmony, is the task at the moment of our existence, beyond traveling in different places, that's all.
Manuel Castrillo



On Oct 27, 2015 Patricia wrote:

I do think death is a door.  What does it open to?  When I die I will find out, but for now I am happy to wait to find out.



On Oct 29, 2015 IMP wrote:

I do not fear death. I used to. I used to fear the death of my loved ones, leaving me here devoid of their caresses, their support, their love. But then I realized that all people I meet continue to live inside of me, especially the loved ones - they still talk me through my impasses, my bad moods.
As for my death, I don't fear it at all. At most, my death will be a stretch of my anguishes and torments, or a stretch of my compassion and love. So I work to feed my soul compassion rather than anguish, and love rather than hate, just in case. The slumber of nothingness I would happily embrace, as nothingness is not being a consciousness anymore, thus no I, no Self, no threatening of Self - as there will be no Self to be threatened.
But then, why would one live the Life if there's no fear of Death? I live it for the process - the understanding, the discovering, the becoming. There is beauty in Time, the relentless Transformation of this world we know. Observing it brings me joy. It's only that from time to time, quite often sadly, I loose focus from it. And I have not learned to let it go yet, to accept that I am only human.



On Nov 1, 2015 Jack Waller wrote:

 A rite of passage, that transcends our physical being. The transmigration of our soul leads to the  ephemeral joy when we are rejoined with those whom we have loved. "O death where is thy sting, o grave where is your victory."



On Nov 4, 2015 PRAKASH TALATHI wrote:

                                  Death is Life's Door

-       Shaking hands with death in order to embrace life – 

1) Death is like a deep and long sleep - When we get-up from this sleep find ourselves in a different dress (Body) and at `different address with unknown smiling faces around us.

Only problem is that we do not remember everything of the past and so are confused. There is only fear of unknown and uncertainty in this long and deep sleep (death)!

However, how much do we love sleep? Those who are not getting good sound sleep are constantly grumbling with everyone. People long for their week-end afternoon siesta. We welcome daily sleep longingly; however, we are scared of that long sleep, death. Why?

Because when we get-up from sleep we are energetic and there is guarantee to meet all old faces and life continues. However, in that long deep sleep there is no guarantee whether we will meet again and if we meet, we all will have different masks, clean slate and a fresh start! And that’s life!

We take entry in an unknown family as a new born baby! We come across with new faces, develop relationship and get separated when their or our journey ends.

 

2) Knowing Truth - If one will know who he is then there will not be any fear of death. When one understands he is a soul but says ‘my soul’ means there is a problem with head and heart. Though head understands heart is not accepting. I am a soul, an eternal energy, body is perishable, comes and goes. So, death is insignificant as I am always there. 


3) Change of Perception – A person is standing on the deck of a ship, his relations gather at the port. When the journey starts, he waves from the deck of the ship, and they wave from the port. The size of the ship keeps getting smaller, becomes a mere point at horizon and then vanishes. Close relations wipe their tears, and someone says: "The ship is gone!"  

But where has it gone?  Gone from sight, that’s all! The diminished size and the total loss of sight are in the viewer, not in the ship; ship is at it was.   And that is death…!

 

On the other side, the scene is different. Someone sees a dot at the horizon and shouts, 'It is coming!' The dot grows bigger and bigger … finally one sees the ship approaching. As it comes closer, relations and friends notice the person standing on the deck and waving cheerfully.  With joy flowing, they shout: 'See! He is there!' ……….  And that is birth…!

 

Death is NOT AN END, it is just change of dress (Body) and address! It is new beginning!

 

So, by changing perception of an event, we can develop an ability to confront and resolve external and internal conflicts, obstacles, difficulties, hurdles and so forth and can liberate from fear. 



Kindly send your views on this piece - bkprakash45@gmail.com

Thanks & Regards

On Dec 19, 2015 joni wrote:

 Death no lo nger frightens me since I have had a slight glimpse of another dimension where light and love reign supreme.  I am at 82 yrs of age rather curious more than anything else. So many of family and friends have passed already, why not me? It is all good whether here or there.



On Feb 6, 2016 Ramesh Narayan wrote:

Well said.....Prakash 



On Oct 31, 2017 Anjilo smith wrote:

 Sage Help
Sage Support
Sage Support Number
Sage Support Phone Number
Sage Tech Support Number
Sage Tech Support Phone Number
Sage Technical Support Number
Sage Technical Support Phone Number
Sage Help Desk Phone Number
Sage Customer Support Number
Sage Customer Support Phone Number
Sage Customer Service Number
Sage Customer Service Phone Number
Sage Help



On Oct 31, 2017 Anjilo smith wrote:

 QuickBooks Help
QuickBooks Support
QuickBooks Support Number
QuickBooks Support Phone Number
QuickBooks Tech Support Number
QuickBooks Tech Support Phone Number
QuickBooks Technical Support Number
QuickBooks Technical Support Phone Number
QuickBooks Help Desk Phone Number
QuickBooks Customer Support Number
QuickBooks Customer Support Phone Number
QuickBooks Customer Service Number
QuickBooks Customer Service Phone Number
QuickBooks Help



On Oct 31, 2017 Anjilo smith wrote:

 Quicken Help
Quicken Support
Quicken Support Number
Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Technical Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Phone Number
Quicken Help Desk Phone Number
Quicken Customer Support Number
Quicken Customer Support Phone Number
Quicken Customer Service Number
Quicken Customer Service Phone Number
Quicken Help



On Nov 1, 2017 anjilo smith wrote:

 Quickbooks Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Support Number
Quickbooks Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Customer Support Number
Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Customer Service Number
Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number



On Nov 1, 2017 anjilo smith wrote:

 Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Support Number
Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Technical Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Phone Number
Quicken Customer Support Number
Quicken Customer Support Phone Number
Quicken Customer Service Number



On Nov 1, 2017 anjilo smith wrote:

 Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Support Number
Quickbooks Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Customer Support Number
Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Customer Service Number
Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number



On Nov 1, 2017 anjilo smith wrote:

 Sage Tech Support Phone Number
Sage Tech Support Phone Number
Sage Support Number
Sage Support Phone Number
Sage Tech Support Number
Sage Tech Support Phone Number
Sage Technical Support Number
Sage Technical Support Phone Number
Sage Customer Support Number
Sage Customer Support Phone Number
Sage Customer Service Number
Sage Customer Service Phone Number



On Nov 13, 2017 Best Services wrote:

 Quickbooks Help
Quickbooks Support
Quickbooks Support Number
Quickbooks Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Number
Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Number
Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Help Desk Phone Number
Quickbooks Customer Support Number
Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number
Quickbooks Customer Service Number
Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number
 



On Nov 13, 2017 Best Services wrote:

 Quicken Help
Quicken Support
Quicken Support Number
Quicken Support Phone Number
Quicken Tech Support Number
Quicken Tech Support Phone Number
Quicken Technical Support Number
Quicken Technical Support Phone Number
Quicken Help Desk Phone Number
Quicken Customer Support Number
Quicken Customer Support Phone Number
Quicken Customer Service Number
Quicken Customer Service Phone Number



On Nov 13, 2017 Best Services wrote:

 Sage Help
Sage Support
Sage Support Number
Sage Support Phone Number
Sage Tech Support Number
Sage Tech Support Phone Number
Sage Technical Support Number
Sage Technical Support Phone Number
Sage Help Desk Phone Number
Sage Customer Support Number
Sage Customer Support Phone Number
Sage Customer Service Number
Sage Customer Service Phone Number



On Jan 25, 2018 clibin clibin wrote:
clb0126 michael kors   canada goose coats   mbt shoes sale   nmd adidas   nike outlet store   moncler outlet online   coach outlet store online clearance   yeezy shoes   adidas nmd r1   uggs outlet   longchamps   ugg boots   moncler coats   adidas yeezy boost   yeezy boost 350   nike outlet online   ralph lauren outlet online   columbia sportswear outlet   nfl jerseys   canada goose jackets   moncler sale   cheap jordan shoes   pandora charms sale clearance   canada goose jackets uk   adidas sneakers   ugg boots women   kate spade outlet online   air jordan shoes   ugg outlet store   coach factory outlet online   adidas superstar shoes   coach outlet online   cheap jordan shoes   moncler outlet online   pandora charms sale   ugg boots outlet   coach factory outlet online   michael kors bags   canada goose coats   canada goose jackets   hermes bag   yeezy boost 350   pandora jewelry   coach outlet online   air max   ugg outlet online   supreme uk   ray ban sunglasses discount   ralph lauren outlet   ray ban sunglasses discount   coach factory outlet online   ferragamo outlet   pandora jewelry store   coach outlet online   uggs outlet   coach outlet store online   adidas outlet store   coach outlet online   ralph lauren outlet online   valentino outlet   burberry outlet online   canada goose coats   gucci outlet online   ralph lauren outlet online   ugg boots   nike outlet store online   michael kors outlet store   fitflop shoes   cheap ugg boots   adidas   ugg boots   ugg boots sale   retro 11   louis vuitton factory outlet   coach factory outlet online   mulberry uk   adidas nmd r1   michael kors outlet store   kate spade handbags   mbt   canada goose jackets   gucci outlet   ralph lauren uk   coach outlet online   cheap ray ban sunglasses   pandora jewelry outlet   coach outlet online   timberland outlet   nike air max 97   birkenstock shoes   pandora charms outlet   ugg canada   timberland outlet   michael kors outlet online   ugg boots   fitflops sale clearance   adidas nmd runner   canada goose jackets   coach factory outlet online   coach factorty outlet online   pandora charms outlet   ugg boots   adidas yeezy boost   moncler jackets   ugg outlet online   canada goose   kate spade outlet online   coach factory outlet online   christian louboutin shoes   cheap air jordans   oakley sunglasses outlet   cheap jordan shoes   canada goose jackets   canada goose outlet   tory burch outlet online   coach outlet canada   nike sneakers   polo ralph lauren outlet   north face jackets   adidas superstars   supreme shirts   coach outlet online   uggs clearance   michael kors outlet online   ugg outlet store   caterpillar boots   pandora outlet   polo ralph lauren outlet   red bottoms   cheap oakley sunglasses   ralph lauren   moncler uk   polo ralph lauren outlet online   coach factory outlet online   canada goose coats   canada goose jackets   moncler sale   longchamp outlet store   coach outlet online   oakley sunglasses outlet   adidas yeezy   canada goose jackets   coach outlet store   uggs   michael kors uk   mulberry   canada goose sale   polo ralph lauren   uggs clearance   ray ban sunglasses outlet   coach outlet online   mlb jerseys   nike shoes   michael kors outlet online   longchamp bags   coach factory outlet   pandora uk   polo ralph lauren outlet   hermes outlet   polo outlet online   salvatore ferragamo outlet   michael kors outlet online   ugg outlet   moncler outlet online   air jordan retro   nike sneakers   michael kors bags   coach factory outlet online   timberland outlet store   pandora charms   adidas yeezy   polo ralph lauren outlet online   moncler   mulberry outlet uk   canada goose   air jordans   canada goose outlet store   moncler outlet online   nike zoom   coach outlet online   coach outlet online   pandora charms sale clearance   the north face outlet   salvatore ferragamo shoes   cheap ugg boots   uggs outlet   coach factory outlet online   coach outlet store online   ralph lauren uk   michael kors outlet clearance   canada goose sale   michael kors   adidas nmd r1   moncler jacket   coach outlet   canada goose jackets   michael kors handbags outlet   canada goose   longchamp outlet   adidas outlet   michael kors outlet online   michael kors outlet clearance   adidas yeezy shoes   cheap air jordans   cheap nfl jerseys wholesale   air max   discount oakley sunglasses   polo ralph lauren outlet   coach outlet online   tory burch shoes   ugg outlet   michael kors outlet store   coach factory outlet online   polo ralph lauren outlet   polo ralph lauren outlet online   burberry handbags   adidas yeezy boost   cheap oakley sunglasses   mlb jerseys cheap   michael kors outlet store   michael kors outlet   cheap ray ban sunglasses   coach outlet online   the north face outlet   canada goose jackets   polo ralph lauren outlet   michael kors outlet store   christian louboutin sale   adidas campus shoes   ugg outlet   coach outlet canada   fitflop sandals   cheap jordan shoes   birkin handbags   ugg canada   moncler uk   kate spade handbags   pandora charms   kate spade outlet   canada goose   nfl jerseys   ugg boots outlet   louis vuitton outlet store   canada goose jackets   ralph lauren sale   pandora jewelry   pandora charms sale clearance   ray bans   louboutin outlet   cheap oakley sunglasses   canada goose   hermens   uggs outlet   ugg outlet   ugg outlet online   longchamp sale   louis vuitton handbags   yeezy boost   adidas shoes   moncler jackets   coach outlet online   jordan shoes for sale   ugg boots   fitflops sale   michael kors handbags   nike outlet store   supreme shirts   cheap air jordans   ralph lauren outlet online   polo ralph lauren   burberry outlet online   ralph lauren sale   cheap uggs   oakley sunglasses for women   louboutin outlet   polo ralph lauren outlet online   adidas ultra boost   michael kors outlet clearance   michael kors outlet store   fitflops sale   philipp plein outlet   michael kors outlet online   mulberry handbags   pandora jewelry outlet   canada goose parka   ray ban sunglasses sale   pandora jewelry   coach outlet online   ferragamo shoes   north face outlet   coach outlet store   canada goose jackets   hermes handbags   canada goose jackets   cheap jordan shoes   michael kors outlet clearance   ralph lauren outlet online   ugg   timberland boots   coach outlet online   ray ban glasses   canada goose sale   nike shoes   supreme clothing   north face outlet   jordans   hermes bags   nike air max 2018   canada goose coats   pandora charms sale clearance   ugg boots   ralph lauren outlet online   ralph lauren   ralph lauren   ralph lauren outlet online   yeezy shoes   louis vuitton outlet online   ralph lauren outlet online   ugg sale   michael kors   yeezy boost 350   michael kors outlet online   canada goose sale   pandora sale clearance   harden vol 1   burberry handbags   michael kors outlet canada   burberry outlet online   philipp plein   ugg outlet store   coach outlet online   adidas yeezy boost 350   canada goose coats   nike air max 97   nfl jerseys   ralph lauren uk   louboutin shoes   polo ralph lauren outlet   canada goose outlet online   discount ray ban sunglasses   christian louboutin shoes   ralph lauren uk   adidas outlet store   kate spade handbags   coach outlet store   moncler coats   cheap nfl jerseys wholesale   mbt   canada goose jackets   adidas nmd runner   kate spade outlet online   north face sale   michael kors outlet clearance   coach outlet store online   nike air max 2018   cheap jordans free shipping   uggs outlet   yeezy shoes   adidas store   michael kors outlet canada   michael kors   kate spade handbags   michael kors outlet store   red bottom   coach factorty outlet online   canada goose outlet   red bottom heels   coach outlet online   bottes ugg   kate spade outlet online   yeezy boost 350   moncler pas cher   nike outlet online   canada goose jackets   coach factory outlet   pandora uk   canada goose jacket   ugg outlet store   adidas outlet online   air max shoes   birkenstock outlet   uggs outlet   coach factory outlet   coach outlet online   oakley sunglasses outlet   louis vuitton outlet   valentino   michael kors outlet store   canada goose outlet   burberry handbags   hermes bags   pandora charms   coach factory outlet   uggs outlet   ralph lauren   ugg boots outlet   nike outlet   adidas outlet online   canada goose jackets   michael kors outlet store   canada goose jackets   cheap jordans for sale   longchamp bags   pandora outlet   moncler coats   cheap oakley sunglasses   ray ban sunglasses outlet   uggs outlet   ugg boots   kate spade outlet   ugg boots   uggs outlet   pandora charms outlet   michael kors   oakley sunglasses outlet   ugg boots   polo ralph lauren outlet online   moncler jackets   pandora charms sale   christian louboutin shoes   fitflop sandals   fred perry shirts   uggs on sale   coach factory outlet online   coach outlet online   burberry outlet   louis vuitton factory outlet   the north face jackets   fred perry polo shirts   coach factory outlet   north face jackets   coach outlet online   cheap nike shoes   ugg boots   adidas nmd r1   cheap ugg boots   uggs outlet   pandora jewelry   the north face outlet   cheap jordans   canada goose jackets   pandora charms outlet clb0126