Always now—just now—come into being. Always now—just now—give yourself to death. Practicing this truth is Zen practice.
In the last analysis, it is our conception of death which decides our answers to all the questions that life puts to us.
On my pillow bit by bit waking,
suddenly I hear a cicada cry -
at that moment I know I’ve not died,
though past days are like a former existence.
I want to go to the window, listen closer,
but even with a cane I can’t manage.
Before long like you I’ll shed my shell
and drink again the clear brightness of the dew.
You will begin to hear your voice changing. That voice is who you are becoming in the face of mortality. Listen to that voice. It will be the purest, most authentic version of you that you have ever known. Bring that person into the world — strengths and vulnerabilities and everything between. Be that person forever.
Despite not having had to face a potentially terminal diagnosis (other than being born) this resonates a lot for me, particularly in terms of when I got cracked open, or you could say dhamma became life (and thus confronted ego death?), and how that significantly changes one’s perspective and can, unfortunately, be very isolating. I would add to this quote “be that person forever, forever new and changing.”
Aware of my life beginning at my birth and ending with my death,
I breathe in.
Seeing that I was already present before my birth in many forms and that I shall be present when I die in many different forms (the sun, the water, the air, the earth, ancestors, descendants, habits, society. economics), I breathe out.
My beginning, my ending
No beginning, no ending
Exercise 31.7, “Looking Deeply,” The Blooming of a Lotus: Guided Meditation Exercises for Healing and Transformation, Thich Nhat Hanh (1993).
Lovely. Thank you for sharing with us.