Some spiritual traditions––including the one I’ve practiced for over 20 years––include practices that regularly remind us of death, and how to prepare for death.
Such reminders help us keep in mind how precious this life is. They help us to stay in the present moment, the only moment that truly exists.
When we recall the preciousness of each moment, natural results are kindness, compassion, and a commitment to embracing life, whatever it brings.
We naturally would like to be kind to ourselves, to others, and to all beings we share this planet with, to the planet itself.
We also naturally prepare for the inevitable process of dying. It’s considered a supreme opportunity for advancing our consciousness, so it’s helpful to be ready.
I’ll share some of the teachings from my tradition around these themes, and constructive ways that people may apply them in their own lives.
Watch the Video Now: Conscious Living through Awareness of Death
Conscious Living through Awareness of Death
As spoken by Catherine Pawasarat
Each one of us lives with the knowledge that we could die at any moment, and that death is certain. And we spend a lot of our lives in denial of this certain truth.
When we accept and embrace this truth, our lives take on a much more vibrant quality. It’s easier to live with passion, fully in the moment.
I could die any moment — how would I like to be right now? How would I like to be there for this person in front of me? How would I like to relate to the earth, the planet, the ecosystem or systems I’m a part of?
Nowadays we have the additional gift of knowing that the planet might die, that she can’t support all of us living in the ways that we do.
This makes the imperative of this question of death even more powerful. I know that I might die any moment, but what if the planet dies any moment?
As with any death, there’s are natural response cycles (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and then we are back to living, with passion, con passione , compassion. Buddhist compassion is different from Christian compassion.
In Buddhism, we have loving kindness for everything and everyone, equally, like the sun shines on us all equally.
Compassion requires more action, discernment and skill. We apply different kinds of compassion in different ways at different times, depending on the circumstances and beings involved. It truly requires passion to cultivate.
No healthy person wants to be a causer of death. So we’ll naturally act with more loving kindness and compassion, caring for ourselves, for other people, for other beings, for the earth. This is what we try to demonstrate at our retreat center, Clear Sky. What does this look like in the world? On the material world.
And while we are doing this, we prepare for death.
May all our efforts benefit all beings.